Will your complaint get heard as the Government forces the Parliamentary Ombudsman to curb its service?


This is yet another example of disgraceful behaviour from this Government and by all accounts many previous Governments.

The Ombudsman services should be there to right the wrongs in Central and Local Governments and also health administrations, so that the public can get justice, instead of the current injustices.

However, until the Government will allow them to do the required work and provide the required funding the Ombudsman’s will fall way short of what should be.

Westminster Confidential

Rishi Sunak: Postponing the cash to improve the Ombudsman service

The Parliamentary Ombudsman has already – as I wrote in an earlier blog – faced a critical report from MPs on the way it handles some of its work.

And Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, has also turned down any prospect of new legislation to modernise the service by combining its work with the local government and social care ombudsman.

Not content with that, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, has now postponed a three year funding programme which would have allowed it to introduce changes to improve matters.

Instead The Treasury has decided to give it just one year’s worth of funding and instructed it to concentrate on handling complaints arising out of Covid 19 pushing aside other grievances..

Details of this latest bad news has not been put out in any press release by the Ombudsman but has been…

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Disabled couple banned from doctor’s surgery – because they complained so much : Daily Mirror.


When we are not happy about any situation, what can we do but complain for just putting up with it is not right,

If people do not complain how can wrongs be corrected.

Complaints need to be recognised as a tool to improve situations and not be treated with negativity.

There needs to be at least a two-way communication so that complaints can be dealt with effectively for the betterment for all concerned.

For if one person is not happy with a situation, then there will be most likely many more, so we should all look at complaints as a positive action to enhance improvements.

Investigating complaints about health and social care has led to significant benefits | Care Industry News


Adopting an integrated approach to investigating complaints about health and social care has led to significant benefits, according to a new report by the Local

Source: Investigating complaints about health and social care has led to significant benefits | Care Industry News

Atos nurse ‘lied’ about PIP claimant attending assessment alone


Original post from Disabled Go News

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A nurse working for the controversial outsourcing company Atos Healthcare repeatedly lied about a disabled man he was assessing for the government’s new disability benefit, it has been claimed.

The Atos assessor stated in his report that claimant Colin Stupples-Whyley had attended the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment alone, even though his partner David* had sat with him throughout the interview.

The couple, who arrived by car, had been accompanied by a friend, who stayed in the waiting-room, but the nurse claimed that Stupples-Whyley had travelled alone to the assessment in Barking on 5 June by public transport.

The allegations raise fresh concerns about the decision of work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith to award two lucrative PIP assessment contracts to Atos, when the company had already been heavily and repeatedly criticised for its performance in delivering “fitness for work” assessments.

Atos was allowed to pull out of that contract early after activists pointed to links between the way it carried out the assessments, and relapses, episodes of self-harm, and even premature deaths among those being assessed.

But its performance on the two PIP assessment contracts in the two years since the new benefit was launched has plunged Atos back into controversy.

Only last month, Disability News Service (DNS) reported how the proportion of disabled people stuck in the queue to be assessed for PIP was more than five times higher in parts of the country managed by Atos, compared with those in areas managed by rival outsourcing giant Capita.

Stupples-Whyley, from Grays, Essex, has been able to prove that he was not alone at his PIP assessment by obtaining a copy of part of the Atos signing-in book under data protection legislation. The page shows his signature, as well as those of David and their friend.

Stupples-Whyley has agoraphobia, general anxiety disorder, depression, fibromyalgia, and diabetes, but he said the impact of these impairments on his day-to-day life was completely misrepresented by the assessor.

The report claims he was able to do sums and spell a word backwards, neither of which he said he was asked to do in the assessment.

He provided a long list of his diabetes symptoms, but the nurse simply wrote down “urinates a lot”.

He also had a panic attack during the assessment, but that was not mentioned in the nurse’s report.

Among other inaccuracies, the assessor stated in the report that a counsellor had diagnosed his mental health conditions, despite being told it was a psychiatrist.

Stupples-Whyley claims that the entire section of the form devoted to a physical examination supposedly carried out by the nurse was completely fabricated, as no such test took place.

The nurse repeatedly claims on the form that difficulties reported by Stupples-Whyley were “inconsistent” with the findings of his assessment.

As a result, he scored zero points on the test and was found ineligible for PIP, while the DWP confirmed that decision after he asked for it to be reconsidered.

Stupples-Whyley said the assessment was “very unpleasant” and that the nurse had become “very rude and disrespectful” after he learned that David was his civil partner.

He said: “The atmosphere was awful throughout and he was more interested in telling us why I wouldn’t get benefit. He would try and put words into my mouth, and he disputed anything I said.”

He added: “I went to the assessment very naive and trusting. I had asked to be seen first or last so that I didn’t have to wait in the waiting room with lots of people.

“When I arrived this had not happened, so I was already very anxious before we went in.

“I honestly thought I would have the assessment, they would obtain my medical records to verify what I had said, then they would or wouldn’t grant PIP payment.”

He now plans to insist that any future benefit assessment is recorded.

He said: “I have no trust in Atos or DWP at all now. I feel angry that lies have been told, I feel angry that DWP refused to even investigate Atos when I said the report was fraudulent.

“I feel hurt that the people I believed to be there to help people are in fact just a department that does everything in its power not to pay any money to claimants.

“I just never in a million years expected to be treated the way I have.”

Because of the experience, his psychiatrist has had to increase his mental health medication.

Stupples-Whyley said he had become “obsessed” with his PIP experience, which had left him determined to prove that he was not a liar.

He said he felt “huge relief” when he received the paperwork that proved all three of them had visited Atos Barking on the day of the assessment.

He said: “I have found the whole complaints process overwhelming. DWP take no responsibility and in a few days’ time it will be two months and still no response from anyone at Atos.

“The overall affect for me is that my world has just got even smaller, because now I do not trust government nor healthcare providers to have my best interests at heart, nor to act with honesty.”

He plans to appeal to a tribunal, and his MP, Jackie Doyle-Price, has written to Atos to request a fresh assessment.

Today (Thursday), two days after DNS contacted the company’s press office about his story, Stupples-Whyley was telephoned by Atos to inform him that his complaint was now being treated at the most serious level of internal inquiries.

He was told that he would be interviewed soon about his complaint, and was offered a reassessment.

An Atos spokeswoman only provided a comment on the condition that DNS did not name the nurse.

She said in the statement: “A complaint was received by us from Mr Stupples-Whyley a few weeks after his assessment. It has been thoroughly investigated and we have spoken to him directly.

“In the interests of fairness and transparency we have offered Mr Stupples-Whyley a reassessment.

“It is distressing for all concerned that Mr Stupples-Whyley is so unhappy about his assessment and we are sorry that this is the case. All complaints to us are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.”

But she has refused to confirm that the investigation is ongoing, if any disciplinary action has been taken against the nurse, whether the nurse is still carrying out assessments for Atos, and whether Atos accepts that Stupples-Whyley did not attend the assessment alone.

*Not his real name

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Aden

Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

More posts from author   …………’

Access to Work: Ombudsman dealing with more than 40 complaints


Original post from Disabled Go News

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The parliamentary ombudsman is dealing with more than 40 complaints about the management of the government’s Access to Work (AtW) scheme.

It is just the latest evidence of serious failings within AtW, despite reassurance from ministers that administrative problems and delays within the scheme had been resolved.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has received 36 complaints about AtW in the last six months.

In all, there are 41 complaints currently being assessed or investigated by PHSO relating to AtW complaints.

In 2013, there were only 275 complaints in total about the Department for Work and Pensions that had reached the assessment level of seriousness, although it is not yet known how many there were in 2014.

A PHSO spokeswoman said: “We investigate complaints in private due to the sensitive nature of the issues we consider and because the legislation governing us requires this. Unfortunately, we therefore cannot comment on any specific cases.”

Only last month, Disability News Service reported claims that nearly all of the disabled people facing reviews of their AtW entitlement were having their support cut.

One of those who has lodged a complaint with PHSO was disabled entrepreneur Jacqueline Winstanley.

She claims she has experienced “complete mismanagement” and “bullying” by AtW, which even “sanctioned” her, even though the programme is not part of the benefit system.

Her problems began following new government reforms in January 2014, when the system for administering the scheme changed “beyond recognition” and became “fraught with difficulties” and subject to “unacceptable delays”.

Winstanley – who runs her own consultancy, Universal Inclusion, which focuses on reducing inequalities, particularly within the workplace – received a letter from AtW last May telling her that her support package had been reviewed, even though her previous review had taken place only a few months earlier.

Her eligibility was questioned, and she was told on the phone that if she failed to provide proof of her self-employed status, AtW would have no alternative but to impose “sanctions”.

She says that “new criteria” were applied to her award retrospectively, and she was now asked to prove that she had been paying national insurance contributions and earning enough to pay herself the minimum wage.

After she submitted evidence to the work and pensions select committee for its inquiry into the scheme – and gave an interview last July to BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme – her relationship with AtW deteriorated further.

In one submission to the inquiry, as chair of Fluidity, a charity which supports people with hidden and fluctuating conditions, she said: “At best, the Access to Work grant develops a paradigm of inclusive economic growth creating sustainable employment opportunities.

“At worst, it engages individuals in a constant battle where they experience disbelief, mistrust, injustice, unfairness, inappropriate and ineffective proposals for support and threat of sanctions as they try desperately to access the support they need to remain in work.”

Her award was suspended, and despite attempting to challenge the decision through a formal complaint and an intervention from her MP, her AtW package was withdrawn.

Although the suspension was made in August, AtW backdated its decision to June, so she could not pay her support worker for his last three months’ work.

She said: “I can’t stress the number of phone calls, emails and attempts I made not only to get clarification from AtW, as the guidelines are vast and conflicting, but to acquire the support I needed to be able to comply with their request should it turn out that I had to do so.

“Instead of concentrating on managing my health condition in work and growing my business, my time became consumed by battling to keep the award that enabled me to do it.

“The stress and anxiety of trying to hold onto my AtW award, to exercise my right of reply and subsequently challenge the appalling way they dealt with this, had a detrimental impact on my health, my business growth and my personal and professional reputation.

“I was most disappointed in the shift in focus following the restructure as I had chosen not to apply for disability-related benefits and was determined to stay in work, albeit in a very different way than I had prior to becoming disabled.

“Access to Work had offered a lifeline, without the stigma associated with benefits. It was a participatory process designed to work with you to identify your support requirements.

“Following the restructure, this changed, and for the first time I felt as if this was a benefit and no longer a commitment from the government to disabled people and their right to work.

“At the moment I don’t have a support worker and I am desperately trying to keep the business afloat without it, while I am also missing out on business opportunities.”

Winstanley has been piloting a new Inclusive Entrepreneurship Programme, aimed at introducing disabled people to self-employment.

She points to the importance of the AtW scheme, but says that its eligibility criteria must be formed “from the needs of disabled people” – with flexibility vital – and not based on the kind of “traditional milestones” that are applied to non-disabled entrepreneurs.

She believes there needs to be an “appreciation of entrepreneurship as a real option for disabled people and a recognition of the innovative support that needs to be put into place to achieve this”.

Winstanley said that disabled people should not be measured by “preconceived business benchmarks”, particularly those like her with “chronic and fluctuating conditions that mean our working patterns will always be subject to peaks and troughs”.

She added: “What would have been a better way forward would have been for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to consult with disabled entrepreneurs to find out what support they need, not to impose unclear, retrospective and unworkable criteria that set people up to fail.”

At its peak, in 2009-10, under the last government, AtW was supporting more than 37,000 disabled people, but this plunged under the coalition to 30,780 in 2011-12, although it has started to increase again in the last couple of years.

The latest figures, published in January, show 35,540 disabled people were helped in 2013-14, still well below the figures for 2009-10.

DWP has so far not commented on her claims.

Winstanley is keen to hear from other disabled entrepreneurs who might be interested in joining the Disabled Entrepreneur Foundation, an organisation she will soon be launching. She can be contacted at: equalitybydesign@icloud.com

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com………….’

Make Your Complaint Count


Original post from Which?

‘…..Campaigns | Public Services

Public services media image 356809

AIMS

  1. We want you to have your say on hospitals, GPs, care homes, childcare, schools, universities, and other public services.
  2. We want your complaint to help trigger inspections when things go wrong.
  3. We need your support to get the Government to commit to making your complaints count.

HMRC Telephone Rip Off


HMRC premium rate call charges

All companies and especially public organisations should be banned from using a premium rate telephone number.

HMRC, as should all companies, solely using premium rate telephone numbers for telephone access, be made to provide access by telephone numbers starting with either 01 or 02, the STD codes for the UK, depending on where they are in the UK.

Also with more and more people only using mobile phones, any call from a mobile phone to a premium rate number will be more expensive than phoning from a land line telephone.

I always, where a telephone number is 08…. except of course 0800 (Free telephone code), check to see if they have an International number, if they do I substitute 0 for the +44, the UK International code. In most cases this will convert the number to the standard STD code telephone number. Our own GP used to have an 08 number, but due to complaints and comments from registered patients they have now changed to an 01 number.

Do not put up with a bad or indifferent service, everyone should register their complaints on a formal basis. Also, why not invoice the organisation for the cost of the call, especially when you have waited and the only answer was an automated voice and you are waiting in an ever ending queue, hoping a human voice will eventually make contact. So much of your time wasted.

Take charge of the situation, by not doing so bad service is allowed to continue.