Archives for category: care

The real life stories of disabled people’s experiences of the UK welfare system are being brought to life in a play. But far from being a fringe performance, the cast is taking it to the heart of political decision making – parliament.

Igniting disability

Ignite Me Workshop Theatre was formed in August 2017. And now, it’s bringing its latest work, a play called Lives Like These to parliament on 1 May. The Canary caught up with the group’s artistic director, Bryony Jayne Meteyard, to discuss igniting parliament with some hard-hitting theatre.

The group came about, Meteyard said, because she saw the need for a “people’s theatre” in south west London. The aim of Ignite Me is, in her words, to “hold up a mirror to society and show the truth”. Disabled people in the UK are often portrayed in the press as ‘benefit scroungers’, or ‘living off people’s taxes’, so a theatre company dedicated to busting these myths is refreshing. Meteyard told The Canary:

Disabled people and full-time carers need to have a voice in the current political climate. Austerity is having a major detrimental effect on their lives and bullying, discrimination and marginalisation are still massive issues. Theatre is one way to make an impact.

Damning figures. Damning criticism.

Meteyard is correct when she says that disabled people’s lives have been detrimentally affected in recent years. They have been subjected to seven years of what TV show The Last Leg described as a “genocide” by the Conservative Party. Because since 2010, the Tories have cut:

  • The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which previously supported people with care packages. Since the government cut it, in some areas 88% of people have seen their care packages reduced by up to 50%.


Source: Disabled people’s stories are about to give parliament a much needed wake up call | The Canary


When Ana Macedo-Brown heard the doctor say the words she’d been dreading since finding a lump in her breast, she didn’t think things could get worse.

That was until her husband, Dave, took her hand outside the consulting room and said: ‘Well, that makes both of us. I’ve got cancer too.’

In a devastating turn of events, Dave, 64, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and had kept it a secret, four days before Ana, 56, his wife of 19 years, learned her news.

Six years on, Ana and Dave are cancer-free. But their shared experience sheds light on the starkly different ways in which the medical profession, and indeed wider society, treats these two types of cancer.

As the Mail revealed last month, prostate cancer is now a bigger killer in this country, with more than 11,800 men dying from the disease every year, compared with 11,400 women dying of breast cancer. Despite this, it receives half the research funding and treatments trail a decade behind.

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Source: Wife reveals difference in treatment of breast and prostate cancer : Mail Online

A coach company is ignoring access laws by refusing to allow wheelchair-users to travel on its services on the same day they buy tickets, while exposing its drivers to possible criminal charges.

Transport laws state that any company that has already introduced accessible coaches – even though this is not obligatory until 2020 – must ensure that those vehicles provide a space for wheelchair-users to travel in their wheelchairs.

Although the coach company National Express does have such spaces on nearly all its vehicles, they are usually covered by temporary seats, and it demands at least 24 hours’ notice to remove them and so clear the space if a wheelchair-user wishes to travel in their wheelchair.

But accessible transport campaigner Doug Paulley has demonstrated that National Express is breaching the law by failing to ensure those spaces can be accessed easily and refusing to allow wheelchair-users to “turn up and go” on its services.

He is due to discuss the issue with the managing director of National Express, Chris Hardy.

Paulley’s concerns about the way the company dealt with wheelchair-users who wish to travel spontaneously were first confirmed last August.

He bought a ticket from Bradford to Leeds on a coach that was leaving within half an hour, but when he reached the coach he was told he should have given 24 hours’ notice and would not be allowed to board as it would take too long to remove the temporary seating.

Any coaches that have been adapted to be compliant with Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations – as National Express’s have – must provide a wheelchair space and make that space available to wheelchair-users.

Separate laws state that a coach driver is committing a criminal offence* if he or she does not allow a wheelchair-user to access that space, if it is not occupied by another disabled passenger and the coach is not full.

Such spaces are legally defined as unoccupied even if they are covered by temporary seating.

After realising in February that the coach driver could have been committing a criminal offence, Paulley contacted West Yorkshire Police, which initially refused to treat the incident as a crime.


Source: Coach company’s wheelchair policy puts drivers at risk of criminal record | DisabledGo News and Blog


People’s willingness to use a Zika vaccine when it’s available will be influenced by how they weigh the risks associated with the disease and the vaccine, but also by their misconceptions about other vaccines, a new study has found.

While a Zika vaccine is in development, the study by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania examined factors that will affect the eventual acceptance or rejection of such a vaccine.

The study, published in the Journal of Public Health, found that people’s erroneous beliefs about an association between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism were a predictor of people’s lessened intention to get a Zika vaccine. The study also found that people’s perceptions of the severity of the Zika virus as well as their general belief in the power of science to solve problems increased their intention to get the vaccine.

“When a new disease arises, people who lack understanding of the new threat may extrapolate from their knowledge of other diseases,” said Yotam Ophir, a Ph.D. candidate at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication who co-authored the study with APPC Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson. “We found that the misbelief about the MMR vaccine’s association with autism was more influential on the decision of whether to get vaccinated for Zika than even perceptions of Zika itself, which is worrisome, especially in light of the persistence of that misinformation.”


Source: False beliefs about MMR vaccine found to influence acceptance of Zika vaccine: Study finds spillover effect from misbeliefs about MMR vaccine and autism : Science Daily

Zika Virus


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has breached freedom of information laws by refusing to explain how its new universal credit system of working-age benefits will affect disabled people.

Campaigners have been warning that the introduction of universal credit will see tens or even hundreds of thousands of disabled people with high support needs lose out on thousands of pounds a year because the new system will scrap the disability premiums that exist in the current system.

Both severe (£62.45 per week) and enhanced disability premiums (£15.90 per week) are currently added to some means-tested disability benefits to help with the costs of disability.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been insisting since 2012 that “transitional protection” would ensure that no-one moving onto universal credit would see their benefits cut in cash terms.

But campaigners have remained sceptical, while also pointing out that the transitional protections will not apply if there are any changes in the disabled person’s personal circumstances – for example if they move to a new home, or their relationship status changes – and will not apply to new claimants.

And last month, a terminally-ill man, TP, won permission for a judicial review of the financial impact of the introduction of universal credit on disabled people with high support needs, through the loss of the two premiums.

According to his lawyers, the removal of the premiums has seen TP lose £178 each month after he moved back to London to receive treatment and had to claim universal credit (UC) for the first time.


Source: DWP ignores freedom of information laws in bid to hide universal credit impact | DisabledGo News and Blog


The public “tit for tat” row between the government and Motability has intensified after senior figures in the organisation and the minister for disabled people gave evidence to MPs.

The Treasury and work and pensions select committees are holding a joint inquiry following political and media criticism of how the car scheme for disabled people is run.

Following the evidence sessions on Monday, the committees have asked the National Audit Office (NAO) to investigate the scheme.

Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, suggested during one of the evidence sessions that letters she would release to the committee would show that Lord Sterling, the Tory peer who co-founded the scheme more than 40 years ago, was wrong to accuse work and pensions secretary Esther McVey of making a series of untrue and misleading statements about the schemeto MPs last month.

Lord Sterling – who also gave evidence to the committees on Monday – had said in his letter that McVey was wrong to claim that it had been her intervention as minister for disabled people in 2013 that led to Motability agreeing to pass £175 million to former disability living allowance (DLA) claimants who were going to lose their Motability vehicles in the programme to be reassessed for the new personal independence payment (PIP).

The committees also suggested that they might use their report to call on the government to allow rival organisations to set up as competitors to Motability, which they said might drive down the price paid by disabled people to lease vehicles through the scheme.


Source: Motability ‘tit for tat’ row intensifies as bosses and minister give evidence | DisabledGo News and Blog


The government has failed to set up a single committee involving experts from outside the two departments examining the future of working-age social care, nearly four months after the programme of work was announced.

On 16 November, Damian Green, at the time the work and pensions secretary, announced that the government would publish a new green paper on older people’s social care by the end of July.

He also announced a “parallel programme of work” on working-age adults with care needs, which would be aligned with the green paper and would be led by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

But nearly four months later, and less than five months before the deadline Green set for the parallel green paper to be published, DHSC has told Disability News Service (DNS) that it has yet to set up a single committee or working group involving stakeholders from outside the two departments.

The admission came in a response to a DNS freedom of information request, which asked for the names of people from outside the departments who had joined any committees or working groups set up as part of the work stream.

DHSC said in its response to the request: “DHSC does not hold the information you requested, as no such committees or working groups have yet been established to support the programme of work on working age adults with care needs.


Source: ‘Extraordinary’ government response to question over social care progress | DisabledGo News and Blog


A new study shows that healthy people who take attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs experience a surge in the neurotransmitter glutamate in key parts of the brain. And that increase in glutamate is associated with subsequent changes in positive emotion.

The findings, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, not only provide clues about how these drugs affect healthy brains, they also hint at a previously undiscovered link between glutamate and mood.

“This is the first time that an increase in brain glutamate in response to psychostimulant drugs has been demonstrated in humans,” said Tara White, an assistant professor in the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the new study. “That’s important since glutamate is the major neurotransmitter responsible for excitation in the brain, and affects learning and memory.”


Source: ADHD drugs increase brain glutamate, predict positive emotion in healthy people : Science Daily


Dear Friends,

But us Brits still chuck away 2.5 billion plastic-lined coffee cups every year — and hardly any get recycled!

We have a chance to stop this. The government is asking the public whether we’d support them charging a 25p ‘latte levy’ for takeaway coffee cups.



Thousands of people with learning disabilities and other needs depend on support provided via a care worker sleeping overnight, but these services are under threat because of a huge back pay bill.

Social care faces a funding gap that has been described by the Care Quality Commission as pushing provision to a “tipping point”; we cannot afford  continuing uncertainty around how to fund the estimated £400m cost of back pay for sleep-in shifts.

This crisis has arisen due to lack of clarity in national minimum wage regulations and inconsistent government guidance. The result is an impending disaster for learning disability care. Services are closing and providers are handing back contracts. We are asking the government to ensure that funding is made available to cover this liability – which could stretch to up to six years of back pay.

While the government has waived financial penalties over back payments, it has not presented a solution or funding to settle the bill. Instead, it has instituted the Social Care Compliance Scheme, which encourages care providers to calculate the extent of their own liabilities and pay them to HMRC by the end of March 2019. As Matt Wort, a partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, wrote last November: “Forcing care providers to pay for the government’s own mistakes and leaving essential services at the mercy of HMRC is both unethical and nonsensical.”


Source: Learning disability care faces disaster over back pay bill | The Guardian

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