Displaying items by tag: concerns
A detailed analysis of where almost £5bn of Covid business funding went is not possible due to gaps in data, a spending watchdog has found. The Scottish government provided £4.4bn in grants and business rates relief between the start of the pandemic and October 2021. A further £375m was announced following the emergence of Omicron last winter. Although the speed and scale of the rollout helped to safeguard thousands of jobs and businesses, Audit Scotland was unable to determine where all the money ended up. It also identified gaps in information about how quickly applicants received funding. Auditor general Stephen Boyle said, ‘Knowing where the money went matters’. Information to enable wider analysis of how funding supported groups, such as female-owned businesses, is not available from centrally held data. The Accounts Commission said that councils' fraud arrangements are generally robust, but during the pandemic they were severely relied upon.
A survey by the Royal College of Midwives revealed midwifery services are at breaking point in a profession where staff are working in fear. Over three-quarters of midwives think staffing levels in their NHS trust or board are unsafe. 42% reported shifts were understaffed and a third said there were ‘very significant gaps’ in most shifts. Midwives have been pushed to the edge by the failure of successive governments to invest in maternity services. Maternity staff are exhausted and demoralised; some are looking for the door. For the safety of every pregnant woman and every baby, this cannot be allowed to continue. Pray for this survey to be drawn to the attention of politicians. May there be enough investment in the NHS to provide safe, high-quality care in all branches of medicine. Pray for an end to the exodus of trained professionals whose morale is at rock bottom.
England's children's commissioner is highlighting pressures facing mothers caring for babies born in lockdown without the usual family and state support networks. An estimated 76,000 babies will have been born in England under lockdown so far. Although helplines for parents have been set up in most areas, the usual sources of physical support from family, friends and voluntary services are not at present available. Also births are not being registered, due to rules tied to the pandemic, so even basic information about new babies is not being gathered. Pray for the new mothers depending on phone support from health visitors and GPs, often not readily accessible. May God give strength and confidence to new mothers and fathers unsure of ‘baby routines’ and facing unexpected challenges. Many babies have missed the health checks that would have picked up urgent development needs in the first few weeks because parents have not wanted to attend and risk potential infection.