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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Stupidity of Cuts - An example.

Theres a centre near to here that does fantastic work with Gorton and close by areas' Learning Disabled persons. 

Its going to close. 

In favour of a centre quite a distance away.

But, apparently , theres no money to sort regular transport for the centres users to the alternate place and the users of the centre thats closing have been told to "use the bus".

The users , carers and families have set up a protest campaign about this as some of these people will have difficulties with buses, and its quite a distance away. 

One of the leaders in the community, one of the people I deal with quite a bit, has asked for serious investigation into this via our MP. 

Its appalling that these individuals are being quite literally trounced. 

If you are reading this, please remember this at next General Election.


Monday, 29 October 2012

I cant ask any stronger than this

Everyone that views my blog, I believe, has a care for humans. Theres a massive human surge towards badgers thats forgotten the effects of welfare reform on humans, LOOK UP DEATHS AFTER BEING DEEMED FIT FOR WORK. For Humans, a sort of administrative cull some people say. Theres a petition, and you need to sign it , to stop people losing ESSENTIAL money, and gives dignity to the NON SCROUNGING SICK Look here, and sign, Major Urgently  PATS PETITION

Friday, 26 October 2012

Welfare Reform Deaths. STATS QUESTIONED

WOOH people mail me a lot, THIS PERSON asked me to blog this ..... There is no question that people are dying as a result of the disability benefit welfare reforms (http://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/list-of-those-for-whom-welfare-reform-and-cuts-were-too-much-to-bear.295951/) run by ATOS. Working out how many people this is is a tricky subject and there are two numbers currently floating around - 73 per week (http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/incap_decd_recips_0712.pdf) and 32 per week (http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html). The 73/week figure is the number of deaths occuring amongst those who are on Employment Support Allowance (ESA), whilst the 32/week figure relates only to those who are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA. Trying to work out how many of these deaths were hastened or occured because of a wrong decision by ATOS and therefore as a result of the welfare reforms is tricky. What we are interested in is how many people who were put in the WRAG died earlier than they would have done if they had been in the support group. We are also interested in anyone completely removed from ESA who should have remained on disability benefits but no tracking is done of this group at all as far as I know. the 73/week figure includes people in the support group - if we say that those in the support group are recieving the support they should, then any deaths in this group cannot be down to welfare reforms, and so this number will be an overestimate. The 32/week figure is better, because it excludes those who are getting the support they should have. It may be an over or underestimate, because of course some of these people would have died if they were in the support group. At the same time, it doesn't include people pushed onto JSA and the extra pressures involved with that benefit. It is likely that the group of people kicked off ESA wrongly will experience the highest increase in death rates. Now for me it is impossible to get an accurate figure, since you are supposing an alternative reality and it is not possible to actually say in individual case how much longer someone would have lived if they'd been in the support group not the WRAG. But we can look for an honest figure, though it's not without its complications. In essence what you need to do is a case-control study where you look at people in the WRAG and pair them off with people in the support group who have the same/similar disabilities or illnesses and demographic background. It may be easier to do this by comparing with a different country. Either way, getting good case-controls would be a challenge to say the least. Comparing the death rate simply with the general population would give a base figure, but no way to take into account an expected increase in death rate amongst people with pre-existing conditions. Personally, I use the 32/week figure and specific examples from Calums List (http://calumslist.org/), but knowing with any accuracy or honesty just what the numbers are is impossble. The core fact though is that people are dying as a result of the welfare reforms, and that a single death is too high a price to pay.

Round the world Mental Health. Honest testimony

Fabulous testimony from Jess! Please read the confusion, the fuzz, the absolute search for solution, the aaaaarrrrrgh factor , the lot... This from across the pond from me. She asked me to blog it. --------------------------- Half-Truth By MinaBeans (Jessica Emily Ann) One does wonder what the mandatory three days in a mental care unit actually does to someone. Does that one get the care they need, do they decide to trace those steps for mental health thereafter? Or does their voice get lost in the system and once out, get thrown into a crowd of people unable to understand. You got help, why aren't you better? Here, go to this Doctor, pay for these pills, juice up on Ativan, you'll be alright. Does anyone remember when they first brought you in and how they asked “why do you think you are here?” For some, they had to go, for some, they decided to go. Is anyone actually able to answer that question at first? Do we lie and or do we say the truth? For some, we say “I don't know.” A half-truth. In most cases, we get lost in the system. We see the Doctor for 10 minutes each day. Then we spend the rest of the time with the others on the ward and doing Arts and crafts. It's a bit surreal, scary, and comfortable. The big windows in the lunch room pointed east where I spent my three days. I sat staring at the sun cursing that they had forgot my allergies to certain foods. I would look out the window and pretend eat, drinking caffeine-free hot tea. I sat with a a group of people who were just as nervous as I am. We talked about music, a lot and we traded food sometimes. If there is anything that I remember helping me, it was them. The Rocker Guy, the Mother, the Angry Woman, and the Quiet Lady...I remember their faces but I don't remember my doctor's face. I had one visit from some family. They seemed happy for me, but in truth, that is the half-truth. I learned then that, only I can help myself first before anything gets better. Asking for help is brave, yes, but that's only one step. I felt childish, the thing that pushed me over the edge was small. I had a fight with a beloved sister, and the chains broke. That is all this place focused on. So I played the part. I played the part. And I got out, playing the part, but I did try after. Only to fail, then win, then fail all in a round cycle. But that is a different story. In the maze of understanding, at first glance, this was my experience.

Very simple Insomnia and Illness Analysis BASIC MODE

My illness means i get insomnia, other people have other aspect of their own illness. ONE QUOTE WHEN I ASKED FOR INSOMNIA AND HOW IT AFFECTS YOU CAME BACK AS: " I'd love to, but I don't control what I write or when. It just happens, and other times it doesn't." THERE LIES ILLNESS, AND INSOMNIA, SIMPLY EXPLAINED. All the best and stay well, Jules.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Getting Personal Part 2

Invisible Illness. ..... So they identify 1st off a virus, they name it, fail to find a successful suppression for years and it damages an organ. Causes fatigue twice over now. the organ, and the continued viral presence. They find a way to suppress it but not rid the virus -with tablets that make me insomnia prone and dizzy prone and can cause digestive issues, and the previous treatments in plural all made me feel shit too . Then they identify reflux, and lesions in stomach, repeatedly, and give anti biotics every so often, then they identify diverticular disease, for symptoms that have been present all the time theyve been treating the virus. And They DONT recognise Fatigue related to the organ damage as functions are "reasonable" and within "acceptable limits" AND THAT Fatigue and its resultant crap through the body ( with all sorts of spin offs) although constantly i mention it . The fatigue worries me more than a lot of the stuff, which could be wrong, but the fatigue is massive, and the feely bit of all thats happening. Apart from Bowel Pain and weird stuff that happens with body. They identify at least 6 things and name them , and then understand it causes PART of the head issues. No where has it been "Joined Up Thinking"

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

INFO ON Run 4 StreetGames


Thinking of taking part in an organised run in 2013 and want to guarantee entry?

Then Run4Us

StreetGames has guaranteed entries to a whole host of races in 2013 - including the Great North Run and the British London 10k - and by Running4Us you can help us continue to provide a London 2012 legacy for young people living in our most deprived communities.

View the list of races available and complete the Run4Us application form here »

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Monday, 22 October 2012

The joy of community representation

So many many emails and stuff, and a meeting date change and venue change this time . Lots of stuff already for a late november meeting.
Theres a pre meeting for officers of the forum and I think thats tomorrow, but thats not yet confirmed up.
So another email.

On another issue branches have been falling off a very high tree quite near.
People walk there and naturally I was concerned about safety.
I have a "ticket" number but no response as yet. You'd think a public safety issue would be crawled all over wouldn't you?
Thats one to chase.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Vortex of Sickness Familiar to anyone?

This pic is sometimes how one of my tablets, or tiredness, or pain, or depression CAN make me feel..

Friday, 19 October 2012

The TORY future for those not yet sick / disabled perhaps?

Manchester: Jobs at Justlife... Join the team!

This shared at request...

Jobs at Justlife... Join the team. 

We have two vacancies at Justlife, Manchester. We need a cook and we need someone to run our much loved cooking workshops with vulnerable adults. If you feel up to the challenge (either one or both of them) or know someone who might then please get in touch as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

http://www.justlife.org.uk/category/vacancies/

JOB ADVERTISEMENT: Justlife Cook

 Justlife is a Community Interest Company which exists to:

1.      Provide help to individuals and families with acute support needs including alcohol & drug dependency.

2.      Help individuals to access relevant professional services including housing, healthcare and employment.

3.      initiate and co-ordinate community transformation and regeneration in areas of deprivation

4.      research, design and deliver models of recovery which will empower individuals to find their way back into society, indendent living and employment    

We are seeking to appoint an exceptional person to undertake the role of Justlife Cook for our work with vulnerable adults in east Manchester.

You will need to be self motivated, disciplined and socially aware, have excellent communication skills and be able to demonstrate an ability to prepare nutritious food for in large quantities. You will be required to work as part of a team but also take initiative to work on your own.

The successful applicant will be required to complete an enhanced CRB check.

Hours: 6 hrs per week

Term: 13 month initial contract

Salary: Circa £8.23 per hour

Closing Date: Not specified

Interviews: TBC

Application Information is available from:

Ruth Cox

Director, Justlife Community Interest Company

Tel: 0161 2855888

e: ruth@justlife.org.uk

web: www.justlife.org.uk

                                                 JOB ADVERTISEMENT

SESSIONAL WORKER (Cooking Workshop)

Justlife is a Community Interest Company which exists to:

1.      Provide help to individuals and families with acute support needs including alcohol & drug dependency.

2.      Help individuals to access relevant professional services including housing, healthcare and employment.

3.      initiate and co-ordinate community transformation and regeneration in areas of deprivation

4.      research, design and deliver models of recovery which will empower individuals to find their way back into society, independent living and employment.

We are seeking to appoint an exceptional person to undertake the role of SESSIONAL WORKER for our work with vulnerable adults in east Manchester.

You will need to be self motivated, disciplined and socially aware and have excellent communication skills in order to run engaging workshops which will provide the skills to enable Justlife service users to eat healthily and well regardless of their limited resources. You will be required to work as part of a team but also take initiative to work on your own.

The successful applicant will be required to complete an enhanced CRB check.

Hours: 2 ½ hrs per week

Term: 13 month initial contract

Salary: Circa £8.23 per hour

Closing Date: Not specified

Interviews: TBC

Application Information is available from:

Ruth Cox

Director, Justlife Community Interest Company

T: 0161 2855888

E: ruth@justlife.org.uk

W: www.justlife.org.uk

I just downloaded that I can blog from my phone .

The blogs from phone won't be massive, mind you, most of mine aren't, but gives me extra option at least.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Re PCC elections In Manchester

Got this via email so sharing... On November 15th Criminals will hope you do nothing. Have your say in the first ever elections for your local police and crime commissioner. On November 15th, 41 new police and crime commissioners will be elected across the country to give you a say when it comes to cutting crime in your area. What will my police and crime commissioner do? Your police and crime commissioner will ensure the police focus on the crimes that matter most to you, whether it's tackling anti-social behaviour, reducing burglaries, domestic violence or cracking down on drug dealing. They'll set the police and community safety budget, deciding where the money is best spent. They'll also hold your police force to account for delivering the kind of policing that you want to see. Your police and crime commissioner will work with local partners such as social landlords, councils, helath, and drugs and alcohol organisations to not only fight crime and anti-social behaviour but to prevent it. They'll also consult with victims of crime, ensuring that those affected by crime have a role in determining what the police should focus on, and how. And by voting in your local police and crime commissioner, you'll have your say on the key decisions that will impact your local area. What do I need to do? Before the election go to www.choosemypcc.org.uk to find out who is standing for election in your area. Or if you dont have access to the internet call 0800 1 070708 to order a free booklet. Then it is up to you to decide who your local police and crime commissioner will be. Chris Kippax ____________________________________ Customer and Community Engagement Team Manchester City Council community.engagement@manchester.gov.uk

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Yep the comparison NOW v NAZI Befehl ist Befehl


You can Take This As Any Action DWP and Atos 






Superior orders (often known as the Nuremberg defense or lawful orders) is a plea in a court of law that a soldier not be held guilty for actions which were ordered by a superior officer.[1] The superior orders plea is similar to the doctrine of respondeat superior in tort law where a superior is held liable for the actions of a subordinate, and the subordinate may escape liability.[2]Some legal scholars and war crimes tribunals will correlate the plea to the doctrine of respondeat superior; whereas others will distinguish the plea from the doctrine of respondeat superior.
The superior orders plea is often regarded as the complement to command responsibility.[3]
One of the most noted uses of this plea, or "defense," was by the accused in the 1945–46 Nuremberg Trials, such that it is also called the "Nuremberg defense". The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the main victorious Allied forcesof World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany. It was during these trials, under the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal which set them up, that the defense of superior orders was no longer considered enough to escape punishment; but merely enough to lessen punishment.[4]
Historically, the plea of superior orders has been used both before and after the Nuremberg Trials, with a notable lack of consistency in various rulings.
Apart from the specific plea of Superior Orders, discussions about how the general concept of superior orders ought to be used, or ought not to be used, have taken place in various arguments, rulings and Statutes that have not necessarily been part of “after the fact” war crimes trials, strictly speaking. Nevertheless these discussions and related events help us understand the evolution of the specific plea of superior orders and the history of its usage.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Getting Personal

There are times when I try to explain things .

There are times when I'm "misunderstood"

The misunderstanding times i really get upset about, but often theres no reason for the misunderstandings.

The issues I have are INVISIBLE to the system.
I have a couple of problems with my body, which are, in fact, very serious. They are Classed by hospital as Chronic.

I read somewhere that living with life threatening chronic illness is oft accompanied my pretty complex head issues. I cant back reference a link, because thats a "No Brainer" in common parlance.

But the "System" doesnt see the fullness of what that does to me, and has given me ESA WRAG.

I dont have care plan, extra entitlements or anything. I simply do not qualify.

You can see the post re Personal Advisor Interview on this blog.

See , misunderstanding? Its in the System, and spreading to people outside the system ( see media influenced attitudinal change in the nation we call home) .

Just thought a bit of personal stuff on the blog would help people understand a bit more.

Medical Schmedical Details I have omitted, as writing them out again would crash me. Disclosure is never easy.


Many Thanks, Keep strong
JULES.


Friday, 12 October 2012

Are you Wondering if DWP hate Atos?


Just had chat with a fellow "warrior" if thats what we're called, and they have great contact with advice services,

they are mooting that lots of DWP staff HATE atos and the extra work it causes,

this is understandable,

but when you also factor in that the DWP could and did do IB assessments originally, and having a role removed may give rise to a deep seated organisation resentment, as the number of instances like mine where DWP phone you and tell you theyve overturned the Atos Fit For Work recommendation on their report are apparently rising quite a lot.

This mainly identified as Atos not actually considering ALL of the info on the ESA50 and missing stuff from their reports.

I concurred with him that when everyone realises the totality of this debacle and that they did nothing , there will be a lot of heavy guilt widespread, if these people have any humanity.

How anyone works within current system is beyond what I could do myself as a HUMAN BEING, I bet a lot say "But at least I've got a job" But I couldnt do what they do. EVER.

Calling Trans* people 'mentally ill' is simply wrong


You might want to read this, seriously... Jules 
-------------------------------------


People may say it’s an illness, but for me it’s just who I am.
I'm not sick, I'm Transgender. I face discrimination everyday simply for being who I am. This stigma is made so much worse by the World Health Organisation who still say my gender is a mental illness.
My gender is not an illness, it's part of me like being Jewish or vegetarian! Calling Trans* people 'mentally ill' is simply wrong and does little to help us live the lives we deserve.
That's why I've started a petition on Change.org calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to stop considering Trans* people 'mentally ill'. Click here to join me.
It's incredible that in this day and age my gender is considered an illness. Many countries have requested the WHO to remove transsexuality from their list of illnesses, as has the European Parliament. However, today transsexuality is still there.
But we have a chance to change that: the WHO is revising what illnesses will appear on the classification list. It's time to say it loud and clear: transsexuals are not sick. As was the case with homosexuality, which was dropped from the list in 1990, now is the time to stop stigmatising transsexual people.
Thanks,
Maxwell Zachs
Maxwellzachs.blogspot.com

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Getting too many PPI texts or Claims Calls?


Unwanted Calls and SMS , previously I've found telephone preference service IGNORED
So anyone being hounded in their own perception of what that is can contact: 


 Information Commissioners Office - the body for the enforcement of the relevant legislation regarding unsolicited calls and texts .
The Office of the Information Commissioner
Wycliff House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
SK9 5AF

Tel: 01625 545 745
Fax: 01625 524 510
E-Mail: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk

My next email after today is to this. 
If you are fed up, angry, bothered or anything else by this unsolicited plague of activity, I suggest you do the same. 

EAST MANCHESTER - Winter Bulbs for community groups

I am happy to say that I will have the following winter / spring bulbs available from Monday 05 November 
Daffodils - mixed - these come in nets of 400 bulbs
 
Tulips - mixed - these come in nets of 100 bulbs
 
Snowdrops - these come in nets of 100 bulbs
 
crocus - mixed - these come in nets of 100 bulbs
 
bluebells - these come in nets of 100 bulbs
 
The bulbs will be stored at Wenlock Way offices. Unfortunately this year I am not able to deliver them so any bulbs required would have to be collected from the Wenlock Way offices at an agreed date and time. Requests for bulbs ideally should be made in netted quantities i.e a net of daffodils (400 bulbs), a net of tulips (100 bulbs) etc.
 
Thanks
Sarah Hawkins
Customer & Community Engagement Lead
Customer and Community Engagement
Neighbourhood Services


Please let me know if there are any groups interested, not individuals I'm afraid, I'm happy to collect and drop if need be, Thanks Heath h.cole@manchester.gov.uk


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

1 doctor for every 75 HPs ATOS PIP PROPOSAL

The Doctors Ratio is appalling

Anyone interested in PIP tender by ATOS.
This i'm assured is FACT.

Anita said:


I am giving you a scoop. I discussed with DPAC and it is okay if I communicate this document. I managed to put my hands on PIP Atos tenders. I am copying just a bit of the document, and I would like you to spread as widely as you can the fact that ATOS has planned to have 750 HPs and only 10 doctors, 1 doctor for every 75 HPs. I will also contact other people about this
Anita 
--------------------------------

Question : How many HPs we anticipate will be needed to deliver PIP in Lot 1 

Based on the Authority’s volume assumptions for Lot 1, we anticipate that we will need to 
utilise over 750 HPs over the life of the contract to deliver all of the PBRs and face to face 
assessments. The vast majority of HPs will be either nurses or physiotherapists, and they will 
be supplemented by occupational therapists and doctors. The proportions of HPs is as follows: 
500 Physiotherapists, 200 Nurses, 40 Occupational Therapists, and 10 Doctors. The rationale 
for this approach is based upon our knowledge and experience of the clinical requirement, the 
availability of the HP we have chosen, the cost differentials between the types of HPs, the 
existing presence of appropriate skills across the clinical professions and the desire for this 
work following contact with the types of HPs within our partner organisations. 




Many Thanks Anita. 

ignore this post

Today.
Twitter convo with Ed Balls
And a convo extended with a left wing journo i admire.

Monday, 8 October 2012

You may not be on welfare, but oh so close ...


When I talked a lot during against the bill protests regarding welfare , and the stupid people who dont realise they are one step, one coin toss, one event from becoming their own hated nemesis, I thought how many people understand this, and today I find this wonderful piece that I reproduce here below. 

Please share this - it explains a lot. - Jules.

_________________________


Via purplepersuasion

Mental health blog by a service user with bipolar disorder



One degree of separation – there is no “them” and “us”

103,545 people on Facebook like “I hate benefit scrounging work shy bastards.”
What separates them from benefit claimants? One event beyond their control.
One departmental downsizing
One ruptured blood vessel
One car accident that you couldn’t prevent
One expected baby born with an unexpected disability
One company that suddenly tumbles into receivership
One slip, one trip, one fall on the ice, the rug, the pavement, the stairs, the shower
One bereavement you couldn’t get over
One rolling contract not renewed this financial year
One frail elderly parent you cannot bear to be cared for by strangers
One faulty gene triggered into rapid action
One unscrupulous employer who learns you are pregnant
One partner who was supposed to be “too young” for dementia
One paid job now done by an unpaid intern
One medical image confirming the worst
One mental health breakdown you never saw coming
One pension fund that didn’t deliver
One roadside IED
One factory closure
One work-related injury in the only field you ever trained for.
And if and when it happens to them…there may not be a safety net left.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

154 starvation or thirst deaths in hospital last year

43 hospital patients starved to death last year & 111 died of thirst while being treated on wards, new figures disclose  I not posting article here, but the link is the article .

Tune I like A Lot, But have many I like. this is KASHMIR

Surviving The WCA .

Atos Dr Nick

Raymondo, member of Kilburn Unemployed Worker's Group and Social Work Action Network London, shares with us his Work Capability Assessment Survival Tips...

The Work Capability Assessment is the test by which people claiming the out of waged work benefit Employment and Support Allowance are gauged as qualifying for Employment and Support Allowance or 'fit for work'.
“The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) has three stages. Firstly, the Limited Capability for Work Test determines whether or not you remain on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), secondly, the Limited Capability for Work Related Activity Test determines whether you join the ‘support group’ of claimants or the ‘work-related activity group’ and thirdly, the Work Focused Health Related Assessment provides a report that can be used in any work-focused interviews that you may be required to attend later on.” (i)

Atos Origin are the company profitting from carrying out the much criticised Work Capability Assessments

WCA Survival Tips
(Some of these tips are repetitions or further defining of others. This is to add emphasis.)

1)    Never answer a question without understanding what it means. (ii) 

2)    Wise up on the ESA eligibility 'descriptors'. (iii)

3)    From the moment you first apply for Employment & Support Allowance, consider
I. who will be best suited to accompany you to the 'medical' interview and
2. who to approach for evidence to back your case.
The person to accompany you will be your McKenzie Friend.(iv)

4)    Realise that shame and embarrassment in relation to your condition may be the biggest barriers to your successful form completion. In the world of claiming ESA what was previously regarded as a 'mark of shame' often becomes a 'badge of honour'.

5)    Picture yourself on a really bad day, because otherwise the inconsistency of 'it varies' answers will too easily be interpreted as, “This descriptor is insignificant to this claimant's eligibility.” Beware also of the inconsistent ordering of some of the answers in the ESA50, and recognise the relevance of minimum 24 hour working week realities to what makes your condition worse.

6)    Realise that the ESA50 form content sets the scene for how you will be assessed.

7)    Consider the possibility of a relevant helping professional completing the ESA50 on your behalf, but be the final arbiter on this. A relevant helping professional's authoritative input may be especially helpful if yours is an invisibile disability or mental health condition, but if they take a rushed approach to your form's completion while you may be inclined to attempt to avoid embarrassment in stating how bad your condition really is/can be, their input may well weaken your case..

8)    Never attend the Work Capability Assessment 'medical' alone. This is something you must factor in when completing the ESA50.

9)    Make optimum use of the 'lead time' from receiving the ESA50 application form to the deadline for form completion and return, bearing in mind that the ESA50 will be redirected to a different address than that given on the reply envelope before it reaches the Atos team who will be conducting your individual assessment.

10)    Quote any documented evidence as much as possible in the body of the form, rather than relying on a covering letter and/or other attachments that are all too commonly 'lost in the post'.

11)    Keep copies of all your form content and documentation. Electronic copies of your form content can make editing form content easier for repeated testing situations.

12)    Check out the building accessibility of the 'Medical Examination Centre' (MEC), realising that elevator access may not be operating at the times that the adjoining jobcentre closes. (Some MECs are open on Sundays, and when jobcentre staff go home at 4:30pm, elevator access may be denied.)

13)    Realise that the 'suggested route' details/advice that Atos Healthcare admin issue of how to get from your home to the MEC may be unnecessarily complicated in order for you to be intimidated out of attending.

14)    Don't allow yourself to be bullied and intimidated by the inflexibility of 'we're only following orders' Atos call-centre staff. In the event of your not being able to attend the MEC as a consequence of any 'last-minute emergencies', say, arising from the weather denying your McKenzie friend access to a car ride from home to the MEC, realise that a call to the relevant Disability Benefit Centre can trump such inflexibility. Remember, without someone to attend the medical, it will be assumed not only that you have no trouble getting to appointments alone, but also that you will be a less reliable witness than someone who can corroborate your version of what happened or did not happen at the medical.

15)    Consider the 'medical' as more of an observation activity with you as the one being observed from the time you enter the waiting room, rather than an exhaustive and thorough medical examination.

16)    Seek out, join, or form a support group for benefit claimants. This will help make your life feel more relevant between WCAs and help to counter the isolating influences of the reassessment process.

17)    Keep abreast of changes to the law as it relates to your ESA entitlement.


Testing times for Raymondo
Raymondo recently underwent his third Work Capability Assessment. When he first applied for ESA he had been awarded 0 eligibility points at the medical three months after the ESA50 form completion. That 0 eligibility points score was turned into 21 eligibility points at the tribunal that he later attended with an advocate from a local disability charity, and the tribunal panel also placed him in the Support Group, ensuring no 'back to work' sanctions and such bullying, but not exempting him from the stressful experience of being systematically retested. It took the Disability Benefits Centre's Assessments & Appeals Section of Department for Work & Pensions two months to wade through the 'sandbags' of correspondence to get to his tribunal outcome and pay the back money he was owed, and yet just six months after getting the back money, he was summonsed to re-apply for ESA, with six weeks before the deadline for receipt of the ESA50 application form. Diligent devotion to getting the form content as strongly in his favour as possible, and attending with a McKenzie Friend that he had become well-acquainted with in the intervening period helped ensure that he secured Support Group status for the second time. But his third WCA was conducted under a revised 'simplified' test that allowed fewer point scoring options toward the eligibility threshold of 15 points awarded him by the tribunal.

The newer test had been proposed by the last Labour DWP Secretary Yvette Cooper as more and more people won their tribunals in order to get what was rightfully theirs. (v) So the then DWP Secretary who is now Labour's Equalities Spokesperson decided that the law needed to be changed. (Atos and its staff seem to be above the law, but tribunal panels have to abide by it.) The ESA tribunal panel consisting of judge and doctor had awarded Raymondo 15 of his eligibility points on account of the time it takes him to execute tasks. The 'simplified' WCA has completely removed that relevant descriptor which has been a major bugbear of Raymondo's 'working life'. So how did he manage to overcome that difficulty?

“All of the above tips have helped me since I won my tribunal,” says Raymondo. “This most recent time though, there was the additional factor of the destruction of a mainstay descriptor and the potentially additionally isolating factor of stigmatisation.” But Raymondo's preparation this time around was increased.

With enhanced relationship with a legally qualified advocate and disability rights activist who he first contacted as a friend of a friend, he felt less embarrassed about ‘telling it like it is’ than he did when originally going through the form in an interview with a vocational support adviser with whom he lacked a true rapport and who was too blasé and ignorant about the nuances of ESA compared to Incapacity Benefit. Getting it out as an electronic document in his own time helped enormously for shaping the document to text boxes for copying and pasting onto the actual form. And his anticipation of the changes brought in by the revised test cued him to take a real diagnostic battery of tests with Camden Learning Disability Services before undergoing his third WCA. The report from that test helped explain and outline how, say, slow mental processing speed made him more inclined to experience ‘information overload’ and accident proneness in real world work situations. He also emphasised that as a genuine jobseeker from November 1977 till early 2009 he only acuired only 17 MONTHS total waged employment, 11 months of which had been for less than ten hours per week.

Now a member of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group that meets 40 minutes bus ride away, Raymondo realises that while he is still very poor and has extremely limited career prospects in his 59th year, he has much to contribute to helping make the world a fairer place, and has been helped to feel more human through being a member of that group. “Those like Liz Sayce of Radar who talk of ‘integration of disabled people into the workforce’ as they smash Remploy communities with factory closures get paid for giving government-for-market-forces-by-market-forces what it wants. ‘State-subsidised’ Remploy factories are more sustainable and sustaining than transporting sweat shop produce around the globe from China where 600,000 die per year from intolerable working conditions that operate under the name of ‘competitiveness’.

“I might not get paid as much for helping people to the truth, but being a member of Kilburn Unemployment Workers Group and Social Work Action Network London activist gives me a greater sense of purpose while making new friends.”

NOTES AND SOURCES
(i) http://www.tameside.gov.uk/esa/wca
(ii) Dorothy Leeds (1998) Secrets of Successful Interviews. The fact that the vast majority of ESA claimants who win their tribunals do so with advocacy support indicates that those without advocacy are not sufficiently resourced with the relevant information and interpretative guidance.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmworpen/313/31307.htm
(iii) Beyond a Yahoo! Search for “ESA descriptor points”, you might consider subscribing to the services provided by Benefits & Work Publishing. A year's individual person subscription to Benefits & Work Publishing costs currently less than £20 per year and allows you unlimited access to their guides written by legal professionals into how the ESA descriptors might be interpreted.
http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/join-us
(iv) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mckenzie_friend
(v) http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/forums/even-harsher-new-esa-medical-approved-benefits-work-13th-april-2010


Friday, 5 October 2012

Dr says "But You Dont Look Ill" by Puffles' BB


A permanent state of tiredness

Summary
Whoever stole my adrenaline, please can I have it back?
I’m almost exhausted simply looking at this blogpost. This feels like the third night in a row where I’ve had zero sleep. The joys of having a main road-facing window? I’ve become more and more sensitive to traffic noise in recent years, the noise of which is doing my head in. It’s like I want to run away to the middle of nowhere and experience the silence of the countryside, and the sense of the silent awesomeness of the night sky. Instead, every other second is punctuated by another freight lorry or another hydrocarbon-pumping loud farting machine driven or ridden by a boyracer – there goes another on a souped up sewing machine.
And that’s before the mental health stuff.
Well…not just mental, but physical too. The last piece of real exercise I did was at the Cambridge Folk Festival this summer – a 6 minute long Ceilidh number by the bandBlackbeard’s Tea Party (pictured here with Puffles). It’s a huge culture shock from a lifestyle that was otherwise ever so active.
Earlier this week I was watching some old football footage from the late 1980s, working out that the ‘veterans’ in those games were around the same age that I am now. There’s a part of me that still feels 10 years younger than I actually am. Physically though, I’m trying to come to terms with everything being downhill from here. Talking with my former London flatmate who was over visiting from her native Switzerland, I mentioned to her that I just cannot manage anything near the 4-5 nights per week of dancing practice that we both used to do. In those days, I’d think nothing of jumping on my bike to get into town – there in 15-20 minutes, no problem. These days, it’s much easier to catch the bus – though far more damaging financially.
When is it all going to stop? When does the relief come?
That’s the most frightening aspect of all of this for me. I cannot see a way out. Mental health services are starved of resources even at the best of times. The sleepless nights, the intense and unstoppable thought processes, and what feels like a permanent spasm of my internal intercostal muscles on the inside of my rib cage are doing my head in. (If any medics out there know what this condition is, please let me know because my doctor doesn’t seem to be able to put a finger on it). It’s also this sort of stuff that makes even a sceptic like my almost want to turn to what I’d otherwise call ‘quackery’. Hook my chest up to a battery pack and flick the ‘on’ switch to see if that would have any impact, or to get some injection of a muscle relaxant to target muscles that have been like this for almost a decade…you get my point I hope.
There’s also the longer term issues – I can’t go on like this forever. A couple of people who have been through similar (but have thankfully recovered) have said that their recovery took years. That frightens me – I don’t feel like I have ‘years’. It’s bad enough having had to move back in with my parents (much as I am grateful for putting me up) but having moved from a situation where I was pretty much completely independent from them to one where I am very much dependent on them for a roof over my head…I can’t pretend it’s not a blow to my self-esteem. They’re not getting any younger either. At some stage I’m going to have to get back properly on my own two feet. Yet at the moment healthwise I’m simply not well enough to cope with full-time hours. Every full day worked takes a full day in bed to recover. Two-to-three day stints, while incredibly exciting from my perspective take the equivalent to sleep off what feels like the missed hours asleep.
Managing expectations
At the moment I’m still trying to work my own ones out in post-civil-service world. Without digital and social media I dread to think where I’d be. It has allowed me to learn lots of new things, meet (and more importantly stay in touch with) lots of amazing people, earn an income and go to things that I might otherwise never have gone to – whether the local meeting yesterday at one end to the Paralympics at the other. Because the social and digital media worlds are so unpredictable – because the conventions are still being set, the same goes with my work pattern. I jump on opportunities when they arise, no longer needing to worry about line manager’s approval.
Where are my roots?
This is one of the things I’m trying to unpick both through music and becoming a school governor at my old primary school. On the latter there is a great deal of excellent work going on, but a number of things where I’d like to think I can make a difference too. Roots-wise, Cambridge is all I ever really knew as a child. Growing up in an area that at the time was very much a White community, one straddling traditional terraces and council housing in one part, a five minute walk from the detached houses that are now approaching seven figures. Just as one class of parents prioritised football, so another prioritised ‘violin practice’. It was the same with churches until my primary school broke its links with the local Church of England church. I could never understand why I had to go to one church while some of my other friends went to a different one. I could never understand why some of my friends from nursery school weren’t there on my first day at primary school. As I pointed out in a post about faith-based schools:
Exactly. So now I am extremely reserved at best when dealing with religious institutions, much as I am fascinated by their histories. In the end, everyone lost. I stopped playing the violin at 13, stopped playing football at 17 and turned against institutionalised religion a few years later.
I’m keeping all things music to myself at the moment – away from family and close family friends, much as they’d all like to come and see/hear me play. I just cannot do it. My musical journey explores more as to why. Yet for some reason, I see this as a significant step – getting back into music that is. One of the things I wanted to do during the 2000s was to get back the buzz of ‘performing’ as a group to a large audience. You could see it as contributing towards something far greater than myself. In childhood I had always been someone picked out for solos – something that I never enjoyed. I still don’t now. I hate the sound of my voice amongst other things. A strange thing to say for someone otherwise so used to speaking on public platforms or in presentations.
Going beyond a pill
Some of you will recall this was the title of one of my first blogposts. It was my first one on mental health – something that I was a little bit anxious about blogging about at the time, lest a prospective employer picked up on it and turned me down for a job as a result. With hindsight, I’m having more fun being free with Puffles than in a normal day job – not that I’m in a fit state to go 9-5. But at the moment, would I want to?
My point is that my recovery from my mental health problems require far more than just a course of medication or a series of counselling sessions. It requires a complete overhaul of everything. Unfortunately, that overhaul is not one I can afford. As I’ve mentioned, housing is the big issue – both facing a main road and still here with my parents. That said, living alone would put me in a downward spiral without a vibrant active and meaningful social life. When you are interacting with people you are surrounded by, you forget what it was like to be lonely.
Yet at the same time I need my own space to customise and personalise. I can’t really say I have that – or have ever really had that. With housing and rental prices being what they are, I struggle to see myself attaining either in the short to medium term. I can’t help but think that the mess that is all things housing generally – with wages and prices being so out of sync – has killed off a lot of aspiration that people might otherwise have had. Hence why at the moment I don’t particularly aspire to have my own place at the moment because from where I am at the moment, the barriers are just too insurmountable.
I hope it won’t stay that way though.
By Puffles' Bestest Buddy. 

------------
Wow. 

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Destitute child starved to death -in the UK

Charities warn of more tragedies unless flaw in transition system is fixed Child starved to death after benefits delay 05/10/2012 | By Keith Cooper (inside Housing) The government has been warned it must urgently fix flaws in its support system for successful asylum seekers, after a destitute child starved to death in temporary accommodation in Westminster. Further tragedies are increasingly likely as more asylum claims are processed while support funding dries up, organisations claim. Details of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of ‘child EG’ and the unrelated death of his mother ‘Mrs G’ surfaced in a serious case review and a letter sent to the government by child safety experts at Westminster Council, a flagship Conservative borough. The case review found that the family had become dependent on ‘ad hoc’ charitable handouts despite a successful asylum claim because of ‘significant problems’ transferring the family from Home Office to mainstream welfare support services. The family of three was forced to ‘actually become homeless’ before local authorities could offer official help, it added. The Westminster letter - sent last March but only released to Inside Housing this week - urges Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions officials to review and improve transitional support for successful asylum seekers. ‘Joined up government should be able to manage the transition from one form of public support to another,’ Terry Bamford, chair of Westminster’s Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, wrote in the letter. Asylum seeker charities this week warned of a deterioration in government support services in the 18 months since the letter was sent. The Home Office axed its funding for Refugee Integration and Employment Service - which paid for transitional support for successful asylum seekers - last September, they point out. Judith Dennis, policy officer at the Refugee Council, said the problems highlighted in the review were common. Daoud Zaaroura, chief executive of the North of England Refugee Service, said the issues raised in Westminster’s letter were unresolved. ‘Without RIES, or something similar, there is a real threat of the tragic case of EG happening all over again.’ Dave Garratt, chief executive of Refugee Action, said the newly appointed immigration minister, Mark Harper, must ‘urgently address the shortfall in resourcing for these essential services’. ‘We are deeply concerned that our caseworkers are seeing increasing numbers of recent refugees who are being forced onto the streets,’ he added. James Thomas, director of family services at Westminster Council, said it had provided more details of the case to the Home Office at its request. A spokesperson for the UK Border Agency said: ‘We have already made several improvements to transitional arrangements.’ Organisations housing asylum seekers for the UKBA must now notify local authorities when applications are successful and refugees can remain in UKBA-funded accommodation for one month after a decision. Funding is given to voluntary groups which offer support and advice, the spokesperson added. What the sector thinks ‘Even when we had funding for RIES, it would take our staff up to two months to secure all of the benefit entitlements for some families.’ Daoud Zaaroura, chief executive, North of England Refugee Service ---------------- ‘Unacceptable delays in these transition arrangements are all too common, resulting in homelessness and hunger.’ Dave Garratt, chief executive, Refugee Action ---------------- ‘Delays have left these clients in a precarious situation and largely or entirely reliant on the support of friends, community members and local organisations.’ James Souter, Asylum Welcome ---------------- Timeline September 2009 Family moves to Westminster March 2010 Child ‘EG’ and his mother die March 2011 Westminster letter warns government to review transitional support September 2011 Home Office axes funding for the Refugee Integration and Employment Service October 2012 Letter released to Inside Housing

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Info: Big Business / Gay Equality support

Interesting article from Harvard Business about how big business increasingly supports gay equality bit.ly/QAtsZM