Disabled activists are to march on a surgery next month in protest at its involvement in a government scheme that is placing welfare-to-work advisors from a discredited US outsourcing giant in GP practices.Six surgeries in Islington, north London, are taking part in the year-long pilot scheme run and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Islington council.Under the Working Better scheme, job coaches employed by Remploy – which is now mostly owned by the US company Maximus – are placed in GP surgeries for one day a week.Patients who are unemployed and have long-term health conditions can ask their GP to refer them to “intensive and personalised employment coaching” within the surgery.The job coaches “work with patients to establish their previous work experience, knowledge and skills, to build confidence, set goals and identify job or educational opportunities”. But activists from the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) say the pilot scheme will destroy trust between doctors and their patients, particularly those with mental health conditions.They are particularly alarmed at the involvement of Maximus, which already runs DWP’s work capability assessment system and has quietly secured a string of other lucrative DWP contracts.MHRN, DPAC and other activists are planning a protest march on 4 March that will target City Road surgery, one of the six GP practices taking part in the pilot project.Paula Peters, one of the organisers of the march, said: “Colluding with the DWP is not what they should be doing.”She said she believed that such projects would “stop people in serious mental distress and people who need treatment from their GPs accessing their GP surgery”.She said: “They will just not go there if there is a Maximus job coach slap bang in the middle.“If people in mental distress feel it is not safe to access their GP, where do they go?“I would not go to my surgery if I knew there was one of those inside of it. I wouldn’t feel safe.”She said that many people with mental health conditions are being discharged from secondary care into the care of GPs, and many have chronic health conditions that need regular treatment and monitoring.The protesters also fear that what is currently a voluntary scheme – with no impact on receipt of benefits – will eventually become mandatory, with people facing benefit sanctions if they refuse to see the Maximus advisor.They point to last year’s Conservative election manifesto, which said that people “should get the medical help they need so they can return to work”, and warned: “If they refuse a recommended treatment, we will review whether their benefits should be reduced.”Peters said: “You already have jobcentre advisors going into food banks, they will be going into libraries, they are going out to schools to give 12-year-olds career advice, and now they are heading into GPs’ surgeries. Where next? Funeral homes?”Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington council, defended the decision to co-operate with the pilot project and said fears about the scheme were “misplaced” because it was “entirely voluntary and not linked, in any way, to any welfare-to-work conditionality or sanctions regime”.He said: “We know from independent research across our community that the vast majority of our disabled residents do want to work and want a better chance to show what they can do.“That’s why we’re doing more to break down barriers and help make employment support services more accessible and inclusive to the disabled people who want to benefit from them.“No-one is or will be made to see an employment support coach if they do not want to and no client’s information is shared with Jobcentre Plus. “No disabled person who is unable to work should be made to. The council opposes ‘workfare’. “We ask those proposing to protest to suspend their action and come and meet us so we can discuss our Working Better scheme in detail.”Despite Remploy now being mostly owned by Maximus, an Islington council spokesman said he had been told by Remploy that it was “a completely separate company and brand” to Maximus, and that “Maximus have absolutely no involvement in the Working Better project and none of the coaches are from Maximus”.Dr Josephine Sauvage, joint vice-chair of Islington clinical commissioning group, and one of the GPs at City Road, said: “When we become ill we often stop doing those things that get us out and about and bring fulfilment to our lives. As a local GP I see and hear this every day.“My first concern is always a patient’s well-being and I’m very keen to do more to support this.“Prescribing free and confidential employment coaching, delivered in a caring and familiar environment, can be really beneficial to a patient’s confidence and self-esteem, as well as their long-term recovery.”Last summer, MHRN and DPAC and other activists marched on a jobcentre in Streatham, south London, to protest at plans to force people with mental health conditions to undergo psychological treatments in exchange for out-of-work benefits.Like the Islington pilot, the Streatham pilot is part of growing moves by the government to build closer ties between NHS services and employment programmes, particularly for claimants with mental health conditions.Picture: Activists at last summer’s Streatham protest, by Penny Shaughnessy read more
Tags:Theresa May /Weekly Survey /Brexit /Negotiations / Welcome to our latest LabourList survey.Tell us what you think about the Brexit talks between the government and Labour.Answer the four questions below or click here to open the survey in a new window.This survey will close at 8pm on Sunday 7th April, and we’ll be releasing the results soon after that.
Credit: EDDIECredit: EDDIE A newborn is in critical condition after its mother was stabbed to death forcing paramedics to deliver the baby.Sky News reports that the incident had taken place in the early hours of Saturday morning in the South London borough of Croydon.Paramedics were called to the scene in Thornton Heath at around 3.30AM where they responded to a 26-year-old pregnant woman with severe stab wounds.When the woman, who was about eight months pregnant, went into cardiac arrest, the paramedics opted to deliver the baby.The baby is now reported to be in critical condition in hospital.The police say they have also arrested a 37-year-old man suspected of the murder.Mick Norman Detective Chief Inspector, told the media, “This is a horrific incident in which a young mother has lost her life and her child is critically ill. Our sympathies go out to her devastated family; they are being supported by specially trained officers following this awful event, and I would ask that they are left alone at this time as they come to terms with the enormity of what has happened.“A large crime scene is in place, and is likely to be in place for some time. Residents should be aware that if they have any concerns, or information they would like to share with us, that they can speak to any of the officers there, or call our incident room on 020 8721 4005. Alternatively please use the anonymous methods of reporting information to the police, such as Crimestoppers, if you wish.“At the forefront of our enquiries is understanding what exactly has lead to these tragic circumstances, and we are doing everything we can to establish the facts.”WhatsApp <a href=’https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2023/IMG3192.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more
SharePrint Two petitions supporting the Partit Nazzjonalista leader Adrian Delia were presented at the Party Headquarters Wednesday night.The two documents, demanded major reform with the party but also reprimanded those whom they saw as damaging the party’s future since they were ostensibly not cooperating with the leader.This was a counter-petition to one which had been presented to the party calling for the General Council to be convened and a vote of confidence in Delia to be taken. Delia’s supporters stated that it should not be the general council deciding on when an election should be called for the leadership and deputy posts when the existing regulation states that this contest can’t take place until three months prior to a general election.However, this statute is contest by Delia’s critics who state that there is a statute which allows for the general council to make decisions, ‘on any proposal put forward by no fewer than 150 members’PN’s executive is expected to deliberate on the first petition tomorrow despite over 4,000 party members (4,333) and over 500 general council members (530) pledging their support to Delia this evening.Read more:PN Petition: “Process for General Council kicks off” – Kristy DebonoDelia’s backers launch counter petitionWatch: PN petition on leadership is to be discussed on Thursday – DeliaParty must be open to reformThe identical petitions outline that in order for reforms to be made, the party must be open to reform and those who can make changes.With this, both PN members of Parliament and its officials have to fall in line and represent a united front for PN’s supporters.Those who choose not to cooperate with the party or its leader from now on will face action taken against them, the petitions read.Concluding their demands, the petitioners offer a welcome return to members of the party who left because of disillusionment over a small minority taking majority control of the party.Karl Muscat, PN councilor for Rabat delivered the petitions. <a href=’https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2023/IMG1928.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more
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