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Hot Topics

We will bring you news stories from Suffolk and the wider disability world that are of interest to disabled people.  If you have a hot topic you want us to highlight, just let us know.  Contact us at: enquiries@scodp.org.uk

Western Way Development Consultation:

West Suffolk Council has just launched an online survey to consult about the Western Way Development: www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/wwd

If you would like to share your views, following the link above.

Access issues for disabled people in rural Suffolk:

A student studying at Sheffield University is looking for information from disabled people regarding access issues in rural areas in East Anglia.  He would specifically like to know about transport, services, housing and loneliness issues:

Do you have problems with accessing and using rural bus services?

Do you have problems accessing services (i.e. doctors, dentist, shops, paid care staff)?  If so, what are the problems you face?

Do you have any issues accessing suitable housing in rural areas (adaptations, affordability etc)?

Do you feel isolated and lonely?  Is this exacerbated by being in a rural area and not being able to access leisure activities and support?

If you have views on the above, please email your thoughts to us at: mailto:brenda.joyce@scodp.org.uk  and we will collate and send your thoughts to the researcher.  Your names/email/addresses will not be passed on to the researcher, just your thoughts and experiences.

 

Disability Rights UK are supporting the Justice for Jodey Whiting campaign

We are supporting calls for an independent inquiry into links between Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failings and the deaths of disabled benefit claimants.

Jodey Whiting took her own life 15 days after her disability benefits were stopped for missing a Work Capability Assessment when she was seriously ill.

We have joined Mind in supporting this campaign, you can do so by signing the petition online.

Kamran Mallick, Disability Rights UK’s chief executive, said DWP’s failure to follow its own procedures in the case of Jodey Whiting “highlights the need of a root and branch change to our system of social protection for disabled people in this country”.

He said this system should “meet the needs of disabled people and provide safety and support in the way it is administrated”.

Mallick said an independent inquiry into deaths linked to DWP’s actions “would create the opportunity to gather robust evidence on the way the benefits system is administrated and how it impacts on people who need to use it”.

For the full story, read the article on the Disability News Service.

Source: Disability Rights UK

PiP Assessments:

The proportion of substandard personal independence payment (PIP) reports completed by Capita has risen to 37% in the two years since 2016, when nearly 33% of reports were found to be defective.

The figures are secured from the DWP under the Freedom Of Information Act, by campaigner John Slater. They show the results of government audits from nearly 6,000 assessment reports carried out by Capita during 2018.

Nearly four per cent of the reports (3.92%) were of such poor quality that they were categorised as “unacceptable”. With another 17% of assessments, DWP concluded the report was so flawed that there was “learning required” by the healthcare professional who wrote it, although the report was of an “acceptable” standard.

In a further 16% of cases, the report needed to be amended because of more serious flaws, although again the report was still said to be of an “acceptable” standard.

In all, nearly 37% of assessment reports audited during 2018 were found to be of an unacceptable standard, to need changes, or demonstrated that the assessor had failed to carry out their role properly.

John Slater is still appealing against DWP’s failure to release data showing the results of audits of Atos assessment reports.

The data shows that the many reports of dishonest and distressing assessment experiences by individual disabled people are not isolated occurrences.

One concern highlighted by the data is the proportion of assessments cleared by Capita within 40 days, which nearly fell as low as 50 per cent at one stage during 2018.

Another concern is over the number of Atos and Capita healthcare professionals who have been the subject of multiple complaints within a three-month period.

Last year, Disability News Service revealed that 161 assessors working for Atos and 19 Capita assessors had had at least four complaints made against them in a three-month period, in 2016.

Nevertheless, the figures for 2018 show that, although the number of Atos assessors facing multiple complaints fell from 161 to 129, the number of Capita assessors who were subjected to at least four complaints in just three months leapt from 19 to 84 between 2016 and 2018.

Capita carried out about 220,000 face-to-face assessments in 2018, compared with more than 730,000 by Atos.

Another key concern is that Capita is still requesting further evidence from GPs and social workers in less than 30 per cent of assessments.

DWP documents drawn up in May 2012 (before the award of the contracts to deliver PIP assessments) show the department expected contractors to request further evidence (also known as further medical evidence) in about half of all cases (50%).

Sources (and for further information) Secret PIP files show one in three assessments by Capita had significant flaws available at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

(Source: Disability Rights UK).

 

Attacks on assistance dogs:

Kathy Bole has been speaking to the Ipswich Star about the attack on her assistance dog Rex at Holywells Park.  You can read the article here:  https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/assistance-dog-attacked-in-holywells-park-ipswich-1-6129076

For more information on disability hate crime, see ‘what we do’ ‘disability hate crime’ section.

Changes to Social Care Charging in Suffolk:

Have you been affected by the changes in charging for social care in Suffolk?  We are gathering evidence of what the changes have meant to you.  Please do let us know on enquiries@scodp.org.uk

Suffolk Social Services have set up a ‘hotline’ if you have been affected and want to talk to someone about these changes.  The telephone number is: 01473 263 and it operates at office hours (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm).