All posts by carlpoll

Services helping Services

Services helping services: working together to care for people

It’s a good time to think about what has happened in 2012, which passed under the sign of the governing Coalition conducting a discriminating and biased welfare reform, which left many marginalised groups in society much worse off than before. The Campaign For a Fair Society has summarised very coherently in their Manifesto the nature of the unprecedented cuts: they are unfair because they target people with disabilities and people living in poverty; and they are inefficient and will create more crises and new costs. I often ask myself if the actions of the government amount to criminal behaviour. Continue reading Services helping Services

Calum

Calum is a lively eleven-year-old boy who loves being outside: he enjoys playing in the park, going to the shops, riding on a tandem with his mum in front, running around, and going for walks. Calum is autistic and his difficulties with sensory integration mean that he finds it difficult to stay still. This makes it very hard for him to sleep. In the last 11 years he has never slept for more than four hours at one time. Many nights he only sleeps for a maximum of two. His mum says:

Calum only rests when he is not well. I worry all the time about these cuts. I am desperate to keep him at home, but they tell me they might have to reduce the help we get because of the cuts. I really don’t know if I will be able to go on if we get less help than we do now. I only sleep two hours every night! I don’t want him to go into care. I want us to be a family. But I need to sleep! I have the fear of God in me that I will not be able to cope.

Two short stories

How the cuts affected Calum and Olivia.

Calum


Calum is a lively eleven-year-old boy who loves being outside: he enjoys playing in the park, going to the shops, riding on a tandem with his mum in front, running around, and going for walks. Calum is autistic and his difficulties with sensory integration mean that he finds it difficult to stay still. This makes it very hard for him to sleep. In the last 11 years he has never slept for more than four hours at one time. Many nights he only sleeps for a maximum of two. His mum says:

Calum only rests when he is not well. I worry all the time about these cuts. I am desperate to keep him at home, but they tell me they might have to reduce the help we get because of the cuts. I really don’t know if I will be able to go on if we get less help than we do now. I only sleep two hours every night! I don’t want him to go into care. I want us to be a family. But I need to sleep! I have the fear of God in me that I will not be able to cope.

Olivia


I was telephoned the week before Christmas by Olivia’s Community Physio Manager who told me that her weekly physio visits would cease from January “as part of the cuts”. These visits have been essential to maintain Olivia’s mobility and good circulation, prevent deterioration, treat acute conditions, advise and work with the CS team on exercise programmes and liaise with the GP and OT team.

The physiotherapy treatment has been thought necessary since 2002 (and has played a huge part in keeping her in good physical shape) and now it seems overnight it is not. So much for care on the basis of need. If someone like Olivia, who is profoundly disabled and dependent on the care team, cannot access this service, who can?

Supporting people funding


One local authority recently cut Supporting People funding to 22 profoundly disabled people from 1061 hours to 192 hours per week, effective from April 2011.

This devastating reduction in support has prompted the support organisation in question to warn the local authority that the 22 disabled people will be at risk of serious injury or worse.

Dignity?


I’m a vicar. I recently conducted a funeral service for a family whose daughter had cerebral palsy and very complex disabilities. The family had been caring for her full time, and therefore relied on benefits to live. When their daughter died they found they could not afford a headstone for their beloved daughter and there is currently no help available.

Grieving families in this dreadful situation also have to struggle with a sudden drop in their already very low income and further fear and insecurity about losing their homes.

Campaign response to Winterbourne View report

The Campaign’s English Steering group welcomes the program of action outlined in the Department of Health’s report and concordat

If implemented in full, the report could finally deliver the recommendations of the Mansell reports, that so many have advocated over the years. It is truly shocking that, for too long, huge numbers of people have not been afforded the same rights that we all take for granted. They include people living with autism, those whose behaviour is described as ‘challenging’, those with enduring mental health and others. It is surely the inalienable right of all citizens to be able to live safely within their local community and be valued and contributing members of society.

It has been proven that vulnerable individuals are even more vulnerable when links with their family, friends and community are taken away. It is time to ensure that everyone is at the heart of our society, not hidden away.
Continue reading Campaign response to Winterbourne View report

Complaints about care services increase by 22% in a year

Ombudsman’s damning verdict on help for elderly and vulnerable

Complaints about care provision have risen by nearly a quarter in a year, a report said recently.  The biggest complaint was about quality of care, with the poor attitude of some care staff also a common grievance, according to the Local Government Ombudsman for England.

The Ombudsman said it had received more than 1,000 complaints about adult social care in the 2011/12 financial year – a 22% rise on the previous year.  The increase is partly explained by a widening of its remit to include private contractors used by councils to provide care.  But the Ombudsman said a number of key grievances had still not been addressed, including inaccurate billing, lack of skill in dealing with dementia and slow response to calls.

Stop the government taking benefits from disabled people

Sign the pledge

In 2010 Jennifer Alex Spencer wrote: ‘When you read this, I’ll be dead..I wish that no human/animal should ever go through life as I did, or endure so much deliberate cruelty to be placed on them..’ The last written words of Jennifer (Alex) Spencer a retired teacher denied direct payments for personal assistance by her local authority.

You can sign a pledge calling on the government to stop taking benefits from disabled people.


Sign the pledge

The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment

Review highlights ‘wrong assessment, humiliation and bad treatment’

Campaigning group, WeAreSpartacus, has published a review of the Work Capability Assessment, as experienced by the sick and disabled people going through it. WeAreSpartacus describes this publication as including:

‘…. the experiences of more than 70 claimants who have been wrongly assessed, humiliated, badly treated and forced to go to tribunal to secure the benefits to which they are entitled by law. The review also highlights press reports of some of the claimants who have died after being found fit for work or whose suicide has been linked, at least in part, to the stress of a process which is essentially abusive, demeaning and not fit for purpose.’


Get the review


James Elder-Woodward: UK Campaign chair

James Elder-Woodward OBE, a distinguished campaigner and activist, is to chair the UK Campaign steering group

Steven Rose has stood down from chairing the Campaign’s UK steering group in favour of Jim Elder-Woodward. The Campaign thanks Steven Rose for his efforts and commitment during the first 18 months of the Campaign.

Born with cerebral palsy, Jim has had life-long experience of disability, not only as a health and social service user, but also as a service provider, planner and researcher.

Jim comments: ‘I’m honoured to be offered the position but realise the task ahead will be onerous – in the light of the continuous onslaught of disproportionate cuts to disabled people’s incomes and support systems which this Government has and will continue to make in the near future.  However, I’m looking forward to working with colleagues and supporters of the Campaign to make the UK a fairer and more inclusive society.’


Visit Jim’s blog

Read more about James Elder-Woodward Continue reading James Elder-Woodward: UK Campaign chair

What does ‘work’ mean for people with long-term conditions?

The blog, diaryofabenefitscrounger, has gathered useful information about what disabled people think about work.

Sue Marsh of diaryofabenefitscrounger invited  people with long-term fluctuating conditions or disability to tell her about their attitudes to work. The consultation received over 250 responses and Sue used these to develop a number of suggestions for what ’work’ means for these people and how they could be better included in work.

Interesting conclusions include:

  • Some will simply never be able to “work” again at all.
  • Some will never be able to work again in the way society expects.
  • Some will always be excluded from the workplace despite a willingness – even eagerness to work.

Sue would like to hear more comments and stories from people – especially people with a learning disability.


Read more and make comments on the blog