New DWP guidelines mean assessors are forcing suicidal people back to work

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) guidelines are encouraging assessors to consider the “benefit” that employment can have for claimants at risk of suicide who would otherwise be marked unfit for work.

Earlier this month, the government released figures that show the amount of successful applications to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) has been falling from the start of the year.

According to a DWP spokesperson, this is nothing out of the ordinary:

We expected the proportion of claimants placed in the Support Group to fall as the backlog of new claims reduced, due to fewer claims leaving the benefit before reaching their Work Capability Assessment.ut this drop must be considered in light of the changes in guidance that came into effect at the start of 2016.

Risks and benefits

Previously, guidance for the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) advised that someone who is a suicide risk should be placed in the Support Group. This is the higher level of benefit, for those who are severely disabled and cannot work.

Now, the guidance says something different entirely:

If you conclude that finding a claimant fit for work would trigger risk of suicide or self-harm then you need to consider whether there are factors that would mitigate the risk if the claimant were found fit for work.

According to the WCA Handbook, these factors include whether the risk to physical or mental health is “substantial”, whether the benefits of employment outweigh the potential risks, and whether “reasonable workplace adjustments or prescribed medication” could reduce the risk.

Specifically, it says:

Remember that there is good evidence that people in work have better health outcomes and are at lower risk of suicide.

Read more here: http://evolvepolitics.com/suicidal-dwp-wants-go-back-work/

Thousands of chemists in England’s poorest areas face closure under Government plans

THOUSANDS of High Street chemists in the poorest areas of England face closure under Government plans. Poorest to suffer as thousands of chemists face closure under Government plans
As many as 3,000 community pharmacies are at risk after the Department of Health announced it was slashing their funding by £170million. The Government says the cuts are justified because there are “more pharmacies than necessary” in some areas, leading to a “clustering” of High Street chemists.

But new analysis by the National Pharmacy Association has revealed that 40 per cent of those under threat are found in the UK’s top fifth most deprived neighbourhoods. In comparison, less than five per cent of those at risk are in the country’s most affluent postcodes.

Last night campaigners warned that the proposed cuts would make health inequalities even worse, hurting vulnerable patients and the elderly most.

NPA chairman Ian Strachan said: “Currently the more vulnerable a neighbourhood is, the better the access to primary care through pharmacies.

“Many pharmacies most at risk by the Government’s plans are in highly deprived areas, so the cuts would hit hardest those communities least able to bear it.”He added: “Pharmacies have a long track record of supporting vulnerable patients and deprived populations. Sometimes we are the only health care facility in a neighbourhood. In such instances people rely on their pharmacy for first line social care as well as their health and pharmaceutical needs.Part of the role pharmacies fulfil is to help elderly and infirm people live independently in their own homes.

“Tragically, it’s services like home deliveries and other support for independent living that could be the first to go.

“In some places, the High Street would become unviable if the neighbourhood pharmacy disappeared. All that would be left is the bookie and the chippie.”

read more here: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/714065/Government-plans-force-thousands-chemists-England-poorest-areas-close

You Need to Be Rich to Grow Old With Dignity in Britain today

You need to be rich these days to grow old with dignity in Britain. Six years of local authority budget cuts by the conservative government has placed the burden for caring for our elderly and infirm on their relatives and the over-stretched voluntary sector. Since the Tories came to power, local authorities have responded to these central cuts by allocating 9% less on social care, as demand has grown.
As the government abandons our most in need, a silent alarm is screaming in households across the country.  Hundreds of thousands of Britons who struggle to eat, wash and go to the toilet are left to make do. A daily trial, a daily injustice. Access to care now depends increasingly on what people can afford rather than on what they need because the poor are more reliant on the state.
A report published today by the King’s Fund puts the social care funding gap by 2019/20 at £2.8 billion as public spending on it falls below to 1 per cent of GDP. It predicts that that many of thousands of mostly small and medium sized businesses that make up most of the care sector will fail due to the reduction in government grants to the local authorities which pay them. “The possibility of large-scale provider failures is no longer of question of ‘if ’ but ‘when’ and such a failure would jeopardise continuity of the care on which older people depend,” says the King’s Fund.
The social care funding crisis has had the knock-on effect of precipitating another crisis within the NHS because elderly people with nowhere to go are filling A&E departments and hospital wards across the country. The government is depriving the health and social care systems of the money they need to function, leaving it up the blood, sweat and tears of staff to keep our once great NHS together. There is nothing accidental about this crisis. The government is deliberately precipitating shocks in the system so it can bring about its own solutions, which invariably involve more privatization, deregulation and cuts. If the government wants to derogate from its duty to provide care for a growing number of older people in Britain, it must come clean and say so.The alarm cannot ring silent forever.

read more: http://dianeabbott.org.uk/news/articles/news.aspx?p=1021262

Go-ahead for controversial care changes for elderly and disabled people in Bradford district

MANY elderly and disabled people will face hikes in the cost of their care, after council bosses approved controversial changes today.

But there were protests from carers, who said the move could leave vulnerable people isolated.

The changes will bring in means-testing for the first time and could affect around 3,500 people across the district, with some paying more and others less. Local health watchdog Healthwatch and national charity Mencap had both spoken out against the changes ahead of yesterday’s meeting at City Hall.

The meeting heard the move would bring in an extra £1m of revenue to the council, which would be reinvested in adult social care.

Officers said it was very difficult to know how each individual service user would be affected until their circumstances were assessed.

But one carer, Susan Munro, who has two adult sons with learning disabilities, said increased care charges would eat into the amount that people with learning disabilities could spend on activities which stop them from becoming isolated.

She said: “Most learning disabled people are unable to entertain themselves. They can’t follow a television programme or read a book. Most learning disabled people can’t read and they can’t take themselves out for a walk.”

Another carer, Stephen Metcalfe, said the a public consultation had been far too difficult for anyone, let alone people with learning disabilities, to understand.

read more: http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/NEWS/14753555.Decision_made_on_controversial_care_changes_for_elderly_and_disabled_people/?ref=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

MANY elderly and disabled people will face hikes in the cost of their care, after council bosses approved controversial changes today.

But there were protests from carers, who said the move could leave vulnerable people isolated.

The changes will bring in means-testing for the first time and could affect around 3,500 people across the district, with some paying more and others less. Local health watchdog Healthwatch and national charity Mencap had both spoken out against the changes ahead of yesterday’s meeting at City Hall.

The meeting heard the move would bring in an extra £1m of revenue to the council, which would be reinvested in adult social care.

Officers said it was very difficult to know how each individual service user would be affected until their circumstances were assessed.

But one carer, Susan Munro, who has two adult sons with learning disabilities, said increased care charges would eat into the amount that people with learning disabilities could spend on activities which stop them from becoming isolated.

She said: “Most learning disabled people are unable to entertain themselves. They can’t follow a television programme or read a book. Most learning disabled people can’t read and they can’t take themselves out for a walk.”

Another carer, Stephen Metcalfe, said the a public consultation had been far too difficult for anyone, let alone people with learning disabilities, to understand.

MANY elderly and disabled people will face hikes in the cost of their care, after council bosses approved controversial changes today.

But there were protests from carers, who said the move could leave vulnerable people isolated.

The changes will bring in means-testing for the first time and could affect around 3,500 people across the district, with some paying more and others less. Local health watchdog Healthwatch and national charity Mencap had both spoken out against the changes ahead of yesterday’s meeting at City Hall.

The meeting heard the move would bring in an extra £1m of revenue to the council, which would be reinvested in adult social care.

Officers said it was very difficult to know how each individual service user would be affected until their circumstances were assessed.

But one carer, Susan Munro, who has two adult sons with learning disabilities, said increased care charges would eat into the amount that people with learning disabilities could spend on activities which stop them from becoming isolated.

She said: “Most learning disabled people are unable to entertain themselves. They can’t follow a television programme or read a book. Most learning disabled people can’t read and they can’t take themselves out for a walk.”

Another carer, Stephen Metcalfe, said the a public consultation had been far too difficult for anyone, let alone people with learning disabilities, to understand.

Deal dad’s benefits battle appeal hit by cutbacks at the Citizens Advice Bureau

Douglas Brown, of Golf Road, is now partially sighted and walks with a white stick since he is plagued with vertigo, has vascular dementia, and the left side of his brain does not work properly.

The 62-year-old was only 59 when he had the stroke and since then he and his daughter Emma Holland have been trying to get him the help he needs. But the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) they applied for has been refused.

Benefit specialist Dawn Hardingham at the Dover, Deal Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has been working with them to appeal but as of next Friday, September 30, the specialist team will lose their jobs.

Mrs Holland, 39, who lives in Dover, said: “He can’t afford to get taxis to his appointments and he can’t walk. He gets tired after a few minutes.” Hospital trips by taxi cost £7 a trip and as the appointments mount up, so does the cost.

PIP is a benefit which helps with extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability for those aged 16 to 64.

CAB’s specialist team helps people appeal against decisions that stop them getting the funding they are entitled to, and has a 98% success rate.

Mrs Holland said about 30 other people are in the same boat as them trying to claim PIP. Mrs Hardingham, a benefits specialist trainer at CAB, said: “Mr Brown is an example of the impact of benefit changes on the most vulnerable in society. A hardworking man, who paid national insurance and was also his mother’s carer.

“A stroke changed his life beyond recognition but he is being denied the support he so badly needs as a direct result of benefit cuts. We are taking his case to the highest level. However, due to financial cuts we are losing our benefit specialists.Dover, Deal Citizens Advice was one of the few districts in Kent to have this valuable service, now clients who need to appeal will have nowhere else to turn for specialist help.”

read more here: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/deal/news/fathers-benefits-battle-appeal-hit-102886/

A damning report to the UN reveals the truth about the UK’s human rights record [VIDEO]

A report being submitted to the UN on human rights in the UK has slammed the government’s policies and raised serious concerns about the state of human rights in the country.

The UK, like all other countries, must submit a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) every four years to the UN, to show how it is meeting its human rights obligations. The Equality and Human Rights Commission requested the British Institute for Human Rights (BIHR) to conduct the report in association with a number of civil society organisations. It was launched in parliament on the evening of 22 September, in an event chaired by Harriet Harman MP.

click here to see the video

Man suffering from brain aneurysm says brutal fit for work assessment could kill him

David Sugg has had four titanium coils fitted inside his brain, suffers from a permanent headache and hasn’t eaten in a week

Before David Sugg left home for a ‘fit-for-work’ assessment this week, he left a letter to the Essex coroner sealed on his desk.

“You may be looking into the reason for my death,” the letter said.

“I am hoping I can save you some time. This uncaring and spiteful Tory government killed me.”

Two years ago, David had emergency surgery to have four titanium coils fitted inside his brain.

He is currently awaiting a second round of surgery to seal a ruptured brain aneurysm.

Before he left that letter he told me: “My neurosurgeon says I mustn’t get stressed, but I have been called by the DWP for an assessment – even though I’ve told them about my situation.

“If I don’t go for an assessment my benefits will be stopped. But I fear it may cost me my life.”

David survived his appointment, but has been suffering with a violent headache since, and says he hasn’t been able to eat for a week.

“That appointment might still kill me,” he says.

“If my blood pressure goes up I could be dead before I hit the floor. I asked the assessor why she was putting my life at risk, but she said it wasn’t her decision.”

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/man-suffering-brain-aneurysm-says-8894504