Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Broken of Britain

Head in the Sand.

One of the drawbacks of existing as an eternal optimist is that you are so content you fail to notice subtle changes in the world around you.  Or perhaps you do, but your why worry attitude makes you a willing procrastinator; manana is a very good word - it sums me up on issues I don't deem as important or pressing in the here and now.

There is much talk in my workplace re the proposed - but almost certain - end of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for all state funded residents in care homes and the impact it will have on their lives; for it will indeed impact on their lives.

Several of our residents receive the higher component of DLA mobility and have a free bus pass which is a benefit of receiving it; some receive the lower - but not many.  The free bus pass is used as in wheelchair to bus stop - bus to town - go shopping, for a meal, pub, etc and then the return journey; this is a weather permitting activity.  Many residents cannot cope with bus travel and a taxi is the only viable alternative to getting round and about in day time hours.

We also provide our residents with trips and excursions such as air shows, theatre visits, and days out in the country or the seaside, restaurant visits, football matches and anything we or they can think of that will add quality to their lives.  Without their DLA mobility we could not do this.  We need to hire a coach or a taxi.

We have a residents fund.  The owner contributes towards it as do staff and grateful relatives.  But as many or our residents have no known next of kin - it is mainly financed by staff.  It might fund one or two outings per year - but that is it.

This article in The Guardian highlights the misconception that local authorities pay care homes to meet residents' mobility needs in the overall contract price - which is just not so;  thus residents (and care homes) are dependent on DLA to provide for transport needed to enrich the lives of the residents.

Here is the head in the sand bit - it was while reading the good Ned Ludds latest post today that a light switched on in the darkest recesses of my brain; it was over the filing cabinet that contained the 'Why Worry' and 'Manana'  folders, and I must confess, it was only today that I read the Disability Living Allowance Reform document in full.  In doing so, I now realise that the proposed changes will impact on my life too.

Mr A (hubby)  retired through ill-health over ten years ago, he has a chronic progressive condition. It is a fact that he cannot work and will never will be able to work again.  He has no choice in the matter and is not a malingerer.

DLA is all he receives.  In the first five years he received on average one or two letters a year inviting him to return to the workplace!  Every letter was a personal insult and a kick in the teeth.  It took the same amount of time - phone calls and letters - to put a halt to this after discovering he was just a NI number and not a name (with history), which is why these automatically generated letters were sent out to him.

Reading the DLA Reform document informs me that in 2013/14 this insult will begin again and he will be reassessed to see if he qualifies for what will then be a Personal Independence Payment (PIP), as it appears that the prime aim of the reform is to get everyone back to work!

Please read the DLA Reform document and also visit Ned Ludd, The Broken of Britain and One Month Before Heartbreak.

The disabled exist in our society and are generally unseen.  Let us all switch that light on to enable us to see how they are being treated by a Government that promised to look after them in their manifesto - but now, appear to be intent of robbing them of their freedom.  It is Deprivation of Liberty which will be enforced - not by the Mental Capacity Act - but by a financial stranglehold.  It is not right!

Anna :o[


ned ludd carer said...

Thanks for publicizing this, we need all the help we can get.
Ned Ludd, carer.

NorthernTeacher said...

Thanks for highlighting this. Through Ned's blog, I found a link to a petition at
Sorry - I don't know how to do a hyperling (I only know the word!)

NorthernTeacher said...

Ooops, hyperlink! Can you put it in properly for me, Anna?

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Ned - no problem, I wish I could do more! Tell me if I can.

Northern Teacher - so pleased you are still out there! Missed ya! As to the hyperlink - I still don't know what I'm doing half the time! If this blog accepts direct links - I don't know how to do it via comments! I think what you have given is enough! Hopefully!

Anna :o]