Monday, 30 January 2012

Well done the wheelchair service in Bowley Close

Do we live in a world that values working people over all others? A couple of things that have happened over the past five days prompt the question.

Last Wednesday morning on my way out to work my PA discovered a fault with the wheelchair. On inspecting the machine we discovered that a plastic piece connected to the cross braces of the chair, which help locate and keep in place the seat runners was broken.

Unable to fix the equipment ourselves I phoned the wheelchair service; on explaining my plight, I was told the maintenance operative would call around in the afternoon of the following day. Of course, this was unsatisfactory; and I explained to that I was due into work today and couldn't just take time off.

The wheelchair centre worker said she'd hang up and try to get me a more favourable appointment. Two minutes later she offered an afternoon slot that day. Again I protested that I needed to get to work. To cut the story short, a wheelchair maintenance operative turned up 10-mimutes later.

Examining the chair he removed the broken element, assured me it was ok to use, providing I tweaked this, and pushed that; and he'd contact me once he was in possession of the replacement part.
Overjoyed I thanked him for his promptness; and called the centre to thank the operator there for stressing the urgency of my case.

My mother is 88 and is no longer an active participant in the workplace; and why should she be when she spent sixty-odd years in either paid employment or bringing up a family or looking after her sick husband.

Mum recently suffered a scratch to her shin, caused by an excitable West Highland Terrier going by the name of LuLu, which became infected. The Edenbridge Cottage Hospital tended to the wound; and whilst in Kent sent a district nurse to where my mum was staying to re-dress the wound.

On returning to home, London, mum still needed the dressings changed; and was put under the local district nurse. Last week the nurse didn't turn up on the appointed day; and on enquiring my mum was assured that the nurse would visit her (no day mentioned) and not to worry.

At 88 simple wounds take their time to mend; and so another week is reached and the injury persists. This time my mum has been told the nurse will visit her on Monday or Tuesday.

Ok, my mum is 88; and she's disabled. However, she didn't reach this great age by sitting around and doing nothing. No, she has reached her ninth decade by a combination of hard work and healthy activity. Today for instance she fancied going to the park with one of my sisters; and tomorrow I'd offered to take her down to the Thames Embankment, weather permitting, for a stroll and lunch.

It would seem that my mother's time is of no value; that she is expected to sit and wait for treatment, not a few hours, but a couple of days at a time.

People in the medical field are constantly telling us of the importance of exercise; unfailingly we're encouraged to get out and about, to meet with other people, not to spend our lives cooped up in our homes living like couch potatoes. Yet, when people like my mum try to live this life they're stymied by restrictive practices of local health authorities.

Yes, of course district nurses have priorities. But, to expect people to have to wait two days for a medical procedure such as changing a dressing is I feel quite unacceptable. Just because someone has reached a certain age does not mean they should be compelled to put their lives on hold. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Come on Labour - Defend the Welfare State

“We shouldn’t be defending unemployment benefits but demanding full employment. Anybody of working age who can work should be working and they should be being paid a living wage.”
Sounds nice. Shall we give it a whirl?
While we’re at it can we also kick down the barriers erected to exclude disabled people from the workplace; and pay those disabled people unable to work a decent income without the strings of re-testing attached.
Oh, and since I’m in a wish-list mood; can we have a Labour Party that doesn’t mirror the Tories on almost every issue of social policy!

Nye Bevin had it right when he said:

“No attempt at ethical or social seduction can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.”

Monday, 9 January 2012

I Support the Spartacus Report

Please, go to links below and read this important information.

I Support the Spartacus Report

So today, after months of work and planning we launch our Report

We did everything possible to engage with politicians, lobbying MPs and Peers, writing articles, attending conferences, but at every turn we were brushed aside. 

Despite serious concerns from campaigners, charities and disabled people themselves, the Government's the recent Impact Assessment (October 2011) into the proposed reform of Disability Living Allowance is almost identical to the original. Nothing has changed, almost none of our concerns have been addressed and as the House of Lords return to vote on the final stages of the welfare reform bill, we felt that it was vital we presented our own evidence. 

This is the Spartacus Report. We all own it, we all created it. It is yours, use it in any way you wish. Please join in the campaign online today if you aren't already signed up:

Tweeting using the hashtag #spartacusreport "I support the #spartacus report"
Change Facebook status to "I support the Spartacus Report"
Email your MP with the links to the report and the press release using this short covering letter :

“This report into Disability Allowance Reform has been written, researched and funded by disabled people. As one of your constituents, I am very concerned by its findings and the misrepresentation of disabled people that it exposes.
Please will you read the report and support sick and disabled people in calling for a pause to Personal Independence Payments in light of this new research.
I look forward to your response,”

Finally, please keep checking the blog all day as we will be updating regularly with very exciting updates ;)

Our report shows that :

-The Government broke its own code of consultation over the DLA reform
-The Government has entirely misrepresented the views submitted as part of the consultation, giving a partial and biased view.
-The Government claim that DLA must be reformed as claims has risen 30% in 8 years - we find that these statistics are entirely misleading and give a "distorted view"
-There is overwhelming opposition to the new benefit, Personal Independence Payments
-Some elements of PIP appear to already be going ahead, despite a rejection of the plans and before legislation has passed.
-The Government are repeatedly warned that proposals for PIP may break International and UK equality and Human Rights legislation

This is our chance to be heard. This is our chance to put evidence in the public domain from our own perspective. Today, a courier will take 31 boxes or reports, all hand stuffed into envelopes and addressed and deliver them to every peer and every MP and all of the people who responded to the consultation. 

We did it. I had no idea if we could when we started, but we did it. 

From today, Government may of course continue to ignore us. But they can never say they didn't know what they were doing.