Press Review, Friday, 8 February 2008

8th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

Radio Netherlands gives a roundup of today's press.

Press Review, Friday, 8 February 2008
by Mike Wilcox

Care for the most vulnerable in society is a topic covered by many of today's papers.

Violent behaviour
NRC Handelsblad reports research covering 59 nursing homes for elderly dementia patients. It indicates that the psychiatric symptoms differ in similar groups of patients depending on the institution. For example, in one unit, nine out of ten residents display violent behaviour, whereas in another, it is only one in six. The same goes for other problems such as apathy, depression and anxiety.

Nursing expert Sytse Zuidema explains: "I knew it mattered how the patients felt and that it wasn't good if lack of staff meant that there are no activities. But I wasn't aware that it had such a major effect."

Psychiatric problems
De Volkskrant reports that an experiment to forcibly detain tramps who are suspected of having psychiatric problems has failed. It was designed to help the estimated tens of thousands of people thought to be living rough because of mental problems. However, only 87 people have been forcibly taken for observation in clinics since the trial began two years ago.

One reason for this was a legal ruling that a person could not be held against their will without a  proper medical diagnosis. This, to a large extent, made the trial unworkable. An expert in the field is quoted as saying: "When the measure was introduced, I thought, 'this will come to nothing.' And I was right."

Trouw covers a success in a related field. Research shows that the prospect of rewards helps junkies kick the habit. A group of 35 long-term drug addicts who had previously failed to stay clean followed an intensive programme for six months. When they produced 'clean' urine, they were given rewards ranging from train tickets to fitness centre subscriptions.

Twelve of the junkies appear to have completely stopped taking cocaine. A doctor thinks the method could also be used with problem psychiatric patients: "I'd back rewarding a certain group of people for taking their medicine. In the end, it would save money and reduce the need to keep people locked up. It's also ethically justifiable," he says.

Infection risk
The AD reports that 323 men who underwent prostate tests at a hospital in Leiderdorp since 2005 may have been infected with diseases including hepatitis or HIV. Two weeks ago, a surgeon noticed dirt on an instrument used for taking biopsies. The system of cleaning and infecting instruments seems to have been at fault. A hospital spokesman played down the probability that any infections had actually occurred.

However, the paper says this is the latest in a series of incidents involving infected medical instruments in the Netherlands. Apparently, the Health Care Inspectorate is launching a national inquiry. An spokesman tells us: "We want to find out if there's a link between all these incidents".

Mild epidemic
The AD also informs us, as if we didn't know, that it's official that there's a "mild flu epidemic" in the Netherlands at the moment. Last week, the number of reported cases hit 61 for every 100,000 of the population.

However, the paper gives us some rather nasty information. It seems the majority of those affected are under four years of age. There's also good news. A doctor says that "people who have had a flu vaccination are well protected against the particular strain that's going around."

Global vodka
NRC Handelsblad reports that a famous brand of Dutch vodka is going global. The Nolet family firm has distilled Dutch gin for over 300 years and employs 180 people in Schiedam in the west of the Netherlands. It is now launching a joint venture with the world's biggest drinks concern, the British Diageo group, to market its vodka.

Since 1991, Nolet has been producing Ketel One Vodka for the US market. Diageo is paying 610 million euros for a 50 percent share in the new venture and will take the vodka to the its outlets worldwide. Nolet director, Jan IJff assures us the distillery will remain in Schiedam: "That was a basic condition," he tells the paper. "Schiedam is our home and an incredibly important part of our brand."

Many of today's papers cover a protest by residents of Amsterdam's red-light district against city council plans to clean up the neighbourhood. An AD headline puts it succinctly: "The red-light district is a prostitution zone - that's that!". "I was born and brought up here," says an angry resident. "The whores are my friends. I won't have some snotty-nosed little councillor telling me what should and shouldn't go on here!"

De Telegraaf reports on the launch of a petition calling on MPs to scrap the BIBOB Act. The law allows councils to rescind the permits of businesses it suspects of practices such as money laundering. However, no hard legal evidence is required under the BIBOB regulations.

[copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]

Subject: Dutch news 

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