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Toby with Ward Manager Sue Hedley and Mary Holbrook

Chesterfield’s Ash Green Specialist Learning Disability Centre nominated for national award

A specialist Learning Disability Centre has won the local nomination of a prestigious National award. As part of the celebrations to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS, Hillside Ward at Ash Green Specialist Learning Disability Centre, were nominated by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins for a NHS70 Parliamentary Award for Care and Compassion.

The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards is a scheme designed to find and celebrate health heroes and to thank staff for their outstanding contribution, hard work and care across the NHS. Hillside Ward provides specialist assessment and treatment to patients with complex needs and is part of the learning disability services at Ash Green.

Toby said “I believe it is vital that we recognise the tremendous effort and dedication of NHS staff. I saw the great work the team at Hillside Ward do with some very vulnerable patients. The team fully deserve to be recognised in this way and I am very proud to have nominated them for the NHS70 award.”

On a recent visit to the Centre, Toby was shown around by Ward Manager Sue Hedley and Mary Holbrook. Mary said “It was great to get this recognition via the Parliamentary Awards from our MP and to welcome him to see the work which the ward does at first hand.”

Toby with Ward Manager Sue Hedley and Mary Holbrook

Toby with Ward Manager Sue Hedley and Mary Holbrook

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A group from Chesterfield met Toby in Westminster Hall to campaign for Solve Sleep Ins

Disability groups call on the Government to take action on carers’ pay dispute

The Social Care Sector faces a new crisis due to the mishandling of legislation to pay National Minimum Wage for carers of people with learning disabilities, who work sleep-in shifts. A new campaign backed by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins and several disability organisations has been taken to Parliament.

Local Government funds sleep-ins for carers of people with severe learning difficulties. Sleep-in shifts are an integral part of the overall care service and the Government has a statutory obligation to provide this. However, historically Treasury guidance said that because carers were on-call at their client’s house they didn’t qualify for the National Minimum Wage, and could be paid a lower set rate for the hours slept.

This was also the basis on which councils tendered for ‘sleep in’ contracts. Now a recent court case has ruled that carers should have been paid the National Minimum Wage and are ordering care providers to identify and reimburse back pay to all those carers for the last 6 years.

A campaign headed by a coalition of disability groups are calling on the Government to ensure care workers receive their back pay directly from the Government to alleviate the pressure on Local Authorities, care providers and patients and carers who pay using direct payments.

Some care companies face historic demands of as much as £800,000 whilst individuals who used direct payments will also face huge bills as well as the bureaucratic headache of identifying every carer they had for the last few years.

Toby Perkins said “I am very concerned it is the most vulnerable people in society, along with those on the lowest pay, are having to beg for money they are legally entitled to. People with severe learning disabilities and their families need reassurance that they are well looked after 24 hours a day. Carers work can be very demanding and is often undervalued. It is crucial they are paid appropriately and it is absolutely vital that the Government step in and solve this crisis as soon as possible. This is an error entirely of Government’s making and they now need to reimburse local authorities, care companies and individuals, so that they can pay their legal liabilities. I have written to the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to adopt the campaign’s requests as a matter of urgency.”

A group of people met with Toby and others in Parliament to campaign for efficient ways to solve the crisis through an HMRC scheme, which would pay workers back directly. There is pressure for the crisis to be solved before September as providers are obligated to start planning future budgets in April and the sector will be unviable by the 2nd quarter of the next financial year.

A group from Chesterfield met Toby in Westminster Hall to campaign for Solve Sleep Ins

A group from Chesterfield met Toby in Westminster Hall to campaign for Solve Sleep Ins

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Toby speaking in last night

Government’s flagship disability benefit failing thousands of claimants with autism

New figures released following a Parliamentary Question by Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, have shown thousands of autistic people claiming Personal Independence Payments have wrongly been denied benefits.

Mr Perkins raised the Parliamentary Questions after a stream of constituents brought cases to him regarding loved ones with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who had been assessed by Atos and then denied Personal Independence Payments (PIP). The reply from the Department for Work & Pensions has revealed that from April 2013 to December 2018, 4060 claimants with ASD were denied PIP, but 67% had the decisions overturned upon appeal.

Mr Perkins said, “The parents and carers approaching me for support were all telling me very similar stories about the assessment process. There was false or misleading information included in the reports by Atos assessors, and no points awarded when there clearly should have been. Many of these claimants are people who struggle with communication and interacting with others, but then score no points for communication on the assessor’s report. This cannot be right. There is clearly either a deep misunderstanding of autism and the way it affects claimants, or there is deliberate attempt to deny people the benefits they need to live as independent a life as possible.”

Mr Perkins expects a significant increase in successful appeals for claimants with ASD this year, following the news that the number of people winning PIP benefit appeals has hits an all-time high in the first three months of 2018.

Mr Perkins added, “The large number of successful appeals shows that the system isn’t working and is leaving many people without the benefit payments they need for over 6 months. It is also clogging up our courts and needlessly wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds in taxpayers’ money. This simply isn’t good enough and the Government need to get a grip on this now.”

Toby speaking in last night's debate

Figures obtained by Toby following a Parliamentary Question he asked of the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions have highlighted the scale of the problem

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Toby with volunteers at the Air Ambulance charity shop on Burlington Street

Chesterfield MP celebrates National Volunteer Week by visiting the local Air Ambulance shop

National Volunteers’ Week is a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place annually between 1st-7th June and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering across the UK. During this week, hundreds of events and celebrations take place across the country, saying thank you to volunteers and recognising their invaluable and diverse contribution to the UK.

Toby visited the local Air Ambulance Shop in Chesterfield, which turns over in excess of £110, 000 per annum and contributed almost £35, 000 to the Air Ambulance service after last year which allows two air ambulances to be operated, covering over 3850 square miles. On average they have a 13 minute response time, responding to an average of 6 missions per day. Every product sold within the shop costs only £1 and their stock ranges from clothing to DVDs.

Toby said, “I think that it’s important that we acknowledge the time and effort that the volunteers devote to such important causes that may not be able to operate without their crucial help. It was great to learn more about the Air Ambulance Shop and to see how quickly volunteers turn new donations into shop ready goods.”

In 2015, volunteering inputted more than £22.bn to the UK economy. This is about 1.2% of GDP, showing the tremendous contribution volunteers make to society.

Toby with volunteers at the Air Ambulance charity shop on Burlington Street

Toby with volunteers at the Air Ambulance charity shop on Burlington Street

There are currently 22.6 billion active volunteers that regularly help UK charities.

If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance you can visit their website at www.dlraa.co.uk or you can visit their shop at 20 Burlington St, Chesterfield S40 1RR.

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Dementia Action Week pic for website

Chesterfield MP marks Dementia Action Week

There are over 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, and this figure is set to rise to over 1 million by 2021. Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins is calling for greater awareness of those issues that affect people with dementia and the need for social care.

Toby attended the Alzheimer’s Society ‘Fix Dementia Care’ Event, which highlighted the work that the Alzheimer’s Society has been doing ahead of the upcoming Green Paper on adult social care.

Mr Perkins said, “I was pleased to learn that in North Derbyshire CCG, the diagnosis rate is 68.1% higher than the national average, whilst 20.47% of the Chesterfield’s constituency population are over 65.”

Toby met with people affected by dementia, who explained how dementia had affected their lives and the struggles they have faced in attempting to obtain funding for their mothers care.

If you would like to find out more about the Alzheimer’s Society and the support they can provide, please visit https://www.alzheimers.org.uk

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Toby Perkins MP backs new support group for parents of children with Autism and other mental health needs

Local Mum, Nicola Gilbert is looking to set up a support group for parents, like her, whose children have mental health needs, but do not currently fit the criteria for support from organisations like Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Nicola has recently been through the process of having her child referred to CAMHS and has found the process extremely frustrating, only to find at the end that her child does not meet the criteria for support. In addition to this, there is very little support available from elsewhere for Nicola, her child or her family. During this process, Nicola came into contact with many other parents, whose children also did not quite meet the criteria for support but also had mental health needs. This gave Nicola the idea to create a support group for parents who are in a similar situation to her so that advice and best practice can be shared between them.

For further information regarding the support group Nicola can be contacted by emailing SpaceEmpowers@gmail.com or by joining the Facebook Page SPACE – supporting parents of Anxious Children Empower.

Nicola said “The most valuable part of my journey has been meeting parents with the same frustrations and hearing their experiences. This has been hugely beneficial and the support group will give other parents the confidence to share their story. Together we will empower each other.”

Toby added “I have been in contact with CAMHS on Nicola’s behalf and I was disappointed to see that there was very little support available. During this challenging time for Children’s Mental Health services I think it is important that support is available for parents and I support Nicola in providing further support for other parents”

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Toby with Matina Loizou, Senior Policy Adviser at Parkinson’s UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition

Chesterfield MP backs scrapping prescription charges for long-term conditions

 

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, has given his support to a campaign to scrap prescription charges for everyone in England with a long-term condition, as new economic analysis reveals that such a move would save the NHS millions and improve health outcomes.

The independent research by the York Health Economics Consortium, commissioned by Parkinson’s UK and Crohn’s and Colitis UK, showed savings of more than £20 million per year if the NHS scrapped prescriptions for people with Parkinson’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease alone.

Savings would be made from a reduction in health complications due to people not taking their medication as prescribed: previous research has shown around a third of people with long term conditions who pay for prescriptions do not pick up or take their medication properly due to the cost¹.

The £20 million would be saved by reductions in hospital admissions, inpatient days, A&E visits and GP appointments.

Attending the launch of the report at Westminster on Wednesday 23rd May, Toby Perkins MP expressed his concern that not everyone with a long-term condition in England was entitled to free prescriptions, despite the projected government savings.

Toby said: “This is an extremely important report, highlighting a significant injustice to so many people with long-term conditions in England.

“The NHS has a list of conditions that exempt people from paying prescriptions, but this hasn’t been updated since its creation in 1968.

“Over the past five decades, medical progress has been astounding, but this list is stuck in the past, omitting so many conditions that were undiscovered or had very short life expectancy at the time. I am committed to ensuring people in Chesterfield with long-term conditions are treated fairly.”

The report shows that extending prescription charge exemptions to people with long-term conditions would save the NHS:

  • £93 per person with Parkinson’s per year
  • £180 per person with Inflammatory Bowel Disease per year

And would result in:

  • 789 fewer A&E visits for people with Parkinson’s
  • 3,796 fewer GP visits for people with Crohn’s Disease

Matina Loizou, Senior Policy Adviser at Parkinson’s UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said: “No diagnosis should come with a bill – not from our NHS – and it is appalling that so many people have to pay for the privilege of having a long-term condition they certainly didn’t ask for.”

Jackie Glatter, Health Service Development Manager at Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition said: “The Government has freely admitted that the current prescription exemption criteria are outdated and arbitrary and this analysis clearly shows they are also a false economy.

“This broken system needs urgent reform to ensure people with long-term conditions get the vital medicines they need and to deliver value for money for the tax payer.”

Toby with Matina Loizou, Senior Policy Adviser at Parkinson’s UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition

Toby with Matina Loizou, Senior Policy Adviser at Parkinson’s UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition

 

 

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Response from Chesterfield Royal Hospital to my Letter Regarding the Creation of a Wholly Owned Subsidiary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently wrote to Chesterfield Royal Hospital following my meeting with Lee Outhwaite, the Director of Financing and Contracting at the Hospital regarding their plans to create a wholly owned subsidiary company. I have received the response above. Their response clarifies some of the questions that had been raised and I am pleased to see that the Royal has been able to offer these reassurances, but the ongoing question about future working conditions remain, as do more fundamental questions about taking NHS jobs out of the public sector. I appreciate the clarification they offer around pensions and outsourcing but I still have reservations about the Royal’s proposals. I am in the process of organising meetings with the unions and other staff groups at the hospital.

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

Surgeries

I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk to make a booking.

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