Tories’ Benefit Cuts – ‘Secret Plans’ Leaked – Awful Apprehension!

DISABLED PEOPLE, carers and parents could all bear the brunt of £12billion Tory welfare cuts according to leaked documents.

Department for Work and Pensions papers set out plans to save £12billion by restricting Carer’s Allowance to those on Universal Credit – meaning 40% of claimants would lose out.

Department of Work and PensionsDisabled people would be hit by a plan to tax Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments and Attendance Allowance – saving an estimated £1.5billion a year.

Documents, drawn up by civil servants for the Tories, also suggest limiting child benefit to the first two children and a benefits cap of £23,000.

And £1billion would be saved by replacing the Industrial Injuries Compensation Scheme with a company insurance scheme.

The DWP could save £1.3billion in 2018/19 by ending the contributory element of Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseekers Allowance, meaning more than 300,000 families losing about £80 per week.

But the DWP said the document obtained by the BBC was “ill informed and inaccurate speculation.”

It added: “Officials spend a lot of time generating proposals – many not commissioned by politicians.

“It’s wrong and misleading to suggest that any part of this is part of our plan,” said a spokesman for Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary.

The disclosure will pile pressure on David Cameron and George Osborne to set out how they will make their proposal £12billion of welfare cuts. But Tories refused to commit to publishing their plans before the election.

Mr Cameron has previoulsy praised carers and could face a major backlash ahead of the election if he  pushes ahead with cuts to the Carer’s Allowance.

Rosanna Trudgian of the charity Mencap, told the BBC: “Disabled people don’t choose their disability. They don’t choose to pay for these additional costs related to their disability.”

Labour’s Shadow Works and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves MP said; “The Tories now need to come clean about what cuts they plan to make and who will pay the price.

“If they are ruling out these extreme cuts, for the disabled and carers then it is clear they will be hitting the tax credits, and support for children, for millions of working families.

Beattie. J 2015 Daily Mirror 28th March 2015 P. 2

“How on earth do we allow our Government, get away with no confirmed details of where their £12bn of welfare cuts are going to come from, a month away from a General Election? – Unbelievable”

Work Capability Assessment – Government responds to 5th Independent Review

DWP has accepted the majority of the recommendations from the fifth Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

The final review, which was carried out by Dr. Paul Litchfield, was published in November 2014. Dr. Litchfield looked at the changes that had been made to the WCA in response to the first four reviews. Although he made some recommendations for further improvements, Dr. Litchfield said:

“My counsel would be to let the current WCA have a period of stability – it is by no means perfect but there is no better replacement that can be pulled off the shelf.”

Dr Litchfield made 28 recommendations and 26 have been accepted. These relate to a range of issues including: • An increase in the number of people being placed in the Support Group, especially younger people; • The need to ensure that communications are as good as they can be especially for more vulnerable claimants; • Better support for claimants with learning disabilities.

One of the recommendations from the fourth independent review was that DWP should make it clear that evidence from care professionals such as community psychiatric nurses, support workers and carers can prove extremely useful when deciding whether someone is entitled to Employment and Support Allowance. This is particularly the case if someone has a mental health condition.

Mental Health LogoAs a result DWP has improved the ESA50 questionnaire, which people complete when they claim ESA. DWP sought the views of disability organisations to help inform these changes. The revised ESA50 questionnaire will be issued from March.

The Government’s response to the fifth independent review is available at Focus on Disability

“Community support workers for people with mental health conditions/learning difficulties have been chopped left, right and centre through the millions of pounds slashed from county council budgets. Are we supposed to believe it will get better in todays fiscal climate? – I don’t think so”

The NHS and Ed Milliband’s Election Campaign Launch

Labour would cap the amount of profit private firms can make from the NHS in England, Ed Miliband has said as he launched the party’s election campaign.

He pledged to halt the “the tide of privatisation” he claims has taken place in the health service since 2010 and ensure a “proper” level of funding.

Ed MilibandPrivate firms will have to reimburse the NHS if they exceed a 5% profit cap on contracts, he told activists.

The Conservatives said the move was an “ill-thought through gimmick”.

Speaking at the site of the 2012 London Olympics in east London, Mr Miliband placed the NHS front and centre of Labour’s campaign and claimed the election is “neck and neck” and “may come down to the wire”.

Much more at: Election 2015: Labour to cap private profits in NHS

“Don’t bet on ‘pledges’ before the election being implemented after the election”

Government responds to the independent review of PIP

Improving communications with claimants of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is just one of the recommendations from an independent review of the benefit that has been accepted by DWP.

Department of Work and PensionsPaul Gray was appointed to carry out the first of two independent reviews of PIP required by the 2012 Welfare Reform Act. Findings from the review were published in December 2014 and included 14 recommendations covering:

• Improving the claimant experience, particularly through clearer communications;

• Clarifying and improving the collection of further evidence to support assessments;

• Improving the overall effectiveness of the PIP assessment in delivering the policy intent.

DWP will respond in two stages. The initial response focuses on the review’s short-term recommendations, action that DWP is taking to address them and the wider work that is being done to support PIP claimants through the process.

Significant improvements have already been made to claimants’ experience of the PIP process, the delivery of the benefit and the length of time it takes to process individual claims.

The department has worked closely with the independent assessment providers, ATOS and Capita, to quadruple both the number of health professionals and decisions that were made each month during 2014.

DWP continues to work alongside disabled people and their representative organisations, particularly the PIP Implementation Stakeholder Forum Improvement Working Group, to consider its response to Paul Gray’s recommendations.

DWP intends to provide a full response to address the medium and long-term recommendations in due course. These require further consideration due to their broad scope and wider implications. This includes the recommendation by the Smith Commission to devolve disability benefits in Scotland.

The Government’s response to the PIP independent review is available at Focus on Disability

DWP – Touchbase March 2015

“All the reviews and rhetoric from Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP won’t help our vulnerable disabled people and those who had to find the ‘ultimate’ course of action to avoid the welfare reforms damaging effects.”

ESA and JSA reforms – March & April – people with a health condition

During March and April, there will be a number of changes and pilots affecting people with a health condition or disability who are claiming benefits.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) reforms

From 23 March, DWP will deliver three pilots to build understanding about what support works best at different points of the claimant journey. The pilot findings will also inform the development of Universal Credit policy for claimants with health conditions.

• Trialling a Claimant Commitment for ESA claimants will take place in the East Anglia district. Work Coaches will offer on-going support and agree an ESA Claimant Commitment with the claimant, focusing on individual work related requirements. Where appropriate, this will include work preparation activities that will help the individual return to, or move into work.

• More Intensive Support increases the frequency and intensity of tailored support that Work Coaches provide to claimants in the six months after completing the Work Programme. More Intensive Support will be delivered in three districts – East and South East Scotland, Kent and West Yorkshire.

• Voluntary Early Intervention offers emplo yment-related support to new ESA claimants waiting for a Work Capability Assessment. The support will take account of the claimant’s specific needs to help keep them closer to returning or moving into employment. This pilot will be delivered in four districts – Glasgow, Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire; Black Country; Birmingham and Solihull; and South East Wales. The pilot will be evaluated in a number of ways to find out whether this policy should be rolled out nationally.

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) extended periods of sickness

From 30 March, new legislation will be introduced nationally affecting JSA claimants with health conditions.

This will apply to those whose condition is expected to last less than thirteen weeks and those who have had two previous periods of sickness.

Changes will mean that individuals can volunteer to remain on JSA for any further period of sickness, rather claiming ESA.

Work search activities during this period will be agreed between the claimant and the Work Coach based on the claimant’s circumstances.

JobcentreRepeat claims to Employment and Support Allowance changes

New rules affecting repeat claims for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be brought in from 30 March.

The changes mean that claimants who have been found to be capable of doing some work following a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) will not be paid the ESA assessment rate for a repeat claim, unless they have developed a new condition or an existing condition has significantly worsened.

People can currently make another claim for ESA after only six months even where there has been no change in their health condition, and be paid ESA again. The changes will remove the reference to ‘six months’ and remove entitlement to an ESA payment pending an appeal decision if the claimant has received two consecutive decisions that they ‘do not have limited capability for work’.

Where someone makes a repeat claim without a change in their condition, Decision Makers will be able to reconsider the evidence from the previous WCA when deciding whether to disallow the claim or to refer them for another WCA.

If following a mandatory reconsideration the DWP Decision Maker upholds the original decision, there is a right of appeal.

People who have had their ESA claim turned down should claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit as appropriate. This is to make sure that they get the right advice and support from Jobcentre Plus advisers or Work Coaches.

This change does not prevent someone from making another claim for ESA. It also does not prevent someone whose condition has significantly worsened or who has developed a new condition, from being entitled to ESA during the assessment phase.

DWP Touchbase March 2015

“Hope the above helps and the changes won’t affect you detrimentally?”

Paramedic gets struck off for shopping in M&S on 999 call

A PARAMEDIC who made seriously ill patients wait in an ambulance while he went shopping and had a haircut has been struck off.

Dominic Colella left an 85-year-old with severe blood poisonong for 20 minutes before taking him to hospital – so he could stroll around M&S.

ParamedicWeeks later, he dumped a patient with a head injury on a junior colleage while he went to get his hair cut.

Colella, a 15-year London Ambulance Service veteran, was found guilty of two counts of misconduct while on 999 calls at a Health and Care Professional Council tribunal this week.

He admitted abandonong his colleague and patients to the council’s legal team, but failed to turn up to the hearing.

Chairwomen Gillian Fleming said the public would be “outraged” by his behaviour. She added: “He has shown little in the way of remorse.”

Endley. B 2015 The Sun 26th March 2015 P. 33

related post: Paramedic Shops in M&S while Collapsed Man Waits!!

“It’s sad because the vast majority of patients are treated in a warmer fashion by paramedics than the colder A&E they’re taking them to!!”

NHS £800m deficit and targets crisis – patients ‘at real risk’

The coalition government will leave office with the NHS in the red for the first time in a decade – and with waiting times at their highest in years, independent experts have warned.

In a summary of NHS performance in England under the Coalition, the King’s Fund think-tank said the service was now under significant strain, with a ‘real risk’ that patient care would suffer and waiting times would rise still further in the coming year.

Hospitals and other providers are heading for an overspend of more than £800m by the end of this financial  year, tipping the NHS as a whole into deficit, the King’s Fund said.

The King's FundThis would be the first time the health service has overspent since 2005/6. “That’s got to be paid by somebody,” said chief economist John Appleby. “The treasury could pick up the tab, but it’s likely the NHS is going to have to find the money in future years. It’s fairly depressing.”

Around half of all hospitals have run up a deficit, many because of heavy spending on new staff – including expensive agency nurses and doctors to improve safety in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire report. However, in three key areas – A&E, cancer treatment and the 18-week wait from GP referral to starting specialist treatment – the NHS is now falling behind its targets.

Mr Appleby said it had become the norm for many A&E departments to miss the goal of treating 95 per cent of patients in less than four hours. With finances under pressure and staffing costs already high, there are fears hospitals cannot do any more to bring down waiting times.

“We’re not in a great position on waiting times,” said Mr Appleby. “My  speculation would be that with the system under pressure financially, next year we’re going to see some real problems with waiting times. That’s got be addressed.”

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnhasm said hospitals were “trapped in a vicious financial circle with bills for agency staff running out of control and staff failing to keep pace with demand”.

However, despite the deterioration in performance, patient satisfaction remains high. A Department of health spokesperson welcomed the King’s Fund acknowledgement that the NHS had “performed well in the face of huge challenge”.

Cooper. C 2015 The Independent 26th March 2015 P.4

The King’s Fund’s – The NHS under the coalition government

“It’s definitely going to get worse – the question is, what will future Governments resort to in an attempt to save our NHS (or syphon it off)?”

Men more likely to Care for Elderly Relatives

More men than women in the “sandwich generation” provide day-to-day help for ageing parents, while supporting their own children, a study indicates.

Nearly three quarters of fathers said that they helped to “maintain the wellbeing”  of a parent or a parent-in-law compared with two thirds of mothers, according to Mintel, the market research company. Men were also more likely to support parents financially.

Overall, nearly four in ten did shopping for their parents, the most popular task, and the same proportion took parents for medical appointments. Nearly a third went with them on holiday.

A Care logoJack Duckett, a consumer lifestyle analyst at Mintel, said that today’s parents were increasingly under pressure to care for and support not only their own offspring but also ageing parents while holding down a job.

“As the sandwich generation grows, providing additional support to those caring for both children and parents, as well as providing them with opportunities to take time out for themselves, will be essential,” Mr Duckett said.

There is huge value to be found in helping these multi-generational family structures enjoy time together, as it allows them not only to build strong emotional bonds, but also to share important life skills.”

One major benefit to arise from the time pressures put on sandwich generation adults is the number of hours children get to spend with their grandparents.

Three quarters of parents in this category say their children spend some free time with their grandparents and that they try to find activities all three generations can do and enjoy together.

Emily Holzhausen, director of policy at the charity Carers UK, said that men were also active full-time carers of parents and elderly relatives.

“Caring is something that affects us all at some point in our lives, whether we find ourselves providing support to someone we love or need some help ourselves. Although people often think of caring as a women’s issue, four in ten carers are men,” she said.

“Carers UK’s research shows that caring can have a big impact on carers’ lives even when it is not around-the-clock. It can be a struggle for many carers trying to juggle care for an older parent alongside work or other family responsibilities like childcare, while still finding time to look after their own health and wellbeing.”

Bennet. R 2015 THE TIMES 25th March 2015 P. 9

“Many carers ruin their own mental and/or physical health looking after a loved one – Because they don’t want to lose them and they couldn’t ‘hack’ seeing them in a bad way, stuck in a nursing home.”

Paramedic Shops in M&S while Collapsed Man Waits!!

An Elderly man who had collapsed had to wait for 20 minutes in an ambulance while a paramedic went shopping in Marks and Spencer, a care standards tribunal heard.

Dominic Colella is also said to have delayed a patient with a head injury from being taken to hospital by between five and ten minutes so he could have his hair cut.

Colella who has resigned from the London Ambulance Service, faces two counts of misconduct with the Health and Care Professional Council.

ParamedicA panel heard how in March 2013 Colella was responding to a 999 call after an 85-year-old man collapsed. Paramedic Yvonne Purves said Colella disappeared, leaving her with the patient, then returned with two bags of shopping and said: “Do you want to go to hospital then?”.

In the second incident, Colella is said to have left a less-qualified colleague to treat a patient for a head injury outside a hairdressers.

Paramedic Donna Blair, who was first on the scene, was handing the patient over to the colleague when she “looked to my left and saw Dominic in the hairdresser’s chair with a lady putting a cape around his neck”.

The Hearing Continues.

Daily Mail Reporter 2015. Daily Mail 24th March 2015 P. 9

“Looks like this guy hasn’t a ‘leg to stand on’.”

One Night in A&E Nets Doctor £3,258

A startling but not unexpected report that A CONSULTANT was paid more than £3,200 to cover a single shift during the winter crisis that hit A&E.

Four hospitals paid more than £2,000 for A&E consultants to work a shift and three hospitals hired nurses on more than £1,700 for single shifts.

Doctor HireThe highest was the £3,258 United Lincs Trust paid for a locum to work 12 hours and stay on call 12 more, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Sky News.

Dr Clifford Mann, of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “Market forces really are extreme with the lack of permanent people.”

United Lincs Trust said: “We pay the market rate.”

The Department of Health said: “We want to reduce reliance on agency staff.”

Gregory. A 2015 Daily Mirror 24th March 2015 P. 6

A Sky News investigation by Thomas Moore, Health and Science Correspondent finds NHS hospitals paid thousands of pounds for doctors and nurses to work a single shift at Christmas.

“It’s enough to make me feel sick –  justifiably, with what’s happening in our country”