|39 mental health deaths from unnatural causes – CQC report
Thirty-nine people with mental health conditions have died of unnatural causes in the past year according to the new CQC report: Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2018/19.
DRUK CEO Kamran Mallick says: “It is deeply disturbing that this number of people can die from unnatural causes while under Community Treatment Orders or in specialist facilities. We know that the mental health system in this country is in crisis. We know there is nowhere near enough service provision, both in the community, and in specialist facilities. This report, highlighting a shocking amount of denial of basic human rights for those with mental health conditions, should be a wake up call to Government to boost these critical services, now.” More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/39-mental-health-deaths-unnatural-causes-cqc-report
‘Highly likely’ DWP could have investigated over 69 suicide cases – NAO
In a shocking briefing published last week, the National Audit Office (NAO) says that it is highly unlikely that the 69 cases the Department has investigated represents the number of cases it could have investigated in the past six years.
The NAO undertook an investigation last year after the former MP Frank Field – then the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee – reported that the DWP had refused to answer his requests for information on the numbers of suicide-related deaths, saying it would be too expensive to gather the information.
Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said:
“Just last week, we highlighted that a disabled man, Errol Graham starved to death after the DWP wrongly stopped his out-of-work benefits, leaving him without any income.
“This new NAO briefing shows yet again that the DWP is failing in its safeguarding responsibilities towards vulnerable disabled people.
“As a minimum it should make public its safeguarding policy. And immediately halt all benefit sanctions against disabled people – as recommended by the all-party Work and Pensions Committee in 2018.
“The Government needs urgently to commit to a radical reform of the disability benefits system so that it is one that supports disabled people and does not impoverish them and remove their independence.” More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/highly-unlikely-69-suicide-cases-dwp-has-investigated-past-six-years-represents
Nearly half of everyone in poverty is either a disabled person or lives with a disabled person
Four million people with disabilities in the UK are living in poverty. In total, seven million people in poverty are either a disabled person or live with a disabled person – nearly half of everyone in poverty, according to a new Joseph Rowntree (JRF) research report.
In 2017/18, 31% of the 13 million people with disabilities in the UK lived in poverty – around 4 million people. By contrast, the poverty rate among the non-disabled population was 20% in 2017/18. This gap in poverty rates has persisted over time.
An additional three million non-disabled people in poverty live in a household where someone is disabled, meaning that, overall, nearly half of the 14 million people in poverty are affected by disability.
Poverty is especially high among families where there is an adult who is disabled, at nearly 33%. If there is also a disabled child, the poverty rate is 40% – more than twice the rate where there is no disability.
Disabled people are more likely than non-disabled people to face barriers to paid work. In 2017/18, 50% of working-age disabled people were not working compared with 18% of non-disabled people.
Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said: “The findings of the JRF research are both shocking but unsurprising. The social security system should provide a financial safety net for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions. Yet, since 2008, changes to welfare benefits have led to this safety net collapsing, causing people to feel abandoned by a cruel and unfair system. Financial security for most disabled people has all but vanished and many of us have been left living in poverty and isolation as a result.” More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/nearly-half-everyone-poverty-either-disabled-person-or-lives-disabled-person
DWP announces regional workshop events
The DWP is holding three new regional workshop events “to hear directly from disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and charities” on social security reform. The events will be held on 13 February in Whitehaven, on 14 February in Pontypridd, and on 2 March in Wisbech. More information and booking details here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/dwp-announces-regional-workshop-events
DR UK joins BT in new football initiative
DR UK is collaborating with BT in the development of Project Swift - a new format of disability football for those of us who can’t play with our bodies, but could potentially play with our minds. The aim is to introduce new technology concepts into the game, helping those currently excluded from competitive sport to play, with the ultimate ambition of enabling the very best to potentially play one day for their country. More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/dr-uk-joins-bt-new-football-initiative
DIAMOND project seeks women’s railway experiences
The DIAMOND project is looking to gather users’ experiences of using metro and urban railway public services in relation to fair access with a particular focus on the barriers and facilitators faced by women. The data collected will be used to develop a framework which will then be used to transform public transport into a more inclusive and fair system without discrimination. You can find out about the whole project here: https://diamond-project.eu/ and find the survey here: https://diamond828718.typeform.com/to/jfMnpn
Occupational therapy report
The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has just published a new report on the impacts of occupational therapy, along with a raft of stories about the difference occupational therapy can make to people’s lives. Read the stories here: https://www.rcot.co.uk/small-change-big-impact and the report here: https://www.rcot.co.uk/promoting-occupational-therapy/occupational-therapy-improving-lives-saving-money.