Communities’ eyes and ears

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HUNDREDS of vulnerable and needy children are living in care in Sheffield while a further 285 are judged to be ‘at risk’ of abuse, harm or neglect.

On the face of it this is a grim picture. And it is. However, there is cause for hope behind the statistic which envelop s the city’s most vulnerable and most needy children.

For the number of cases being referred to the care agencies has been steadily falling over the past couple of years, following a peak in 2010, which is believed to have been prompted by a number of high-profile cases of child abuse featured in the media.

While we hope that people will find cause for some relief in the falling number of cases in Sheffield, it must be stressed that nobody can ever afford to be complacent.

It is true that our child protection agencies, who have a singularly difficult job in treading the narrow line between unwanted interference and protecting children in need, have made some big strides in improving their role over recent years.

But there will always be a place for the public to become involved. For we are the eyes and ears of our communities and should never shirk from raising the alarm if we feel children are in need of support.

They must put patients first

WE can understand trade union concerns at Sheffield hospital managers’ decision to pay £150,000 to a consultancy firm for a month’s work, at a time when cutbacks are putting the public sector under increasing pressure.

But the outcome ought to be a sea change in the local service resulting in saving millions of pounds in future years. For the general surgery department at the Northern General and Hallamshire hospitals is losing a staggering £8 million a year, according to new accountancy procedures now adopted in the health sector.

If those kind of losses can be stemmed without impacting on patient care, then the outlay will be a sound investment.

And we hope that the consultants are left in no doubt that they must deliver results by putting patients first.

City’s innovation

THERE has never been a more pressing time for an alternative fuel source for our cars. And once more our enterprise is keeping the city in the spotlight. For local firm ITM Power is teaming up with a Cheshire company to develop cheap, efficient, green car engines. A great example of the innovation which made Sheffield a world-beater.