Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Stanmore, 1 year on.

On Friday 5th April I went to RNOH Stanmore for my 1 year follow up appointment.  I still cannot believe that it has been over 1 year since I was in, the time went by very quickly. The last time I was there the ward was still closed after the flooding under the floorboards had happeend.  Now that has all been fixed and they have swapped the mens and womens wings around so it was quite disorienting.

The first part of the follow up involved a group session to refresh things in our memories, catch up with how everyone was doing and any helpful tips that people have picked up along the way.  It was very interesting and I was quite pleased that on the whole it was a positive experience with very few negative comments.  It was nice to see some familiar faces, I got chatting to some of the people who had been on a previous course too.  They hadn't heard of e-motion/power assist for manual chairs so I told her about that, so I was useful for something!

After the group session I had a one to one session with one of the psychologists.  I had seen her for a few sessions in the last week before I had left.  We talked about how I was doing and what I wanted to do in the future.  I expressed some concerns about ongoing needs going forward once I am discharged from there.  I was very concerned about the lack of knowledge locally, most drs don't know what to do with me.  We also talked about a possible second stay, 2 weeks instead of 3 weeks.  Part of the plan for the second stay would be intensive physio and psychology sessions, I won't need to go in for all the other sessions that I had already been to last stay.

They have made some changes to the program since I was last there.  One of the big things was that before you only routinely went to the psychology sessions if you were on the pain management program but not the rehabilitation one. Now both groups of people do the psychology sessions, as they figured out that both groups of people had needs for them.  I think that was one thing that was overlooked while I was there, as for my group you had to ask for the help and I wasn't confident enough to do so until the last week, days before I was leaving.

The psychologist is going to put forward the recommendation that I go for another stay, then it will be up to Dr Cohen to say yes or no.  Apparently I shouldn't have a problem getting in for another stay because I can show that I'm trying to do the right thing and am applying the things that I have been taught so far.  I'm seeing Dr Cohen in May so hopefully it wont be that long of a wait until I know whether I will be going again or not.

Monday, 28 January 2013

'Moving Around'

This is the response that I got from my MP regarding the 'moving around', mobility component of PIP.  What do you folks make of his response?

Dear Mr H,

Thank you for contacting me about the Mobility component of PIP. I apologise this reply has taken some time to come, however I needed to seek clarification from the Department before getting back to you. I recognise that this is an area of some concern to many disabled people and I hope I can provide some reassurance.

First, I appreciate that there has been some confusion on the issue of qualifying for the enhanced rate of mobility by being able to walk 20 metres “reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely manner”. The change from 50 metres to 20 metres as the qualification for the enhanced rate of mobility is designed to provide greater clarification over how the assessment process will work. The 20 metres threshold is designed to act as an automatic qualification for the enhanced Mobility component because clearly if someone is unable to walk such a short distance, they are severely disabled. However, this change is not designed to preclude anyone who can walk 20 metres, being unable to receive the enhanced rate. The guidance has also been moved away from a focus on aids and appliances, to that of distance.

The key test for those who can walk further than 20 metres will be whether they are able to do so “reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely manner”. This therefore means that even those who can walk up 50 metres can still qualify for the enhanced rate Mobility component if for example, regularly walking over 20 metres would have an adverse effect on their health or leave them fatigued. I understand that, based on modelling that the Department for Work & Pensions has carried out, the number of people who score 12 points on Activity 12 as a result of this change from the draft assessment criteria is broadly the same.

I understand there is some difficulty including the term “reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely manner” formally in the regulations because defining this term legally in regulations is quite problematic, even though it is clear what this means for the PIP assessment. This term will be used as a guideline and it will also be in the contract with providers. However, the Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey has also agreed to examine again whether this term could be incorporated into the regulations.

Finally, I would like to assure you that under PIP, the proportion of people who will receive both components at the highest rate will go up with PIP compared to DLA (20 per cent compared to 16 per cent), as will the proportion of people who receive at least one component at the highest rate (56 per cent compared to 55 per cent).  Ministers will also continue to spend about £50 billion on disabled people and their services. Moreover, the UK’s spending on disability-related benefits continues to be a fifth higher than the EU average which is a real testament to our country.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Best wishes,