Month: July 2019

The rash decision to scrap the role of disabilit

first_imgThe “rash” decision to scrap the role of disability commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will make it harder for the watchdog to stand up to attacks on disabled people’s rights, according to two former commissioners.Both Baroness [Jane] Campbell and Sir Bert Massie criticised the apparent decision not to appoint a new disability commissioner to replace Lord [Chris] Holmes, the disabled Tory peer who left the post in January.Baroness Campbell was EHRC’s first disability commissioner, while Sir Bert was the chair of the Disability Rights Commission throughout its existence, and then became one of EHRC’s first commissioners alongside Baroness Campbell after its launch in 2007.Disability News Service (DNS) reported last week that the minister for women and equalities, Justine Greening, had appointed another disabled Tory peer, Lord Shinkwin, as a new EHRC commissioner, but not as the disability commissioner.This was despite the minister telling candidates last year that the disabled person appointed to the role would “act as the Commission’s Disability Commissioner”.It is still not clear what parts the government and the commission played in these decisions, but it has come as EHRC’s statutory disability committee, which had significant legal powers, is being replaced by a non-statutory disability advisory committee (DAC) without such powers.Although the government has no statutory duty to appoint a disability commissioner, both Baroness Campbell and Sir Bert say the role was important.Baroness Campbell said: “I think it is still important to have a disability commissioner because, as the House of Lords reported on last year, the EHRC needs to be more proactive in protecting and promoting equality for disabled people.”She said the commission used to be more proactive in the area of disability, and had “more teeth” when she was chairing the disability committee, while she had “greater authority” as the disability commissioner to raise disability discrimination issues.She pointed also to the “groundbreaking” disability hate crime inquiry headed by Mike Smith, Lord Holmes’s predecessor as disability commissioner.Baroness Campbell said: “I wouldn’t have thought taking away responsibility for disability oversight from a commissioner was going to help this situation.“The EHRC has now demoted the disability committee from a statutory entity to a non-statutory working group and it now wants to go further and take away the responsibility for ensuring one of the commissioners covers disability non-discrimination appropriately and effectively.“I think this a rash decision and it surprised me. I wonder what their rationale is, especially at a time when we are witnessing the rights of disabled people retrogressing in so many areas.”Sir Bert (pictured) said the EHRC’s disability commissioner had been able to “bring a focus” on disability at the commission in a way that an ordinary commissioner – even one who was disabled – would not be able to do.And he said he believed that not having a disability commissioner would make it harder for the commission to stand up to the government on disability issues.He said: “I think it will. It will make it more likely that disability issues are sidelined.”He said the commission had already proved that it was failing to defend disabled people from government attacks, such as cuts to employment and support allowance, and its flawed disability benefit assessment regime, which he said were “blatant human rights violations”.“Who is fighting it, apart from a few journalists? [The commission] should be shouting about it from the rooftops.“It is almost unbelievable that the government has been able to get away with it.”He said he believed the commission saw having a disability commissioner as a “constraint” on its work.Anne McGuire, a former Labour minister and shadow minister for disabled people, also criticised the move.She said: “It really doesn’t matter whether it is a statutory obligation or not to appoint a disability commissioner, the reality of past years was that there was one.“Moving away from that position potentially undermines confidence amongst disabled people that the EHRC will give much needed focus on disability issues.“I think it is disappointing at a time of increasing difficulties for disabled people that either the government, the EHRC or both have taken this action.“The EHRC will have to go some way to prove that disability equality issues will not be downgraded.”Last week, EHRC refused to answer questions about what had happened to the disability commissioner role because it was “a government appointment”, although it said that it was “considering what arrangements for chairing and membership of the new DAC will ensure we are best-placed to develop strong arrangements for engaging with disability stakeholders for the future”.It declined to add to its statement this week.last_img read more

Campaigners are calling on the government to scrap

first_imgCampaigners are calling on the government to scrap a policy that prevents disabled people with complex healthcare needs receiving the benefits they need to stay mobile if they are living in residential homes.Little-known regulations apparently state that recipients of NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) are not eligible to receive the mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP) if they are receiving residential care.But those who receive NHS CHC and continue to live at home are potentially eligible for both the PIP mobility component and the daily living part of the benefit. Those in residential care who receive council-funded care are potentially eligible for just the mobility part of PIP*.The controversy emerged this week after friends of children’s author Andrew Knowlman, from Hertfordshire, launched a petition calling on the government to reverse “discriminatory” rules which meant he had been told he would have to return his Motability van.Knowlman (pictured), who has motor neurone disease, has been living in residential care since August 2016, but has only recently been told that he had in fact not been eligible for PIP mobility since he began receiving NHS CHC and moved into the home in Hemel Hempstead.He was told that he would therefore have to return the minivan he has been leasing through the Motability scheme.He told the i newspaper: “It is the only way to watch my children ride their bikes, play golf and music, watch Watford FC and travel easily to hospital appointments.“Although I have a terminal illness, in no way do I see my life as being over. I am a dad to my children and I need the Motability vehicle to enable me to be just that. This is a very distressing situation.” Knowlman was only told this week, after his case was raised by i, that he would be allowed to keep his Motability vehicle.A petition calling for the government to change the regulations had been signed by more than 35,000 people by last night (Wednesday).Knowlman told Disability News Service that there was “no logic” to the rules.He said: “The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) say that I am not entitled to mobility component of PIP because I live in a care home and have NHS continuing healthcare funding.“Motability have now said that I can keep the van until further notice. This is a gesture by Motability, and I therefore continue to speak with the minister about changing the rules regarding PIP entitlement.”Disabled campaigner Fleur Perry, who has previously raised serious concerns about policies surrounding NHS CHC, said: “I’ve never seen a continuing healthcare policy which specifies that the mobility component of PIP should be taken away, and it’s not something I’m aware of within the rules around PIP.“If this is current policy, then there are discussions to be had around equality and around personal liberty.“As someone who lives independently with care funded by continuing healthcare and who uses a Motability vehicle to get, well, everywhere, this is very worrying.”A Motability spokeswoman said: “As you will appreciate, we do not always know the details of a customer’s circumstances etc, but we will support their mobility if we know that they are in hospital.  “We are working closely with DWP to ensure that we have the relevant information in all cases to enable us to do so.  “As soon as we were made aware of Mr Knowlman’s specific case details, we contacted his family to assure them that, in line with our hospitalisation policy, he can keep his vehicle for as long as he is in hospital or receiving similar continuing healthcare provided by the NHS which causes his mobility allowance to be suspended or stopped by the DWP.”She said that DWP usually stops paying PIP mobility to the Motability scheme if a customer has been in this situation for more than 28 days.But she said: “Depending on the expected length of stay and the customer’s preferences, we will discuss the options that are available, and in most cases, we will be able to leave the car with the customer during their stay or until the end of the lease agreement.”A DWP spokeswoman said: “Local authorities aren’t funded to meet mobility needs in a care home, and residents may be asked to provide a financial contribution.“However, this is not the case for NHS Continuing Healthcare, where the assessment itself assesses mobility needs and residents do not have to make any financial contribution towards their stay.”She added: “People receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare in their own homes can continue to be paid PIP, because their additional costs may be wider than those paid for in a care home and won’t be met by the NHS, eg additional heating.“Under these circumstances claimants can therefore maintain eligibility for this support. The same policy applies to disability living allowance. “Motability’s policy is to look at the individual circumstances of each case to assess whether they should recover the vehicle immediately or whether there are special circumstances which would allow for the vehicle to be retained if that is the best solution for the claimant and/or their family.“Andrew Knowlman has been informed by Motability that he is able to keep his vehicle.”*This article originally stated that those receiving NHS CHC who continue to live at home are not able to claim the daily living part of PIP. That was incorrect. They are potentially eligible for both mobility and daily living elements of PIP.last_img read more

The national membership body for GPs is facing cal

first_imgThe national membership body for GPs is facing calls for it to denounce government attempts to persuade doctors to “coerce” patients with serious health conditions back into work.More than 90 campaigners and concerned health professionals have sent a joint letter to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), asking the organisation to distance itself from the latest move by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).DWP already sends a form – known as an ESA65B – to GPs to let them know when their patients have been found fit for work through the controversial work capability assessment (WCA).The previous version of the form – headed “Help us support your patient to return to or start work” – already told GPs that they should stop providing the patient with the “fit notes” that detail the advice they have provided to them about their fitness for work*.But DWP has now updated the form, by adding the line: “In the course of any further consultations with… we hope you will also encourage [the patient] in [their] efforts to return to, or start, work.”Disabled activists and campaigning health professionals – led by the grassroots group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) – say the move will “gravely impact” the relationship between doctors and benefit-claiming disabled patients.Among those who have signed their letter are members and representatives of the Mental Health Resistance Network, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility, Black Triangle, Inclusion London, Recovery in the Bin, and the Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and more than 50 psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and GPs.The campaigners who have signed the letter say the addition to the form adds to DWP’s continued insistence – based on “the thinnest veneer of evidence”, which was commissioned by DWP itself more than 10 years ago – that work is good for health and should be recognised as a “health outcome” (a measure of whether a patient’s health has improved).They point to cases such as that of James Harrison, whose GP was told by DWP through an ESA65B form in 2016 to stop providing him with fit notes, after he was found fit for work.His GP then repeatedly refused to provide him with new fit notes, even as his health deteriorated, and he died months later.Dr Jay Watts, a consultant clinical psychologist and activist, says in the DPAC letter that health professionals will be “horrified at this latest interference from the DWP”, which “undermines clinical expertise and threatens the safety of patients”.She says the new paragraph places the expertise of DWP’s contracted WCA assessors above that of GPs, “despite the fact GPs are more qualified to assess mental health, and can do so with the benefits of having known the patient for years, often decades (as opposed to in a one-off assessment)”.She says the form also ignores research that shows that work can damage mental health, with “poor work environments a frequent trigger to mental breakdown”, and she adds: “Economic evidence shows that rushing people back into work increases the likelihood of long-term illness.“How then can it be right to encourage GPs to coerce patients back to work, a pressure likely to increase the feelings of shame, despair and anxiety at not working that have been exacerbated by the government’s relentless and damaging campaign to associate worklessness with worthlessness?”The letter to RCGP says the new version of the form risks a situation where disabled people are unwilling to make appointments with their GPs, with “damaging and potentially life-threatening effects on the physical and mental health of claimants”.And it calls on RCGP to tell its members about the risks to patients from the new version of the form and to ask them to “use caution and discretion when following DWP instructions”.Neither RCGP or DWP were able to comment on the letter by noon today (Thursday).*Further fit notes can be issued if the claimant appeals against the result of the WCA, or if they make a new claim because their health condition or impairment has deteriorated or they develop a new medical conditionlast_img read more

Noe Valley fire sends disabled senior to hospital displaces four

first_img 0% “We haven’t found him yet, that’s a good thing,” Cremen said.According to Cremen, the fire started in the front room of the house, possibly the living room, around 8:30 a.m. The elderly woman was helped out of the back entrance of the house by firefighters before being taken to the hospital.“I’m trying to absorb this,” said Oscar, one of the apartment’s residents.A neighbor, Jane Verma, said she hadn’t thought anything was amiss until she saw firefighters and went outside to see what was happening.“I saw flames coming out of the right top window and smoke out of the whole apartment,” she said. “I saw my neighbors, the women, come out covered in soot. It’s freaky to see my neighbors helped out of the building with flames coming of it.”“Fires are a life-changer,” said another neighbor, David. Tags: displacement • Fires • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Four people are displaced, and two were sent to the hospital, after a fire in the top unit of a building at 119 Randall Street near Chenery Street.A disabled senior and her daughter were sent to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, one firefighter said.“[The senior] came out with burned soot all over her face,” said Battalion Six Chief Cremen. “Ambulances transported both of them to the hospital right away”The senior resident lives in the top unit of the two-story building with her daughter, son, and son-in-law, neighbors said, along with eight cats. Seven of the cats were rescued and taken in by Animal Care and Control. One remained inside around 10:00 a.m.last_img read more

S 3rd StreetBurnett Blvd could reopen next week

first_imgCrews continue to work on Greenfield Lake culvert replacement project (Photo: Sarah Johnson/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A road project that has caused traffic delays on Carolina Beach Road and South Front Street could wrap up next week.According to Brian Rick with the NC Department of Transportation, the earliest 3rd street will reopen is November 22.- Advertisement – A portion of Burnett Boulevard/3rd Street between Willard Street and Carolina Beach Road has been closed since April while crews worked to replace a 70-year-old concrete culvert to better drain excess water from Greenfield Lake.Rick says shifting traffic back to 3rd Street is necessary in order for crews to complete the utility work on Front Street and in the median between 3rd Street and Front Street.Final paving is scheduled to be finished by the end of December.Related Article: Sewer work may cause lane closures on Wooster, South College roadsThe contractor will receive $5,000 per day for every day the project ends ahead of schedule.The contract allows the contractor to work until April 30 to finish all road work associated with the project.last_img read more

CAPE FEAR HISTORY MYSTERIES Civil Rights Civil War

first_img Dr. Jamie Martinez, an associate professor at UNC-Pembroke, tells the stories. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In this week’s Cape Fear History and Mysteries, it’s a history lesson on civil rights during the Civil War.From slavery to war labor to human rights, all the topics are all covered.- Advertisement – last_img

Local organizations merge to help feed hungry children

first_img Photo: NourishNC/LRW Photo: NourishNC/LRW 1 of 8 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — NourishNC and Little Red Wagon, two local non-profits, are merging and expanding in order to continue in the fight against child hunger in New Hanover County.NourishNC will lead the program, with the goal of expanding it county wide. The Little Red Wagon is a volunteer-run, neighborhood food collection network designed to collect and distribute food to hungry kids in the community. Food collected will be distributed to food insecure children through NourishNC’s Backpack and Pantry Pal programs.- Advertisement – Photo: NourishNC/LRW Photo: NourishNC/LRW Photo: NourishNC/LRW Photo: NourishNC/LRW Photo: NourishNC/LRW Little Red Wagon was started by Chase Shelton, a local mother who wanted to teach her children the importance of giving back to the community.“There is so much potential to grow the program even bigger and in to all neighborhoods and businesses across the county,” Shelton said. “NourishNC has always been so supportive and easy to work with that it was a natural fit for them to take Little Red Wagon to the next level.”NourishNC’s mission is to “Provide Healthy Food to Hungry Children, Empowering Them to Succeed in the Classroom and Their Community.”Steve McCrossan, executive director for NourishNC, said their programs focus on providing supplemental food assistance to children in New Hanover County. Their Backpack Program feeds nearly area 1,000 children.The organizations are always looking for donations. A list of needed items can be found here. The next food off date is July 16. For more information, visit nourishnc.org/LRW. (Photo: NourishNC/LRW)last_img read more

Historic Bellamy Mansion needs volunteers to assist with storm clean up

first_img Mold is beginning to form on the walls as a result of the rain water which poured in through an opening in the roof. Outside, a number of the property’s stately magnolia trees lost limbs but remain standing. Debris scatters the grounds of the Bellamy Mansion Museum.Hurricane Florence caused significant damage to the Bellamy Mansion Museum in Wilmington. Water puddles on the floor at the front entrance of the Bellamy Mansion Museum. The walls and woodwork inside the historic museum home were damaged by rain water. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One of the iconic museum homes in Wilmington’s Historic Downtown District sustained significant damage as a result of Hurricane Florence.According to a statement released by the Bellamy Mansion Museum, the house lost a portion of its belvedere roof and water poured down on the ceilings, floors and walls all the way to the basement. The wood, plaster and carpet were completely waterlogged by the record rainfall.- Advertisement – The walls and woodwork inside the historic museum home were damaged by rain water. Limbs are scattered across the grounds of the Bellamy Mansion Museum.Bellamy Mansion Museum 1 of 9 Large limbs from stately magnolia trees were brought down by the hurricane-force winds. Water leaked through an opening in the roof sending lots of water inside the home. Bellamy Mansion Museum Site Manager Bob Lock assesses storm damage to the mansion’s roof. Large portions of the metal roof were damaged by Hurricane Florence. Museum staff are looking for volunteers to assist with helping with the removal of tree limbs and cleaning the inside of the mansion.Site Manager Bob Lock says he needs a powerful chainsaw, standing or box fans and dehumidifiers. Above all, Lock says they need lots of willing volunteers to assist with massive clean up operation.Related Article: Conditions improving in Carolina Beach, but no word on bridge reopeningThe museum plans to reopen as soon as possible but until then, they encourage anyone who is able to assist to help out.“We always say we cannot operate the museum without our volunteers, and that statement has never been more true,” said Bellamy Mansion Museum Executive Director Gareth Evans.The Bellamy Mansion Museum is located at 503 Market Street in Wilmington. Anyone wishing to volunteer with the storm clean up operation should email Site Manager Bob Lock at block@bellamymansion.org.last_img read more

Fresh Rumors on Apples iOS7 hint at possible Microsoft look and feel

first_imgAdvertisement Apples next mobile operating system, iOS7, expected to be unveiled at this year’s developer conference, WWDC 2013, is rumored to have major  design  changes, with new reports suggesting a more muted and flat design aesthetic.Last October, Jonathan Ive became responsible  for Apple’s hardware as well as  software and is not a fan of the skeuomorphic heavy design cues that currently dominate iOS.Speculation has for a while been  that Ive was planning a broad UI overhaul with iOS 7, but there are still not many specific details. According to a report by 9to5 Mac Ive’s look for iOS 7 will be “black, white and flat all over.” – Advertisement – Many of the textures currently present in iOS — linen on the notifications panel and leather in the calendar app — will be replaced with flat black and white colors. As for the home screen, apps will no longer have gloss, shadows and shine applied to the icons, but their corners will remain rounded.9to5 Mac also suggests that apps such as Mail, Calendar and Maps will gain a more unified look. The report suggests that all apps will share a similar white base each with its own unique color scheme.The green felt from Game Center and the wooden shelves from Newsstand have also reportedly been removed.The big challenge with an iOS overhaul, of course, will be balancing the need for something new with the familiarity the system has with hundreds of millions of users.Source: Mashablelast_img read more