Nov 162017
 

On the 22nd of November, the statistics of “excess winter deaths” from 2016 will be released.

At the same time, Ofgem are considering details of their “safeguard” cap, which excludes many who need it most – see post about this here: https://dpac.uk.net/tag/vulnerable-customer-safeguard-cap/

Fuel Poverty Action believes next week would be a good opportunity to present Ofgem with a letter in person explaining why it is wrong to exclude disabled people from their proposed safeguard tariff and is asking for help to get the message across.

If you are disabled and can’t afford your energy bills and are happy to speak to the media about how this affects you (anonymously or otherwise) please contact  fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com.

We would also like to invite people to come and join in handing over the letter on Tuesday 21 November, at 11 a.m. at the Ofgem office, 9 Millbank SW1P 3GE. We’re planning on making this loud and colourful outside the building, so banners and placards are encouraged! If you can make it then please let Fuel Poverty Action know.

 

 Posted by at 01:11
Nov 102017
 

Mon 13 November at 9 am is the deadline for responses to a proposed limited cap on energy prices.

You may know that the government has for over a year been promising relief for people who pay the default “standard variable tariff” (SVT) – and who are getting ripped off as a result. Meanwhile prices have soared, and so have suppliers’ profits. A small cap on tariffs has been brought in for people with Prepayment Meters. It’s inadequate, but better than nothing. For people with credit meters, Theresa May promised a cap, then went back on it, then promised it again: u-turn upon u-turn. And she is now reassuring the energy industry that it will take ages, if it comes in at all. But meanwhile, the energy regulator Ofgem, with government support, is proposing a limited “safeguarding” cap, which would apply only to people who receive the Warm Home Discount.

Here the story gets murky. Warm Home Discount – worth £140 a year off your electricity bill — is awarded automatically to pensioners on low incomes. People deemed “vulnerable” for other reasons – particularly disability or illness, or children aged 5 or under, can apply to their energy supplier and may get it, but it is “first come first served” with a limited pot, and all the suppliers have different requirements to say who qualifies, mostly based on what benefits you receive. Some smaller suppliers don’t offer Warm Home Discount at all.

This means that despite being eligible, disabled people and children will often be excluded – not only from the discount itself, but now from the cap, which Ofgem say could save the average user around £120 a year. That is a total of over £260 a year, and much more if you need the heat on a lot or use a lot of power.

Ofgem are consulting on this plan, and Fuel Poverty Action will be telling them that this is particularly shocking. Disabled people often need more heat, for medical reasons or if we’re home a lot, and can suffer much worse effects if we can’t afford to keep warm. And, having been hit hardest by multiple cuts, disabled people are in a worse position to deal with rising fuel prices. The same is true for the parents of babies and young children, with benefit cuts, universal credit and low wages causing a massive increase in child poverty.

There is even a risk that, if the cap is applied to some people, the people who don’t qualify for the cap may see our fuel prices rise by even more, as suppliers try to make up the difference through cross-subsidisation!

An Ofgem press release says they will “Ofgem will work on extending price protection to at least a further 2 million vulnerable households for winter next year once the timing of the Government’s price cap is confirmed”. However, there is nothing about this “work” in the actual consultation papers; instead they repeatedly say that to bring the cap in quickly, they will limit it to people who already get the Warm Home Discount.

Fuel Poverty Action think a cap should apply across the board – no means-testing, no cliff-edge where your bills go up if you get knocked off disability benefits, or get a rise in pay, or get married … The prices are too high for everyone now, thousands of people in all sorts of situations are dying from cold every year, and suppliers are making a killing.
But in the meantime, the Ofgem cap is scheduled to come in this coming February. At the very least, it should apply to everyone who would be eligible for Warm Home Discount, whether or not you actually get it. If you want to help make sure that the cap covers more of the people who need it most urgently, you can send a simple email to:

Jemma Baker at vulnerability@ofgem.gov.uk, by 9am on Monday 13 November

And send us a copy at fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com!

Tell them: warm homes are a right – not a “first-come-first-served” lottery!

Feel free to check out our response for inspiration.

Cold homes, fuel poverty, climate change, millions of homes in debt to their energy supplier, huge profits for the Big Six… the energy system isn’t working.
Another energy system is possible! Get behind the Fuel Poverty Action Energy Bill of Rights

 

Nov 062017
 

Dear friends and colleagues

I am writing to invite you to the launch of the Austerity Campaign Action Pack, being developed by the Austerity Action Group formed by BASW following the Boot Out Austerity walk, with the support of the Social Workers Union.

The flyer for the event is attached and I would be grateful if you could share this widely. It is taking place on the evening of Thursday 30th November, at the University of Salford. It is a free, UK-wide event at which we will be hearing of anti-austerit activity in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. We are delighted that Rebecca Long-Bailey, a member of the Shadow Cabinet, will be speaking, alongside other notable speakers; and there will also be music, songs, poems, readings and film, in true Boot Out Austerity style. See the flyer for more details.

Food and refreshments will also be served.

You are receiving this email because of the interest you expressed in Boot Out Austerity. If you’d rather not receive future emails regarding BASW’s austerity campaigning, let me know by email, and I will remove your details from the mailing list.

Best wishes

Guy

Guy Shennan

BASW Chair

07841 529798

Visit our website at basw.co.uk

Wellesley House, 37 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP. Tel 0121 622 3911

The British Association of Social Workers is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No. 982041.

 Posted by at 19:49
Nov 032017
 

DPAC received this letter a while ago. At first, it did not make sense. What was Swanee? Then, looking around, we started to make connections with words associated with swans and babies’s swans.

UP THE SWANEE:

Hello, you have reached the SWAN,

kontroller of many Sicknets.

Fancy a stay in one of our private mental health hospitals?

Don’t fret about the cost! The NHS pay us approx £12,000 – £32,000  per week (all dividends boosting a USA owned company).

Long stays are assured.

Correct treatments not guaranteed.

All our staff are lovely (in our opinion), we are talking textbooks enjoying our very rewarding jobs patronising clients, dodging real issues, & creating drug addicts.

On average, we will force you to take 24 pills every 12 hours – so we can stay in our offices, & keep you feeling unwell.

If you don’t swallow, law says it’s OK for you to be thrown to the floor, held down & forcibly injected.

If you dare to raise a little finger to defend yourself, we accuse you of assault, police come, you are blamed.

No, whilst in our “care” you will not be allowed to leave, or go outside. You stay inside, with no fresh air, activities or access to education.

There’s no point us providing that as patients are too drugged to do anything.

Yes, our slick, well oiled sales pitch, aimed at maximising numbers of customers, does give onlookers the impression we provide HOTEL like facilities – a gym for example.

We have an Occupational Therapist. I’m not sure why – in this heat nobody has much motivation…

But our brand new buildings –  quickly put up constructions similar to MacDonalds, are a facade.

Seems like patients are on holiday!

There’s even a chef to cook your meals.

Admittedly it’s not homely. It is like living in a glass office 24/7 with approx 30 complete strangers – some of whom are dangerous – full of fear – desperate to go out / escape.

So you’re watched by staff & cameras 24/7.

Staff control everything! What you can read, you are not allowed to write (a pen is a potential weapon). But if you want to cut yourself with razor blades, that’s OK, we  can’t watch you all the time! Ha ha. (Even though we are paid to safeguard you).

When you realise you are suffering from EXTREME boredom caused by not doing anything month after month, year after year – you may develop some nasty new habits like trying to gauge your eyeballs out.

It is upsetting for staff. But these side effects are all due to your illness, and part of your recovery. It is a sign of progress! Due to your condition getting worse.

No! None of what you are feeling / suffering is attributable to your environment, or fact you are being tortured by us.

This is new-style USA medical kidnapping, in the UK, with the image all sorted out so it seems palatable to less discerning eyes.

Oh, we don’t worry about inspections, inquests, complaints, or cuts in NHS funding!

Who do you think our shareholders are?

Anyone can invest in our multi-Billion $ business – the funders of NHS Commissioning groups do, MH Trusts… acquire shares – it’s a fast growing industry – very attractive to most (& not repulsive enough to cause disternation amongst those who might see through the sham. Or should I say scam?)

(It suits Conservatives – they cause the conditions that drive folk to distraction – the stressful conditions Tories like to inflict on lower income groups beneath them, increases illnesses – if it’s cogs that go, all drives ’em to our door, so it’s win win for us!

It’s not a revolving door! We let ’em in a door we then keep shut.

That’s all we need to do really – herd ’em in like cattle.

Of course we don’t like deaths! That’s a loss of approx at least £300,000 a year per expired patient.

Quickly replaced by another dying to get in, yes. But we would prefer to get that £300 grand plus  get another £300 grand.

Never mind.  Our insurance covers us against dead losses.

Luckily for us (on the dark side) nobody has scrutinised deaths caused. Nobody in authority wants to link them!

Each death is explained away by a coroner scattered someplace in the UK, if we get told off a bit for not providing the best care, we promise to improve, and jackpot!

We’ve perfected our operation – our branding – everything – so disgruntled relatives can’t even leave negative comments on our websites. We churn out photos to promote us… I particularly like  awards put in our reception areas –  so  assuring to our customers & clients, reminding them what we do is very rewarding.

Our complaints procedure has become increasingly obscure.

We say one thing, do another. 99% we get away with it. We hire a pretty youngling to listen pseudo sympathetically, then write saying you have got it wrong, the hospital is right. Works like a charm! Complaints fade away like patients

No, we don’t allow 2nd opinions when it’s claimed a patient is misdiagnosed, or put on a wrong ward.

Yes, we do get annoying Nearest Relatives to either put up & shut up, or get lost.

What’s it to us if a patient is 100’s of miles from home with no-one to check on their welfare?

Do we help alleviate the mental health of patients?

A few compliant types – 1 or 2 are released.  We love it when the grateful sing our praises – that’s good PR.

If discharged into the community – you still have to take all the drugs, or you are sent back on a Section.

So, we create the illusion we do, but we don’t.

If you say you have a mental health problem, I’ll give it a name, I’ll tie you in knots – you haven’t got a degree in psychobabble, but I have – I get paid to confuse you, throw the weight of the establishment on you and they will back me, not you…because… I am omnipotent… so big & powerful…

What’s the point in making patients better?

That is counter productive for us. You do see that, don’t you?

Ethics? What’s that got to do with us? We are not in the business of selling ethics! We’re here (to exploit and) make money. From drug sales…

Yes, we are fundamentally (excuse the pun) very different from the founding NHS principles. The NHS aim to get you better double quick.

We do not need a heart, soul, or conscience to make huge profits. We only care about acceptably fixing figures so attractive sums end up in offshore accounts.

I should care about tricking people, destroying quality of lives, futures?

No thanks, the money does me. Their mental health has gone to pot. My pot!

So, when are you signing up to join us?

You can trust in me, I’m a professional.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 21:51
Nov 012017
 

A little later than planned is our second blog about Cygnet Health Care and what appears to be their shocking treatment and restraint regimes. The latter seems almost certainly to be illegal yet NHS England continues to have a £300 million deal with them.

This couldn’t of course have anything to do with the fact that Cygnet is now owned by US Universal Health Services, whose executive was Simon Stevens now head of NHS England.

Payers of $8.4 million for false claims Universal Health Services take over Cygnet Health Care for £205 Million.

MP Louise Hague has also written to the health secretary to demand an urgent meeting about the quality of care at Cygnet Hospital Sheffield.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the hospital “inadequate” on safety.

The CQC has held inspections at the site three times in 13 months, two of which were prompted by serious incidents.

Similarly Cygnet hospital, Woking was actually forced to close down and some of the more disturbing findings included adolescents allowed to self-harm with objects they found in the rubbish, while four allegations of sexual assault were reported by patients supposedly under “constant observation” there.

Investigators found that staff on the adolescent wards had used physical restraint 839 times in six months, including 88 cases of face-down restraint.

A patient also required emergency help after being given a significant overdose of medicine.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/14/vindictive-hospital-staff-taunted-young-psychiatric-patients/

The most recent CQC report for Woking found

http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAG7870.pdf

Ratings

Overall rating for this location

Inadequate

–––

Are services safe? Inadequate

–––

Are services effective? Inadequate

–––

Are services caring? Requires improvement

–––

Are services responsive? Requires improvement

–––

Are services well-led? Inadequate––

 

And then there are the worrying number of deaths which have been allowed to occur including

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/24-year-old-dies-in-cygnet-after-11-forced-olanzapine-injections-in-10-days/

 

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/jodies-cygnet-help-no-psychologist-communicationassessment-plan-protection-death-for-21000/amp/

Let us remind ourselves of Cygnet’s record on ‘treatment’.

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/a-christmas-tale-of-autistic-lives-and-cygnets-12500-a-week-nhs-bonanza/

And the fact that Cygnet is now owned by US Universal Health Services, whose executive was Simon Stevens now head of NHS England.

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/payers-of-8-4-million-for-false-claims-universal-health-services-take-over-cygnet-health-care-for-205-million/

And let us remind ourselves that rehabilitation to enable going ‘home’, is a home of drugged containment termed ‘community living’, also increasingly owned by US Universal Health Services via Cambian.

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/adult-treatment-units-to-community-living-turf-war-for-billions/

And here we have workers comments on Cygnet’s services.

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/comments-on-cygnets-services/

Finola Moss sums up her views on Cygnet and their service provision for autistic people.

Autistic people are huge cash cows, they earn Cygnet £13,000 a week being rapidly tranquilised in a secure Unit, whenever they are deemed ‘unmanageable’ in community placement or rehabilitation.

The Spring Centre with this new provision for an extra 14 men in locked rehabilitation and 4 rapid/emergency tranquilisation beds, earn £13,000 a week per ‘patient’ in addition to the existing 26 bed low secure units where each ‘patient’ earns £7,000 a week. That is £416,000 a week.

Over one and a half million a month and over 16 million a year ‘to look after’ 44 autistic people.

And what do they get for this colossal amount of public money ?

Renovation of a large house in a cheap area, plenty of drugs until compliant, containment, a consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, a nurse practitioner, an occupational therapist, a manager and deputy, and minimum ratio to patient care workers/nurses on shifts, and cooking, cleaning and laundry provision.

Is there any competition ? No, as Cygnet is deemed the only ‘specialist provider’ under HSCA 2012.

The ‘patients’ have no rights, as sectioned each year under MHA and if necessary deemed ‘incapable’ for life under the MCA with yearly rubber stamped reviews of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. All this in their ‘best interests’.

Please help us get A moved from Cygnet Derby to live nearer her grandmother and out of the clutches of Cygnet.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/798/440/513/release-my-grandayghter-from-detention-in-cygnet-private-hospital/?taf_id=44510916&cid=twitter

 Posted by at 21:19
Oct 282017
 

To confirm attendance please email
ellen.morrison@inclusionlondon.org.uk 

And with any information about any dietary and access requirements. There is parking outside and the nearest tube is Brixton. For more information about the venue see:

http://www.weare336.org.uk/

There will be more detailed information including programme for the day, workshops and speakers list to follow after the National Disabled People’s Summit is out of the way

Please share this information across your social media platforms

 Posted by at 20:56
Oct 282017
 
By the kilburn Unemployed Workers GrouK
The government has already closed 24 jobcentres since August this year. They plan to close a further 78 Jobcentres by April of 2018.
16 of these Jobcentres are in London.
Poor people and people facing the biggest challenges need local jobcentres, not some superhub that they have to walk miles to reach.
Benefit money is too little to cover regular trips on public transport. People will have to walk. And don’t be late or too ill to walk over a mile each way whenever the jobcentre demands it-– you’ll be up for a sanction!
The Torys say that much of the jobcentres work is now done online, but 5.3 million people in Britain have never used the internet, and 10 million lack the basic digital skills. And millions of these people will be in receipt of benefits.
You can’t use the internet if you can’t afford a computer or a mobile phone contract or or the fee for using library or internet cafe
You can’t use the internet if you are illiterate (and six to eight million Britons are borderline or fully illiterate)
Our local Jobcentres, Kilburn and Neasden, serve one of the most deprived areas in the country. If they are closed then over half of the borough of Camden and around two thirds of Brent will be more than half a mile from the nearest jobcentre, i.e. more than a mile round trip. These areas contain heavily populated areas: a lot of people are going to be affected.
In amongst the people who can’t use the internet are hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their disability benefit because they aren’t disabled enough for the Tories. They may be able to walk just 200 meters, or sometimes panic when out and get lost, or nor be able to plan a journey to places they dont know, or have epilepsy. They may be seriously depressed or suffering from brain fog brought on by medication or illnesses like Fibromyalgia. They may be recovering from Cancer or waiting for a heart operation. They may have variable conditions that mean that they can’t guarantee being able to go out at all on any particular day.
Let’s meet outside the DWP’s headquarters at Caxton House and let them know what we think about this. Save our Jobcentres!
The 16 London jobcentres that are closing are:
Highgate, – 24 November 2017
Eltham, – 1 December 2017
Edgware,  – 8 December 2017
Finchley,  12 January 2018
Dagenham, – 19 January 2018
Southall,  January 2018
Kingston,  February 2018
Brixton,  9 February 2018
Neasden Chancel House,  16 February 2018
Clapham Maritime House, – 23 February 2018
Kilburn,  2 March 2018
Hammersmith 9 March 2018
Croydon, – 16 March 2018
Wandsworth,  23 March 2018
Leytonstone, 30 March 2018
Hounslow, 1 – 6 April 2018
 Posted by at 19:15
Oct 282017
 
It’s been reported http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/disabled-people-interned-care-homes-nhs-cost-cutting-a8019906.html that across the country disabled people are receiving threats from their local NHS service that they may have to be moved from living in their own homes to a residential setting due to newly capped funding.
 
I’m looking to speak to disabled people in this situation to raise awareness of the issue. Please note, it isn’t necessary that you’ve actually been moved to a care home but that you’ve been directly told this is a possibility. 
 
Please get in touch on: frances.ryan.freelance@guardian.co.uk 
 Posted by at 19:05
Oct 272017
 

BBC Sunday Politics South East is making a news piece about the closure of Jobcentres. From next March people in the Whitstable and Herne Bay areas will have to travel to Canterbury, which can take up to an hour on public transport and cost up to £6.70. The BBC are looking for an individual or family who will be affected by these changes who would be happy to appear on TV and are available for filming on WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 1. Filming will take around an hour. If you can help please contact the South East team on 0207 407 9292. Many thanks. 

 Posted by at 16:12
Oct 272017
 
Please send your experience of the ESA or PIP assessment or your experience of waiting for an assessment to Henrietta.Doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk by the 8 November.   Suggestions to improve the assessment process are also welcome.
Inclusion London will be sending written evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into PIP and ESA assessments and your evidence will be used to inform our evidence.
 Posted by at 13:22
Oct 252017
 

We know that Universal credit is a mess, but what about HMRC’s Real Time Information system ? The following contribution from Stephen Timms based on a Freedom of Information request is very interesting. It seems that over 5% of payments to individuals by HMRC were reported being paid late.  HMRC does not monitor the missing or incorrect payments, but we know that Universal Credit is being underpaid. So not only claimants have to contend with long waiting times, but when they are paid via RTI, over 5% are paid late, and an unknown number of claimants don’t receive anything, or an incorrect payment, mostly at their disadvantage. What experts are saying, is that 5,7% is an unacceptably high rate of late payments.  The number of late, missing and incorrect payments should be well lower than 1% if UC is going to work

Stephen Timms’ contribution comes from yesterday debate on UC

.

“Under universal credit, everybody’s monthly pay is automatically sent to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs through the pay-as-you-earn RTI—real-time information—system, and HMRC then sends that to the DWP so that it can do the universal credit calculation. There have been rumours for some time that the RTI system does not work very well. I have tabled questions about that, but the Minister has flatly denied that there is a problem.

It emerged last month, through a freedom of information request submitted by a member of the public, Mr John Slater, that there is a thing called the “Late, Missing and Incorrect RTI Project”. If RTI is late, missing or incorrect, we have a problem, because it is not possible to do the required universal credit calculation. I therefore tabled a question for the Minister:

“To ask…what the remit and activities of the Late, Missing and Incorrect RTI Project are.”

The Minister sent back an answer telling me that it did not exist and that there was no such thing. Fortunately, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs was more forthcoming on this point. I got a written answer last week from the Treasury, dated 16 October, to my written question 107309, which stated that:

“The vast majority of Real Time Information submissions are accurate and on time. However, a very small number of data quality issues create discrepancies and these can have an effect on an individual’s tax and benefits position.”

Indeed they can, because if the information is wrong, people’s benefit calculations will also be wrong.

The following day, 17 October, also from the more helpful of these two departments, the Treasury answer to my question 107475 stated that:

“during the 2016/17 tax year approximately 590m payments to individuals were reported via RTI. 5.7% of these were reported late. HMRC does not hold the information in respect of missing and incorrect reports.”

If over 5% of them were just late, never mind the ones that were missing or incorrect, we do have a serious problem.

Looking through all the submissions we received, briefing us ahead of this debate, I was struck by the one from the Child Poverty Action Group, referring to,

“difficulty making claims for universal credit, with many online claims seeming to ‘disappear’.

Universal credit being underpaid because ‘real time information’ provided by HMRC regarding income is not always reliable or accurate.

Claimants being paid the wrong amount of universal credit for no apparent reason.”

What is happening is that the IT is not doing what it is supposed to do.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Ruth Cadbury) referred to the anonymous report in The Independent a couple of weeks ago by someone working in a jobcentre, who talked about the grim reality of administering universal credit, rather by contrast with the enthusiasm with which Tory Members have told us that people are working on this. That writer made the point that when there is a discrepancy between what people were paid and what HMRC says they were paid—in other words, an RTI problem—it takes ages to sort that problem out. Members representing constituencies where universal credit has been fully rolled out report endless mistakes, delays and errors, which take weeks and weeks to resolve.

Another reason why this project’s roll-out should be paused and then fixed is to stop these problems being inflicted on tens of thousands more.

 Posted by at 15:54
Oct 162017
 

This is the first in our series of articles about Cygnet Health Care owned by yet another abominable US corporation, US Universal Health Services. This blog by Finola Moss tells how this corporation has taken over the private ownership of a very large portion of our MH services and now rakes in profits from the abuse of its victims – oh sorry that should say patients.

You may want to tweet to Cygnet @cygnethealth

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/payers-of-8-4-million-for-false-claims-universal-health-services-take-over-cygnet-health-care-for-205-million/

Payers of $8.4 million for false claims Universal Health Services take over Cygnet Health Care for £205 Million.

Cygnet Health Care is one of mainly three providers of mental health services in England.

Mental Health Services are paid over 21 billion of our 95 billion NHS budget.

In 2014 Cygnet was bought by USA’s Universal Health Services (UHS) for £205 million..
http://www.healthinvestor.co.uk/ShowArticle.aspx?ID=4285

Simons Stevens, chief executive of the group’s global division for 10 years after advising Blair on NHS public investment, is chief executive of NHS England, responsible for all NHS services commissioning.

England.https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/23/simon-stevens-nhs-chief-private-past-uk?CMP=share_btn_tw

Cygnet Health Care then increased UHS’s UK mental health footprint by a £95 million acquisition of Alpha Hospitals .

http://www.healthinvestor.co.uk/ShowArticle.aspx?ID=4274&search=Alpha

In September 2012, UHS, and its subsidiaries, Keystone Education and Youth Services LLC and Keystone Marion LLC,Keystone Marion Youth Center, agreed to pay over $6.9 million to settle allegations that they had submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid.

Between October 2004 and March 2010, these subsidiaries provided substandard psychiatric counselling and treatment to adolescents in breach of Medicaid requirements.

And, the United States alleged UHS had falsely represented Keystone Marion Youth Centre, as a residential treatment facility, providing inpatient psychiatric services to Medicaid enrolled children, when in fact, it was a juvenile detention facility.

It further alleged, that neither a medical director, nor, licensed psychiatrist provided the required direction for psychiatric services or for the development of initial or continuing treatment plans.

The settlement also settled allegations, that the service providers filed false records or statements to Medicaid, when they filed treatment plans, that falsely represented the level of services that would be provided to the patients.

See below under Other Medicaid Matters p33.

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/dag/legacy/2013/02/12/hcfacreport2012.pdf

In July 2002, the New York State Insurance Department fined United Health Care $1.5 million for ‘cheating patients out of money’.

Is this the sort of ethos that should now control a quarter of public, enforced, secret unaccountable services to our most vulnerable and receive a tenth of our NHS budget ?

In 2011 Cygnet was warned by the Care Quality Commission that staffing levels at Cygnet Wing Blackheath were inadequate..

http://www.cqc.org.uk/media/cqc-warns-cygnet-health-care-limited-it-failing-protect-safety-and-welfare-people-0

Improvements were still required at the CQC inspection in April 2014.

In 2013 the Care Quality Commission issued a warning to Cygnet Hospital Bierley because the service was failing to ensure that appropriate records were kept.
http://www.cqc.org.uk/node/779979

John Hughes, an American founded Cygnet in 1987 after turning the Priory around.

In 2004 Cygnet was valued at £120m in a deal with Barchester Healthcare, which earned Hughes a £19m cash windfall.

Barchester, is part-owned by John Magnier and JP McManus, the Irish racing tycoons who owned Winterbourne View’s Castlebeck,.

They bought a quarter of Cygnet’s business for £30m, and Hughes, and a fellow director took a £7m stake in Barchester.

Hughes completed a £340m buy-out in 2008, backed by Mr Wilson’s health care group Grove, which had bought a 25pc stake in Cygnet years earlier.

And would have received another windfall.

In 2014 Hughes’ sale to UHS earned him a £30 million windfall.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/privateequity/11037997/Priory-Group-in-talks-to-buy-psychiatric-rival-Cygnet.html

Tycoons have made millions from mental health services now 87% financed by public NHS money, whilst public trusts are cash strapped and in debt.

And, are set to make far more profit from the governments drive ‘to parity with physical health’, and now have nearly a quarter of the NHS budget.

Yet from CQC reports mental health services in the UK are getting worse not better.

And the physical health of mental patients and effect of enforced medication is ignored and a report in 2013 revealed 3 a day are dying needlessly.

Robert Kehoe , psychiatrist, advertises himself, as an ‘expert witness’, is now the medical director of Cygnet, and, has apparently, advertised some of their units as being for ‘resistant service users’.

http://www.kehoemedical.co.uk/curriculum_vitae.html

https://www.cygnethealth.co.uk/news/dr-robert-kehoe/

Dr Kehoe was an NHS Consultant for nine years and Assistant Medical Director at Airedale NHS Trust and produces 80 to 100 psychiatric reports per year for Courts and Tribunals.

He is also responsible office for Cygnet Healthcare with national responsibilities for the regulation and revalidation of medical practitioners.

So, one expert, now controls the appraisals and code of conduct of all psychiatrist services and opinions, in a multimillion pound conglomerate, serving a quarter of all mental health services.

Universal Health Services and Cygnets’ overriding ethos, is to make as much profit as possible for its directors, managers and investors.

Does this not conflict with the professional independence of the psychiatrists, psychologists, practitioners, who work for Cygnet, and are subject to Cygnet’s stringent codes of conduct and continual appraisal systems ?

All hospitals and medical directors and professionals are under strict regular appraisals and uniformity.

http://www.gmc-uk.org/case_study_5.pdf_49056195.pdf

How does this promote, the diversity of opinion needed for best practice, particularly, in the uncertain arena of psychiatric medicine ?

 

 Posted by at 13:54
Oct 122017
 

Draft transport accessibility action plan consultation

 Although there are many issues that need to be raised in this consultation one important aspect is the loss of guards on trains which will make travelling by rail even more arduous for disabled people than it already is.

As we well know, guards and station staff are absolutely crucial to ensuring safe, secure and accessible rail services for all.  This message though is lost to the Rail Minister who has launched a consultation on what action Government, regulators, transport operators or providers can take to increase accessibility, at the same time as the axing of staff on the service.

With 13.3 million people reporting a disability in the UK in 2015/16 the importance of this government consultation cannot be ignored. It is 73 pages long and covers all transport forms. Everyone can respond in detail to its questions if they want to.

However I am writing because it is essential that everyone responds stating that they want more not less staff at stations and on trains. It is all the staff on the railway who provide invaluable information, help, assistance, advice, security, safety and re-assurance. They must be retained at stations and on trains if disabled, old and vulnerable passengers are not going to be discriminated against and are free to travel as and when they want, safe in the knowledge that help is close by.

The full document can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-transport-accessibility-action-plan

You can e-mail as an individual AAPConsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk or write to

Accessibility Action Plan Consultation

Department for Transport

Zone 2/14

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road

London SW1P 4DR

You only need to provide your name and address and state you want your comment about the need for more staff at stations and on trains noted in respect of this Accessibility Action Plan consultation. You should state you are writing as a passenger or as a disabled person and do it by the 15th November.

It is vital that responses are returned to the government and if everyone sends a clear message they will have to listen. Please respond now and share this e-mail with friends and family asking them to do the same.

 Posted by at 12:43
Oct 102017
 

Many Local Authorities have now started to ask people to contribute part or most of their DLA or PIP towards the cost of their community care. We believe this may be illegal, especially if they are asking for all of higher rate DLA and PIP and need to hear from anyone in this situation.

If you’re affected please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net with your contact details and how much you’re now being asked to contribute.

Also please take a few minutes to complete this consultation to try to stop yet another local authority – Hertfordshire doing this as well. They blatantly lie when they say DLA is paid to enable individuals to pay towards the cost of their care. You don’t need to live there to complete this and when we have done this previously with another council’s consultation they backed down.

https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/consultations/adult-social-services/care-charging-consultation.aspx

 Posted by at 20:21
Oct 092017
 

Liberty’s Human Rights Awards

Liberty has today announced the shortlist for its 2017 Human Rights Awards – nominated by the public.

Comedian Jeremy Hardy will host this year’s event on 24 October at London’s Royal Court Theatre – and will introduce a new Courageous Voice award, honouring those who have taking bold action to stand up to those in power.

 

 

The 2017 nominees are:

Courageous Voice

• Disabled People Against Cuts – for their Summer of Discontent week of action, raising awareness of issues affecting the rights of disabled people.

• Callum Tulley – for his undercover work with Panorama, which exposed chaos, violence and abuse at Brook House immigration removal centre.

• Open Whisper Systems – for their pioneering end-to-end encryption technology that keeps over one billion people’s communications private via Signal and WhatsApp.

 Posted by at 18:12
Oct 092017
 

Urgent! Adjournment debate on 12th October on Upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

UNCRPD to be debated in Parliament this Thursday – ask your MP to attend

An adjournment debate has been secured by Deirdre Brock MP for Thursday 12 October in the main chamber on Upholding Disabled people’s rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although this is only an adjournment debate, it is really important that MPs are encouraged to attend in order to show how important this issue is. This is the only Parliamentary time that has been secured to discuss the very serious findings of the UN disability committee concerning regression of Disabled people’s rights in the UK. It has been scheduled for last thing on a Thursday which is a time when many MPs will have already left to get to their constituencies. We therefore need to actively write to and encourage our MPs to stay and take part and to hold the Government to account for dismissal of the UN findings last year of “grave and systematic” abuses of Disabled people’s rights due to welfare reform. Please take just a few minutes to email your MP.

Template Letter for MPs. Find you MP’s contact details at www.parliament.uk

 

Dear MP,

I am writing to let you know how important the adjournment debate on 12th October on Upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons (CRPD) with Disabilities is to me and to encourage you to attend on behalf of all your Disabled constituents to urge the Government to explain how and when it plans to implement the recommendations of the UN disability committee.

At the end of August 2017 the UN disability committee published the Concluding Observations from their routine examination of the UK under the CRPD. In November 2016 the disability committee published the findings from an unprecedented investigation of the UK triggered by the CRPD Optional Protocol.

In both cases the committee raised concerns of the upmost seriousness about the regression of Disabled people’s rights in the UK, the harm caused by welfare reform policies and the disproportionate impact of austerity measures.

Their findings were based on thorough examination and an exhaustive process, going through all the evidence (over 2000 pages of documents) that was submitted to them. Deaf and Disabled people were fully involved in the process and ourselves submitted extensive evidence but much of the evidence also included findings from Parliamentary committees and reports and statistics from Government departments.

Their recommendations therefore provide an excellent basis from which to make immediate and much needed improvements that will restore Disabled people’s rights.

In August disability committee members remarked that they hope that the UK will be able to come back and retake our former position as world leaders in Disabled people’s rights. There is much to do to get there but I hope that with your help we can get there again.

Yours sincerely,

 Posted by at 17:00
Oct 082017
 

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Universal-Credit-transitional-protection/How-long-will-I-get-Universal-Credit-transitional#guide-content

What is Universal Credit (UC) transitional protection?

Transitional Protection is an extra ‘transitional’ amount which tops up your Universal Credit award so that you are not worse off when you move onto Universal Credit.

Transitional Protection is only for some people and it is not available to anybody yet.

People who are claiming Universal Credit at the moment are people who have had a change which meant they had to make a new benefit claim. These people are called ‘natural migrants’. Transitional Protection is not available to them.

Transitional Protection will only be available to people who are moved over to Universal Credit even though nothing has happened which makes them start a new benefit claim. These people are called ‘managed migrants’. There will not be any managed migrants until the Universal Credit full digital service is available in all areas. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is planning to start ‘managed migration’ in July 2019.

How much Universal Credit transitional protection you will get will depend on what your income is from the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit.

Your transitional protection amount will top your Universal Credit up so that it matches your previous benefit income to ensure you are not worse off due to the move to Universal Credit.

How long will I get Universal Credit (UC) transitional protection for?

If you can get it, you may receive Universal Credit transitional protection until your Universal Credit award increases to reach the same amount you were receiving from the benefits it replaced, or until your Universal Credit entitlement decreases to nothing, or until you have a significant change of circumstance.

Your Universal Credit entitlement increases

If you have an increase in your Universal Credit entitlement, perhaps due to a fall in income, the birth of a child, or because of an annual increase in the rates for Universal Credit, the increase in your Universal Credit entitlement will be offset by a reduction in your transitional protection amount. This will continue until your transitional protection amount is reduced to nothing.

Example:

Jane and Dave currently receive £1100 per month from the benefits to be replaced by Universal Credit but their Universal Credit entitlement is only £1000 per month.

They are part of the managed migration onto Universal Credit so they receive a transitional protection amount of £100 per month to top up their Universal Credit so they are not worse off.

The following April the Universal Credit rates are increased so their Universal Credit entitlement goes up to £1020 per month.

They only need a transitional protection amount of £80 now to top them up to their previous benefit income of £1100 per month.

Although their Universal Credit entitlement has gone up £20, their transitional protection amount is reduced by £20 so they still receive £1100 per month.

They won’t see a rise in their income from Universal Credit until their Universal Credit entitlement becomes more than £1100 per month and their transitional protection amount reduces to nothing.

Your Universal Credit entitlement decreases

If you have a decrease in your Universal Credit entitlement, for example because of an increase in your earnings, your transitional protection amount will not be reduced straight away. This is to make sure that work incentives are protected.

Your transitional amount won’t be reduced until your Universal Credit entitlement falls to £0. Even then you won’t lose all your transitional protection amount at once, it will be removed at the set taper rate, currently 65%. This means you will lose 65p of your transitional protection amount for every £1 you earn.

Significant change of circumstance

If you have a significant change of circumstance which affects your Universal Credit claim you will lose your transitional protection amount immediately.

These significant changes are:

  • a partner leaves/joins your household
  • your earnings drop beneath the level expected of you in your claimant commitment (for three months in a row)
  • your Universal Credit award ends
  • you or your partner stop work

 

 Posted by at 20:10
Oct 072017
 

The DWP has published the long awaited guidance on Reassessments for claimants with the most severe and lifelong conditions, with the applicable criteria. This will only apply to claimants in the Support Group or under UC who have been found to have Limited Work Related Activity capability.  As with any decision which is discretionary, there will be no right of appeal.  Developed in conjunction with some disability charities such as DRUK, the criteria are not related to specific conditions, but to broader categories which will apply to specific conditions but will also encompass others, when all the criteria are met.

As with everything related to DWP, the implementation will be key, but there are already some questions:

Will it be a limit within a range to the number of people found to meet the criteria? A FOI request has already been made about this: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wca_management_information_sever

What if a disability assessor and a claimant’s GP or consultant disagree about the realistic prospect of recovery?  Could a disability assessor who is neither a GP nor a consultant overrule a GP or a consultant in that regard?

There will be more questions. Meanwhile the guidance and the criteria are here:

FAQs on WCA severe conditions

DWP WCA Guidance on severe conditions

Severe conditions guidance

 

 

 Posted by at 14:12
Oct 032017
 
Re-blogged from Morning Star

Disabled activist ‘violently dragged out of Rees-Mogg talk’

Tuesday 3rd Oct 2017

ANTI-AUSTERITY protesters were violently evicted from a public meeting attended by Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg yesterday.

One of the activists, who is disabled, alleged to the Star he was “slapped in the face” by a Tory activist and bundled out by security who stamped on his leg before dragging him down a corridor.

Alex Knox was at the front of the meeting and said he was “peacefully protesting” when a group of Tories tried to grab his banner and “became increasingly aggressive.”

He and Mr Rees-Mogg had been debating the impact of austerity on disabled people.

Mr Knox said: “Six burly security guards came in and jumped on me, my leg was getting injured and I’ve suffered bruising on my leg, which is in a brace.

“About eight of them took me out into a corridor and were really aggressive. I told them they were hurting me. I was in agony as they dragged me down the stairs and some of them stamped on my leg.”

Mr Knox said the police told the security guards to let him go and officers are now investigating the assault complaint.

The Star contacted the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) for comment but did not receive a reply before going to print.

The small protest group attended the meeting to express “disgust” at Tory austerity policies and views on abortion that are espoused by Mr Rees-Mogg, who many see as a future leader of the party.

Hundreds of Mr Rees-Mogg’s supporters attended the meeting organised by the Bruges Group for a panel discussion on Brexit.

People’s Assembly activist Shabbir Lakha spoke to him before he took to the stage. He told the MP that he was a liar for saying Tory policies have lifted people out of poverty.

Mr Lakha asked: “Really? Depending on foodbanks is making people’s lives better?”

Mr Rees-Mogg claimed that the Tories had the highest number of people in employment since the 1970s, which Mr Lakha pointed out was based on precarious employment and poverty pay.

The conversation continued until Mr Lakha was “aggressively bundled out” of the building by security.

People’s Assembly national organiser Ramona McCartney said she felt “violated” at the Manchester Town Hall event.

People’s Assembly national secretary Sam Fairbairn told the Star: “When faced with true public opinion, they bundle people out of the meeting by security because they can’t face it.”

 Posted by at 16:13
Oct 032017
 

You can tweet these pictures during the Tory conference. The conference hashtag is included and you can add your own text.  The burning issue right now is Universal Credit, but we all know the problems encountered with the Work Capability Assessment, PIP, sanctions, social care, the bedroom tax etc. The list is too long to list them all.  You may want to mention the UN inquiry and the UN report, but ultimately, what you want to say to the Tory party, is that their welfare reforms did not save any money, did not simplify the benefit system, did not make work pay, but that they have hurt people, they made them poorer, even destitute and that they drove some people to an early death.  That will be the legacy of the past seven years for the Tory party.

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 09:24
Oct 022017
 

At the People’s Assembly march in Manchester having allowed people into the official protest area at the Tory party Conference yesterday the police then proceeded to kettle them. DPAC activists then blocked a tram line in protest at what they saw as an unfair move by the scores of extra police who had been drafted into Manchester to protect the Tories.

 

Sadly the police in Manchester reacted rather aggressively to this and 2 disabled people were arrested and a veteran activist in his 80s was left badly bruised by being man-handled by them.

http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=4131

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-politics-41462576

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, child and outdoor

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing and outdoor

Rick burgess of Manchester DPAC said “DAN (Direct Action Network) veteran & MDPAC member Dennis Queen has been charged with Public Nuisance after their arrest yesterday. We reject utterly the heavy handed policing and targeting of disabled people, all to protect a government found guilty of Grave & Systemic human rights abuses. If there are any arrests to be made it is of the Conservative party government over their democide of disabled people. Whatever costs Dennis incurs we pledge to meet with a crowdfunding drive. Our community shall not be victimised like this.”

Another member Sharon Hooley has been cautioned by police for protesting yesterday. Rick said “Full respect and support for her brave stand in defiance of quisling security forces protecting an unlawful government.” At one stage Sharon another wheelchair user was surrounded by 13 police officers.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155721308715489&set=gm.1831546200399434&type=3&theater&ifg=1

 

 

 

Sep 262017
 
Inclusion London is involved in a piece of research being carried out by a student at the University of Essex into the impact of conditionality and sanctions on Disabled people in the Employment and Support Alliance (ESA) Work Related Activity Group (WRAG).
With the Government about to roll out proposals that will extend conditionality to Disabled people in the support group we think it is all the more important that research and evaluation is carried out into the impacts of this approach to welfare.
We need people who are currently in the ESA WRAG and are happy to speak to our researcher, Jay Mehti. Interviews can be carried out by telephone or in person in London. A £20 voucher will be given to each participant to say thank you.
For more information please email ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.org.uk or text 07505144371. If you would like to share this information with your contacts, information is on our website here: http://powerup.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=bd31b88a884b7e90abc93fdcc&id=668b7ec461&e=95d2dfef3c
Ellen Clifford
Campaigns and Policy Manager
Inclusion London
336 Brixton Road, London, SW9 7AA
Tel: 020 7036 6032 (office SMS only: 0771 839 4687)
www.inclusionlondon.org.uk
 Posted by at 17:57
Sep 252017
 

This week the UN global nuclear weapons ban treaty opened for signatures. 51 countries have already signed, with three so far ratifying, which is a great start! CND, along with Medact and Pax Christi, delivered thousands of letters to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, calling on the British government to sign the treaty.

No Nuclear War

A global ban of nuclear weapons is more important than ever in the context of the increasingly worrying rhetoric about nuclear weapons from Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. CND, along with many supporting organisations, has called a protest outside Downing Street next Thursday, September 28th, 5 – 6.30 pm Downing Street, to call on the Prime Minister Theresa May to use all diplomatic means to de-escalate tension.

All these topics will be discussed at CND’s annual conference next month. As well as our AGM, we have a one day international conference – ‘Confrontation or cooperation? Nuclear abolition in dangerous times’ taking place on Saturday, October 14thWhy don’t you come along to discuss the prospects for a new direction on nuclear weapons, and to address the wider international context too: NATO, missile defence, Trump, Korea, China, war and intervention – and what we can do about it all?

Tel: 020 7700 2393

Web: www.cnduk.org Twitter: @CNDuk Facebook: /cnduk

 Posted by at 17:07
Sep 252017
 

Universal Credit  – what is your experience?

Please send me you experience of Universal Credit. This could include your experience of the application process, the impact of being paid a month in arrears and there being no payment for the first seven days or any other information you would like to give.  Please send it to me on my email:  Henrietta.Doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk  by 10 October.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee of MPs is holding an inquiry on the roll out of Universal Credit and Inclusion London  intends to send evidence to the inquiry.  Your experience would help to inform our evidence.   

More information about the inquiry is available at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/inquiry/

 Posted by at 16:05