Archive for the ‘southern cross’ Category

Worthing man, 102, in care home crisis

23 November 2011

A 102-YEAR-OLD man could be forced to move out of his care home in just seven months if he is not paid the £50,000 worth of benefit he is owed.

Walter Craven, who pays for his own care at the Victoria Royal Beach care home in Grand Avenue, Worthing, has not been paid the attendance allowance he has been entitled to for 16 years.

Attendance allowance is a benefit paid to those who are over 65 and are disabled enough that they need help to care for themselves.

To add further insult, Walter has also been deducted £55 off his weekly pension payments due to a lack of communication between the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and West Sussex County Council.


‘They know you are vulnerable’ – plight of older people in home care

23 November 2011

Most of the women from the care agency, were, in the words of a 78-year-old, “nasty and rough”. Whatever the carers’ demeanour, the frail woman in a wheelchair did not expect attitude to translate to violence that left her bewildered and powerless.

“Rather than say ‘sit in the chair’, they’d push me back into the chair, that sort of thing, and I didn’t like that … I couldn’t do anything about it. I can’t even walk and I think they know this you see; they know you’re vulnerable”.

However, such tales were depressingly familiar in a damning indictment of council-funded home care across the country – the Equality and Human Rights Commission found evidence of a “systematic failure” in the way we look after the elderly.

The commission’s report, “Close to home”, painted a disturbing portrait of poor treatment of the old in their own homes, which breached their human rights.


BBC One Programmes – Inside Out East, 21/11/2011

14 November 2011


David Whiteley asks what went wrong with the Southern Cross care home business.

BBC – BBC One Programmes – Inside Out East, 21/11/2011

The pick of the week ahead in Parliament

13 November 2011


In the Lords (from 2.30pm) its day five on the detail of the Health and Social Care Bill – want to bet they’ll need more than the planned 14 committee days? The key bone of contention will be a group of amendments on charities and VAT. And watch out for questions prompted by the release of the Department of Health’s Strategic Risk Register, a document detailing possible risks to patient safety, finances and the working of the NHS from the bill’s proposals.

Meanwhile, in grand committee (starting at 3.30pm) peers will be continuing their work on the Welfare Reform Bill – and should move on to one of the most important issues, the plans to replace Disability Living Allowance. There won’t be votes at this stage, but the discussions could well result in amendments at report stage, some time in the New Year.

BBC News – Viewing guide: The pick of the week ahead in Parliament

Sunderland’s elderly may have to pay almost four times more for care

11 November 2011


ELDERLY people on Wearside may have to pay more towards their social care.

Thousands of people are being consulted by Sunderland City Council on proposed changes, which could see some paying hundreds of pounds more per week.

The current maximum contribution towards care services, such as home help, is capped at £108.70 per week.

However, under the proposed shake-up to the contributions policy, that cap would be removed and people would be individually assessed as to what they can afford to pay.

This means that some people could end up paying up to £407 towards their “personal budget”, which is equivalent to the current maximum cost of a residential care placement per week.

Sunderland City Council is having to make changes due to a shake-up of social care nationally. Those who are in permanent residential care will not be affected.

Sunderland’s elderly may have to pay almost four times more for care – Community – Sunderland Echo

Radar – workshops to talk about shaping local care services

10 November 2011


We received this which may be of interest to some of our readers. All contact details are listed below.

We would like to invite disabled people and local disabled people’s organisations to a workshop to talk about shaping local care services.  Radar will write a report and send this to the Department of Health as well as all those who attend the events.

This is your opportunity to influence how social care will be provided in the future.

–         Are you happy with what care services you can get locally?
–         If you are not happy, why is that and what do you think could be done
about it?
–         If you need a type of care that isn’t available locally, then what would
be the best way to fill the gaps?
–         What would make it easier for you to get the right care?
–         What would help you to have more choice and control over your care?
–         Who should provide different types of care?
–         How can local groups be supported to provide care?

We are arranging two workshops –
London (Radar, City Forum, EC1V 8AF) – Tuesday 22 November 10.30am – 12.30pm (with a ight lunch provided) or Manchester (EHRC, Arndale House, Arndale Centre, M4 3AQ) – Friday 25 November 2pm-4pm (with refreshments)

To book a place at the workshop, please contact
Marije Davidson
Cheryl Gowar
Tel: 020 7503 6176

Please let us know which event you would like to attend (London/Manchester) and if you have requirements to help you participate, e.g. large print materials,
palantypist, dietary needs. BSL/English interpreting will be provided.

We have a limited budget for reasonable travel expenses. These need to be agreed before the meeting.

You can find out more about how social care could change by visiting 

Kind regards,

Marije Davidson
Public Affairs Manager

Fury over Darlington council’s 400% rise in cost of day care (From The Northern Echo)

31 October 2011


THE husband of an elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer has accused a council of acting like “cowboy builders” after the cost of his wife’s day care went up by 400 per cent.

Last night, the Alzheimer’s Society said the case of 76- year-old Evelyn Wiffen, from Darlington, illustrated the urgent need to overhaul the way that social care is paid for.

When Mrs Wiffen started going to the St Hilda’s Day Centre, in Darlington, in August last year the charge was £10 per session.

In April this year, the fee increased to £28.80, and recently Darlington Borough Council told her husband, Peter, also 76, that the cost of a daily session was about to go up to £50.78.

Fury over Darlington council’s 400% rise in cost of day care (From The Northern Echo)

Joint Committee on Human Rights: The implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living

21 October 2011

 2:20 pm; Room 5, Palace of Westminster

Witnesses: Maria Miller MP, Minister for Disabled People, Department for Work and Pensions;

Paul Burstow MP, Minister of State for Care Services, Department of Health;

and Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Minister of State for Housing and Local Government, Department for Communities and Local Government

see full details here of upcoming business

Hardest Hit Protest – Newcastle October 22nd 2011

17 October 2011

Saturday 22 October, 2011
March: 10.30 Bigg Market
Rally: 11.30-12.30 Monument

Disabled people in the North East, along with their families and friends, are taking to the streets in Newcastle to protest against Government cuts to disability benefits and services. Join us and help to
make sure all our voices are heard.

The march will leave Bigg Market at 10.30, walking to The Monument where a rally will start at 11.30. We plan to have a range of speakers who will keep us informed and entertained. Confirmed so far is MP for Wansbeck Ian Lavery, Clare Williams from the Norther Public Services Alliance and Kevin Rowan the TUC Regional Secretary who will share their views on the proposed changes. We will also be joined by a number of local people who can speak from their own experiences about what the proposed cuts to benefits and services will mean to them as disabled
people trying to live independent and fulfilling lives. One of those people will be Claire Parker whose story will also be appearing in The Journal in the run up to the Rally.

A map of Newcastle City Centre showing Bigg Market and the Monument  can
be found here.

This also shows the nearest rail and bus stations, city centre parking and accessible toilets.

As new speakers and contributors are confirmed we will be adding them to
this page, so do keep an eye out for any changes. Please also help us spread the word about Hardest Hit. By bringing together disabled people from across the North East we will be able to make our stand against the cuts to DLA and unfair changes to Employment Support Allowance.

Listening to the stories of disabled people and hearing of the support of key local figures from politicians to civil society leaders will show that people across the city and wider region are on our side. Speakers will help us make our argument, whilst those coming along will have the chance to show how strongly they feel, either as disabled people themselves, their friends and family, or just as people who believe that the disabled are being hit the hardest by the government cuts.

Please come along, and bring as many friends and family as you can. Help us to send a clear message to the Government: stop these cuts

If you require any further info please contact

Henri Murison 

Events are taking place across the country and full details can be found here

Several CarerWatch members will be attending a protest local to them.

MPs demand end to closures of council-run elderly care homes and call for enquiry into deaths

14 October 2011

Every day we hear of local authorities closing, withdrawing or cutting back on essential facilities and services for the vulnerable and their carers. The already inadequate care system is dying on its feet. We have to halt that process, not next year, not the year after that, we have to halt it now. Caring for the most vulnerable in our Society should be a Government priority not something that is left on a metaphorical backburner while vulnerable people suffer.

Therefore CarerWatch welcome the call from MPs calling on a block to the closure of local authority homes for the elderly.  Full details below.

We urge everyone to contact their MP and ask for their support in signing  EDM 2251 . You can find contact details here

Media Release

October 14, 2011

A BLOCK on the closure of local-authority elderly care homes has been called for by MPs concerned that the care crisis highlighted by the collapse of Southern Cross has left frail old people frightened and in danger of death brought on by being forced to move.

 An early-day motion tabled in parliament by Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell calls for a moratorium on closures and an enquiry to establish how many deaths have been caused by home closures.

The move has been welcomed by campaigners and pensioners’ groups who urged MPs to sign the motion in order to prevent further unnecessary deaths.

 National Pensioners’ Convention general secretary Dot Gibson said:

“It is a brutal fact that frail, elderly people are likely to die if they are forced to move out of a care facility that has become home.

 “Older people should not be seen as mere figures on a private care company’s balance sheet, and with the collapse of Southern Cross and the unravelling of the private social care market it is essential to stop the closure of any more local-authority-run homes.

 “It’s time for a national care service that begins to look after our most vulnerable pensioners in a way they deserve.”

Campaigning lawyer Yvonne Hossack said:

Since 1997 I have seen the devastating effects of care home closures on mortality.

“Too often those charged with the welfare of our old soldiers and their widows trot out the lie that there is no risk provided the best methods of eviction are used – and all, let us be clear, to cash in the value of the land that the innocent and confused old lady once called her home.

 “It is time now to stop the slaughter”.

Phillippa Wood of CarerWatch, the online campaigning group for carers, said:

“Every day we hear of local authorities closing, withdrawing or cutting back on essential facilities and services for the vulnerable and their carers.

“The already inadequate care system is dying on its feet and we have to halt that process now.”

MP John McDonnell said:

“There is a huge and growing body of evidence that closure of care homes has caused the early deaths of frail, elderly people forced to leave their homes.

“The collapse of private homes and the shocking revelations of abuse have shown what happens when care is farmed out to privateers who are interested only in profit.

“We urgently need to see a stop put to any further closures of local-authority elderly care homes and for an enquiry into the misery and death that closures have already caused.”


Full text of EDM 2251 and contacts follow

EDM 2251


tabled by John McDonnell MP

That this House notes with deep concern the worsening crisis for elderly care as growing numbers of local authority and private care homes face closure; acknowledges concerns that the loss of elderly people’s care homes causes fear, anxiety and, in many cases, a higher mortality rate when vulnerable, elderly people are forced to leave their homes; further notes that the Southern Cross crisis will increase the need for local authority care; and therefore calls on the Government to hold a public inquiry into the deaths following closures of local authority care homes and impose a moratorium on the closure of local authority care homes until that inquiry publishes its results to ensure that vulnerable, elderly people’s lives are not put at further risk.


For further information please contact: Sarah Evans T: 07941 227757

National Pensioners Convention, call Neil Duncan Jordan – T: 07940-357-608

Yvonne Hossack- T: 01536 518638

CarerWatch: Philippa Wood at

With many thanks to  Sarah Evans  for her work on this issue

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