Posts Tagged ‘Dundee’

IDS Plans to Raise Pension Age So Most People Will Be Dead Before Claiming It

August 19, 2019

Yesterday, Mike put up a piece reporting and commenting on the latest plan by Iain Duncan Squit, sorry, Smith. The Gentleman Ranker and his Centre for Social Justice, truly an oxymoron in any connection with the Tory party and especially him, has decided that the pension age should be raised. Because life expectancy is increasing, so say. Well, as Mike has pointed out in his piece, it was, but is no longer. It went into sharp reverse with the Coalition, and for the first time in fifty odd years, the average life expectancy started falling. This has not prevented the man responsible for the tens of thousands of preventable deaths due to benefit sanctions, the work capability tests and his brainchild, Universal Credit, from claiming that the rise in pension age will boost the UK economy. I don’t believe it will, not for a single moment. The increase in the pensionable age will simply mean that that a sizable chunk of British senior citizens will be caught like the WASPI women. There really will be massive poverty. I’ve got a feeling IDS is justifying this by saying that it will get elderly people back into the economy and into work. Well, it will mean that the older people, who should rightly look forward to retirement, will be forced to go on working, if they’re able and the firm doesn’t want to get rid of them in favour of younger, and potentially cheaper workers. But it also means that the many older citizens, who have health problems that prevent them from finding suitable work, will be forced into poverty. You can expect them to be faced with the humiliation and futility of going through all the rigged work capability tests, with the assumption that, no matter how serious their health problems, they should be able to find some work to do.

And Mike’s article also quotes David Hencke about the real issue looming here: many people in the deprived parts of the UK, like Blackpool and Glasgow will be dead before they attain pensionable age. Hencke said in an article last year that the average male life expectancy in Glasgow, Blackpool, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire was 75.4 years. So if blokes do reach pensionable age in those areas, then on average they’ll have all of five months or so to enjoy their pension before they die. Which means, to the Tories and Iain Duncan Smith, £££££savings.

Whatever Squit, sorry, Smith says, I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that many older people will die before they reach the age when they can actually claim the pensions they’ve paid in for. For decades parts of the financial sector have been debating reforming the pensions system in line with the increase in life expectancy. The idea here is that the state pension system is, or will be, in crisis because they are too many elderly people living longer and drawing their pensions for longer. This is as the birthrate falls, so there are fewer younger people to support them. The Financial Times was talking about this in an article in the 1990s. And ominously, this article cited the fact that when Bismark introduced his ‘Socialist Law’ granting Germans the right to state pensions and payment for medical treatment, he set the pensionable age at 70. The article stated that this meant that the majority of German workers would be dead long before they could claim it. The Financial Times at that period was a Lib Dem, rather than a Tory newspaper, but that didn’t stop at least one of its other columnists supporting the very Tory policy of workfare. The reasoning for raising the state retirement age is that it has to be done to stop the younger generation being taxed to the hilt to pay for benefits for the elderly. But it actually looks more like the real reason the unspeakable Smith has done it is for the same reason the Tories always want to cut welfare benefits. They had the poor, all the poor, as scroungers, and simply want to give any savings they make from the benefit cuts to the rich as tax cuts. Which will include the millionaire Smith himself.

For further information, see Mike’s article at:

Smith is already a mass-murderer thanks to the carnage he’s inflicted on the unemployed and disabled. Support Corbyn and get him and his murderous government out before they cause more chaos with a no-deal Brexit.

Boycott Workfare’s Day of Action against Jobcentre Bullies

February 22, 2015

Boycott workfare have called for a day of action against jobcentres up and down the country on the 25th. This is in support of an activist with the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, Tony Cox, who was arrested at Arbroath jobcentre. Cox had accompanied a female claimant, who suffers from severe dyxlexia and reading problems. She was having several severe panic attacks every day caused by the stress of filling five Universal Job Match applications every day. Cox was there to represent her. The jobcentre refused to consider reducing the numbers of applications she should make, and insisted that signing up to UJM is compulsory. It is not. They objected to Cox’s presence, and he was arrested when he left the building.

The article begins

Solidarity with unemployed activist arrested for representing a jobseeker – call out by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty.

Take part in a day of action at job centres Britain-wide, 25 February 2015.

Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested on 29th January after Arbroath Jobcentre management called police to stop him representing a vulnerable jobseeker. We urge you to join a Day of Action on 25th February at Jobcentres round Britain to show your solidarity.

We must fight back against this clear attempt to intimidate claimants and deny us the right to be accompanied and represented. Tony will be in court in Forfar on 25th February facing charges of “threatening behaviour, refusing to give his name and address and resisting arrest”. That same day we call on people to descend on jobcentres round Britain to show their solidarity with Tony and distribute information to claimants urging them to exercise their right to be accompanied and represented at all benefits interviews.

As we face unprecedented sanctions and benefits cuts, it’s more important than ever that we support each other and stand up to the DWP bullies. The Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions and other groups have established a strong presence at the Jobcentres in Dundee and in nearby towns and cities like Arbroath, Perth and Blairgowrie, supporting claimants in opposing sanctions and harassment.”

The article gives details of individual protests in Scotland, and provides links to leaflets that can be given out outside the jobcentres. There is also another link to a petition you can sign. They also urge you to write in support of Mr Cox to Noel Shanahan, the Director of General Operations at the DWP.

This is a major issue. As Mike over at Vox Political and Johnny Void have repeatedly covered in their blogs, there are major issues with privacy and protecting the civil rights of claimants with Universal Job Match. It is not compulsory, and contains any number of defects and flaws. Such as false, spam offers of jobs by agencies seeking to increase their profile on the Net. And also, I think you’re entitled to want to avoid it as it’s IDS vanity project. It’s been set up by the man responsible for 51,200 deaths per year due to his sanctions regime.

And the jobcentres definitely hate anybody coming in to give support to claimants. Before I was effectively thrown off benefit, I used to come in with my mother. The last time I went there, a woman on the ground floor told me that only I could go up to the interviewing area. Mum had to stay downstairs. I really do wonder what they’re afraid of, when they object to the presence of a respectable lady in her mature years.

Their cowards and bullies and definitely need to be tackled.

From 2013: Neglect and Low Standards at Bupa Care Homes in Scotland

April 18, 2014

This is from Private Eye’s edition for the 1st – 14th November 2013.

Bupa in Scotland

Home Affront

Something appears to be seriously wrong within Bupa care homes in Scotland.

Company bosses were summoned to a meeting with Scottish health secretary Alex Neil last month after it emerged that police were investigating the deaths of four elderly residents at Pentland Hill care home in Edinburgh.

Bupa has also just apologised to the family of a 78-year-old terminally ill woman who was found screaming in agony in the lounge of Eastbank, another “leading” care home in Glasgow, last July. By the time Eastbank acquired the morphine she desperately needed, Mrs Margaret Hall had died. six months earlier Mrs Hall’s dau8ghter had found her mother shivering in a cold bath.

Pentland and Eastbank are not the only Bupa homes with a history of poor care. Private Eye and the charity Compassion in Care (CiC) have found that of the chain’s 30 care homes in Scotland, there were seriously failings at ten and nine give some cause for concern. Teny were found to consistently good; while one, Balcarres, a small home for 36 in Dundee, stands out as consistently “excellent”. (Our list is very similar to the 21 – slight more – Bupa homes that the Scotland Care Inspectorate currently consider “high” or medium” risk and subject to frequent unannounced inspections).

Pentland, a home for around 120 residents, some with dementia, is now closed to new admissions after the inspectorate found residents had been left without food or water, along with evidence of poor care, dangerous medication practices, poor management and untrained staff. Since then four more complaints, unrelated to the criminal investigation, have been made.

The warning signs about Pentland were not new. The home has barely been rated above “weak” or “adequate” since a former care worker was jailed in 2010 for dragging an 86-year-old resident along the floor, leaving her bruised and bleeding.

It is a similar tale at Eastbank, where Mrs Hall suffered her agonising death. The home’s chequered past dates back to 2007 when Margaret Carroll, who had dementia, died of heart failure after staff failed to notice that she had broken her hip, needing immediate treatment. It was not until her paramedic son visited some 12 hours later that an ambulance was called. Since 2009 its care has never been rated better than “adequate” or “weak”.

After studying a list of serious upheld complaints and recent inspection reports, and after hearing concerns from relatives and staff about some of the Bupa homes, the Eye finds that the reality of “weak” or “adequate” ratings can actually mean misery and neglect for residents.

One of the worst is Darnley Court, another large Bupa home with 120 residents Glasgow. Since at least the beginning of 2011 it has had many serious problems, including poor pressure care, nutrition, hydration and medication, along with a high level of accidents. There has also been a shortage of properly trained staff. In June inspectors called a meeting with managers and local authority representatives – but to no avail, it seems. The inspection report in August made distressing reading.

“We continued to have significant concerns about the level and nature of care,” said the inspectors, who found that medication was being used as a chemical cosh, rather than a last resort, and that some staff were “desensitised” to their vulnerable charges. Personal healthcare and oral care were poor, with several residents sitting without their dentures; there was no evidence of teeth cleaning and toiletries weren’t available.
Inspectors found one resident slumped over and unable to eat until they called for assistance, and food was out of reach for others. Despite previous warning there was no proper monitoring of residents who were at risk of malnutrition.

There had been 17 cases of staff misconduct resulting in dismissal or warning, which the home had not reported to the care inspectorate as it should have. Nor were injuries to residents properly reported.

Rather than properly address Darnley’s serious failings, however, Bupa commissioned a glossy in-house “satisfaction” survey so it could claim on its website: “Darnley Court provides exceptional care and support for those requiring long or short term care”.

Another Bupa home with a poor history, Victoria Manor in Edinburgh, was downgraded by inspectors from “adequate” to “weak” after complaints that a resident had developed pressure sores, and call bells were not answered. At understaffed Deanfield in Glasgow, one of 10 care homes Bupa has in the area, inspectors found that just “adequate” care was being “further compromised” by staff being sent to provide emergency cover in other understaffed homes.

At one of those, Millview in Barrhead, inspectors alerted Bupa’s regional manager about serious problems with residents’ money and valuables. They discovered that a “large sum” which had belonged to a resident who had died more than three years previously had not been passed to family or an executor. Even more worryingly, nor was the home alerting inspectors to deaths.

Even at Kirknowe, a home for 90 residents in Wishaw which is currently rated “very good”, the Eye discovered that six complaints from two people had been upheld this year, two relating to hydration and nutrition, another to oral care and one to infection control. Kirknowe hit the headlines last year when a member of staff thought it funny to feed a dog biscuit to a resident with dementia.

Problems persist too a Haydale, another Glasgow home which has barely been graded above weak or adequate since it opened in 2008, and Braid Hills in Edinburgh; while at Arran View in Saltcoats, a vulnerable resident “escaped” while inspectors were at the home.

For this, Bupa charges from £550 to £1,200 a week, depending on the level of care required. Those with dementia with most needs often pay higher fees, but receive the worst treatment. Bupa – which posted profits of £59.2m for all its services in Britain in the first six months of the year – is a private limited company which boasts that it “re-invests in more and better healthcare”. It is certainly investing heavily in rapid expansion worldwide.

A spokesman for the inspectorate told the Eye: “We have worked intensively to help Bupa make improvements in each of these homes, and have seen evidence of limited improvement. If care persists as weak or unsatisfactory, like at Pentland Hill, these homes will face enforcement action or face potential closure.”

In a statement, Richard Jackson, operations director of Bupa Care Services, said that 26 of its 30 care homes “meet or exceed” inspection standards and that the other four “all have robust action plans in place and improvements continue to be made”, adding “over 100,000 people with complex and challenging conditions have been well looked after in our care homes.

“We are sorry when anything goes wrong, however rarely. But we are open and transparent when it does and take immediate action. We invest whatever resources are needed to put things right and to try to prevent them from happening again.”

Bupa added that because its homes were listed high and medium on the inspectorate rsk list, did not mean “there is neglect or poor care”. A change of manager or an out-of-work lift could trigger an alert.

But Eileen Chubb of Cic accused Mr Jackson of playing down serious concerns: “Complacent acceptance of weak or adequate care is not acceptable by any company with a duty to care for frail, vulnerable people.”

This is of serious concern, not just because of the history of abuse, neglect and even what very much looks like theft from a resident in the care homes themselves, but because Bupa is one of private healthcare companies that has expanded over the previous decades due to successive governments’ attacks on the NHS. And Bupa aren’t the only one. There have been other instances of appalling neglect and abuse in others, including one near Bristol, which were owned by a private equity firm. Care homes are expensive, to the point that many people find them almost unaffordable and for such neglect to occur is disgusting. Yet such abuse is not reported to the same extent as neglect or abuse in the NHS, as the government attempts to privatise even more of the health service.