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|28 May 2016|
John's Jolly Walking Group
Our first article draws on a report published about the progress of Health and Social Care Integration in England that can help us understand the challenges for Scotland. You can read the full article here and download a copy of the main report here.
Our second article looks at he ongoing war against disabled people as despite the efforts of the Scottish Government the amounts disabled people are being asked to pay continues to rise. Faced with benefit cuts, rising prices and cuts in support, asking people to pay more for less would not be acceptable anywhere else. Yet for disabled people who are coming to ask for help at really difficult times in their lives it seems okay to shrug shoulders and say there is a means test so it must be fair! Even Rafael Nadal thinks its wrong! Read the article here
Our third article looks at a few other things that the new Scottish Government might do to improve things. Read it here.
All our online articles can be read aloud simply by highlighting the text and then clicking it.
You can also see our map of Welfare Rights Offices in Scotland on our website where you can more advice and help on how to sort out welfare benefit problems
An early study by the Policy Innovation Research Unit into the development of Health And Social Care Integration in England has found it struggling. Just as in Scotland, H&SCI started with ambitious visions to transform care for people with multiple long-term conditions and frail older people by shifting services out of hospitals, reducing costs and improving people’s experiences of care
There had been plans to use a wide range of initiatives to meet these objectives including multi-disciplinary teams, improved access to services, rapid response teams to reduce avoidable admissions, telecare and telehealth, increasing the use of community resilience and personal health budgets.
However such ambitions became more limited and focused on “short term, financially driven goals”, mainly around containing hospital admission and discharge costs. The range of initiatives used had narrowed to setting up multi-disciplinary teams, improving care planning, creating a single point of access for services and using care navigators to provide people with information and advice on accessing care.
In January, the Minister for Health, Wellbeing and Sport announced a £6 million cash injection to raise the amount that older and disabled people were able to keep before paying care charges to the same level as that in England. For about 15 years, disabled people under 65 in other parts of the UK have
been significantly better off than those in Scotland, on average getting to keep £132 per week as well as income needed to meet any other Disability Related Expenditure.
However it would seem that the Scottish Government cannot just tell local councils what to do. In a number of areas, councils have decided to ignore this. Angus, for example, decided to increase the threshold for over 60s but to freeze it for those under 60 (Report 66/16 5(c)).
BUT even worse some areas have decided to use this as an excuse to increase their incomes. Instead of levelling up of care charges, two areas Highland HSCP (3/3/16 (7.4)) and Dumfries & Galloway Council (29/2/16 Template 11) have cut the income that they allowed people to keep by £22 - 25 per week. In both areas all new social care clients will start paying the new rate from April 1st while in Dumfries & Galloway all existing clients will start to paying after their next assessment. Highland may raise an extra £1 million over the next year, D & G about £500,000.
Other councils across Scotland are joining in with measures designed to get more money from disabled people to pay for their social care.
Helping Disabled People Get Jobs by investing an additional £20 million on top of funding that is transferred from Westminster to ensure that those who most need support get it. Due to start in 2018.
Helping Social Care Staff by implementing the Living Wage of £8.20 per hour from October 2016 for all social care workers.
A Disability Action Plan to improve lives.
Helping unpaid carers by increasing Carers Allowance to the same level as JSA with further adjustments for those caring for more than one disabled child.
Establishing a Disability Benefits Assessment Commission to look at PIP such as how often assessments for PIP should be, what long term conditions should be given an automatic or lifetime awards, and what the eligibility rules about who should get PIP are.
We are aware of an increasing number of problems that people with learning disabilities are experiencing in the welfare benefit system. Some of this is linked to the use of targets by the Department of Work and Pensions. Other problems are linked to the complexities of letters and forms sent to people to fill in.
Some support staff are no longer filling in forms because the consequences of getting this wrong can be very difficult and worrying for the people we support. Our advice for everyone is involved is to get good advice if you are not sure what to do.
You can use our new map of welfare right advice centres to track down your local advice shop. Take your letters and forms along and get the right help.