Passing many milestones during this period of two and half decades, the attempts continue to establish, promote a free media culture strengthened with social responsibility. The event was held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute today. The conference content focused on the struggle to end impunity against attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka, a collaborative approach to media reforms and future challenges. (Colombo Gazette) Standing up for democratic and human rights and values, the Free Media Movement (FMM) continues to be the media watchdog.As the landmark event of its 25th anniversary, the Free Media Movement organized a ‘National Summit on Free Media culture with social responsibility’, with the participation of print, electronic, online media personnel, activists, policy decision makers, academics, intellectuals, civil society organizations and democracy loving citizens. The leading media rights group in Sri Lanka today called for justice for journalists who faced various forms of attacks or threats over the past few years.The Free Media Movement, which celebrates 25 years today, also called for a new media culture in the country. In June 1992, the Free Media Movement was formed by a dedicated group of journalists and media activists with an intention of creating a safe environment for journalists and securing freedom of expression.
Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary said: “Today’s figures reveal the pressure and strain A&E departments are under across the country. People will be shocked that the A&E target has been missed for sixteen months in a row. It’s simply not good enough.”“This week we have learnt of the intense pressures on our NHS this winter. “Instead of addressing this crisis with a package of urgent support for social care, government ministers suggested downgrading the A&E target – a move which provoked a widespread backlash.”He accused the Government of “shifting the goalposts” instead of tackling a crisis in social care. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “As we see A&Es full, people waiting hours on the phone to get a GP appointment or on a trolley in a ward, the buck lies with the Prime Minister and this Conservative government. “Theresa May has lost control of the NHS crisis and needs to get a grip.”Instead of briefing against NHS officials and making physical U-turns in the street, this government should make a U-turn in Parliament and stump up the cash our NHS needs. “Only the Liberal Democrats are prepared to make the case that we may need to raise tax to pay for the NHS and social care services patients deserve.” Cllr Izzi Seccombe, from the Local Government Association said: “Elderly and vulnerable people need to be supported to remain in their homes for as long as possible and receive care in the community, not in a ward. “With social care facing a funding gap of £2.6 billion by 2020, it is vital that the Government properly funds social care if we are to get people out of hospital and safely into the community. Without this, the NHS will continue to suffer.”Earlier, former Tory health secretary Stephen Dorrell hit out at the “unfair” criticism of the boss of NHS England reportedly meted out by Theresa May’s senior aides amid the growing crisis in the health service.NHS chief executive Simon Stevens went against the Prime Minister over the state of NHS funding by telling MPs it is “stretching it” to say it got more money than it asked for.He said an extra £10 billion was being made available to NHS England over the course of six years but overall the health service had “got less” than set out in its five-year plan.The comments contradict those of Mrs May, who has insisted the NHS got all it wanted in the funding settlement. NHS England has warned the health system is under strainCredit:Lynne Cameron/PA Wire It comes as the head of the NHS became embroiled in a row with the Prime Minister over funding for the health service.Simon Stevens said Theresa May was “stretching it” to say that the NHS had been given more money than it asked for.He also denied her suggestion that the crisis was partly being caused by poor management of hospitals, by saying that hospitals were not “feckless”.No 10 responded angrily – pointing out that Mr Stevens had given a fulsome welcome to a £10bn NHS cash boost when it was awarded and added: “The figures speak for themselves” Bed-blocking has risen more than 40 per cent in a year as hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with people needing care, figures showed on Thursday.New data from November shows a health system under strain as it got ready to enter its busiest time ever over Christmas.It follows warnings from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Nursing that the NHS is now experiencing its worst ever winter crisis.The research for England highlights acute problems with delayed discharges – where patients are medically fit to leave hospital but are stuck in beds due to problems arranging care in the community.It follows calls from the head of the NHS for extra funding for social care. 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Hospitals report this affects their ability to quickly admit emergency A&E patients, so the NHS is working closely with local councils and community health services to enable older patients to get the support they need after a hospital stay, back at homeMatthew Swindells, NHS England “Hospitals report this affects their ability to quickly admit emergency A&E patients, so the NHS is working closely with local councils and community health services to enable older patients to get the support they need after a hospital stay, back at home.”The figures also show trolley waits of over four hours after a decision has been made to admit the patient totalled 52,769, the second highest figure on record, and 54 per cent higher than November 2015.Trolley waits of over 12 hours totalled 456 – again, the second highest figure on record.This is 16 times higher than the number for November 2015.The proportion of people seen at A&E within four hours in November was 88.4 per cent, against a 95 per cent target. Last November it was 91.3 per cent. November’s figure of 88.4 per cent is the lowest since March 2016, when it was 87.3 per cent.Some 88 per cent of calls to NHS 111 were answered within 60 seconds – down from 90 per cent in November 2015. This impacts on A&E as hospitals struggle to find beds for incoming patients.Days lost to delayed transfers of care totalled 193,680 in November. This is the third highest number on record, and 26 per cent higher than the figure for November 2015.Matthew Swindells, NHS England’s national director for operations and information, said: “This month’s figures show a 42 per cent annual increase in delays in being able to discharge patients as a result of pressures in social care.