‘Medical opinions ignored’ by NHS payment assessor, workers say

Medical opinions have been ignored in the assessment of NHS payments to patients receiving care, it is claimed.

Three health workers said an assessor organisation discounted medical views so some patients were denied NHS care.

Norman Lamb MP said England-wide data obtained by the BBC showed a “regional disparity” and was “an injustice”.

However the assessor organisation, Arden and Greater East Midlands CSU, says it follows national guidelines to decide on payments.

Under national criteria, the NHS pays for long-term support and care if a patient’s condition is severe enough.

However, BBC Inside Out East has found a wide difference among clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England in the percentage of patients rejected following assessment for continuing health care (CHC).

Between July 2016 and July 2017, Birmingham South and Central CCG rejected 75% of its new CHC assessments, Manchester CCG turned down only 17% of assessments, while Tameside and Glossop CCG only rejected 5% of those assessed.

All assessors – of which there about half a dozen covering England – should use the same criteria.

Three health workers told the BBC that one of the main assessor organisations, Arden and Greater East Midlands CSU (Commissioning Support Unit), sometimes ignored medical opinions in assessments so patients could not obtain NHS care.

One worker told the BBC: “There has been bullying at the meetings – attempts to ridicule people who are there who have a professional opinion.

“They ignored what professionals have said and changed what professionals have said. The concern is that this puts patients at risk.”

read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-41187615

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Huge number of parents with disabled children are suffering mental health problems

Parents of disabled children in Yorkshire and the Humber believe health and social care services are at breaking point, with confidence at an all-time low.

That is the shocking conclusion of a survey commissioned by the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP), a coalition of more than 50 charities, which also found that nearly three-quarters of parents of disabled children have experienced mental health issues as a result of continued strain, far higher than the 1 in 6 who report an issue in the general population.

At the root of the issue is the overwhelming lack of health and social care support families receive, with two-thirds worrying daily about being able to meet their disabled child’s needs and 4 in 5 parents having issues accessing vital care services.

read more here: http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/huge-number-parents-disabled-children-13370026

Dozens of leading charities face insolvency after Government demands back pay for night-time carers

Vulnerable people could lose ‘vital care’ after HMRC demands £400m bill, warn charity chiefs

Dozens of leading charities could face insolvency within weeks after the Government ruled they must pay millions of pounds in back payments to overnight carers. Around 200 disability charities, including Mencap, are said to face a bill of around £400m in back payments after new guidance was issued stating overnight carers must be paid the national minimum wage (NMW) for all hours.

Vulnerable people with learning difficulties face losing “vital” care as a result of the bills, charities have warned, with around 5,500 supported by Mencap alone set to be “majorly impacted”, while some may end up losing that support all together.

Under guidance issued by the Government in 1999, when the minimum wage was introduced, disability charities, which sent a carer overnight to look after someone with learning difficulties, were required to pay a flat rate “on call” allowance of £25 or £35 to cover the period when they were asleep.

But, following two tribunal cases in 2015 and last year, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) changed the guidance in October to state that these organisations must now pay the minimum wage throughout the shift, meaning overnight carers would earn £60 for eight hours of sleep.

Mencap and other charities and companies are now warning that they cannot afford the huge and unexpected additional sums being demanded by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), even though they believe their staff should get the higher pay levels demanded by the business department.

Derek Lewis, chairman of the Royal Mencap Society, said “sleep-ins”, which are widely used in the sector, rarely see the carer disturbed during the night, citing research showing that 99.7 per cent of them slept peacefully.

“Sleep-ins are widely used in the learning disability sector to provide care for some of our most vulnerable adults, in their own homes in the communities they live in,” he said.

“The carer is only there ‘just in case’ to provide safety and reassurance and is rarely disturbed. Recent research which looked at the last three years showed that 99.7 per cent of carers slept peacefully.

“The unintended consequences have been disastrous as HMRC have begun enforcement action demanding six years’ back pay. Estimates of the costs to the Learning Disability sector are in the region of £400m and Royal Mencap Society will be severely affected.”

McDonnell calls for disabled-led solution to care crisis, as DPAC occupies parliament

Labour’s shadow chancellor has called for disabled people themselves to be given the job of designing the solution to the social care funding crisis.

John McDonnell was speaking to Disability News Service (DNS) as activists from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) were protesting about cuts to social care, in parliament’s central lobby yesterday (Wednesday).

read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/charities-insolvency-threat-warning-night-carers-back-pay-mencap-hmrc-a7848911.html

Disabled people are to be ‘warehoused’. We should be livid

New rules could see 13,000 people with disabilities and long-term health needs forced into care homes. This is treating people as objects to be stored

The inescapable logic of austerity is looking likely, once again, to reduce people with disabilities to objects – and in doing so to reduce their independence, options and enjoyment of life. According to the Health Service Journal, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from campaign group Disability United found that 37 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England were introducing rules about ongoing care that could force up to 13,000 people with health conditions into care homes. The CCGs will essentially begin saying to people with disabilities and long-term health needs: if you haven’t got the cash for homecare, then it’s off to a care home for you.

Imagine you have been living in your home for years. It might be where your kids were born. Being at home, having your stuff around you, having the greatest possible measure of independence, obviously means a lot to everyone, whether you’re well, ill or disabled. Then one day someone comes and tells you, “Nope, you’re too expensive here. We’re moving you to a care home unless you cough up the money to pay for what you need.”

read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/25/disabled-people-disabilities-health-care-homes

Since Theresa May thinks giving people a ‘year off work’ to become carers is a good idea, I’d like to offer a reality check

The Tories’ introduction of employment tribunal fees means that if, at the end of your year, your employer decides to replace you with somebody else, there’s nothing you can do unless you’re prepared to spend around £1,200 and a great deal of time in a legal contest with your former employer. Enjoy the urine, faeces, blood and heightened risk of mental health problems

read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-workers-rights-employment-tribunal-carer-caring-year-off-work-reality-check-a7736926.html

Disabled people are to be ‘warehoused’. We should be livid

New rules could see 13,000 people with disabilities and long-term health needs forced into care homes. This is treating people as objects to be stored

The inescapable logic of austerity is looking likely, once again, to reduce people with disabilities to objects – and in doing so to reduce their independence, options and enjoyment of life. According to the Health Service Journal, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from campaign group Disability United found that 37 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England were introducing rules about ongoing care that could force up to 13,000 people with health conditions into care homes. The CCGs will essentially begin saying to people with disabilities and long-term health needs: if you haven’t got the cash for homecare, then it’s off to a care home for you.

Imagine you have been living in your home for years. It might be where your kids were born. Being at home, having your stuff around you, having the greatest possible measure of independence, obviously means a lot to everyone, whether you’re well, ill or disabled. Then one day someone comes and tells you, “Nope, you’re too expensive here. We’re moving you to a care home unless you cough up the money to pay for what you need.”

This sounds innocuous to many people. Disabled people and care homes go together in the public mind as easily as “peak-time train service” and “cancellation”. The FOI requests found CCGs were setting limits on how much they were prepared to pay for supporting people in their homes compared to an “alternative option”, which is usually a care home. They were willing to pay between 10% and 40% above the care home option, which will often not be enough to keep someone in their own home.

Anita Bellows, a member of campaigning group Disabled People Against the Cuts is emphatic about what this means: “Institutionalisation is the logical conclusion of cutting the funds for maintaining people at home.”

read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/25/disabled-people-disabilities-health-care-homes