UK ignoring the human rights and basic dignity of people with learning disabilities

Tories accused of being ‘arrogant’ and in ‘confused denial’ about the impact of austerity cuts.

A major new report from The Centre for Welfare Reform argues that the UK is tipping backwards to an era of institutionalisation, and of disregard for the human rights and basic dignity of people with learning disabilities.

The report ‘Back to Bedlam‘, written by the distinguished academic and researcher Robin Jackson, warns that decades of progress in advancing disability and human rights is now in reverse, blaming years of austerity and cuts in welfare support.

 The report also argues that policies have been imposed without any significant accountability or discussion, adding that many of these decisions mean the UK is now in breach of international standards.

Need a wheelchair? Pay for it yourself

A fourfold increase in the number of disabled people forced to use a crowdfunding site to buy their wheelchair undermines a basic tenet of the NHS, campaigners say

“I feel like a prisoner who every now and again is let out on day release,” Kelly Palmer, 38, says from her home in Newport, south Wales.

Palmer has Marfan Syndrome – a genetic condition that affects ligaments and organs – as well as fibromyalgia and needs a power wheelchair full-time. But when she approached her GP to apply for a chair after her health deteriorated, she was told she wasn’t eligible. Even though her disability means she can’t propel a manual wheelchair, she didn’t meet the threshold to qualify for a power chair. “There was no help,” she says. “It was just ‘goodbye’.”

As there’s no one else at home to help, for the last 18 months Palmer is largely stuck in the house and she only goes out once every three weeks or so, usually for hospital appointments and only if a friend can drive her there and stay to push the chair.online to try and raise the £5,000 she needs for a suitable power chair. She got the idea from some friends who had done the same to raise money for their own wheelchairs but says pride means she’s been “putting it off” as a last resort. “I didn’t want to have to beg,” she says. “But I didn’t have the choice.”

Desperate, Palmer has turned to the internet and launched a crowdfunding appeal online to try and raise the £5,000 she needs for a suitable power chair. She got the idea from some friends who had done the same to raise money for their own wheelchairs but says pride means she’s been “putting it off” as a last resort. “I didn’t want to have to beg,” she says. “But I didn’t have the choice.”

read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/19/wheelchair-pay-yourself-disabled-people-crowdfunding?CMP=share_btn_tw

UN confirms that UK government’s disability treaty violations were both grave AND systematic

The United Nations (UN) committee that found the UK government guilty of violating the UN disability convention has revealed for the first time that its breaches of the human rights treaty were both “grave” and “systematic”.

The decision to clarify the seriousness of the UK’s breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) shows for the first time just how seriously the committee viewed those violations.

read the full story here: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/un-confirms-that-uk-governments-treaty-violations-were-both-grave-and-systematic/

Blind, severely autistic teenager ordered to be reassessed for benefit he was promised for life

A TEENAGER who is blind, severely autistic and barely able to speak has been ordered to attend a meeting – to check if he should continue to receive benefits.

NHS cuts are forcing disabled patients to crowdfund in order to pay for wheelchairs

Doctors are warning that savage cuts to services and a postcode lottery mean growing numbers rely on the public to help raise funds for the mobility aid online

Patients are being forced to crowdfund to pay for wheelchairs because of cuts to the NHS, doctors have warned. Savage cuts to services and a postcode lottery mean growing numbers rely on the public to help raise funds online.

Medics at the British Medical Association ’s annual meeting in Bournemouth today passed a motion calling for users to have “timely access to chairs suitable for their individual conditions”.

Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, a junior doctor working in south London, said hundreds of patients were fundraising online for their wheelchairs. Standard NHS chairs can weigh around 44lb (20kg) and, for some patients, manoeuvring the devices could cause damage, she said.

Dr Barham-Brown, who presented the motion, used crowdfunding to pay for her own wheelchair – which weighs 26.5lb (12kg) and cost around £2,000.

The 29-year-old said: “I had to crowdfund my wheelchair halfway through medical school when I was told that it was going to cost around £2,000 to get this chair and the NHS were able to offer me a £140 voucher or an NHS chair which weighs up to 20 kilos and is very bad, and not remotely ergonomic.

“That was ultimately going to do me more harm than good so my best friend set up a crowdfunding page for me and managed to raise £2,000 in 24 hours.

“The standard NHS chair can weigh up to around 20 kilos and it’s very poorly designed – it’s not remotely ergonomic. NHS chairs are very heavy and very hard to manoeuvre easily. In terms of public transport I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere in an NHS chair unless there was someone with me helping me. You need to be pushed.

“More and more I’m seeing on social media pleas from people begging for support to buy wheelchairs, not only chairs like this – lightweight self-propelling chairs – but electric chairs.   “The guidelines for getting chairs now are so strict, wheelchair services across the country are being privatised and it’s just getting harder and harder to get access.”

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-cuts-forcing-disabled-patients-10692239

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

Activists ‘horrified’ by universal credit rules forcing sick claimants into work activity

“Very dangerous” rules are forcing severely-ill people applying for the government’s new universal credit to look for jobs and take part in training, even though their GPs have said they are not fit for work, “horrified” disabled activists have warned.

The rules – which have never been announced or publicised by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – apply to new universal credit claimants who are waiting for an assessment of their “fitness for work”.

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/activists-horrified-by-universal-credit-rules-forcing-sick-claimants-into-work-activity/