Care cuts put those in need at risk

Vulnerable people are at risk because social work budgets cuts make it impossible to prepare meaningful care packages. And that is besides cuts to the government’s welfare benefits.

It’s the job of social workers to assess what support someone needs to keep them safe and able to live independently. Community Care magazine and the Care and Support Alliance, of which the MS Society is a member, surveyed social workers. The survey asked about the challenges they face trying to get people the care they need.

social workersIn response, the social workers criticised the devastating impact cuts are having on people who rely on care and support.

Almost 500 UK social workers took part in the survey. Their comments reveal the incredibly difficult position they’re often in, as they increasingly have to restrict or remove care entirely. What’s more, that is due solely to lack of resources, as local councils struggle to balance their budgets.

One social worker said: “[There is] strong pressure from my line manager and commissioners to reduce costs as a main priority.”

Meanwhile, another commented: “Colleagues constantly battle to keep packages at an adequate level to support clients.”

Social workers tell of appalling cuts in care

Their descriptions of what cuts can mean in practice to people who need care were appalling:

One wrote: “A person with hoarding issues and a tendency to eat rotten food had their shopping and housework call cut, resulting in an admission to hospital with food poisoning.”

Another response said: “The person requires support with walking to the bathroom, but due to the cost he is now required to contribute towards it. [Instead,] he has decided he would rather have the risk of falling than [pay for] an evening call.”

MS Society chief executive Michelle Mitchell, said: “This report lays bare the realities social workers face thanks to a system that hasn’t been properly funded for decades. Our own research shows that too many people with MS are bearing the brunt of cuts. One in three [are] not getting support with essential everyday tasks.

“The government has promised to improve the social care system and additional funding and reform has to come quickly. People who desperately rely on care shouldn’t be forced to keep paying the price.”

                                                                                 * * * * *
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                                                                                 * * * * * is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Clinical Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

Secret reports, that ministers said did not exist, say they WERE warned that vulnerable being hit hardest












Iain Duncan Smith, former Work and Pensions Secretary, headed team of ministers who did nothing to protect vulnerable, says report.

Writer’s Declaration of interest: I have multiple sclerosis and receive both ESA (in the support group) and Disabled Living Allowance (both care and mobility components at the highest rates).

‘No matter what they tell you, No matter what they do, No matter what they teach us, What we believe is true’1

How true those words have become with the long-awaited reports of secret internal inquiries into deaths of people claiming disability benefits being finally released on Friday.

The very existence of the reports was for a long time denied by UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) ministers – headed by then secretary of state Iain Duncan Smith.

Although heavily redacted2, or censored, the reports do still show that government ministers stood by and did nothing despite being warned that the Work Capability Assessment back-to-work tests were hitting vulnerable disabled people the hardest.

This has got to be the 21st century’s most tragic equivalent of the biblical story of Pontius Pilate’s hand washing. But this time, the ‘it is not my fault’ argument just won’t wash.

However, unbelievably, the DWP is continuing to deny responsibility. A spokesman said: “Any suicide is a tragedy and the reasons for them are complex, however it would be inaccurate and misleading to link it solely to a person’s benefit claim.”

There were 49 inquiries up to August 2014. They were mostly undertaken after claimant suicides and though, after numerous redactions, they fail to make a direct link between benefit cuts and claimant deaths, they do highlight widespread flaws that lead to vulnerable claimants experiencing trauma.

Ministers initially denied that they held any records on people whose deaths may have been linked to benefits system. This was untrue, they were just being hidden as the release of the reports, in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) demands, clearly shows.

Apparently, another nine cases have been investigated since August 2014 and are already subject to further FOI requests.


1No matter what (recorded by Boyzone) Songwriters LLOYD WEBBER, ANDREW / STEINMAN, JIM Published by Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

2Officials have removed from the reports any references to the specific events that triggered an investigation, as well as dates, names of claimants or staff and locations. Several of the inquiry reports have been stripped of almost all data.     In two instances, investigators reported that it was difficult to carry out a proper inquiry because DWP records had been purged, or not kept properly.



Suicides of benefit claimants reveal DWP flaws, says inquiry – The Guardian newspaper

Secret papers show that DWP knew that benefit cuts would hit vulnerable hardest – Third Force News