Posts Tagged ‘carers allowance’

Home care hub – What can we do to improve care in the home?

4 July 2013

The Guardian’s Social Care Network is partnering with the Department of Health to launch a new project that aims tackle the problems of poor care, low wages and neglect in the homecare sector. Dubbed the “homecare innovation challenge”, the project aims to crowdsource ideas to improve the way the system works.We’re inviting industry leaders, senior local government officials and frontline staff to share their ideas on how the commissioning and provision of homecare services can be improved.

Service users and family members are also being encouraged to contribute their views.

 

 

‘We have to ensure that care and support is built around the person – what they need, how they can best be cared for, what they want,’ says Norman Lamb.

We currently have a system that at its worst can reward and promote poor care, encourage low wages and allow neglect to flourish. While we know that homecare, for the most part, is carried out to a good standard – it still leaves far too many cases of poor and unacceptable levels of care in the home.
One of the most common complaints I come across is where care is carried out by the clock. Carers will come to the house and have a time slot of around 15 minutes to get everything done and be off to the next appointment. But 15 minutes may not be enough to do what is needed. So appointments are rushed through – trying to get everything done – in or out of bed; getting washed; trying to bolt down food or take medication. It is no wonder that these visits can be stressful and unpleasant.

 

read in full here

 

Share your ideas for solving the problems of poor homecare

The Social Care Network is teaming up with the Department of Health to launch a project to find ways to improve the system – and we want to hear from managers, commissioners, frontline staff, service users and carers

 

Your suggestions can be added here

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

URGENT – CARERS DEBATE, contact your MP

18 June 2013

URGENT - CARERS DEBATE

Following Carers Week, a debate on carers will take place in the House of Commons on Thursday 20th June

Full details can be found here  and you will be able to watch it LIVE via this link

It is vital you contact your MP , ask them to attend – and raise any/all issues that you are concerned about. Time is of the essence, so it may be worth phoning their office and following up with an email outlining your worries.

Questions can be asked on benefits, juggling work and care, social care, support from the NHS and all the other policy areas which affect carers.

Please share this with family, friends, contacts. The more MPs we have there, the more issues that can get discussed.

Share via Facebook and Twitter too. Hashtag during the event will be #CarersDebate

URGENT - CARERS DEBATE

What happens when you are ‘prepared to care’

14 June 2013

All this week there have been events round the country for Carers Week, details can be found here. It is a time when media also carry many articles , and the hope is that by raising awareness further afield, more people will identify themselves as carers and receive valuable advice, information and support. These can also be obtained from CarersUK  and Carers Trust

It is vital, especially in this economic climate, that carers and their families are armed with as much information as possible. Much which is needed to fight bureaucracy.

Benefits system  – may need support to navigate this system, for those we care for, as well as ourselves.

Carers Allowance – was totally ignored in the recent Welfare reforms.

Employment Support Allowance system is a nightmare when we have reams and reams of reports from drs/consultants but then we need PROVE again to DWP.

( see Carole’s story here )

Possible loss of Carers Allowance  as a result of the introduction of Personal Independence Payment  ( see here )

Government want carers to carry on working but the steps they are taking will result in opposite. Care criteria tightened to such a point that carers dont have a choice but to give work up.

Loss of independent living fund will result many disabled people losing independence and one of the avenues will be to return to family home which neither they or family want for a variety of reasons  ( see comment from Linda Burnip here)

Bedroom tax – many carers need extra room for a variety of reasons. Depending on ilness/disability some partners sleep in seperate rooms. Others have a lot of equipment to store. Family members can stay over to help with respite. Some children with disabilities are unable to share bedrooms with siblings.

Respite places are decreasing in numbers

………. and so the list goes on.

car crashThere are far too many changes/cuts, too fast and too deep. The brakes need applied as soon as possible before the crash happens and even more carers reach breaking point

Many individuals, groups, charities, academics have taken their grave concerns to the Coalition government, yet foolishly, time and time again, they are ignored.

If you are a carer, someone with an illness/disability, or someone not affected as yet (but you may be in the blink of an eye)  – sign this WOW petition here  – which calls on the government to carry out a Cumulative Impact Assessment of all these changes which are hitting many carers and their families several times over.

This government, and all parties, must stand by their duty of care to disabled people and their carers

Is the government prepared to take action? Carers Week report

14 June 2013

Carers Week logoWhen the invite came to attend a speed-networking event in Parliament with MPs I initially said no. Doing a return trip from the North East in same day is not ideal, early start and extremely late arrival home, all for a 2-hour event. However, I have always said that apart from our own MPs, those of us in the North East don’t get much opportunity to meet with other politicians, so I changed my mind and said ‘yes’.  I am now glad I did so, and appreciate the opportunity given by CarersUK and CarersWeek.

The train journey down started really well with an unexpected turn of events. A young man sat a few seats from me and I recognised him as Chris Ramsey, stand-up comedian and actor from South Shields. Those that know me will not be surprised at my next actions, which was to start tweeting him. As most people travelling were using phones, he was unaware who was relating to his twitter  followers what he was doing. Once I identified myself we spoke a little while. Talk about Big Brother is watching. Thanks for the laugh Chris, you were a good sport.

After this light relief it was over to Westminster for the event. I was met by Carers Week staff and introduced to others from various organisations, including Age UK and Carers Trust. Then it was to business.

As a Carers UK member my companions were Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy, and Chloe Wright, Senior Policy Officer. They took turns to sit with me. Also helping oversee the event was Steve McIntosh.

It was explained how the event would unfold. As MPs arrived they would be guided to tables to speak with carers, how long for was unsure, depending on if they had any other appointments they needed to attend.

I had no worries about speed networking. Those that know Geordies will know we talk fast. My main concern was how much ground could be covered when the issues surrounding carers are many. It was not just about my family’s’ circumstances, but many others out there too, struggling to cope on a daily basis.

We managed to see 8 MPs, names as follows –

Carers Week blogIan Mearns  Lab
Guy Opperman  Con
Norman Lamb  LibDem
Peter Aldous  Con
Sheila Gilmore   Lab
Grahame Morris   Lab
Stewart Jackson  Con
Caroline Lucas   Green

As well as outlining how caring has impacted on my family, other issues discussed were as follows.

1.    The issue of the Children and Families Bill and the lack of parent carer rights in it, and the concern that they would be left behind. We also talked about when the Care Bill comes to the House of Commons, to stop carers from being charged for their own services and to put an amendment, which would prevent family and friends’ support being taken for, granted.

2.    We discussed the impact of welfare reform on carers, in particular the bedroom tax

3.    The benefits system, which causes huge difficulties in trying to juggle work and care.

4.    Lack of services that are right for the people we care for, e.g. lack of dementia services and support for younger people.

5.    Lack of investment locally in carers’ support e.g. carer’s dementia work.

6.    Concerns about cuts to services and reassessments of severely disabled people and the impact on the caring support and family

7.    Concerned about the cumulative impact of different changes and cuts that are hitting families hard.

8.    Problems surrounding Employment Support Allowance process

9.    Impact on disabled people, as well as carers, re closure of Independent Living Fund.

10.   Advice and information being hard to come by but being vital.

11.  Importance of strong local advocates within local carers’ organisations.

12.  The level of Carer’s Allowance and the failure of this Government and the last Government to reform this benefit.

With thanks to Ian Mearns, Grahame Morris and Guy Opperman for the North East presence, to Norman Lamb who stayed longer than intended and was late for his next appt, and remaining MPs for the interest they showed, and the many questions asked.

Journey back took several hours and it was past midnight when I got home, extremely tired but an enjoyable day.

So, following on from the Carers Week theme of ‘I’m Prepared to Care’ – my question would be – What next?

Many of us have already been caring for as long as we can remember. Governments past and present have failed to fully address many of the carer issues.

We need action now

Give us the tools to assist us in our caring roles. It may be finances, respite, services, equipment, understanding from employers etc. Investing in us now can only strengthen the foundation we provide that prop up both NHS and Social Services.

We are ‘prepared to care’ 

 Is the government prepared to take ACTION?

Rosemary

Carers UK blog

The onslaught to carers and their families continues….

21 May 2013

The onslaught to carers and their families continues. Welfare cuts are starting to hit harder, bedroom tax, cuts to vital services, closure of Independent Living Fund. Benefits being changed all around and yet the lowest of them all, Carers… Allowance is once again ignored.

Invisible to use

Iain Duncan Smith only ‘reformed’ those benefits that could be cut and/or criteria tightened. He has failed carers, many of whom will be hit with a double whammy if the person they care for loses the qualifying amount of Disability Living Allowance.

The whole safety net of SOCIAL SECURITY is being stripped away.

It may not affect you now but it could do.

PLEASE SHARE IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF DISABLED PEOPLE AND CARERS.

WRITE TO YOUR MP

http://www.writetothem.com/

Shameless onslaught on carers

15 February 2013

 

CW logoTitlebar

 

CarerWatch members are outraged having learned of the latest details in a briefing paper recently released by DWP, Personal Independence Payment and Carer’s Allowance, that will affect many carers. Details as confirmed by Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People –

Latest estimates project there will be a net reduction of 9,000 recipients of CA (where benefit is in payment) by the end of 2018 as a consequence of reassessment for PIP”

As the above will be the result of a person needing care having lost their Disability Living Allowance, the impact on family’s incomes will be immense. This double blow will especially hit hard those families on the poverty line.

Add to this the introduction of bedroom tax, cuts to local services; we feel this shameless onslaught from the government has shown a total disregard for the services provided by carers. Services estimated to be £119billion per annum

Our society would not function without the care currently provided by unpaid carers and the consistent refusal by Governments to improve Carers lives has ripple effects throughout Social Services and the NHS. Precious few people receive the actual support they need and so many carers are just not receiving vital services and support.

These cuts contradict findings in the Breakthrough Britain report, undertaken by The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), which was established as an independent think-tank by the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, now the present Secretary of State for Works and Pensions.

It said –

The low level of Carer’s Allowance discourages people from providing care to family members. It is one of the lowest forms of benefit available but it there is a high level of expectation in terms of work, in return”

Removing Carers Allowance from 9000 (projected no.) people will result in less families being able to provide care.

Therefore, we call on Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Works and Pensions, to look past his fantasy and wishful thinking for these welfare reforms, and look at the reality of what these cuts and reforms are actually doing to many people with disabilities/ill health and their carers.

 

South Tyneside Welfare Protest Meeting – Hardest Hit/PSA

3 September 2012

Welfare Protest Meeting – South Shields

On Friday night I attended a meeting held in South Shields Town Hall, jointly held by local Public Services Alliance and Hardest Hit North East Group.  I would say approx 100-120 people attended. They consisted of local councillors, residents, representatives from various unions.

Chairing the meeting was Tina Roche (Unison), with speeches from Iain Malcom, Leader of the Council, David Miliband MP and Peter Bennetts, spokesperson for HH North East. All outlined the huge problems ahead. Tina ensured that more time was given for questions and statements from the floor.

Iain Malcom

Mr. Malcolm covered many issues that would affect our local area. Cuts to services, impact of welfare reform. He also spoke of proposed bedroom tax and abolition of council tax. Huge concerns re social care.

Mr Miliband

Mr. Miliband spoke about 3 warnings – Awareness, Protest and Preparation.

More work needs doing raising awareness of welfare benefit changes, as so many people are still unaware of what is in the pipeline ahead.

Protest – protest voices need to be heard and more grassroots groups, charities, unions need to work together. Protests, petitions, write to MPs outlining how changes are impacting on families.

Preparation – How we need prepare for the Tsunami of change, not just locally but nationally. People will need advice, support and information.

He spoke of the impact of welfare reform on families and the fear of them using loansharks.  A place for credit unions. Impact on local services. Of Alf Morris. Local housing issues.

Note

Comment was made from the floor by Stuart Bracking (DPAC North East) that there should be a 4th point made, and that is Reflection.  Labour need look back on their policies; amend mistakes made, especially with the work capability assessment. I hope to have a statement from Stuart soon to add here.

Lady from floor said that Labour need to be a stronger opposition party, as this is not visible to people.

Peter Bennetts

Peter was excellent. He outlined many of the changes ahead re welfare benefits and held nothing back, describing the fear among disabled people regarding losing their independence.  He spoke of the Hardest Hit rallies already held and informed us of the next event to be held in Newcastle October 27th. Also there will be HH members attending the A Future that Works protest Oct 20th

Participating in the meeting meant I have only managed to note down some of the topics discussed, not all, but will hopefully give you an idea of the issues raised.

Bedroom tax was raised time and time again.

Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment

Loss of DLA could mean a double whammy for families if Carers Allowance is lost too.

Employment Support Allowance and Work capability Assessment not fit for purpose

Cuts to care services will bring added pressure on carers, many of whom are struggling now.

Those in low paid jobs and effect if lose their council tax benefit and need to find money to pay an increased charge.

Loss of Independent Living Fund

Loss of local jobs as council makes cuts

Impact of welfare reform on social care – NHS and social services departments will not be able to cope

Overall the meeting went very well. It was a great opportunity for local people to come together and realise they are not alone.

As a campaigner the biggest issue for me was Awareness. It was mentioned from the front table about how councils, and other bodies/organisations do not want to alarm people too soon about the changes. This was disputed from the floor. Marion, local resident, stood up and said people need informed now. It was waiting too long re welfare reform that meant too little time to fight.

Friday was the start of our local fight and arrangements already in place for further meetings.

Rosemary

*************************

Please sign  PAT’S PETITION

.

Interview with Chief Executive Carers Northumberland – GoodcauseTV

29 June 2012

Video of interview with Sandi Downing, Chief Executive, Carers Northumberland

Watch here

For support and advice

Carers UK

Finding help where you live

Carers Trust

Online campaigners

CarerWatch discussion forum

Carers forum on Facebook

Northumberland Disability and Deaf Network

Last stages of the Legal Aid bill – time to stand up for access to justice

11 April 2012

Guest post from

Natalie Sedacca – a member of Young Legal Aid Lawyers.

Carers, and those they care for, are facing a series of attacks by the Government, such as the closure of day centres, tightening of care criteria, and threats to carers’ grants. The already low level of benefits paid to carers is not helped by the Welfare Reform Act. The blog has already reported how this does nothing to alleviate financial hardship for family carers, and how the move from DisabilityLiving Allowance to a “personal independence payment” will impact carers as well as disabled people. In this context, access to specialist legal advice to challenge poor decisions about benefits is more vital than ever.

But this help is under threat if the Government gets its way on a law about to go before MPs. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill sets out Government plans to make sweeping cuts, severely restricting free advice for many types of legal problem. The Bill has gone through Parliament and is now at its final stage, returning to be considered by the House of Commons after April 17th.

(more…)

WHY have family carers been failed again?

16 March 2012

For several years now CarerWatch, along with other campaigners, have fought for Carers’ benefits to be improved. However, past and present governments, have continuously failed to address both the low level of the allowance, £55.55 per week, or tackle the restrictions which bar many carers from claiming.

We have repeatedly taken our concerns to Ministers, DWP, MPs, all of which have been ignored. We were outraged with the present Welfare Reform Bill/Act, as once again carers’ benefits were overlooked.

This was frustrating as the current Secretary of State for Works and Pensions, Mr Iain Duncan Smith, had previously recommended an increase in the allowance when with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), an independent think tank he set up.

In the report, Breakthrough Britain, it was stated –

 “”Family carers are undervalued in our society and receive a disproportionately low level of financial support given the many hours of work that they do“”

Considering we are witnessing the biggest reform of welfare benefits in over 60 years,

WHY have family carers been failed again?

Why, on March 14th 2012, did Mr Paul Burstows answer a question from Mr Jim Cunningham and state:

 The Cross Government’s Carers Strategy “Recognised, valued and supported: Next steps for the Carers’ Strategy”, recognises that carers should not face financial hardship and the Departments are working together to take forward various initiatives to support carers in their caring role, through welfare reform and in developing the White Paper on care and support. We are looking at putting the rights of carers on a firmer footing in social care so that they have similar rights to the people they care for.

The WRB received Royal Assent March 8th 2012 and there was NOTHING included that would alleviate the financial hardship being faced by many carers.

With a White paper due for care and support, can we be at all hopeful that the Dept of Health will succeed where other departments have failed. Time will tell.

A recent report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights  urges the Government to conduct an impact assessment on the cumulative impact of the current reforms on disabled people. It considers that this is required by law.

This mirrors exactly what is asked  for with Pat’s Petition – a pause to consider the impact of the ‘perfect storm’ of changes. Too many of these changes will impact on family carers and we urge everyone to sign Pats Petition, share with others.


%d bloggers like this: