University of Stirling

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News Archive

July 2007

Free Personal Care in Scotland is Working But Some Concerns Over Entitlements

Stirling Scores 5th in UK and 2nd in Scotland for Student Retention

£90,000 Awarded to Examine the Needs of Laryngeal Cancer Patients

Free Personal Care in Scotland is Working But Some Concerns Over Entitlements

Date released: Wednesday 4 July 2007


A report by University of Stirling academics assessing the impact of the Scottish Executive’s free personal care policy has shown the number of older people receiving social care services at home from local authorities rose by 10% between 2002 and 2005. But the proportion of this group receiving personal care increased by 62% over the same period.


Commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the report shows that the increase in personal care provision cannot be explained by demographic trends or higher rates of disability. Statistical data and interviews with local authority social care managers showed no reduction of ‘informal’ care from relatives or friends. Instead, a pattern has been emerging where informal carers provide other types of support, such as social outings. The report shows how the policy is effectively increasing the amount of care an older person can receive, while also supporting carers.


Examining how local authorities have been delivering the policy, the authors found stark contrasts in budgetary control and costs. While some local authorities stayed within budget, others had overspent and cited free personal care as a significant cause. Local authority average annual spending ranged from £1,500 to £8,000 per person. But the report cites evidence that higher costs did not necessarily mean better services.
Free personal care was found to have continuing wide public support in Scotland. While 59% believe that personal care should be paid for by government, 68% would pay an extra penny in the pound income tax to finance it.


However, the report raises concerns around the possibility of narrowing eligibility criteria for free care to keep costs down, and of withdrawing some care services not covered under free personal care.


Report author Professor David Bell, of the University’s Department of Economics, said: “The announcement of an independent review is a welcome start to ensuring that the policy is working effectively. As our report shows, there are two critical issues that must be addressed. Firstly, there needs to be transparency about entitlements, with local authorities being clear on how they fulfil their responsibilities. Secondly, the funding of the policy needs to be adequate to prevent any ‘rationing’ or reduction of services offered.”


The report also stresses the importance of learning the lessons where resources have been used most effectively. “Some local authorities are managing to provide high quality services with low relative expenditure. It is vital to emulate this good practice,” added David Bell.

Lesley Wilkinson
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Professor David Bell

University of Stirling

Stirling

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Stirling Scores 5th in UK and 2nd in Scotland for Student Retention

Date released: Thursday 19 July 2007

Statistics released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) today show that the University of Stirling ranks 5th in the UK and 2nd in Scotland for student retention with a dropout rate of just 2.8 percent.

Of the top ten institutions with the lowest drop out rates, Stirling also scored the best in the UK against its benchmark* of 7.9 percent. The top five are Oxford (1.4, benchmark 2.7), St Andrews (2, benchmark 3.7), Warwick (2.2, benchmark 3.7), Bristol (2.7, benchmark 3.5) and Stirling (2.8, benchmark 7.9).

As well as having one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK, 86.1 percent of Stirling students are expected to complete their degrees (benchmark 81.4) and Stirling graduates enjoy one of the best employment rates. The picture six months after graduation is rosy with 95.9 percent employed or in further study (benchmark 94).

While the HESA figures show universities with the highest drop out rates often have a higher number of students from low participation neighbourhoods, the University of Stirling bucks that trend. The University is outperforming its peers in widening access to Higher Education. Figures for young full-time undergraduate entrants in 2005/6 reveal that 92.2 percent are from state schools or colleges (benchmark 87.4) and 23.8 percent of Stirling students are from low participation neighbourhoods (benchmark 14.7).

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Christine Hallett said: “I am delighted that the University has performed well in all areas and in many cases significantly better than our benchmark. Stirling prides itself upon student centred teaching with flexible learning opportunities and offers students an extensive range of support services to make sure they get the most of out their experience at University. Our consistently high retention and completion rates are testament to the high quality of the student experience at Stirling. In fact, Stirling was ranked in the top ten for the UK’s Best Student Experience in the Times Higher Education Supplement 2006 Awards.”

*Benchmark - The figures show an indicator for each institution and a benchmark. The indicator shows how well the institution performed. The benchmark is more complicated however. Because there are differences in the characteristics of institutions, average values for the whole of the higher education sector are not necessarily helpful when comparing HEIs. Therefore a sector average, or benchmark, is calculated. This is adjusted for each institution to consider some of the factors which contribute to the differences between them. The adjustments take into account subject mix offered, age profile of students and qualifications of students on entry.

Lesley Wilkinson
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
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Lesley Wilkinson

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467058


£90,000 Awarded to Examine the Needs of Laryngeal Cancer Patients


Date released: Tuesday 31 July 2007

A nurse researcher at the Cancer Care Research Centre, based at the University of Stirling, is using a research fellowship of more than £90,000 from Cancer Research UK to provide support for people with head and neck cancers.

Mrs Anne Taylor is investigating the information and support needs of people with these cancers and their carers and, in particular, patients affected by cancer of the larynx.

The term ‘head and neck cancer’ is used to represent a number of different types of cancers that affect the tissues and organs in the head and neck region.

In Scotland approximately 3,500 men and 1,500 women were diagnosed with a form of head and neck cancer in the period 1997 to 2001. Also, approximately 1,000 people were diagnosed with head and neck cancer with one third of these being cancer of the larynx in Scotland between 1999-2003.

The majority of these cases were from deprived areas and in many cases individuals do not seek immediate medical advice, presenting with advanced tumours, making treatment more difficult.

There have been no significant improvements in survival rates and outcomes for head and neck cancer patients in Scotland, compared to other countries, which can partly be explained by deprivation and late presentation.

Little is known about the specific information and support needs of head and neck cancer patients and their carers or the reasons why people delay in seeking medical advice.


Research fellow, Mrs Anne Taylor, said: “There is a need to identify ways to improve survival and outcomes for head and neck cancer patients. The impact of treatment for head and neck cancer can have a profound effect on many aspects of the individual patients’ and carer’s lives and we need to gain an insight in how best to assist and support them.”

Lesley Wilkinson
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Lesley Wilkinson

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467058