Wales

News bulletin: Coronavirus restrictions relaxed further to support tourism and leisure sectors in Wales

This is a very Important E-mail update about Coronavirus restrictions in Wales. It made me decide with the tourism industry in mind, but it is relevant to ALL citizens in Wales at this concerning time.

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Coronavirus restrictions relaxed further to support tourism and leisure sectors in Wales 

Following the latest 21-day review of the coronavirus regulations, the First Minister has set out a phased timetable to ease restrictions for large parts of Wales’ visitor, hospitality, and leisure and tourism sectors. Read in detail on the Welsh Government website.

The current proposals at the review on 10 July, which are subject to change, envisage re-opening the visitor economy as follows:

6 July 2020

Outdoor visitor attractions

On 6 July the Welsh Government lifted the requirement to stay local allowing people to travel around Wales and to visit outdoor visitor attractions, subject to strict social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines.

11 July 2020

Reopening self-contained holiday accommodation

Self-catering accommodation can only be let to members of the same or extended household. This also includes serviced accommodation where bedroom occupancy can only be let to the same or extended household and not, for example, friends booking a twin bedroom or a family bedroom, etc.

This includes any accommodation that is entirely self-contained, e.g. holiday cottages, holiday caravans including touring caravans, motorhomes, boats and some glamping accommodation with their own kitchens and bathrooms that no other guests use.

Also in this category:

  • Hotels and other serviced accommodation (e.g. B&Bs, hostels, etc.) that do provide en-suite rooms and can provide room service meals.
  • Caravan parks where accommodation is entirely self-contained – but shared facilities on the premises will remain closed, such as swimming pools, leisure facilities, shared shower and toilets blocks, shared laundry, etc, and public areas in other accommodation types. This means any caravan or touring site where individual accommodation has its own supply of water for on board shower, WC and cooking with strict application of guidance on shared waste disposal and water points.

All shared facilities, aside from water and disposal points, should remain closed including toilets, shower blocks, laundry, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, cafes, etc.

13 July 2020

Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants re-open outdoors

Indoor visitor attractions excluding any part of a visitor attraction which is underground.

25 July 2020

Camping and caravanning with shared facilities prepare for re-opening

3 August

Indoor hospitality prepare for re-opening

Check back later for more information.

To be confirmed

Re-opening of remaining visitor attractions subject to further scientific advice and discussions with the industry

Check back later for more information.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for safely re-opening your business 

Visitor Economy Guidance is available to help tourism and hospitality businesses safely re-open during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Additional guidance has also been produced in consultation with the Hospitality sector for Pubs, Bars, Cafes and Restaurants re-opening outdoors, which can be viewed on the UK Hospitality website.

As each premises is different, businesses should read all guidance to understand the measures to be considered to re-open the business safely.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions in relation to Coronavirus (COVID19) is also updated regularly on Gov.Wales – please check back regularly.


Important New Policy Guidance – Maintaining Records of Staff, Customers & Visitors

Coronavirus will be with us until an effective vaccine is available or there is enough immunity among the population. As lockdown restrictions ease, general rules around social distancing and handwashing will remain important in reducing the risk of transmission. Our Test, Trace, Protect strategy will be key in controlling the spread of new outbreaks, particularly as public spaces start to re-open.

As people increasingly come into greater contact with others, there is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in some sectors. This is because customers and visitors will spend a longer time on these premises than in other surroundings, and will potentially come into close contact with people outside of their household. These sectors include:

  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes.
  • Tourism and leisure, including theme parks, museums and cinemas.
  • Close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers.
  • Facilities provided by local authorities, such as libraries and leisure centres.

For businesses operating in these sectors, important new policy guidance from Welsh Government has now been published. This describes the important role these businesses play in supporting contact tracing and keeping Wales safe. As a business operating in one of these sectors, you now need to start collecting details and maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to your premises. This guidance is not a legal requirement, but it is strongly advised that you follow this advice to support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19.


Large tourism companies welcome Economic Resilience Fund support of £2m from Welsh Government

As restrictions begin to be gradually eased at tourism sites and attractions across Wales, the Welsh Government’s bespoke Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has provided vital support of more than £2 million to some of our largest key tourism companies.

Today, Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, visited one of the fund recipients, Zip World, which re-opened two of its three sites earlier this week, offering thrill-seekers six of the Zip World adventures.

Sean Taylor, founder of Zip World, said: “We’ve welcomed the support and hard work from all the team at the Welsh Government during this crisis.  We thank them for their continued effort to safely get the visitor economy back up and running again and for recognising the significance of our brand to the local North Wales economy.”

The ERF, which is part of the Welsh Government’s £1.7bn support package for business, is providing significant financial support to companies across Wales and complements the support provided by the UK Government. To date, it has provided more than 8,200 businesses with financial support worth more than £230m.

Other large tourism companies which have received ERF funding include Bourne Leisure; Bluestone and JH Leeke, which operates the Vale Resort. Read in full on the Welsh Government website.


Stay up to date with tourism industry news

We are committed to providing the support and assurance the business community needs during these unprecedented difficult times and have issued several Coronavirus (COVID-19) related bulletins which can be found on the Tourism Industry Coronavirus (COVID-19) Bulletins page.


Business Wales is providing businesses with tailored support and advice about dealing with coronavirus, from financial and supply chain planning to advice on staffing issues. We would advise Tourism businesses and stakeholders in Wales wanting specific guidance to visit the Business Wales website or call Business Wales helpline on 03000 6 03000, and to regularly visit the Public Health Wales website for up-to-date public health information for you, your staff and your visitors.

Emergency on Planet Earth #36

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society.

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This is an important insight into the experiences of disabled people during the Coronavirus crisis. It deserves your undivided attention even though you are probably busy doing nothing in the sunshine.

Launch of Inclusion London report 

Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored: Inclusion London’s report about lived experiences of Disabled people during the Covid-19 pandemic 

Today, Wednesday 24th June 2020 Inclusion London launches its interim report based on hundreds of responses to our survey.  The report is available here The report paints a stark picture. From the outset, Disabled people have been discriminated against, forgotten, and in some cases abandoned as policymakers have ignored our needs. Or, at best considered us as an afterthought.  During the pandemic  Disabled people saw our legal rights diminished, we experienced resource rationing and blanket policies.  This led to many of us struggling to get bare necessities, losing support and independence and living in fear for our lives.

The pandemic has shone a light on the long-standing structural inequalities and discrimination that Deaf and Disabled people experience. The dreadful disparities are reflected in the grim data released by the Office for National Statistics, which says Disabled people were about twice as likely to die from covid-19.

Despite the shocking statistics, the plight of Disabled people was largely missing from public discourse. We are publishing this report to give voice to people who shared their experience with us.

We are launching this report with a panel discussion, where Deaf and Disabled people from Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations will share their personal experience and experience of communities they support and represent and support.

Webinar: Wednesday, 24 June, 5-6.30pm.  To attend this webinar please register via this link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6OF_zmeHT62IIlkYQatDhA

You can support this campaign by sharing this report with your networks and supporting us on social media.

Download the report here 

Best wishes
Tracey Lazard
CEO, Inclusion London

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The following is another email that I feel I should share with my readers. The NHS in Wales are conducting a well-being survey for anyone over the age of 16 in Wales. The link to the survey can be found below:
Good afternoon
The 7 Health Boards across Wales have been working with Swansea and Cardiff Universities to develop a study that aims to understand the impact of coronavirus on the emotional well-being and mental health of the Welsh population. We would like to encourage as many people as possible over the age of 16 years living in Wales to complete the survey.
For those individuals who would be willing to participate in the survey, or wish to gain more information about it, please click this link www.wales-wellbeing.co.uk/survey or visit the website www.wales-wellbeing.co.uk. The survey should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete. If anyone would like to participate in the survey but would prefer a paper copy it can be downloaded from the website or individuals can phone 07737558980 and leave their name and address to request a copy. (Unfortunately the phone number is unmanned and has an answerphone that is solely used for posting surveys to people who request this).
The survey results will be analysed at a National, Health Board and Local Authority level and will be used to guide the NHS in Wales, and our local services, to support the well-being of the population over the coming months.
Thank you.
Equality Branch
Megan John
Disability Equality and Inclusion Officer
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The following facts are taken from http://www.did-you-knows.com – I thought they might keep you quiet for a minute or two.
  • Did you know 11% of people are left handed
  • Did you know August has the highest percentage of births
  • Did you know unless food is mixed with saliva you can’t taste it
  • Did you know the average person falls asleep in 7 minutes
  • Did you know a bear has 42 teeth
  • Did you know an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain
  • Did you know lemons contain more sugar than strawberries
  • Did you know 8% of people have an extra rib
  • Did you know 85% of plant life is found in the ocean
  • Did you know Ralph Lauren’s original name was Ralph Lifshitz
  • Did you know rabbits like licorice
  • Did you know the Hawaiian alphabet has 13 letters
  • Did you know ‘Topolino’ is the name for Mickey Mouse Italy
  • Did you know a lobsters blood is colorless but when exposed to oxygen it turns blue
  • Did you know armadillos have 4 babies at a time and are all the same sex
  • Did you know  reindeer like bananas
  • Did you know  the longest recorded flight of a chicken was 13 seconds
  • Did you know  birds need gravity to swallow
  • Did you know the most commonly used letter in the alphabet is E
  • Did you know the 3 most common languages in the world are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and English

Welsh Government Urged to Recognise ALL Support Staff

I was very excited on May 1st, to read that the Welsh Government were planning on rewarding those working in social care with a £500 bonus.  This is the very least that such hardworking and patient people deserve. Disabled people throughout Wales would not be able to function without the support of this crucial army of front line workers.

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I employ about 8 staff to provide me with the 24/7 support that I need, through the Direct Payment scheme. Straight away, I was wondering if my staff would qualify for such a bonus. There is no doubt that they deserve it. My support workers assist me in every aspect of personal care – such as washing, showering, toileting, dressing, eating and drinking. Without such staff members I would be lost and they help me to achieve so much.

However, four days ago the First Minister further clarified which staff would receive the £500 bonus.  I have since been told that only those people on the care register will be eligible for the bonus. I do not think that my staff are registered to this, but this should not mean that they miss out as the work they do is just as dangerous and valued. All personal assistants that are employed through Direct Payments should be granted access to this bonus.

I decided to write about this issue as it is something I believe passionately in, and having received an email this morning from Plaid Cymru. This can be read below. I fully support this petition, but in my opinion it does not go quite far enough to promote the work and sacrifice of domiciliary staff, employed using Direct Payments. 

It goes without saying, that unpaid carers – often family members looking after those they love – should also receive this important payment. The same applies to cooks and cleaners who are an important part of any team in a residential setting.

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Everyone working in our care sector deserves the government’s £500 bonus.

At the moment, only those on the care register are eligible to receive the £500 bonus payment from our government. Plaid Cymru wants to ensure that all unpaid carers and those not on the care register receive the £500 bonus too.

We therefore call on the Welsh Government to give an equal payment to all staff who work in a care home setting – including cleaners and the catering staff at care homes who put their own safety at risk every day they go to work.

This pandemic has forced us to look at which jobs in our society are essential, and those who look after and support the most vulnerable in our society deserve to be recognised for the incredible contributions they make.

Delyth Jewell MS

Update: Coronavirus and the Rights of Disabled People in Wales

A positive email to start the week from Rhian Davies of Disability Wales. I am really thankful that I live in Wales and have Mark Drakeford as First Minister, especially as blundering Boris is reportedly planning to prematurely lift the lockdown as early as this week. This will undoubtedly lead to more Coronavirus related deaths, but that’s the Tories for you…

I feel much safer in Wales with Drakeford’s traffic light system to come out of lockdown. This is a much more sensible approach that seems to be people centred rather than doing what is best for the economy. You can read more about Drakeford’s traffic light approach by clicking here.

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Dear Members

I hope that you are keeping safe and well. Following publication of the Wales Disability Reference Group’s statement on 8 April regarding Coronavirus and the Rights of Disabled People in Wales, more than 1400 individuals and organisations joined Disability Wales, Learning Disability Wales, Wales Council of the Blind and Wales Council for Deaf People in supporting our Statement:

https://www.ldw.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-and-the-rights-of-disabled-people-in-wales/

I am pleased to inform you that since publication, Welsh Government has implemented the following actions:

Many thanks for your vital support in ensuring that our voice is heard. We trust that members will find reassurance in this guidance given such worrying times. Please share widely with your friends, family and members. We will also upload these documents to our website for future reference.

I represent Disability Wales on the Covid 19 Moral and Ethical Advisory Group for Wales and welcome hearing about the experiences of members regarding these matters to help inform and influence the work of the Group.

Stay safe

Rhian

Rhian Davies
Chief Executive/Prif Weithredydd

 

Emergency on Planet Earth #16

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

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The big news relating to Wrexham AFC is that Lindsay Jones has been appointed as interim secretary. Someone with more passion and knowledge about the workings of our club would be impossible to find and I am an admirer of what he has achieved with the club over the years.

I am not going to comment any further…

STATEMENT | Lindsay Jones appointed as interim secretary

The Wrexham Supporters Trust Board can confirm the appointment of Lindsay Jones as interim secretary. Independent secretary Josh Williams has had to temporarily step down from his role and, with the Annual General Meeting imminent, the Trust Board felt it necessary to act as swiftly as possible.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an unforeseen increase in Josh’s personal workload meaning he has had to temporarily step down.

It was the Board’s belief that, with the process for the Supporters Trust AGM needing to begin imminently, appointing a former secretary with experience of overseeing previous AGM processes was an ideal solution.

As a former secretary, Lindsay has this experience and will act as the interim secretary until Josh can return to his duties.

Consequently, Lindsay will be overseeing the Annual General Meeting process. Details for any proposed resolutions and nominations for candidates for the Trust Board will be announced very soon.

Given the unprecedented global circumstances, the AGM process is being looked at with the help of the Football Supporters Association (FSA). We are looking into the best way to deliver a fair, thorough and accessible AGM process.

Please note, the WST is also aware of the tweet posted from the Trust’s account at the weekend. We are looking into the matter and a further statement will follow.

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Coronavirus: ‘Traffic light’ system to lift lockdown in Wales

 

Wales needs a bold, left-wing response to rally the nation in these dark times

 

With more than 300 Covid-19 related deaths in Wales and a sharp rise forecast, time is not on our side.

The Welsh Labour Grassroots Steering Committee wrote to First Minister Mark Drakeford this week saying that, “whilst we applaud the efforts of our Welsh Labour Government in tackling this crisis, much tougher action is urgently needed. We implore you and your Government to do all within your powers to safeguard the lives of all people living in Wales.”

In his response, Mark agreed that “it is very important we have our own, distinctive approach to dealing with Coronavirus in Wales” and cites a number of examples to demonstrate that “we do not hesitate to act in ways, which reflect Welsh needs and the values of a Labour Government” – but we are calling on Welsh ministers to go still further.

We know where the largest share of responsibility lies for the severity of this crisis. The policies of successive Tory governments, driven by neoliberal dogma,have undermined vital public services like the NHS through underfunding and privatisation. The current Tory administration’s failure to provide sufficient PPE, undertake widespread testing or mobilise our manufacturing base to these ends is costing lives, as is the failure to close non-essential workplaces.

While devolution has enabled Wales to pursue a different path, our continued dependence on Westminster for funding and access to resources pooled between the UK’s four component parts has exposed people in Wales to the consequences of Tory mismanagement and irresponsibility.

But the crisis demands urgent and decisive action. With so many lives at stake,and with a Tory government that has put the market before people and continues to founder, Wales cannot simply proceed in lock-step with the UK Government. Collaboration is no bad thing, especially in times of crisis, however,for a proud, socialist nation our response should instinctively be different from the one defined by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings.

As Welsh Labour members we appeal to Mark Drakeford and our Welsh Labour Government to redouble their efforts and to push the limits of devolved powers to their utmost in order to reduce deaths from this pandemic and help rally the nation.

We believe there are a number of measures where we could go above and beyond to protect people here in Wales. These are set out in our letter to the First Minister, which is available below, along with his response.

Contact: secretary@welshlabourgrassroots.org.uk

Coronavirus Bill Statement

The following statement was taken from the Disability Wales website, which can be viewed here.

Corona Virus Bill: Suspension of Social Services and Well-being Wales Act (2014)

National Disability Umbrella Organisations in Wales have serious concerns about the implications of the Coronavirus Bill on human rights, especially the rights of specific groups, including disabled people.

The second reading of the Bill was on Monday 23 March in the UK Parliament. A Legislative Competence Motion on the Coronavirus Bill will be debated in the National Assembly for Wales today on Tuesday 24th March.

We welcome the UK Government’s amendment to ensure the Corona Virus Bill to ensure that it is to be renewed every six months, given the sweeping nature of the powers. Nevertheless, we remain concerned that the Bill suspends the key provisions in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 unless services are needed to protect an adult from abuse or neglect or a risk of abuse or neglect. Unlike the suspension of the Care Act (2014) duties in England, there is no express requirement to avoid breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights included.

We call on the Assembly to take action to protect the lives of many thousands of disabled people by ensuring that no services are withdrawn without undertaking an assessment to verify whether there would be a breach of human rights.

We believe that the Corona Virus Bill presents a real and present danger to the lives of disabled people. It will effectively roll back 30 years of progress for disabled people.  It also comes after years of chronic under funding of social care which has resulted in a social care system already at breaking point. The bill will:

– Remove disabled people’s rights to social care
– Change the duties to educate to meet children’s educational requirements to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty
– Severely undermine the civil liberties of disabled people and erode their rights to support.

We understand this is an unprecedented and extremely challenging situation, however given the already broken social care system, this Bill will almost inevitably leave many thousands of disabled people without essential support or any rights to request this support. Rolling back our rights is not good for anyone and in the current circumstances will put many lives at risk.

Rather than removing disabled people’s right to social care support the government must treat our essential social care service as key infrastructure, alongside the NHS, and as such it must immediately provide the necessary funding to keep this vital service running.

Our understanding of the negative social implications of the #CoronaVirusBill on the lives of disabled people and their families detailed below.  This information was prepared by barristers who specialise in public law and disability rights.

Implications of the Bill for Disabled people

What does it mean for disabled adults? 

Schedule 11 of the Bill [pages 111 – 122] effectively suspends / downgrades almost all adult social care duties (including charging duties).  As the Explanatory Notes (at para 175) explain, the various duties to assess and meet eligible needs of adults and carers in the Care Act 2014 and adults, young people and carers in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (SSWWA) are downgraded to powers.

A duty to meet needs will only arise in England if a failure to provide care and / or support would be a ‘breach of an individual’s human rights’.  In Wales a duty only arises where a failure to do so would mean that the individual may be experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect

Education

Schedule 16 of the Bill [page 158 – 181] provides the Secretary of State / the Welsh Ministers with powers to issue directions suspending school provision and attendance duties and downgrades local authority education law duties (including those relating to the provision of  Additional Learning Needs) to obligations ‘to use reasonable endeavours to discharge’ the duty.

Mental Health Detention

Schedule 7 Part 2 para 3 of the Bill [page 90] provides that an application by an approved mental health professional under the Mental Health Act 1983 sections 2 or 3 need only be founded on the recommendation by a single registered medical practitioner.

Sources of information

Suspension of Care Act

www.lukeclements.co.uk/the-coronavirus-bill-social-care-sen/

Coronavirus COVID-19  Disabled People’s Frequently Asked Questions

I thought it would be useful for my Wales-based disabled readers, to read the following FAQs concerning the Coronavirus outbreak. We need all the help and support we can get, so it is important to be armed with information such as this, which was kindly put together by Disability Wales. 

Stay safe everyone.

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Do we have any answers from Welsh government on protections for disabled people who access social care?   

Visits from care or healthcare workers, who would normally come and help with your daily needs or social care, will be able to carry on as normal. But carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature (above 37.8 °C) and/or new and continuous cough. 

You may find this guidance on home care provision useful: COVID-19: guidance on home care provision on GOV.UK 

Will the Coronavirus Bill have any impact on social care in Wales? 

Disability Wales has serious concerns about the implications of the Coronavirus Bill on human rights, especially the rights of specific groups, including disabled people. 

We welcome the UK Government’s amendment to ensure the Corona Virus Bill is to be renewed every six months, given the sweeping nature of the powers. Nevertheless, we remain concerned that the Bill gives Ministers the powers to suspend the key provisions in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 unless services are needed to protect an adult from abuse or neglect or a risk of abuse or neglect. Unlike the suspension of the Care Act (2014) duties in England, there is no express requirement to avoid breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights included. 

We call on the Assembly to take action to protect the lives of many thousands of disabled people by ensuring that no services are withdrawn without undertaking an assessment to verify whether there would be a breach of human rights.  See link to joint statement issued http://www.disabilitywales.org/coronavirus-bill-statement/   

Will carers/disabled people be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) i.e. gloves, aprons, masks? 

Welsh Government are taking steps to enhance the arrangements in Wales for protecting our front-line health and social care staff who are caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. 

As social care has an essential role along with health care in response to COVID-19, PPE will also be released for use by social care providers.   

You can contact your local Direct Payment Support provider who will be able to signpost you to where you can get hold of PPE.  

How are ‘vulnerable’ people in Wales being identified or can they register themselves? 

Identification of those classed as high risk will be done through GP/hospital medical records. 

If you have been identified as being at high risk, you will receive a letter from the Welsh Government setting out the advice and sources of help and support in your local community. If you are employed, this is also proof that you will not be able to go to work while you are shielding and can be shared with your employer. If you are able to, you can work from home, if your job allows it. You will not need to get a fit note from your GP. 

If you need help from the welfare system visit Universal Credit on GOV.UK website. 

If you believe you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed above and you have not received a letter, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.  

Will testing be made available to carers / Personal Assistants and those being supported (disabled people)? 

Welsh Government are aiming to roll out testing beyond the NHS to social care.  They are increasing the capacity to do this.  It won’t happen immediately but it will be introduced in the coming weeks, with significant extra testing being introduced for other key workers including social care providers. 

Those providing social care will be tested if they present Corona like symptoms and they can then be returned to the workplace if the test provides the right result. 

We are yet to hear whether testing will be introduced for those being supported. 

I am unable to get a food delivery slot online at any supermarket what can I do? 

There are many local shops (butchers, greengrocers etc) offering a food delivery service or pick up.  You could try contacting local shops in your area to see is this is available.  

If you are online and use social media you can post to local community pages on Facebook for example, to find out what food delivery services are being provided in your area.   

Another option is to contact your local Community Voluntary Service (CVC) they may know of volunteers or services who could help you.  Here is a link to CVCs across Wales: https://www.gvs.wales/about-us/wcva-county-voluntary-councils-cvcs-and-volunteer-centres-vcs 

Or contact our office on 029 20887325 email: info@disabilitywales.org and we will do our best to look into the options for you, if you are unable to. 

My Carers / Personal Assistants have all called in sick due to Corona like symptoms, what shall I do? 

If you receive support through an agency then contact them straight away to inform them of the situation.  They will be able to advise you. 

If you do not receive support through an agency then contact your local social services to seek advice immediately.   

You can find a link to your local council’s website here: https://www.wlga.wales/welsh-local-authority-links 

I need to order and collect my repeat prescription/s.  What do I do as I’m classed as ‘vulnerable’ and I need to self-isolate? 

Many GP surgeries are restricting access to the surgery itself at this time.  You may have to order your repeat prescriptions over the telephone.  Please telephone your surgery to check what their procedure is during this Coronavirus pandemic.   

Ask family, friends or neighbours for assistance during this time, if this is possible.  In many cases prescriptions are being sent to the nearest pharmacy to people and then deliveries are being made to people’s homes where necessary.  Explain that you are self-isolating and will need someone to deliver your medication to you. 

Make sure you order your repeats in plenty of time.  It may take a little longer than usual to obtain your medications due to the high demand.  However, there is no need to stock on your medication as this can lead to medication shortages.   

Contact your GP and pharmacy to check procedures during 26is time as processes may vary across Wales.     

Useful sources for information: 

Public Health Wales: guidance on social distancing for everyone in Wales including disabled people: https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults/#  

Social Care Wales: https://socialcare.wales/news-stories/the-latest-information-on-coronavirus-covid-19 

Dewis Wales: Find local and national organisations that can help you https://www.dewis.wales/ 

All information has been taken from official sources and understood to be correct at time of publishing. 

URGENT Action needed over threats to disabled people in the Coronovirus Bill

The following was taken from the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) website. It is essential that we all take the time to write to out MP this weekend for reasons that can be clearly seen below.

I do not believe that disabled people in Wales will be effected by these potential measures, but I am sharing this important information in a show of solidarity with my disabled brothers and sisters from across the border.

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Previously when we’ve asked people to write to their MP we haven’t had many people do it.

This situation is extremely serious and I can’t  stress this enough, WE NEED YOU TO WRITE TO YOUR MP THIS WEEKEND, this is being voted on Monday.

 

Please read this below from Inclusion London, and then ACT by writing to your MP, there is a template letter below.

If you don’t write to your MP and these measures get voted through and you lose your social care, or your civil liberties are legally infringed,  then you only have yourself to blame.


Coronavirus Bill could leave thousands of Disabled people without support

The bill potentially poses a serious risk and can put the wellbeing of many at real danger.  We ask you to write to your MP immediately.

Inclusion London is very much concerned about the devastating impact of the proposed Coronavirus Bill on the lives of thousands of Disabled people.  It potentially poses a serious risk and can put the wellbeing of many at real danger.

The Bill sets out emergency laws in response to the COVID-19 emergency. The Bill is being debated in Parliament on Monday 23 March. We urge you all to write to your MP expressing your concern over the implications of the Bill for Disabled people.

We have drafted a template letter which you can download here and send to your MP.

You can use this website to write to your MP:  https://www.writetothem.com/write

Why we are concerned

As it stands the Bill poses a serious risk to the lives of many Disabled people, especially those of us who need social care support.

The Bill will effectively free local authorities of their duties to provide social care support under the Care Act 2014 and will only oblige local authorities to provide support in cases where the human rights of Disabled people will be breached.

We know from experience that in order for human rights to be breached in social care context the situation has to be very critical or severe.

Please act now and write /email your MP before this Monday 23 March – you can use the template below. The letter can also be downloaded here as a word document.

 


Template letter to MP

Dear [add your MP’s name]

Coronavirus Bill: Disabled people are in danger

I am writing to ask you to take action to protect the lives of many thousands of Disabled people.  Please raise the issue and if possible table and support the amendments to prevent this from happening.

I believe that the #CoronaVirusBill presents a real and present danger to the lives of Disabled people. The government’s plans for Disabled children and adults during the crisis are effectively rolling back 30 years of progress for Disabled people.  They also come after years of chronic under funding of social care which have resulted in a social care system already at breaking point. The government’s plans are to:

  • remove Disabled people’s rights to social care
  • change the duties to educate to meet children’s educational requirements to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty
  • severely undermine the civil liberties of Disabled people and erode their rights to support.

I understand this is an unprecedented and extremely challenging situation, but given the already broken social care system this Bill will almost inevitably leave many thousands of Disabled people without essential support or any rights to request this support. Rolling back our rights is not good for anyone and in the current circumstances will put many lives at risk.

Rather than removing Disabled people’s right to social care support the government must treat our essential social care service as key infrastructure, alongside the NHS, and as such it must immediately provide the necessary funding to keep this vital service running.

To explain my reasons for writing to you, please see my understanding of negative social implications of the #CoronaVirusBill on the lives of Disabled people and their families detailed below.  This information was prepared by the barristers who specialise in public law and disability rights.

Yours sincerely

[Name]

Implications of the Bill for Disabled people

What does it mean for disabled adults? 

The Bill suspends every duty in the Care Act, 2014, including the duty to meet the eligible needs of disabled people (Section 18) and their carers (Section 20).  Under the #CoronaVirus Bill, Local Authorities will only have to provide care ‘if they consider it necessary’ for the purposes of avoiding a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).  There is no human right to social care or positive obligation under the ECHR to meet care needs.   See assessment from leading lawyers specialising in Social Care here: https://www.39essex.com/the-coronavirus-bill-schedule-11/

Other changes set to be introduced through the #CoronaVirusBill will allow health bodies to delay carrying out an assessment for eligibility for NHS continuing care

What does it mean for disabled children and young people?

Duties for young people transitioning to adult social care have also been suspended.

The Secretary of State for Education will have power to disapply the duty on schools and other institutions to admit a child to a school where they are named on an EHCP.  The Secretary of State will be able to vary provisions of the act, such as the core duty to procure provision set out in an EHCP, so instead of being an absolute duty it becomes a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty, creating a lesser entitlement for up to two years.

What about the Mental Health Act?

The power to recommend individuals be detained under the Mental Health Act will be implemented using one doctor’s opinion instead of two, making it easier for people to be detained.

The proposed bill will temporarily allow the extension or removal of time limits in mental health legislation which means individuals might be released into the community early, or find themselves detained for longer.

Under section 5, emergency detention for people already in hospital would extend from 72 hours to 120 hours, and nurses’ holding powers would extend from 6 to 12 hours. Under sections 135 and 136, police powers to detain a person found in need of immediate care at a “place of safety” will extend from 24 hours to 36 hours. Under section 35/36, the cap on how long someone can be held in hospital while awaiting a report (currently 12 weeks) will be lifted.

What about the rights of disabled people?

Local authorities will have a duty to uphold disabled people’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, BUT the threshold for a breach, in terms of not providing care and support is high, which means that disabled people will be left without care and support. Lack of care and support will have a significant impact on disabled people’s well-being, but may not be considered to reach the threshold for their human rights to have been breached – they will NOT have a right to care and support.

Sources of information

Watch @stevebroach, Public Law Barrister talk about the impact of the Bill here: https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/steve-broach-public-law-barrister-on-the-coronavirus-bills-implications-for-disabled-children/

Read this Twitter thread for more information: https://twitter.com/JamieBurton29/status/1240781535340568577

Statement from National User Survivor Network: https://www.nsun.org.uk/News/covid-19-and-human-rights

Current hashtags: #CoronaVirusBill #CoronavirusBillUK

Direct Payments and NHS Continuing Health Care #SaveWILG

The following article was taken from the Luke Clements site and was written by Ann James. 

***

The Deputy Minister’s update statement on the Welsh Independent Living Grant[1] (WILG) is particularly welcome because it acknowledges the risk to the independence,choice and control of disabled people in Wales unless the Welsh Government enables people in receipt of either a Joint Package of care funded by the Local Authority and Local Health Board or NHS Continuing Health Care to receive a Direct Payment.

This risk to independence has been known to Welsh Government for some considerable time,[2] has been identified in a ‘direct payment note’ on Rhydian Social Welfare Law in Wales and highlighted as a risk in a paper on the Closure of the Welsh Living Grant that was offered as evidence to the Petitions Committee dealing with the Save WILG.

While it is heartening that the Deputy Minister ‘has instructed her officials to undertake a review of the Direct Payments and CHC interface’ one could argue that this is very late in the day. It would be hard to convince disabled people and their carers that setting up a system that enables them to have meaningful and personal control over key elements of their care package will compromise the principles of a public service NHS. The time is ripe to redress this lacuna which has this potential to derail Welsh Government commitments and aspirations for disabled people in Wales.

Recipients of the WILG require immediately the confidence that they can continue to retain the right to have personal assistants of their choosing irrespective of whether the funding from the LHB is a proportion of the cost of the care and support package or whether it is a NHS CHC funding arrangement.

There are those people who are not previous recipients of the WILG but who are fearful that their future is in the hands of local government and local health board officers who erroneously believe that Direct Payments cannnot be facilitated.They require an unambiguous statement from Wesh Government that all Local Authorities in Wales and all Local Health Boards are required to facilitate a joint package of care through a Direct Payment as set out in Continuing NHS Healthcare: The National Framework for Implementation in Wales[3].

In the absence of legislative change Independent User Trusts (IUTs) should be offered to disabled people and facilitated by the Local Health Board, to enable a person who has become eligible for NHS CHC to consider this option and its suitability for his/ her circumstances.

While we await a successful conclusion of the review set up by the Minister, there needs to be measures in place to enable disabled people in Wales to achieve their personal outcomes and maintain their independence. Welsh Government commitments and aspirations to Social Model of Disability is currently being shown to be hollow when the level of physical impairment and health related needs determine whether a disabled person in Wales can have control of their care and support arrangements through a Direct Payment.

Local Authorities and Local Health Boards need practice directions from Government and training in this matter if we are to avoid further human rights infringements in Wales.

.

[1] Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Written Statement: Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) – Update on Independent Care Assessments (Welsh Government 13 February 2020)
[2] See for example letter Welsh Government Director of Social Services and Integration dated 10 February 2016.
[3] Welsh Government Continuing NHS Healthcare: The National Framework for Implementation in Wales (2014).

PeterRabbitmeme