Saturday 14 July 2012

Worcester Council, Forcing Sick & Disabled into Institutions and the Moment Irony Died

A new Report, "Past Caring" by the team at We Are Spartacus looks at plans by Worcester County Council to cap care funding for sick and disabled people.

The report concludes that this move will see sick and disabled people forced into institutions, a move away from Independent Living which is both unwelcome and almost certainly illegal.

I've attached the press release below, and you can see the report by clicking on the link above (highlighted text)  but do read down to the end if you would like to see the very moment that irony died.  An image tweeted earlier in the month by the very same council.....

PRESS RELEASE                                                            
New council policy condemned as ‘flawed and wrong’ as national campaign group publishes report on Worcestershire care changes

In the wake of the white paper on social care and in light of recent uncovered abuses such as Winterbourne, Worcestershire County Council’s proposed changes to care for disabled people in the county have been condemned as ‘flawed and wrong’ by a national campaign group which has published a new report on the proposals.

‘Past Caring’, which has been published by the research team at the WeareSpartacus campaign group, analyses the county council’s proposals for a ‘maximum expenditure policy’, which would impose a cap, meaning that anyone needing significant amounts of support may have to go in to residential care. As well as criticising the council’s current consultation exercise, the report shows the new policy:

·         Will mean disabled people get less support
·         Will mean a deterioration in care standards and quality of life
·         Could lead to disabled people forced into residential care, even if they don’t want to
·         Could force disabled people to rely on charity for the help and support they need
·         Goes against the recommendations of the Government’s flagship white paper on social care reform
·         Could be open to a legal challenge

Dr Sarah Campbell, one of the report’s authors, said:

“We know that times are hard; disabled people in Worcestershire and across the country are being hit by cuts to benefits and social care services. But the county council’s approach is flawed and wrong. Flawed, because any ‘maximum expenditure policy’ will have a series of knock on effects for health and social care providers which may end up costing even more; and wrong, because disabled people should be encouraged and supported to live safely independently.

“Institutionalising disabled people is not the answer to the social care crisis, in Worcestershire or anywhere else.”

The report acknowledges the challenges facing local authorities across the country, but also highlights the principles of independence for disabled people, including a right to choose where and how they live, be part of their communities and have control over their day to day lives.

Jim D Smith, Secretary of Worcestershire Coalition for Independent Living, points out:

"In a week when the Queen visits the County to open a new £60 million library it’s sad to reflect that the lives of some individuals in the County are threatened by such negative proposals. These proposals, if implemented, will undermine a generation of progress towards independent living and cause real mental anguish for individuals and families.”

Local resident Steve Sumpter adds:

“The council needs to be more active with its consultation, and respond to the searching questions it’s refusing to answer. But disabled people, their friends and families also need to speak up. The consultation finishes this month (July), and it’s crucial their voices are heard. It’s also vital they contact their local councillors and MPs to express their views before the final decision is made at the end of September.”

ENDs    For further information, contact Sarah at

And the irony alert I promised?


  1. i would like to hear the passionate reaction from the the right horrible mp for blackpool, as he is not in favour of segregation of the disabled from the work place ,and backed remploy being axed. surly he will have even more to say about the disabled being rounded up and shut away from society as a whole ? what will happen to the sick and disabled who do not want to be excluded from society? will care and funding be withdrawn on an even greater scale, to the point of more deaths? what is next gas vans?steve

  2. I was watching the film 'Under African Skies' - Paul Simon's 25th graceland Anniversary. In it ladysmith Black Mazambo arrived in NYC and asked for a permit to visit Central Park. "There is no permit, you can go where you like, you are free" said Simon.

    And I reflected on the Black struggle in South Africa - we are no longer free in the West. We are the equivalent to being imprisoned in a system not of our making. A system - deemed subtle but not subtle at all - that controls, that is authoritarian, that is fascism and that supports the privilege of the few at the expense of the many. Disabled people are already excluded from society in the UK - writing to your MP is a complete waste of time - we need a revolution - who's prepared to fight......?????

  3. I'm Disabled. I get both High rates of DLA. But I care for my Mum. I know the severe Disability Premium is being scrapped. So I will automatically loss £60 a week because I don't have a carer myself. But if this money pays for a carer, will I still be paid a carers allowance for looking after my Mum? Or will she loss entitlement to a carer (me)?

    The Black Triangle said people didn't even know the Disability Premium was to be scrapped. I really don't believe the majority of the Disabled Public are aware of the "bruising financial" changes coming.

    Add to that the assessments and it's basically a living Hell. I've been so ill lately. I can't even get small procedures done at Hospital. They keep sending me home. I had to get out of the shower this morning covered in suds, I hadn't the strength to rinse. I'm basically blowing vosene bubbles out of my mouth now. My moaning has no relevance but no one judges on this page, and it allows for letting off a bit of steam.

    I would give almost anything to watch Cameron leave Downing Street as PM. I believe my hatred for that man keeps me alive.

    1. I don't understand, if you receive the highest rate for DLA as you are so disabled (as you describe), how are you able to look after your mother and claim carer's allowance?? Seems strange to me!

    2. You'll find it a very common occurrence that the sick care for the sick. How do I do it? Sometimes I don't know. It's awful.

      Have I offended you?

      I could go into a lot of detail, but I don't feel I need to or want to. Sunny Clouds below gives an excellent and not so different description of the predicament I am in.

    3. thank you for blogging about this. I am resident in worcestershire very fearful of the future holds. I am involved with a local ULO called wcil we have been trying very hard to raise awareness of this issue. I created a facebook group too help get the message out there and with the help of spartacus the issue is all over the place. We are very pleased there are good people out there and the fight continues ,stronger and bolder now.
      anyone wanting to help and put comments on my facebook group are welcome to join opened too everyone and there is no need to request a permit for permisson too just do it. open group etc

  4. Yep. It's happening just the same in Staffordshire.

    Had my 'personalised' care review this week, and from now on the local authority will not fund help with: laundry; fetching coal in and operating my multi-fuel burners that supply all of my hot water and heating; carers running any errands like going to the post office, posting letters, shopping etc; they are not allowed to push my wheelchair to enable me to go shopping or to attend social or necessary appointments like going to see my consultant; no emptying the dishwasher; no putting away shopping; no cleaning whatsoever and so on. No help with just about everything you need to do in the home, and no help at all for anything you need to do or want to do outside the home.

    All they are allowed to do is make sure I'm safe in the shower for a half hour in the morning (but I'll have to put dirty clothes back on), and to cook a meal for half an hour in the evening. My financial contribution however will not decrease.

    I was told to use my DLA to cover the 21 hours a week of care that I'm losing! As I explained to the assessor, I pay a large chunck, £231 every 4 weeks, back to the local authority, so how am I supposed to buy in the care I've lost? By the time I've used the benefit for others things like dietary requirements and extra fuel I have £40 left over. So £10 a week is meant to buy in 21 hours of care and fund my transport needs? It's a joke.

    If I have a bad spasm after a carer has left in the morning, I'll have to sit here with no access to food, drink or the toilet until the carer returns.

    Come winter I'll be sitting here stinking in a stinking cold house. By winter 2013, due to the bedroom tax I won't be able to afford fuel in any case, and once I'm migrated on Universal Credit I won't be able to afford to pay for any help at all.

    The assessor said that people who need hoists to get in and out of bed, and a lot of intensive help are having their packages slashed as well. Disabled people who will now be trapped in their homes.

    The council website page about the care they provide is called 'My Life, My Way'. It promotes the idea of 'personalisation', that disabled people will have their 'needs, wants and aspirations' met. Conversely, not only have the council ceased to provide disabled people with funding to have their 'wants and needs met, they aren't even fulfilling their needs.

    Having a personalised budget has meant that I can keep my ill health on an even keel. Even with the help, I wake up wondering just how I'll get through the day. Without it, it's only a matter of time before I deteriorate and become bedridden.

    I don't see a way out; I can't see a future any more, other than real poverty and suffering. I'm not going back to that.

  5. "I don't understand, if you receive the highest rate for DLA as you are so disabled (as you describe), how are you able to look after your mother and claim carer's allowance?? Seems strange to me!"

    I can't speak for Amonrosier but I can speak for my own position. I am bipolar with some physical impairments as well and I care for my father who has dementia which has impaired him physically as well as mentally. We are, as I often put it to him, two dotty people muddling through together.

    In order to be able to help him, I need help myself. I go round to his house, do practical things including paperwork and remembering things for him, and he listens to me when I am crying my heart out with depression. Sometimes we do things between us with his good arm and my good arm.

    People can have complementary needs. A friend of mine has severe and enduring mental illness and her late husband was physically disabled by a long-term incurable condition that eventually killed him. His mind was ok and her body was ok and somehow it worked out.

    Personally, I know that I will lose out under the reforms. I won't get PIP and it's touch and go whether I'll get ESA. UC requirements for carers follow the requirements for CA not IS (on the grounds of caring) which means a minimum of 35 hours, which I am too sick to do most of the time.

    Hour for hour, I'm a lot cheaper than agency carers, even on IB & DLA, especially when you consider that some weeks I need to stay over and when you consider that I need to be on standby 24/7 for the phone call that says "I've fallen over again" or "Where am I?" or "I'm going to be late for school, Mum" or "There's a whale in the garden again".

    At the moment, my father and I are teetering on the brink. It's a toss up which of us dies first. I can't even get a social services assessment for either of us, let alone social care. Like a lot of disabled people we struggle through life caring for each other because there's no one else out there willing or able to do it.

    1. The highest rate of DLA is paid to a person who is so severely disabled they can hardly cope! An additional premium can also be paid to enable that person to buy in some help. If that person is also paid a carer's allowance because they have the ability to look after someone else then it makes a mockery of the whole system!!

      DLA etc., is to enable social care to be bought in, not to be used as an extra income!! People, especially on this site, tend to forget that. They want all the benefits but do not want to pay for social care etc., "Cheaper than agency carers" He is your father!! I care for a disabled daughter but I don't ask the state to pay me - she is MY daughter and MY responsibility.

    2. I have worked in mental health for many years and am a benefits advisor. It isn't very difficult to get DLA with the right help. The majority of people I work with do have mental health issues and get DLA middle rate care and low rate mobility. Most of them really should not be receiving it and cope fairly well, including fully utilizing free bus passes, (wales). It would be. Very difficult for any of my clients to get work which ypaid the same.