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.

Government guidelines for PIP assessment: a political redefinition of the word ‘objective’

Politics and Insights

images

Thousands of disabled people have already lost their specialist Motability vehicles because of Conservative PIP cuts and many more are likely to be affected.

Personal Independence Payment is a non means tested benefit for people with a long-term health condition or impairment, whether physical, sensory, mental, cognitive, intellectual, or any combination of these. It is an essential financial support towards the extra costs that ill and disabled people face, to help them lead as full, active and independent lives as possible.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have issued a guidance document for providers carrying out assessments for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which was updated last month. It can be found here: PIP Assessment Guide.

The DWP Chief Medical Officer states that this is a supplementary guidance, in addition to “the contract documents agreed with providers as part of the commercial process, providing guidance for health professionals [HPs]…

View original post 2,931 more words

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/

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

New exemptions from the bedroom tax come into law

From 1st April 2017 the rules are changing to allow an additional bedroom for disabled children or non-dependent adults who require overnight care and for couples who are unable to share a bedroom for health reasons. Previously people in these circumstances could have been subject to the bedroom tax.

The ‘bedroom tax’ means that working age people who get help towards their rent through Housing Benefit can have the amount they receive restricted if they are considered to have too many bedrooms.

Ever since the policy was proposed Carers UK have campaigned for it to be scrapped. We’ve argued that these bedrooms are not spare but needed by families providing care.

In November the Supreme Court ruled in favour of two families; Carers UK member Paul Rutherford and his wife Susan care for their profoundly disabled 14-year-old grandson, Warren, and live in a specially adapted home, which has a room for a care worker to stay when providing overnight care. This had been deemed as a spare bedroom and, as a result, their housing benefit had been reduced.

The Court also ruled in favour of Jacqueline and Jayson Carmichael, who are unable to share a bedroom due to Jacqueline’s severe disability.

To reflect the Court’s ruling the Government has changed the law to create further exemptions for carers from the Bedroom Tax. This means that from the 1st of April:

  • A couple that could not share a room because of a disability – could now have an additional room. This is already allowed for disabled children that cannot share a bedroom with another child.
  • A child that is disabled – may need overnight care from someone other than the parent/s and may need an additional bedroom can have one.  This was previously allowed for a disabled adult, but not for children.

Although we are delighted that the law is being changed we are concerned about the way the change is being communicated to local authority staff in charge of Housing Benefit as the guidance given to them appears to attempt to  limit the kinds of health conditions that could result in an extra room.

Read more here: http://www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/news/new-exemptions-from-the-bedroom-tax-come-into-law