A Brent family are set to lose support for their disabled child after receiving a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions stating that their daughter no longer meets the criteria for Disability Living Allowance.
A letter from their Specialist NHS Consultant confirms that the child has a neuromuscular problem which leaves her unable to open her hands from a closed position. Her condition has not improved and will not get better in the future. To be told that she is no longer disabled enough for support is an absolute insult to the family who strive day in day out to support their daughter on top of their full time jobs.
The family, of Gujarat origin, have come to me for support and given me full permission to highlight their case and show how cold the Government’s policies are and how people who should be getting support are being crushed. They personally wanted it highlighted how this Government was treating disabled people and in particular with this circumstance, cutting support for their disabled child.
I am supporting them through tribunal now with Citizens Advice but if unsuccessful, their entitlement will be completely stopped at the end of this year. The way that we treat disabled people as a society needs to change completely. The policies of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats between 2010 and now has caused and is causing real hardship to families that deserve better treatment.
The Conservative Party’s “reckless” manifesto pledge could have devastating consequences for families in Brent. Sir Andrew Dilnot, a leading national expert who provided an independent report to the Government on social care has described the Tory proposals as the biggest stealth tax in history. Despite government previously saying they would consult with the public on the best way forward, this high-cost policy has come out of the blue. While many families from many backgrounds will be affected, South Asian communities, who often live together across generations, could be hit particularly hard, with Tory proposals leaving them at risk of becoming homeless.
At present, social care is means tested and the value of the property that people are living in is not taken into account as part of that calculation. The proposal announced in Theresa May’s Conservative manifesto will include the value of a person’s home. If this damaging policy goes ahead, equity in the family home will be eaten into and after the cared for individual passes away, the home will have to be sold. As too many families know, the costs of caring for someone with dementia can be catastrophic and with people living longer and dementia prevalence rising, more people will need social care for longer.
These proposals have not been properly thought through. They raise more questions, cause more problems and quite simply fail to deliver much needed solutions for the social care crisis. What happens if there is a partner still living in the property when the person receiving social care passes away? Will they have to be thrown out of their own home so the remaining social care bill can be paid? Even if the issue of property and living partners is resolved by delaying the debt payment until they have passed away too, the policies outlined in the manifesto will cause devastation to large sections of the Brent population and South Asian communities in particular.
In Brent and other areas, South Asian communities choose to live in the same family home and it is not uncommon for up to four generations of a family to be living in the same property. The housing crisis has also meant that families are even choosing to build and expand their home and live together rather than enter the housing market. It is ironic that the section of the manifesto that this proposal appears in is under the heading ‘a restored contract between the generations’ as their approach completely ignores the intergenerational dependencies of families who strive to care for each other.
When elderly relatives pass away after receiving social care, their children could find themselves homeless. The Tories say that families will be able to keep £100,000 of equity in the family home. The average price of a property in Brent is £535,803 meaning that their children will have to try and find on average £435,000 to try and keep their family home.
On top of bringing the social care system to the brink of collapse over the last seven years, the current Tory thinking looks to create even more problems rather than solutions to the crisis.
This year Brent Council will mark the Mental Health Awareness Week (8 – 14 May) in collaboration with The Nous Organisation. The 2017 theme is ‘Surviving or Thriving’ and we will explore effective strategies and coping techniques that can help us to enjoy a good mental health.
There will be an event that will take place in Brent Civic Centre on 13th May 2017 from 11am to 1pm, Board rooms 3, 4 & 5.
If you would like to book your place to this even please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
New mums are asked to share their experiences of maternity care in the North West London area.
The NHS wants to hear from new mothers and mums-to-be about what is important in receiving good maternity care, to shape how this national funding will improve future care.
A new website has been launched (https://maternitynwlondon.commonplace.is) so women can join the conversation and share their experiences of maternity care.
You are invited to a public meeting and workshop to discuss plans for the health and care system. The five year plan is a collaboration between Brent CCG, Brent council and NHS providers in the borough.
The event will take place on Monday 26 September from 6.30pm at Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ
Last year the government outlined a new approach to help ensure that health and care services were built around the needs of local populations. To do this, every health and care system in England was asked to produce a multi-year plan.
We want to turn that process around and engage with people to see what they want locally in Brent.
To develop and deliver plans locally, 44 ‘footprint’ areas throughout the country were established by NHS England. Brent sits within the North West London (NWL) footprint which is being coordinated by the NWL group of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The plans are being developed in partnership with the eight Local Authorities and NHS providers in the area.
Residents’ opinions’ are absolutely key to the successful development and delivery of Brent’s plan, especially in delivering the long-term outcomes we want to achieve for our patients and the wider public. The development of future services that will better enable this vision to become a reality will rely on strong and consistent patient and public engagement throughout the process.
In order to hear your views, I encourage all to come along to the event on Monday 26 September.
Chalkhill Primary School has recently introduced ‘Sugar Free Tuesdays’ whereby all food, drinks and snacks eaten on Tuesdays should be free of refined sugar.
Our Public Health team recently visited the school in Wembley to witness the campaign in action and got the chance to speak to a range of pupils from year 2 to year 6 about Sugar Free Tuesdays and other healthy lifestyle initiatives.
Pupils explained that on Tuesdays they swap sugar found in sweets and fizzy drinks for natural sugar from fruits instead. For example desserts such as custard and cake have been swapped for fruit salad. ‘The Crunch’ (the school’s canteen) make their own tomato ketchup as branded versions can contain more than one teaspoon of sugar per teaspoon portion.
As well as Sugar Free Tuesdays, the pupils are given healthy lifestyle tips at weekly assembly, educated about portion control and the tuck shop only sells healthy snacks such as fruit, homemade banana cake, fruit cups and crackers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The money made from the tuck shop goes towards free healthy snacks for Key Stage 2 pupils as currently the government only funds free healthy snacks for Key Stage 1 pupils and the school believes that no one should miss out.
When asked what was important for a healthy diet pupil’s responded with the following answers: 60 minutes of exercise a day; swap sugar for healthier options instead; drink more water; eat a balanced diet; eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; and check the labels of food for any hidden nasty’s.
Karima Peerwani, Assistant Head Teacher said:
“As a healthy school we engage with both the pupils and parents because it is important that the hard work we do at school continues at home. We host healthy packed lunch workshops and give out prizes for children who pack healthy options. We display information about the risks of eating too many sugary snacks on our notice boards and our elected etiquette inspectors promote making healthy food choices and drinking plenty of water.”
Well done to all the pupils and staff at Chalkhill for embracing Sugar Free Tuesdays. It’s a scheme that I hope all schools across Brent will consider.
Brent has seen the biggest drop in tooth decay in the capital, according to recent health figures.
The latest Oral Health Survey, which is published by Public Health England, shows there has been a 15.1 per cent decrease in the number of 5 year olds with tooth decay since 2012 – the biggest decrease in the capital.
Camden saw the second highest decrease of 12.8 per cent in the same period, whereas Newham saw the third biggest decrease of 10.7 per cent.
The significant decrease in Brent follows the decision to make children’s oral health a public health priority and the introduction of a series of council preventative programmes, including a school-outreach programme where children’s teeth are varnished with fluoride, encouraging regular dental check-ups of children from toddler age, and by rolling out a ‘Slash Sugar’ campaign warning of the damage sugary foods and drink can do.
Tooth decay is entirely preventable but the reality is that one in four 5 year olds have tooth decay in London. This has a huge knock on impact on a child’s long term future so it is crucial that we tackle the issue. This is why it is so important that we work with all partners and the public to improve child oral health in Brent.
The need for regular brushing, avoiding sugary snacks and drinks and the importance of regular dentist visits for children over the age of one is fundamental to prevention.
Although the large decrease is really promising, we know that there is still much to be done. We will keep working hard to educate children and their parents about preventative measures and healthy lifestyle choices to try and reduce rates of decay even further.
Brent is supporting Dementia Awareness Week.
The Week starts from today and its theme is to encourage people who are worried about the impact that living with dementia may have on their lives to find out where they can go for information, help and support.
Dementia describes a range of brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type, affecting 62% of those diagnosed. Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia and 225,000 will develop dementia this year – that’s one every three minutes.
Find out more about help for people with Dementia here LINK