We now have the minutes for the Disabled People’s Question Time that took place on 23rd February 2017.
For a downloadable file in word of the below, click this link. Disabled People’s Question Time Feb 2017 – Minutes
Kensington and Chelsea Disabled People’s Question Time
Thursday 23rd February 2017
Present: Larry Da Silva, Beverley Wade, Lili Djuric, Sarah Mutesi Kibidi, Janet Forbes, Nick Wimborne, Paul Meade, Maria Pace, Susan Milbourne, Glenda Joseph, Margaret Cairns-Irvin, Roselyne Strebel, Marian O’Donoghue, Dorota Zielinska
Chair: Jenny Hurst
Judith Blakeman (JB) is the councilor for Notting Dale Ward and the Labour group’s spokesperson for Housing and property.
Geoff Taylor Meade (GTM) is Partnership Support Manager with the DWP. His remit is broad in terms of welfare, but unfortunately he is unable to comment about the other aspects that people might raise.
Victoria Borwick is the MP for Kensington.
Q. The Department of Transport has a programme to support more people to become mechanics (and other technical jobs). Why can’t this be run here?
Panel members were not sure what the scheme was.
Action: ADKC to find out more and feed back.
A recent court case clarified that bus drivers should be doing more to ensure that wheelchair users are given priority for the wheelchair space in the bus. Transport for All is a good organisation that takes up disabled people’s issues.
Actions: 1. Disabled people with issues about accessing public transport can contact their councilor / MP who can help them raise the issue with Transport for All.
2. Members of the mobility forum will keep transport issues in mind.
Health and Social Care:
Q. How we can work together to improve things with Health and Social Care leading up to and following discharge from hospital
A. NHS and Social Care is in crisis but RBKC is not as bad as other areas.Local authorities can increase council tax to pay for Social Care. RBKC has increased council tax but none is being put towards Social Care. We all think that Health and Social Care is important but people who pay council tax might find increases difficult. Discharge services are commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The service seems better in the South (Chelsea and Westminster) because there is a social services team in the hospital (as it is located in RBKC) but also because many richer people in the south choose private health care – so there is less demand on the NHS. The other hospitals are not in the borough and St Charles is a different type of service.
Actions: 1. JB and the Labour group to feedback concerns of those present and recommend that there should be an increase which is ring-fenced to social care.
2. VB can raise delayed discharge / lack of services after discharge issues with the appropriate people.
Q. Why are there are no fibromyalgia services in the borough when other boroughs have them?
A. The decision was that there were too few people who would benefit.
Q. Why are Mental Health services only available for people in crisis / when they have tried to kill themselves – wouldn’t preventing deterioration be better for all?
A. There will be a new service – in Malton Road – but it doesn’t exist yet.
Q. There are two contracted Homecare providers in the borough – MiHomecare in the North and Mears in the South – they have very long contracts and there are big problems with the services that they provide. What is being done about this?
A. Panelists were unable to comment but suggested other people who will better be able to answer questions around social care.
Actions 1. ADKC to follow up with appropriate people and invite them to feed back at the next meeting.
2. Local disabled people are welcome to raise concerns with their local Councillor / MP who will forward on their concerns.
Q. Why does it take so long to get adaptations completed?
(Question unanswered for reason above and will be carried over to next meeting)
Q. Why do we always have to start from scratch when we already have a history with you?
A. Although you always have to do a new form, what you wrote previously is taken into account.
Q. What about if you have difficulty communicating or you have a mental health condition (instead of or as well as a physical health condition).
A. Many people find it difficult to complete benefits forms, so it is vital to get help completing the forms, especially if you need help communicating your difficulties and /or when you have mental health issues too. If you have good and bad days – think of the difficulties you have on the bad days.
Q. Why aren’t people with serious medical conditions and plenty of evidence believed?
A. The benefits system is based on rules and a process – it doesn’t discriminate between people with a severe problem and people with less severe problems. It is important to have good supporting evidence from medical professionals. If you don’t agree with the decision you can ask for the mandatory reconsideration and appeal.
Q. What about people who are too unwell to go through the appeal or who have other things to worry about? There is only a certain length of time you have.
A. You should be able to get help with an appeal. You should also be able to have someone with you.
Action: GTM to provide information about the local services that he has contact with who can help.
Q. The government wants more disabled people to get into work but it seems that they make it very difficult. Why aren’t there systems in place that help, not hinder?
A. There are flaws in the system. Sometimes one department doesn’t talk to the other and often complaints are due to the delays. There have been issues supporting people who transition from benefits to works but Universal Credit should minimize these and make things easier.
Also, a recent consultation event enabled local disabled people and employers to comment on the Work and Health Green Paper, including looking at the Work Capability Assessment which many people successfully appeal. RBKC ran an event to hear from local people to inform reports that have been sent to the government.
Q. How can we persuade employers to take us on when we are having all the worry of battling with the DWP?
A. There is still disparity between working disabled and non-disabled people. At the event, employers too said that they needed more support when employing disabled people too. Disability Confident is set up for this and to be a support network (for employers).
Q. What is the situation regarding people are having to pay the Bedroom Tax?
There are still discretionary housing payments (DHP) that you can contact the council about. They decide whether to pay them or not and they cover some of the cost for a short time (the length of time is also discretionary). Sometimes working with housing associations to find a smaller property from within their own stock works well.
Regeneration / local changes:
Q. In the north of the borough, there has been regeneration resulting in the loss of easy wheelchair / ambulance access to the disabled adapted housing. What can be done?
A.It is important to bring such issues to the correct person – either the local councillor or to the appropriate council officer.
Q. Also what can we do about the missing dropped curbs, or places where they are no longer protected by double yellow lines (to prevent parking)?
Actions: 1. JB to ask Ward councilor to get in contact with member.
2. Disabled people can raise issues of access with the ADKC Access Group.
3. ADKC Access Group can collate information to bring to the appropriate cabinet member or council officer.
Q. What will be happening about ADKC when there is regeneration in the area?
A. This is definitely something you need to raise with Nick Paget-Brown at the next meeting. From the plans that were on display recently, there doesn’t seem to be any provision for ADKC, the Latymer Community Church, the Pig and Whistle, or for parking. Representatives will be available between 1-5 on Friday afternoons at ADKC to discuss plans.
JH thanked Westway Development Trust who have kindly sponsored our two Question Time meetings – the next is the same time next month – 23rd March – when we will hear the updates from this meeting.