Independent Living – Welcome to this week’s Independent Living news.

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Welcome to this week’s Independent Living news.
07.02.18 Contents:
Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman
Helping Hand for bus users
Some reassurance on PIP reviews
Stylish new shower lift
Derek’s View – Inclusive bathing
Latest – MS Society survey; Refunds on LPAs
1. Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman

Around the middle of last year, the Local Government Ombudsman service changed its name to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman.

This reflects the fact that a great proportion of the complaints dealt with arise from adult social care, whether local authority or from private providers. We have an overview of their last year’s activities, here

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2. Helping Hand for bus users

The Department for Transport is considering a universal accessibility card for bus passengers. The Helping Hand card, developed by Go-Ahead buses together with user groups and charities, could be a contender.

It avoids the need to explain to a bus driver that you need extra assistance, and it’s now available to travellers, following a trial in Brighton.

Find out more here

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3. Some reassurance on PIP reviews

Some more detail about the forthcoming re-evaluation of PIP applications. Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, has confirmed that people won’t need to go through another face-to-face assessment, and that nobody will lose any benefit they have already been awarded as a result of the review.

The DWP seems confident that they can manage the huge undertaking without affecting any other activities: they are recruiting extra staff, and don’t expect to take money from other parts of their budget to cover the extra costs.

I will keep you posted on any new developments…

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4. Stylish new shower lift

This rather sleek and modern-looking vertical shower lift has been garnering a lot of attention on social media already.

It comes from Closomat, who are best known for all things toilet-related, and notably their automatic wash and dry toilet.

Measures to make showering or bathing easier now account for nearly a third of home adaptations, so this is a timely extension of the company’s range.

Find out more here.

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5. Derek’s View – Inclusive bathing

We have a new site subscriber on Independent Living, who specialises, among other things, in inclusive bathing.

Assisticare’s inclusive bathing range has tubs that look much like a conventional bath, but with features that improve safety and access.

They can also incorporate multi-sensory options, including Coloured lighting, Bath sound and Hydrotherapy to turn bath time into a really therapeutic experience.

You can find out more here

If you provide high quality products and services, and you would like to reach our site visitors and newsletter readers, please email

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6. Latest updates – MS Society survey; LPA refunds

This is a final reminder about the MS Society survey on Personal Independence Payments (PIP). They want to know the impact that the change from DLA to PIP has had on people with MS. Unfortunately, the link I used to the survey a couple of weeks ago didn’t work reliably, so here is one that does!

The survey closes this Friday, the 9th – so if you would like to share your experiences, you should get over there straightaway.

refund due on LPAI wrote recently about having a Lasting Power of Attorney, so that your nearest and dearest aren’t left with a complicated mess to unscramble if you are unable to manage your own affairs in the future.

For those of you who got things organised a while ago – between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, to be precise – there is a refund due on the cost of setting it up. Details here.

Don’t forget that you can apply to join the Independent Living Facebook group, if you would like to spend more time discussing these themes with other interested people.

There are various ways you can get in touch with us: email me; visit our Facebook page and leave a message there; or if it’s short and sweet, Tweet!

Previous newsletters are archived here.

If you are reading a copy of the Independent Living newsletter that has been passed on to you by a colleague or friend, why not sign up for your own free subscription – it’s quick and easy, and won’t lead to your inbox being bombarded with other stuff!

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Until next time, all good wishes,


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Frances Leckie

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