Feb 232017
 

ALLFIE’s February Briefing and call for action

We need your stories about disabled children and young people’s experience of attending residential special schools and colleges. We are responding to The Lenehan review of experiences and outcomes in residential special schools and colleges.

ALLFIE’s February Briefing and call for action

Posted by: Alliance for Inclusive Education in DDPO news on 16 February 2017

Please see ALLFIE’s latest campaigns briefing: ALLFIE’s February 2017 Campaign Briefing – No.53

CALL FOR ACTION: 

Responding to The Lenehan review of experiences and outcomes in residential special schools and colleges

We need your stories about disabled children and young people’s experience of attending residential special schools and colleges.

We are also interested in hearing from disabled children and young people and parents who have been pressurised by their local authority (or resisted the pressure) to consider a residential special school or college placement.

Does your local authority have a residential school or college placement policy that we should know about?

Please contact us if you can help us – we need your response by Deadline 1st March 2017.   For further information please see our briefing.  

Please contact me if you would like more information.

In solidarity

Simone Aspis

Campaigns and Policy Co-ordinator
Alliance for Inclusive Education
Tel: 020 7737 6030
Email: simone.aspis@allfie.org.uk
Website: www.allfie.org.uk

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 Posted by at 12:52
Feb 182017
 

If you or someone you know living in Southampton has had their social care package from Southampton City Council cut in the most recent round of reassessments, we would like to hear from you.You can contact us by email at mail@dpac.uk.net

We are looking at mounting a legal challenge to these cuts to care packages following recent revelations in Disability News Service about the way these reassessments were performed.

In order to bring a case against Southampton City Council we need people who have been affected by the cuts.

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 Posted by at 21:38
Feb 152017
 

Southampton City Council drafted in Capita to help deal with a backlog of assessments for care packages. Leaked emails suggest that staff who work for Capita are given financial incentives to reduce people’s care packages without assessment. To date 1 in 5 people have had their care packages reduced but none have had an increase, in spite of the increase in the National Minimum Wage (as employers disabled people now have to pay their PAs). This is contrary to the Care Act of 2014. DPAC held a protest against Southampton City Council on Wednesday 15th February 2017.

The protest was organised by Southampton DPAC with support from national DPAC

See the news item with an interview with DPAC’s Ellen Clifford on BBC South Today on 15th Feb:

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Feb 142017
 

 

The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Force the government to act on the eleven recommendations of the UNCRPD report”.

Government responded:

This Government engaged fully with the inquiry process. However, we strongly reject the findings and believe that the core intentions of many of the recommendations are already being fulfilled.

This Government engaged fully with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention) inquiry process. In their report, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) expressed appreciation for our support throughout the process, which included facilitating a visit to the UK and providing written evidence on numerous occasions.

On receipt of the report, we considered the findings alongside our own evidence. In making this comparison, it was clear that there were individual facts in the report that were incorrect. Additionally, the report failed to place the reforms investigated in the wider context of improvements made and the support available. For example, in discussing Article 27 ‘Work and Employment’, the report barely mentions the raft of work-related support available to disabled people and therefore presents a highly partial view.

The UK supported the development of the Convention and was among the first countries to sign it in 2007. Our approach to disability equality, which focuses on inclusion and mainstreaming (with additional support provided as necessary) and on involving disabled people in decision-making, is very much aligned with the Convention. The report itself recognised that “at a national level, it appears that the welfare system together with a social and health care system provide a solid base for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and that the system has allowed persons with disabilities to achieve an acceptable level of autonomy and
DWP E-Petitions Response independence”. It also recognised measures to reinforce choice and control in the UK through the increased personalisation and localisation of services.

This Government considered the recommendations made by the Committee. Many of the recommendations promote approaches and actions that we already take, such as actively engaging disabled people in policy design and delivery. Others promote actions that the UK Government has already identified as areas for improvement; the Government response sets out some of the work being done across the UK to ensure progress in these areas, such as increasing the accessibility of information and tackling negative attitudes towards disabled people. Several recommendations are prescriptive in nature, sighting specific methodologies that should be implemented. The UK is committed to meeting its obligations of progressing towards the full participation and inclusion of disabled people in all aspects of life on an equal basis. However, how we ensure this progression remains for the UK Government, and the wider parliament, to decide.

The UK is a strong parliamentary democracy, where the voices and opinions of disabled people are represented and listened to, and disabled people’s rights are respected, promoted and upheld. It is also a world leader in disability issues. We are proud of the work we do to support people with disabilities and health conditions, both domestically and abroad. And we believe that the core intentions of the recommendations are already incorporated into UK policies and practices, and delivered in a way that fits with the values and structures particular to the UK.

However, we do recognise that there is more to do to meet the Convention’s ambition of full participation and inclusion, and this Government is committed to continuing progress towards this. Taking employment as an example, our aspiration is for disabled people to get the same opportunities as others to find work while ensuring that people who cannot work because of a disability or health condition receive the support they need. That is why this Government is committed to, and working towards, halving the disability employment gap. The ‘Improving Lives’ Green Paper seeks views on how to ensure that health and welfare systems support people who can work with better opportunities to stay in employment, while protecting people who can’t work, with a view to meeting the Government’s ambition.

This Government champions work because of its power to transform people’s lives. We strongly believe that, though welfare provides necessary social protection, it is not the only way to help disabled people live independent, inclusive lives in which they can fulfil their potential. Implementing the Convention articles requires more than higher welfare payments. It requires society-wide shifts in attitudes and behaviours, innovative approaches to health provision, and concerted efforts to break down persistent barriers preventing disabled people from living independently, working, and enjoying full inclusion in their communities. This Government remains committed to working across government and sectors to ensure that these changes take place, supporting disabled people in the UK to fully participate in all aspects of life on an equal basis.

Department for Work and Pensions

Click this link to view the response online:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/172393?reveal_response=yes

The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.

The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee

Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

 

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 Posted by at 12:54
Feb 132017
 

Unite Community (Coventry and Warwickshire Branch) along with co-sponsor UCU and supporting organisations Peoples Assembly and Coventry Recovery Centre will be screening the film I Daniel Blake.

Our aim is to raise awareness of the sanctions regime in the benefits system and to highlight the desperation and indignity that this imposes on thousands of people in Britain today.

The theatre will open at 18.00 and we advise that you be seated by 18.05 The film will start at 18.15 and lasts for 1 hour 40 minutes.

After the film there will be a question and answer session in the theatre led by the director of the film Ken Loach, which everyone watching the film is invited to. The Q&A session will last approximately 1 hour.

 

DATE AND TIME

Wed 22 February 2017

18:00 – 21:00 GMT

Add to Calendar

LOCATION

The Goldstein Lecture Theatre

Alan Berry Room

Coventry University, Jordan

Coventry

CV1 5FB

 

There are limited numbers of tickets available. To book tickets  and advise on access needs please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

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 Posted by at 19:50
Feb 122017
 

We started off 2016 campaigning against Southampton Councils plans to cap social care packages having invested £12 million into a ‘super’ care home. These actions were abandoned by Southampton council due to pressure brought by DPAC at the time and because they were legally questionable.

http://dpac.uk.net/2016/01/city-council-backs-down-under-pressure-from-disabled-campaigners/

Our planned trip to Southampton had to be put on hold but now due to further shoddy actions from the Labour led council it is now very much back on the agenda.

Disability News Service has found that the council has now subcontracted Capita specifically to reduce the size of people’s care and support funding and also to replace it with cheaper options like telecare whether this is suitable or not.

These freelance social workers are not only being paid over £1,000 a week but are given bonuses when they cut enough care packages.

We say this is immoral and unacceptable and must be stopped now so this Wednesday, February 15th DPAC are going to let the council members know exactly what we think of their nasty, grubby behaviour.

Join us if you can both in person and online.

In person – Join us on

Wednesday 15th February at 1.45 pm

Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, SO14 7LY Southampton

(close to both Coach and Rail Stations)

Facebook Event Page


Join in on-line

email-:

leader of Southampton council Simon Letts:  councillor.s.letts@southampton.gov.uk

and Warwick Payne, portfolio holder for adults and housing:  councillor.w.payne@southampton.gov.uk

You can telephone both on 023 8083 3340(PA)

#CareHomesStink

#RightsNotTelecare

#SupportNotCuts


#CareHomesStink #RightsNotTelecare Capita staff paid over £1,000 a week to cut care packages @SouthamptonCC


#CareHomesStink #RightsNotTelecare Capita staff got bonuses up to £400 for cutting care pakages @SouthamptonCC


#CareHomesStink #RightsNotTelecare Did council leader lie? http://dpac.uk.net/2017/02/southampton-hots-battle-independent-living-continues/ @SouthamptonCC


#CareHomesStink #RightsNotTelecare Capita emails from Sue Thomas http://dpac.uk.net/2017/02/southampton-hots-battle-independent-living-continues/ @SouthamptonCC


#CareHomesStink #RightsNotTelecare Labour council’s abuse of disabled people http://dpac.uk.net/2017/02/southampton-hots-battle-independent-living-continues/ @SouthamptonCC


and here are some meme’s to add to your tweets:

Tweetable Meme's #1

Tweetable Meme's #2

Tweetable Meme's #3

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 Posted by at 22:40
Feb 122017
 
Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake” winner of the BAFTA Outstanding Film award
Screening, 2pm Saturday 25 February in Kilburn.
Venue: Kingsgate Community Centre, 107 Kingsgate Rd, London NW6 2JH.  Fully wheelchair accessible.  Entry by donation
Facebook event here
Camden Momentum and WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities) are hosting this community screening, with speakers from Disabled People Against Cuts, and Gill Thompson (anti-sanctions campaigner on behalf of her brother David Clapson) followed by discussion. This comes after the moving and well attended vigil held 25 January for Lawrence Bond, the Camden man who tragically collapsed and died after leaving Kentish Town Jobcentre, having been found “fit for work” by Maximus and the DWP.   Ken Loach, John McDonnell MP (Shadow Chancellor) and Debbie Abrahams MP, came and spoke at the vigil.   Ken Loach’s film is crucial viewing and the showing will bring people together to resist the benefit cuts and sanctions which have killed thousands of people and cause misery and destitution on a massive scale.  We’ll discuss how we can oppose the latest disability benefit cut due in April.
John McDonnell said that I, Daniel Blake is one of the most moving films he’d seen, and was very pleased to team up with Ken Loach to urge people to go and watch it.

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 Posted by at 22:02
Feb 112017
 

[Text courtesy of CND]

The recent revelation that a Trident missile test had to be aborted after the missile veered off course towards Florida highlights the continuing danger nuclear weapons pose to the world. Coupled with the many erratic statements from President Donald Trump, the time has come for international action to eliminate nuclear weapons everywhere.

The United Nations is starting to negotiate a nuclear weapons ban treaty at the end of March. This presents an opportunity to end the threat of nuclear annihilation and for the nine countries that have nuclear weapons to join the international consensus in favour of scrapping them.

While the UK government has yet to say if it will take part in the upcoming discussions, it has boycotted previous steps in this process. That is why we need to make sure the voice of those who support a ban on nuclear weapons is heard.

Please join us in Parliament on Wednesday 1 March to tell your MP that the government must play a constructive role at the UN. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never spoken to your MP before, experts will be on hand to give you support and guide you through the process.

Meetings can be arranged any time between 12-6pm. You can use the CND website to contact your MP and arrange a meeting, but you can attend without a booked appointment and request a meeting on the day. The afternoon’s lobbying will be followed at 6pm by a parliamentary public meeting. We look forward to seeing you there.

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 Posted by at 20:54
Feb 102017
 

Andy Greene from the DPAC Steering Group was interviewed by RT news about the UN Inquiry on Thurdsay 9th Feb:

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 Posted by at 22:56
Feb 072017
 

Update: Following interventions from several DPOs including DPAC, DRUK has agreed to recall and amend their report and we will be examining the changes closely. Watch this space……..


DPAC have previously had a few skirmishes with the hilariously named Disability Rights UK. DRUK are one of the big corporate disability charities that collect money from the public under the guise of championing disabled people.

To start with, our problem with charity for disabled people is we think it shouldn’t be necessary at all- we need equal rights, not charity handouts. DPAC’s slogan is “Rights Not Charity”.

But our particular problem with DRUK, is they advertise themselves as a charity for disability rights, while also taking money from this government with it’s horrendous welfare reforms, cuts to social care and attacks on just about every sphere of disabled people’s lives. DRUK also take money from private companies like Maximus to deliver “Disability Awareness Training” to its WCA assessors. And yet these people claim to stand up for disabled people’s rights?

You can see some examples of our previous battles with DRUK at the end of this post.

But this time they really have taken the biscuit. They’ve not only taken the biscuit, they’ve dunked it in our coffee, dropped the soggy bit on the carpet, taken another biscuit, and scoffed it.

To explain:

DRUK are one of the lead organisations who have been paid by the government to do a report on the state of disabled people’s lives in the UK. This report is going to be submitted to the UN disability committee later this year. Its something called the “Shadow Report”.

Basically Britain signed up to the UN treaty called the UN Charter for Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and every few years the government gets reviewed by the UN on progress towards implementing the treaty. So the government submits a report about that and it also pays non-government organisations to submit a Shadow Report to give their side of the story.

Its meant to prevent the government just giving a glossy everything’s fine report, and its meant to give a critical counter-balance to that as well.

So the government gave a wad of dosh to the Equality and Human Rights commission, who skim some off the top and gave a smaller wad of dosh to DRUK, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales to write a shadow report.

The shadow report from DRUK & Co got released at the end of January and we had a look at it. OK its critical of the government in many areas, but one of the first things we looked at was what they said about one of the most important issues facing disabled people right now, the deaths of benefit claimants due to welfare reforms.

We looked, we searched – and the report contained nothing about it at all.

John Pring’s Disability News Service also picked this up and published this article about it: UN report failure on benefit deaths by national DPOs ‘is extreme insult to activists’

And then after asking around and doing a little digging, we discovered that the submission made by Inclusion Scotland to go into the report DID include evidence of deaths of claimants due welfare reform.

So we naturally wanted to know what happened to the vital evidence that was submitted by Inclusion Scotland but didn’t appear in the final report.

The answer came back that the evidence about claimant deaths had “accidentally been edited out” during final changes to the report. To say that we at DPAC were angry about this is an understatement.

We have written to Liz Sayce, CEO of DRUK to demand that they recall their report and put Inclusion Scotland’s evidence back into the report, here is the email we sent yesterday:

Dear Liz,

While we agree that DRUK should make the final decision about what is included in their CRPD shadow submission, like Inclusion Scotland DPAC are also very concerned that during editing of DRUK’s shadow report a vital section relating to claimant deaths and links between those and WCAs was omitted.

While we understand this was accidental and are sure you would never intentionally be so offensive to the memory of thousands of deceased disabled people we feel nevertheless that it is essential you recall the version of this report that was submitted in error and re-submit it with the additional information on the horrific impact on social security claimants the UK government’s welfare reforms to date has had on social security claimants.

 

Yours sincerely,

Linda Burnip

On behalf of DPAC Steering Group

This morning we had a reply,

Dear Linda

Thank you very much for your email. We support the inquiry done last year and the Committee’s conclusions and are acutely aware of the impact of sanctions and cuts on disabled people. Our shadow report is a joint report from Disability Wales, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Rights UK so Rhian from Disability Wales, Sally from Inclusion Scotland and I are agreeing ‎next steps and will get back to you asap. 

 

‎Best wishes

 

Liz

 Liz Sayce OBE

CEO Disability Rights UK

We’ll keep you posted on what they decide, but if you want to tell DRUK to recall their Shadow Report and include information about claimant deaths, you can tweet them on @DisRightsUK or email them at enquiries@disabilityrightsuk.org


Some of DPAC’s previous run-ins with DRUK

 

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 Posted by at 13:21
Feb 022017
 

Join Southampton DPAC’s protest vs Southampton City Council & Contractors Capita,

Wednesday 15th February at 1.45 pm

Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, SO14 7LY Southampton

(close to both Coach and Rail Stations)

Facebook Event Page

 

Reads: Crapita, Not as bad as Atos (until we found out)

A whistleblower from inside Capita has told Disability News Service (DNS) that Capita has been piling pressure on its team of social workers – while paying them more than £1,000 a week – to cut social care spending, on the orders of Southampton City Council. You can read the full DNS Article here

Southampton DPAC have convened this protest to shame both councillors and contractors. All DPAC members and allies that can get there are urged to go. This might be Southampton but it could be happening across the country soon and we need to demonstrate our willingness fightback here.

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 Posted by at 21:17
Feb 022017
 

Logo and banner for the LUSH Human Rights Summit

 

Event summary:​ ​ Lush Cosmetics will be holding an international meeting for its staff, key invitees, and a range of bloggers, fans, and the public. We expect an audience at the event of around 2000, and a lot more through our online and streaming content – at our last event we ended up with a global online audience of 27million!

Our aim​ is to create an engaging, interactive and uplifting event that focuses on inspiring people to get involved in the issues being addressed through education and sharing of solutions. We also want to celebrate the hard work of grassroots organisations such as yourselves in making things better.

Event dates
Wednesday 8th February 12-6pm
Thursday 9th February 12-6pm

On the 8th at 11.30 am John Kelly will be singing known and loved disability protest songs and on the 9th, Penny Pepper and Mary Ellen are performing at 3.30pm

The event is free and open to the public. Please ask your friends and contacts to get their E Ticket via this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-lush-summit-tickets-31282639216
Venue:​ Tobacco Dock, ​ Tobacco Quay, Wapping Ln, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London E1W 2SF

Tobacco Dock Tel: 020 7680 4001

Nearest Train & Underground
Shadwell DLR & Overground Wapping Overground, Tower Hill Tube

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 Posted by at 10:43
Jan 282017
 

Join Us for a special screening with Ken Loach of his award winning film “I Daniel Blake”.

Tuesday 28th February, at the Pheonix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, London, N2 9PJ.

Admission Free, (there will be a bucket collection for DPAC) arrive at 5.45 to collect tickets, Film Starts at 6.15pm, after the film there will be a Q&A with Ken Loach and Paula Peters from DPAC, interviewed by Aditya Chakraborty

DPAC wish to express thanks to John Burgess for organising this event, and to Barnet Unison for paying for the venue, to Ken Loach for coming to speak and Aditya Chakraborrty (senior economics commentator for the Guardian) for coming to interview Ken and PaulaPoster reading : Join Us for a special screening with Ken Loach of his award winning film "I Daniel Blake". Tuesday 28th February, at the Pheonix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, London, N2 9PJ. Admission Free, (there will be a bucket collection for DPAC) arrive at 5.45 to collect tickets, Film Starts at 6.15pm, after the film there will be a Q&A with Ken Loach and Paula Peters from DPAC, interviewed by Aditya Chakraborty

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 Posted by at 12:10
Jan 272017
 

The BBC would like to interview someone in the West Midlands ideally Monday January 30th who has been reassessed by Maximus and moved from the Support Group to WRAG after their assessment.

This is in relation to a report that is coming out next week from the DWP select committee.

If anyone can help please contact Anne Delaney anne.delaney@bbc.co.uk

Tel. 07740818333 directly.

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 Posted by at 13:41
Jan 232017
 

We are publishing the complete set of DPAC Submissions and government responses to the UNCRPD Comittee that DPAC used to initiate the inquiry into grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human rights by the UK government

You can see the chronology of events in the process in this document , which puts the document given below into context of the whole process.

You can also view all of DPACs research documents and some from Reclaiming Our |Futures Alliance (of which DPAC is a part) documents on the Research Page on this site

Headings Index

(Click the headings below to jump to that section)


UNCRPD Inquiry


2013 April – DPAC 1st Submission to the UNCRPD Inquiry


2013 June – UNCRPD letter from CRPD Chair-PM of UK


2013 August – Government Response to the 1st Submission


2013 October – DPAC 2nd Submission to the UNCRPD Inquiry


2013 December – DPAC 2nd Submission to the UNCRPD Inquiry – Update


2014 January – Letter sent to UK from UN 23 Jan 2014


2014 March – Government Response to the 2nd Submission


2014 August – DPAC 3rd Submission to the UNCRPD Inquiry Aug 2014


2015 October – DPAC Submission



 

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 Posted by at 16:09
Jan 222017
 

If anyone is coming to the event about the UN inquiry on January 24th the venue is now Committee room 12 in House of Commons and no longer in the Wilson room, Portcullis House. Time is still 2.30 pm start but time to get through security is likely to be longer.

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 Posted by at 20:13
Jan 192017
 

Blakeway Productions is making a Channel 4 programme looking at the impact that the new benefit cap will have on households. We are keen to speak to people who have been told that they will be capped. At this stage it would be for an initial chat which wouldn’t mean definitely being included in the programme.
Call or text Bethan for more information on: 07786 901026
Blakeway will process personal data in accordance with their privacy policy.

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 Posted by at 17:57
Jan 172017
 

Message in a bottle.

Today is apparently Blue Monday. A named coined by Dr’s at Cardiff University to predict the day of the year where things are at their bleakest and most depressing.

Currently that is everyday for me. I’m sure that’s true of millions of disabled people and carers at the moment.

Last year was spent fighting for Emily. If I’m honest every year has been spent fighting for Emily since she was diagnosed at 3 with autism. The sad truth is that the fight for her was much easier when she was a disabled child than when she became a disabled adult. Our empathy, funding, services and protocols surrounding vulnerable children is clear. They may be limited but they are clear.

As a society however the rules change when these vulnerable children become vulnerable adults. The spotlight shone brightly on Winterbourne View. We were told things would change for the better. I believe that the intention is there for this to be true but as we know, intention and application are two very different things.

Responsibility and an interpretation of responsibility, are two very different things as well. It doesn’t matter how many people are reminded of their duty of care under the Care Act, it seems there is always a way to stipulate adherence to it, yet a departmental distance from it.

The threat we have lived under everyday for a year now is that Emily may be admitted to an assessment and treatment unit.  This is a psychiatric hospital. I strongly believe and have had this this verified by professionals, that if Emily is placed there, she will never leave.

There is no clinical need for this to happen, but one based on a possibility that Emily’s current care package may break down, due to her behaviours which challenge. I’m told that if that were to happen, there is no other provider able to pick up Emily’s care.

Yesterday I learnt that the lead psychologist in Emily’s care has gone on long term sick leave. This is not their fault, but the system should be robust enough to continue seamlessly for Emily. I don’t have confidence that this will be the case. This person is co-ordinating everything. Problems are still ongoing but now, with no idea of who will pick this up or what will happen to all the outstanding issues, which I’m battling to resolve already, I now feel hopeless.

I’m at breaking point. The fight which consumes my days and torments my mind at night, is an ongoing one because I feel there remains a collective societal lack of knowledge and true understanding of what it means to be an adult with a learning disability.

Emily is tearful and anxious much of the time.

I’m including a portion of an email that I’ve just sent to everyone working with Emily. It’s a reflection of where I am and where Emily might end up through no fault of her own. I feel broken, hopeless and utterly desperate for my daughter. I don’t intend to make things any worse than they are but I have no idea what else to do. If you can circulate this, if you can help or know someone to send this to then please do.

It’s my message in a bottle that I’m throwing into the sea of the internet, in the hope that we can be rescued.

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 Posted by at 22:20
Jan 152017
 

A specialist women’s mental health service attributed with saving lives is facing threat of closure under proposals currently being agreed by Croydon CCG. The 8-bedded facility providing holistic treatment in a supportive peer environment is highly valued by women who have used its services and their families. However, the CCG claim it is too expensive to run and the money cannot be justified for the number of women admitted each year. Women and their families say this is effectively putting a price on women’s lives.

Bromley and Croydon DPAC is asking for support to challenge the closure.

How you can help:

           Tweet at @NHSCroydonCCG calling on them to #SaveFoxleySaveWomen on Tuesday 17th January from 1pm.

          Sign the petition to stop closure. The consultation period has now ended but the campaign to save Foxley Lane is not done yet: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-foxley-lane-women-s-service

          If you are a Croydon resident please write to your local GP (who are members of the CCG) and to your MP. You can find template letters under this post. 

           If you have used Foxley Lane services in the past and are happy, anonymously or otherwise, to share your story about how this service has helped you and why it is important that it stays open please contact: ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.org.uk.

          Join DPAC members at the CCG governing body meeting where they are considering the proposal for closure.  The meeting is taking place 1 – 4pm on Tuesday 17th January 2017 Conference Room, Croydon College, College Road, Croydon, CR9 1DX. If you can come along and want more information contact norwichpete@hotmail.co.uk​

 

For more information about the closure you can read these articles in Inside Croydon:

https://insidecroydon.com/2016/11/25/hundreds-sign-up-to-petition-to-save-foxley-lane/

https://insidecroydon.com/2016/11/25/please-dont-close-foxley-lane-it-saves-womens-lives/

To read our consultation response scroll down to below the template letters.

 

Letter to Croydon GP – please insert any relevant personal experiences of Foxley Lane

Dear

I am writing to you as my GP practice to ask for your support in opposing proposals by Croydon CCG to close Foxley Lane women’s mental health service.

Foxley Lane provides a highly effective and specialised service unavailable in neighbouring boroughs and to the benefit of women in Croydon. Just as this service has saved many lives, its closure will undoubtedly cost lives.

At a time when Government has recognised, in the words of Prime Minister Theresa May, the “burning injustice” of how society treats mental ill health, Foxley Lane is a model of provision that should be celebrated and promoted to improve women’s mental health services elsewhere.

There is wide opposition to the closure with a petition having now reached over 850 signatures and rising.

The recent consultation undertaken by Croydon CCG was inadequate and flawed. 54% of respondents to the consultation survey stated that they did not understand the proposals.

Information in the consultation document is misleading. It suggests that numbers of admissions to Foxley Lane have been falling due to declining need for the service. However, the reason for fewer admissions in 2015/2016 was due to longer stays which is indicative of growing rather than decreasing need.

The consultation document claims that home treatment can better meet the mental health needs of women in Croydon, but this is not a view shared by mental health service users, their organisations or staff. For many women the home environment is a dominant factor behind their need to access the Foxley Lane facility and the effectiveness of the support it provides is due to factors that cannot be replicated by home treatment including peer support and group therapy, 24-hour support and consistency of staffing from long-standing and experienced staff members.

A report for Croydon CCG’s January governing body meeting acknowledges that home treatment will not be able to meet the needs of all women impacted by the Foxley Lane closure and announces plans for a new 14-bedded women-only ward on the Bethlem. Acute wards in a hospital setting are not able to provide the same quality of environment as Foxley Lane and are therefore less effective. Moreover, the consultation proposals did not include this information.

The financial value of closing Foxley Lane does not appear to be as clear as the consultation makes out. Beds on acute wards at the Bethlem are more expensive than Foxley Lane and direct admissions to Foxley Lane prevent more expensive detentions under the Mental Health Act. The effectiveness of the support women receive in this service as a step down facility can also prevent readmissions.

Some of the things women who have used Foxley Lane and their families say:

“It is criminal to close such a unique centre. I owe my life and my road to recovery to the amazing staff and all services provided at Foxley Lane. It would be a great shame for other women to lose out on a place at the centre. A human life and mental stability should not have a price-tag.”

“When I was treated at Foxley Lane it was not tenable for me to remain in my home and receive treatment from a community team yet based on previous experiences, staying on a psychiatric ward can be very difficult and distressing for someone in an already vulnerable state. I am very concerned that if (when) I fall ill again in the future, the Foxley Lane service will not be available to me, and my recovery will take longer, at much greater cost to my family and to the NHS.”

“My own circumstances were unique to me but I was so grateful to be able to go to Foxley. I do feel it saved my life too. There is nowhere like this in the UK certainly not in Croydon and the health service should be using this as a model to copy. The other services in Croydon are not adequate and would have been unsuitable for me and many other women.”

“The service offered at Foxley lane is a showcase of best practice in the tortuous process of rehabilitation into the community for sufferers of severe mental illness. My own personal experience on several occasions with my daughter has seen long periods of difficult isolation at home followed by lengthy hospitalisation only for real and rapid recovery occurring at the Foxley lane facility. The peaceful calm environment and the amazing caring and professional staff combine with the result of a step change in speed of recovery.”

I hope that you would agree that Croydon CCG needs to at least rethink its proposal to close such a vital and effective service and look forward to your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Letter to Croydon MP – please insert any relevant personal experiences of Foxley Lane

Dear

I am writing to you as my constituency MP to ask for your support in opposing proposals by Croydon CCG to close Foxley Lane women’s mental health service.

Foxley Lane provides a highly effective and specialised service unavailable in neighbouring boroughs and to the benefit of women in Croydon. Just as this service has saved many lives, its closure will undoubtedly cost lives.

At a time when Government has recognised, in the words of Prime Minister Theresa May, the “burning injustice” of how society treats mental ill health, Foxley Lane is a model of provision that should be celebrated and promoted to improve women’s mental health services elsewhere.

There is wide opposition to the closure with a petition having now reached over 850 signatures and rising.

The recent consultation undertaken by Croydon CCG was inadequate and flawed. 54% of respondents to the consultation survey stated that they did not understand the proposals.

Information in the consultation document is misleading. It suggests that numbers of admissions to Foxley Lane have been falling due to declining need for the service. However, the reason for fewer admissions in 2015/2016 was due to longer stays which is indicative of growing rather than decreasing need.

The consultation document claims that home treatment can better meet the mental health needs of women in Croydon, but this is not a view shared by mental health service users, their organisations or staff. For many women the home environment is a dominant factor behind their need to access the Foxley Lane facility and the effectiveness of the support it provides is due to factors that cannot be replicated by home treatment including peer support and group therapy, 24-hour support and consistency of staffing from long-standing and experienced staff members.

A report for Croydon CCG’s January governing body meeting acknowledges that home treatment will not be able to meet the needs of all women impacted by the Foxley Lane closure and announces plans for a new 14-bedded women-only ward on the Bethlem. Acute wards in a hospital setting are not able to provide the same quality of environment as Foxley Lane and are therefore less effective. Moreover, the consultation proposals did not include this information.

The financial value of closing Foxley Lane does not appear to be as clear as the consultation makes out. Beds on acute wards at the Bethlem are more expensive than Foxley Lane and direct admissions to Foxley Lane prevent more expensive detentions under the Mental Health Act. The effectiveness of the support women receive in this service as a step down facility can also prevent readmissions.

Finally, there is also a clear conflict between the closure and with national government policy on mental health. The green paper “Improving Lives: disability, health and work” makes clear the Government’s ambition that health services should fit holistically around individuals, tailored to meet individual need in order to better facilitate all Disabled people into employment with no one left behind. Women who have used Foxley in the past have recovered sufficiently to either return to or take up employment as a result of the high quality individualised support available. In line with government aims to address mental health injustice and to support more people with mental health support needs into work, services such as Foxley Lane should be promoted as best practice.

Some of the things women who have used Foxley Lane and their families say:

“It is criminal to close such a unique centre. I owe my life and my road to recovery to the amazing staff and all services provided at Foxley Lane. It would be a great shame for other women to lose out on a place at the centre. A human life and mental stability should not have a price-tag.”

“When I was treated at Foxley Lane it was not tenable for me to remain in my home and receive treatment from a community team yet based on previous experiences, staying on a psychiatric ward can be very difficult and distressing for someone in an already vulnerable state. I am very concerned that if (when) I fall ill again in the future, the Foxley Lane service will not be available to me, and my recovery will take longer, at much greater cost to my family and to the NHS.”

“My own circumstances were unique to me but I was so grateful to be able to go to Foxley. I do feel it saved my life too. There is nowhere like this in the UK certainly not in Croydon and the health service should be using this as a model to copy. The other services in Croydon are not adequate and would have been unsuitable for me and many other women.”

“The service offered at Foxley lane is a showcase of best practice in the tortuous process of rehabilitation into the community for sufferers of severe mental illness. My own personal experience on several occasions with my daughter has seen long periods of difficult isolation at home followed by lengthy hospitalisation only for real and rapid recovery occurring at the Foxley lane facility. The peaceful calm environment and the amazing caring and professional staff combine with the result of a step change in speed of recovery.”

I hope that you would agree that Croydon CCG needs to at least rethink its proposal to close such a vital and effective service and look forward to your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Response to consultation on closure of Foxley Lane women’s mental health service

 

We are deeply concerned by and opposed to proposals by Croydon CCG to close Foxley Lane women’s mental health service. Foxley Lane provides a highly effective and specialised service unavailable in neighbouring boroughs and to the benefit of women in Croydon. At a time when Government has recognised, in the words of Prime Minister Theresa May, the “burning injustice” of how society treats mental ill health, it is a model of provision that should be promoted and built upon to improve women’s mental health services elsewhere. Just as Foxley Lane has saved many lives, its closure will undoubtedly cost lives.

The following response sets out our main points of concern regarding the planned closure.

 

Summary of main points

·         Flawed and inadequate consultation process

·         Disproportionate equalities impact

·         Inappropriateness of home treatment as an alternative

·         Conflict with national government disability policy and negative impact on employment outcomes

·         Questionable value for money

 

Flawed and inadequate consultation process

The engagement document published by Croydon CCG setting out its plans concerning Foxley Lane presented closure as the only option available and feedback from local residents unhappy with the proposals indicates they saw the closure as “a done deal” that they had no power to stop happening.  We believe that this had the effect of limiting the response to the consultation.

Information in the engagement document is misleading. It suggests that falling numbers of admissions to Foxley Lane from a comparison of the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 figures are evidence that need for a service of this type is decreasing. However, the reason for the lower numbers is that length of stays were longer in 2015/16. This is consistent with the wider picture of growing demands on mental health services and does not prove declining need due to improved community services. The engagement document also fails to explain how the referral procedure for Foxley Lane has changed which has restricted access through direct admissions.

The Croydon CCG “Case for Change” report recommending closure of Foxley Lane includes information about a planned 14 bed women only ward at the Bethlem as a mitigating factor in the impact of the closure of Foxley and as additional alternative provision. There is no mention of plans for this new facility in the engagement document which informed the consultation process. The document makes clear that the primary arguments for closure are cost savings and an emphasis on home treatment. However, replacement of some of the service provided by Foxley Lane with new acute inpatient provision represents both additional cost and a move further away from home and community treatment. Costs per bed for acute wards are higher than the costs per bed at Foxley Lane. None of the additional costs associated with alternative provision on an acute wards are included in the proposals outlined in the engagement document.

The consultation survey was publicised predominantly online and may not have reached or been available in a format appropriate to responses from local mental health service users and survivors. Furthermore, the survey questions were both limited and confusing. Despite good attendance at open meetings and over 700 signatures to a petition opposing the closure, only 57 consultation survey responses were received.  54% of respondents said they did not understand the CCG proposals.

Some of the groups and organisations supporting this submission, whose members include women who have used Foxley Lane and their families, only learned about the planned closure shortly before Christmas. A request for an extension to the deadline was denied.

 

Disproportionate equalities impact

We are concerned that the proposals do not put forward adequate measures to mitigate the disproportionate impact that the closure will have in regards to gender, disability and ethnicity.

In Croydon a similar facility for men, Ashton, was closed and replaced by home treatment as an alternative service. Firstly, we would ask what the measured impact of this closure has been. Secondly we would point to differential factors which need to be taken into account when considering the needs of women for both direct admissions to Foxley Lane and for the step-down facility it provides. These include situations including domestic violence and caring responsibilities which are more likely to affect women.  

 

Inappropriateness of home treatment as an alternative

We question the evidence base on which the claim is made that home treatment can deliver more effective outcomes than a stay at Foxley Lane. For many women the home environment is a dominant factor behind their need to access the Foxley Lane facility and the effectiveness of the support it provides is due to factors that cannot be replicated by home treatment including:

          Refuge away from the home environment

          Peer support and group therapy

          Consistency of staffing from long-standing and experienced staff members

          24 hour staff presence

The proposal document claims that home treatment will be a better option as women who use Foxley Lane predominantly come from north of the borough whereas the service is based in South Croydon. We agree that it is detrimental for women to be sent for inpatient treatment many miles from home but do not consider that the distance between the North and the South of the borough presents the same issue. Foxley Lane is well served by Purley transport links and close to local amenities whilst occupying a peaceful environment conducive to restoring well-being. The suggested alternative of an additional ward on the Bethlem would place women in a location with fewer transport links and in an institutionalised setting away from the local community.

There is also evidence that the home treatment service provided in Croydon is currently unable to satisfactorily meet the needs of its existing service users. For example:

           Lack of consistent staffing. Women accessing the home treatment service have described having to go through the same information again and again to new staff.

          Limited visits at set times rather than support being available as and when required.

 

Conflict with national government disability policy and negative impact on employment outcomes

The green paper “Improving Lives: disability, health and work” makes clear the Government’s ambition that health services should fit holistically around individuals, tailored to meet individual need in order to better facilitate all Disabled people into employment with no one left behind.

By closing the Foxley Lane service, Croydon CCG will be restricting the types of service that are available to meet the different needs of women in the borough. The service provided by Foxley Lane has successfully supported women to return to employment following a mental health crisis. We are concerned that replacement of Foxley Lane with less effective treatment options will negatively impact on the employment outcomes of Disabled women in Croydon.

 

Questionable Value for Money

The consultation document makes clear that the intention behind the closure of Foxley Lane is to save money. Foxley Lane provides a service that is different from anything else on offer and just as it has saved the lives of many women, its closure will cost lives. To deem the service too expensive to continue to run is to in effect put a price on a woman’s life. It also ignores the social returns from enabling a woman to continue in her role within her family and as a member of her community.

As a purely financial exercise the proposal is however also questionable. The cost per bed at Foxley Lane is cheaper than per bed on a ward at the Bethlem. The current context is one where detainment under the Mental Health Act is rapidly increasing as low level and preventative services are cut. The resulting chronic bed shortage is leading to patients being sent many miles away to available places in acute settings. Acute wards provide a very different environment to the one on offer at Foxley Lane where chaos and disturbances can exacerbate and prolong mental distress. There is a likelihood that the closure of Foxley will result in:

·         a rise in more expensive admissions to acute wards

·         increased stays on more expensive acute wards due to a lack of step down facility

·         increased pressure on inpatient beds through readmissions due to the lack of availability of more effective holistic support as provided at Foxley Lane

 

Some of the things women who have used Foxley Lane and their families have told us:

“It is criminal to close such a unique centre. I owe my life and my road to recovery to the amazing staff and all services provided at Foxley Lane. It would be a great shame for other women to lose out on a place at the centre. A human life and mental stability should not have a price-tag.”

“When I was treated at Foxley Lane it was not tenable for me to remain in my home and receive treatment from a community team yet based on previous experiences, staying on a psychiatric ward can be very difficult and distressing for someone in an already vulnerable state. I am very concerned that if (when) I fall ill again in the future, the Foxley Lane service will not be available to me, and my recovery will take longer, at much greater cost to my family and to the NHS.”

“My own circumstances were unique to me but I was so grateful to be able to go to Foxley. I do feel it saved my life too. There is nowhere like this in the UK certainly not in Croydon and the health service should be using this as a model to copy. The other services in Croydon are not adequate and would have been unsuitable for me and many other women.”

“The service offered at Foxley lane is a showcase of best practice in the tortuous process of rehabilitation into the community for sufferers of severe mental illness. My own personal experience on several occasions with my daughter has seen long periods of difficult isolation at home followed by lengthy hospitalisation only for real and rapid recovery occurring at the Foxley lane facility. The peaceful calm environment and the amazing caring and professional staff combine with the result of a step change in speed of recovery.”

 

 

 

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Jan 142017
 

callout for a new zine on mental health, capitalism and other intersections of oppression that I think your members and followers would be interested in, called "intersectioned: mental health under capitalism". We're making this zine because we think it's a really important issue, and it would be great to have a readily available resource on it. It would be amazing if you could share this callout with your members and on your social media channels, as we would like to reach as broad a range of potential contributors as possible.

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 Posted by at 13:09
Jan 132017
 

reblogged from Transport for All (mostly)

Wheelchair-user Doug Paulley had successfully sued First Bus Group in 2013 after he had been denied access to one of their buses because a bus driver didn’t enforce priority in the wheelchair space and a buggy owner refused to make room for him. But this decision was overturned by the Appeal Court in November 2014. The Supreme Court will now give their verdict on Wednesday.

After months of waiting, the judgment in Doug Paulley’s case vs First Bus Group is finally to be handed down at the Supreme Court next Wednesday January 18th at 9.45am. 

As you may know their decision could have wide implications for wheelchair and mobility scooter users who want to travel by bus in the UK. If the original verdict in Mr Paulley’s favour is upheld by the Supreme Court, then the requirement in law to give a wheelchair/mobility scooter user access to the wheelchair space will be absolutely undeniable, and all bus companies will have to enforce it. This is the reason why Transport for All has supported Doug from the beginning.

On this day, we would like to gather with as many Disabled and older people as possible to show First Bus Group that disabled people everywhere are standing up for our right to ride.
Join us to show our support for Doug Paulley on this historic day.

 

WHEN: 9am, Wednesday 18th January 2017
WHERE: In front of the Supreme Court 
(nearest accessible Tube station is Westminster. Buses: 148, 211).

 

Please email Raphael if you would like to join the rally:

raphael@transportforall.org.uk

Please note that at 9.45am, one of the Justices will deliver a brief summary of the Court’s decision lasting around five minutes. Due to the appalling access at the High Court the number of spaces for wheelchair users is unfortunately very limited. On top of the space booked for people who’ve got a close connection to this case, there are an extra 6 places available which will be allocated via ballot by the Supreme Court .

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 Posted by at 16:14
Jan 062017
 

Damian Green scary badgeThis is the new “must have” accessory in 2017 for the properly turned out street activist. Tastefully designed in shades of lurid green, it features Damian Green in a scene from “The Omen” with the caption “The Tories, more frightening that fiction”.

It costs a quid plus 78p postage. The quid will go to DPAC campaign funds and the 78p will go towards buying the newly privatised Royal Mail bosses a new private plane probably, but we can’t do anything about that.

If you want one (or more ) you can buy it here

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 Posted by at 14:54
Jan 052017
 

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 Posted by at 15:40
Jan 052017
 

If anyone is willing to help with either of these requests please contact the relevant person directly.

Loss of Motability Vehicles 

I’m a TV producer based in Southampton looking into PIP and Motability.  I’m looking for someone to film who is having to hand back a car and would like to speak to people who might be affected by this especially anyone willing to be filmed when their car is removed.

Feel free to circulate this email.

Jane Goddard

Assistant Editor Inside Out South

jane.goddard@bbc.co.uk

BBC South, Havelock Road, Southampton, SO14 7PU – 07740 732402

Removal of Benefits from people

My name is Jemma and I am a Producer making a BBC Three documentary with Stephen Manderson, also known as Professor Green, exploring the issue of families raising children with low incomes across the UK. I came across your campaign group in my research and I am hoping you may be able to help. Stephen Manderson, grew up in Hackney and is an award winning rap artist and documentary filmmaker. The film we are making follows on from the success of his recent BBC Three documentaries: ‘Suicide and Me’ about his personal experience of losing his father to suicide and ‘Hidden and Homeless’. In this new documentary, Professor Green will set out to understand the experience of families facing hardship in the UK. As an important part of Stephen’s journey we would like to speak to families with children who feel their benefits status or payments shifted at a time when they were unwell or vulnerable. I completely appreciate the sensitivities around this area as many have lost loved ones which is heart breaking and I understand even more so where they feel they have been let down by the benefits system. I would like to open up a conversation with you at DPAC to see if you may be able to help us reach out to families who might be open to having an initial chat about their experiences with the DWP? If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me on the below numbers or via email. I very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jemma Gander Producer The Garden One America Street London SE1 0NE T: +44 (0) 20 7620 6734 F: +44 (0) 20 7620 6724 M: + 44 (0) 784 000 3976 E: jemma.gander@thegardenproductions.tv

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 Posted by at 14:55
Jan 022017
 
My name is Helen and I am a Trainee Clinical Psychologist from Lancaster University. I am conducting research as part of my doctoral thesis about the psychological impact of benefits sanctions following the Work Capability Assessment process and what impact this had, if any, on peoples’ mental health and outlook. I’m involved with Pyschs Against Austerity who DPAC and MHRN both work closely with.

If you have a diagnosed mental health condition? Have you experienced the Work Capability Assessment? Have your benefits been sanctioned because of this assessment? .

The purpose of this research is to understand the psychological impact of benefits sanctions following the Work Capability Assessment process and what impact this had, if any, on your mental health and outlook. If you would like to take part in the study, you would be invited to be interviewed to discuss these experiences for around one hour. . It would be useful for this to be in the North West but I am willing to travel if necessary. I can also help with any travel costs people have up to £20.

If you would like to take part or would like more information, please email the principal researcher, Helen McGauley, email h.mcgauley@lancaster.ac.uk Please share this with anyone else who you think might be interested in taking part. Thanking you in advance, Helen McGauley

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 Posted by at 16:57