FOI Friday: Most frequent ambulance callout addresses, affordable homes, benefits families moved hundreds of miles, and fire crews freeing kids from cars

FOIFRIDAYLOGO

52 visits to one address by ambulances … and just two patients taken to hospital < Dundee Telegraph

Ambulances were called out to a Dundee property a staggering 52 times in just ONE year it has been revealed.

And on just two of those occasions somebody was taken to hospital by paramedics.

The figures, from a Freedom of Information request, also showed crews spent 31 hours and 43 minutes going back and forward between the property between April 2013 and April 2014. In Arbroath, the Scottish Ambulance Service attended one single property 36 times, with only four of those occasions ending in someone being driven to hospital. The statistics don’t include nursing or care homes.

Numbers of affordable homes falling in the North East <  The Northern Echo

HOUSEBUILDING has collapsed in most of the region, The Northern Echo can reveal – despite Government claims of a “success story”.

The number of ‘affordable homes’ being built has fallen in 13 of 17 areas since the Coalition came to power, after housing programmes were axed.

And it has plunged sharply in many areas, including in Hartlepool (down 62.5 per cent), Middlesbrough (down 59.1 per cent) and Stockton-on-Tees (down 54.5 per cent).

Fire crews freeing children from cars once a week < Wolverhampton Express and Star

The region’s fire service helped free children 49 times in the last financial year. The number, revealed in a Freedom Of Information request, has been broken down further to show crews rescued children on 25 instances in the Black Country during the same period. Tipton Fire Station had the most call-outs with four, followed by Dudley, Oldbury and Wolverhampton with three each.

Councils under-paying for OAP care < Western Morning News

Westcountry councils are paying well below the recommended amount for elderly residential care, according to the GMB union. A survey of 14 councils in the region revealed that not a single local authority is paying the fees necessary for the provision of quality care for residents of care homes. The GMB said that Devon and Cornwall councils were the worst offenders, paying less than £400 a week to cover the costs of elderly care – far below the £600 figure suggested by industry experts as a national average.

Reasons council workers are sacked < Harlow Star

Investigations into allegations of fraud, corruption and bribery have been made against 40 Essex County Council staff in three years, it has been revealed. A quarter of those probes for the past three financial years up to last April resulted in sackings, while five decided to resign after being confronted with evidence. Six were given written warnings, five had informal disciplinaries and two were given management advice.

Street cleaner numbers fall < Thanet Gazette

STREET cleaners in Thanet have been reduced by more than a third in the last four years. In 2010/2011 there were 67 street cleaners on foot and this has fallen to 43 across the isle in 2013/2014. The data obtained by a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) from Joe Turner, Ramsgate resident and campaigner shows the number of full time staff employed by the council undertaking street cleaning service (including mechanical sweeping and hit squad/ response work) and the numbers of those staff working on sweeping streets on foot in Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs.

The cash cow that is hospital parking < Barnsley Chronicle

BARNSLEY Hospital collected almost £900,000 in parking fees last year, a freedom of information request has revealed. It was submitted by Eamonn Patterson, who asked for figures dating back to 2011. It revealed the amount gained by the hospital has grown steadily since then, rising from £807,804 that year to £890,067 in 2013. So far this year, the hospital has collected £345,408. The totals include money for staff parking permits.

The books left unread in Dundee’s libraries < Dundee Telegraph

Some of Dundee’s libraries’ most unpopular books have not been read for years, it has been revealed.

According to Freedom of Information figures released by Dundee City Council’s Leisure and Culture department, two books haven’t been taken out in more than eight years.

Both are children’s books — which top Tayside author Ed James admits is a worrying trend. The document showed that The Time Of The Lion, by award-winning children’s author Caroline Pitcher, has remained stuck on the bookshelves of Arthurstone Library since January 4 2006. And A Medal For Poppy — The Pluckiest Pig In The World, by Rose Impey, had not been taken out of Fintry Library since February 14 2006.

Flytipping increases after council changes tip policy < Dover Express

FLY-TIPPING has nearly TREBLED in the Dover district since rule changes were introduced at council-owned tips, the Express can reveal. There have been 2,406 reports of fly-tipping since Kent County Council began charging people who use “commercial vehicles” to dump their household waste. This is an average of 126 incidents a month. Between 2009/10 and 2011/12 the monthly average was just 45.

Councils relocating people on benefits to different boroughs < West End Extra

THE Mayor of New­ham has launched a scathing attack on Westminster Coun­cil after new figures emerged showing hund­reds of people have been shipped out to his east London borough. He was speaking after the West End Extra ob­tained new figures showing the number of Westminster residents forced out of the borough has topped 3,000 for the first time, with more than 800 people living in Newham. The government’s housing benefit cap, rising rental prices and a lack of social housing mean an increasing number of families have found themselves unable to make ends meet. But when they turned to Westminster for help – which the council are legally obliged to provide – they were transported as far away as Milton Keynes and Southport. Families with young children are thought to be worst hit and while the number of people who Westminster has forced to live outside the borough represents just under 1.4 per cent of the entire population, it is thought that around 4 per cent of children, more than 1,600 individuals, have been moved out.

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