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The scandal of pensioner poverty

A significant achievement of the last Labour government was a reduction in pensioner poverty.

In 1996/97, 42% of single female pensioners were in poverty while the high point for single male pensioner poverty was 34% in 1997/98.  By 2009 these had fallen to 18% and 14% respectively.

Since 2010, single pensioner poverty has seen once again a systematic rise to 24% for females and 20% for males, and the rise looks set to continue.

Along with rising child poverty, it is a scandal of a decade of austerity.




According to analysis by the Rowntree Trust, a significant cause of rising pensioner poverty is housing costs.  For those in social housing, the poverty rate peaked at 54% in 1996/97, fell to 20% in 2012/13, and has risen back to 31% in 2016/17. For those renting from private landlords, the peak was 46% in 1997/98, and the low point was 27% in 2007/08, before rising back up to 36% in 2016/17.

With so many people set to retire with inadequate pensions, we are likely to see a continuing…

Should 'Ofsted-style' ratings be used for NHS? BMA comment on ratings review

Commenting on the Nuffield Trust review into whether the Government should introduce ‘Ofsted-style’, performance ratings, Dr Mark Porter, Chair of BMA Council, said:

"It’s important that patients have access to meaningful information about the quality of services, and the Nuffield Trust has adopted a refreshingly thoughtful approach to a possible new ratings system.

“It is particularly welcome that the Trust has taken on board concerns about ratings for entire hospitals. As the BMA and many others pointed out, hospitals are highly complex organisations and their ‘performance’ cannot be measured in any simplistic way.

“However, there are always going to be problems constructing indicators that measure quality in any meaningful way, and do not result in a target-driven culture.

“GP surgeries often have many staff and offer a range of different services, the quality of which would be difficult to reduce to a meaningful single score.

“Any system for measuring performance would also need to take into account the different demographic and financial challenges facing different practices. Data will only be useful if patients can make sense of it, and if it allows GPs to make improvements. It would also need to be used developmentally rather than punitively - we are concerned about the risk of demoralising staff in organisations with low scores, particularly given the link between morale and quality of care.”

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