In this bank holiday Hinterland – mental health, universal credit, covid, Hartlepool, drones and the darker side of the staycation. Read on…..!!
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Strain on mental health care leaves 8m people without help, say NHS leaders
We are now experiencing a coronavirus backwash which is having a major effect on those waiting for more standard support. Mental health challenges will remain unaddressed because of the massive backlog this story reveals. It tells us:
An estimated 8 million people in England with mental health problems cannot get specialist help because they are not considered sick enough to qualify, NHS leaders have revealed as the toll of the pandemic is laid bare.
The figure, drawn up by mental health trusts and NHS Providers, underlines the gap between the growing need for care for anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, and the ability of the NHS to treat them.
It is in addition to the official waiting list for NHS mental health care, which stands at 1.6 million people, including 374,000 under-18s.
NHS England is understood to view the figure of 8 million, which is based on the known prevalence of mental health conditions and the thresholds dictating who gets access to treatment, as an accurate assessment of the number of those who are missing out on care because services are already so busy, especially given the Covid pandemic’s damage to mental wellbeing.
Universal credit: Devolved governments join calls to keep £20 top-up
Rural benefit claimants face higher bills to live a basic life. This proposal is a real threat to those hidden rural dwellers living on the poverty line. It tells us:
The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have called on the UK government to rethink plans to end the universal credit uplift.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to stop the extra £20-a-week payment in October – saying it is only temporary measure to help people through the pandemic.
But there are growing calls for it to be extended or made permanent.
Ministers from Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont have raised concerns about the impact the cut will have on poverty.
They wrote a joint letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, describing the change as the “biggest overnight reduction to a basic rate of social security since the modern welfare state began, more than 70 years ago”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week he wanted the focus to be on better paid jobs, rather than welfare. He was speaking after two Tory MPs joined calls for the uplift to be made permanent.
Extra Covid support announced for South West amid rising cases
Lest you thought covid was mainly an urban thing – this surge in the rural parts of the South West provides pause for thought, particularly as many of these places don’t have extensive treatment facilities close to hand. This story tells us:
Secondary school and college pupils will be required to wear face masks in communal areas outside of their classrooms in areas of the south west of England in response to a surge in coronavirus cases.
Starting Friday, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay local authority areas – which have seen an uptick in cases – will get help to increase vaccine and testing and deliver more public health messaging, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
Although schools will resume from next week as planned, students in secondary schools and colleges will need to wear face masks in communal areas after the guidance was scrapped on July 19.
Hartlepool sun city: Trio of massive solar projects set to turn northeast town into clean energy powerhouse
To me this is a lovely story based on the contribution of a rural hinterland to the sustainability of a big town. It tells us:
Now, however, Hartlepool is hoping its future can be transformed by sunshine.
Three massive solar farms are to be built within a five-mile radius of each other on the outskirts of this Teesside port – effectively turning it into the UK’s most unlikely solar powerhouse.
Individually, it is thought all three sites – dotted on farmland along the A19 – would be among the top 10 biggest such energy farms in the country if they were opened today.
But combined they will cover an area roughly the size of 250 football fields and create enough energy to power more than 43,000 local homes. They will produce almost 150MW of energy every year.
Avon and Somerset Police deploy new drone to fight rural crime
This is a fantastic innovation dedicated to tackling rural crime…..
A police force has unveiled a special drone it says will be a “gamechanger” in efforts to tackle rural crime.
Avon and Somerset Police said the drone had already helped recover £100,000 worth of stolen equipment in a single operation.
It hopes the technology will stop hare coursing and poaching and lead to more prosecutions.
One Somerset farmer said it would stop theft on his farm “if it can be deployed quickly”.
The drone uses a controller that has a live feed from its cameras, and can be quietly flown at a speed of 25 knots (28 mph).
It can be used to survey large areas of land to find missing people and criminals quickly.
Avon and Somerset’s rural and wildlife affairs unit drone pilot Pete Wills said: “It is a gamechanger.
“Hare coursing, especially, and poaching are underreported and also prosecutions are really difficult to get because there isn’t CCTV out here.”
Somerset farmer Richard Payne said the drone could help stop vandalism and the theft of his machinery worth thousands of pounds.
“My farm has become a soft target for crime,” he said.
“There are professional gangs that will go around taking valuable bits of kit out of machinery – if they don’t take the whole machine themselves.”
UK tourism boom sparks backlash against ‘Tripadvisor warriors’
We see the darker side of the staycation revealed in this article which tells us:
It was supposed to be the summer to rekindle the joy of the great British holiday, with demand for 2022 domestic breaks already rising. But hospitality staff in many tourist hotspots beg to differ, saying they have suffered a barrage of complaints from “impatient” visitors and “Tripadvisor warriors”.
Restaurant and hotel owners said visitors were regularly complaining about slow service amid high demand, and that some had seemingly struggled to adapt to the change from their usual all-inclusive getaway abroad.
Susan Briggs, the director of the Tourism Network in North Yorkshire, said businesses had reported an increase in grumpy customers who were “more demanding and even abusive when they can’t get a table in a restaurant or have unrealistic expectations of service”.