Norman Lamb MP’s Neighbourhood Care is it all that it is cracked up to be

10 days ago I read the following article and immidiately saw issue with it and decided to email Norman Lamb to claify a few issues in that article.

My letter is below:

Dear Mr Lamb

I wish to write to you about the above article as you appear to be devoid of any understanding which by the way is the same for most coalition MP’s
I would now like to rip your article to shreds.
You state that:

Norman Lamb said the elderly are living “miserable” lives and that “companionship” from neighbours could be enough to stop them relying on professional carers.

Mr Lamb, the Liberal Democrat care minister, said earlier this year that Neighbourhood Watch groups should be responsible for providing care to pensioners. He told a fringe meeting at the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow: “If you are on your own and you never see anyone from day to day and week to week other than a formal care worker perhaps only for a 15-minute visit in the morning and afternoon, your life is pretty miserable.

Whilst I agree Neighbours could do more in visiting elderly residents it is not so easy as you make it out to be far from it because many neighbours are disconnected from society themselves, have criminal records are poor parents and are not DBS disclosed which is a must and what is to say they will not be abused after all that is in the news a lot lately.

“If you start to get a visit from someone who says, ‘Let’s go out, let’s take you to church, let’s take you to [a football match]’ you give people their lives back. You give them a reason to live again.”

All very well again but has it not crossed you mind many elderly are not fit enough to get out of bed and mobilize, let alone go to a football match  if only every elderly person was as fit as you.

Mr Lamb said local authority finances are under huge pressure because of the growing elderly population.

“As people get their lives back they are less dependent on statutory services to deliver support to them. And so the cost to the local authority starts to reduce.”

Yes the elderly population is growing that is fact and happens as more and more modern technologies come about, which is the human growth, so did that not cross MP’s minds years ago and thus put messures in place before they happen.

Local Authority finances are under pressure for one reason only which is lack of Central Government funding and do not say Government cannot afford to carry supporting our elderly because they can, only last week Mr Cameron publicly stated we are the 6th richest economy.

In July, Mr Lamb said Neighbourhood Watch groups could apply for “care status” and help wash and feed pensioners as well as provide companionship.

That was a bold statement to make indeed knowing full well they are neither trained or CRB checked.

He argued that the way Britain currently treats its pensioners is “uncivilised” and believes that the plans would help to reduce the number of pensioners forced into care homes.

Mr Lamb also confirmed Government plans to prosecute health care providers for neglect and poor care.

“We have endless scandals but despite this there has not been a single prosecution for neglect or poor care since the Care Quality Commission was set up,” he said.

Now you are talking some sense without going off board as the british public have long been calling for action on this front so that history does not repeat itself which could happen if your proposals above are not carefully thought about.

“When I came into my job I had to lead on the government response to Winterbourne View [hospital scandal] and the company could get away with it. We are introducing new fundamental standards so that if you fail to deliver the standards you can be prosecuted straight away.”

The Lib Dems approved a motion aimed at raising the standards of home care for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable.

It sets out plans to ensure patients are treated by the best-trained staff and to prevent abuse, bullying and harassment of home care staff and patients.

This should have been in place a whole lot sooner and you come across as all wind and no fire the winterbourne View atrocities was over a year ago and still nothing has been done with policy.

“We are introducing fundamental care standards and a new chief inspector of care, and improving accountability for care home bosses,” said Mr Lamb.

“I am continuing to challenge providers to get better care whether you are in a hospital, a care home, or your own home.”

I will believe it when I see it Mr Lamb but I do not hold my breath as you have already failed once by not turning up to the mental health watch event.


Now I live in a neighbourhood area and no consultation on this was given indeed I just drove into my road one day and saw the sign hanging from a lamppost the people in my area do not give two hoots to it and Camerons big society is miles away and quiet frankly would not trust any of them with the care of my elderly mum in law who lives with us especially as they have no specialist training or DBS vetting.

Anyways today I have had a reply to my letter above and no mention is made of the important DBS vetting issue I raised, that letter is below:

Dear Mr Carter,

Thank you for your correspondence of 17 September about comments Norman Lamb made on the care of older people.  I have been asked to reply.

Ministers recognise that many people spend a significant proportion of their lives caring for family members and friends, and there can be no doubt about the value of their contribution both to those who receive care and to the wider community.

Mr Lamb’s comments reflect that society is changing, that many people are now often living a long way away from family and that with the right support, more people could stay in their homes for longer.  The Government’s priority therefore is to ensure that carers can be effectively supported to care and to have a better quality of life.

With regard to Neighbourhood Watch, Mr Lamb’s idea is not to ask Neighbourhood Watch volunteers to undertake social care work, but rather to use the example set by these groups as a model for dealing with loneliness and isolation amongst older and vulnerable people.

Ministers believe that Neighbourhood Watch is an excellent example of people coming together in their area to make it a better place to live.  Ministers are aware that more care of all kinds will be required over the coming decades, with the number of people over 65 set to nearly double to 19 million by 2050.  The Government believes that, unfortunately, in many areas older people have been left living alone, as extended families have dispersed.

Ministers also believe that the formal paid-for system of community care cannot be the only way of keeping people properly looked after.  Adult care services cannot tackle loneliness on their own.  Ministers know that official care can be very good at helping people with daily activities, such as helping them to wash or to prepare food.  However, it is not able to provide the companionship and friendship that people need to avoid feeling lonely.  Ministers feel that sometimes a neighbour visiting a vulnerable person is a better end result than a formal care visit.

The Government knows that many Neighbourhood Watch volunteers already provide help to neighbours – including those who are lonely and isolated − and it is these acts of kindness that it wants to build on.  Ministers want to consider how to use communities’ volunteer action to help provide an extra level of support for older people by encouraging everyone to help avoid leaving people lonely and isolated.

Mr Lamb cited the work of Neighbourhood Watch groups as a grassroots movement to keep an eye on neighbours’ houses and property to guard against crime as a good example of making a difference.  Ministers believe that as this is successful for crime and community safety, it can also be used as a guard against isolation.

Mr Lamb is working with the Cabinet Office Minister Nick Hurd to look at what the Government can do to introduce such a movement, and the Government hopes to announce details later this year.

I note your comments about Winterbourne View.  Mr Lamb published the Department’s final report on Winterbourne View on 10 December.  It sets out how the Government will work together with national and local health and care organisations to address poor care and abuse and to ensure that excellent care becomes the norm.  The report can be found on the Government’s information and advice website at:

The report sets out steps to respond to the failings that Winterbourne View brought to light, and to improve care more generally.  While individual members of staff at Winterbourne View have been convicted, ministers believe that this case has revealed weaknesses in the Government’s ability to hold the owners, boards of directors and senior managers of care organisations to account.  The Government believes that this is a gap in the care regulatory framework that it has committed to address.

The Government has set out proposals for consultation to strengthen the accountability of boards of directors and senior managers for the safety and quality of care that their organisations provide.  The Department of Health is seeking views on proposals to hold health and care providers to account where there are serious failures in care.  It proposes that all directors of providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – including NHS hospitals, private hospitals and care homes – must meet a new ‘fit and proper person’ test.  The CQC will be able to insist on the removal of directors that fail this test, and in cases where providers fail in the care that they provide, the CQC will be able to consider the role of the board and individual directors in that failure, with the power to prosecute in the case of serious failure.

The CQC launched its own consultation on 17 June on a new regulatory model that includes developing new fundamental standards as part of the requirements for registration with the CQC.  Ministers believe that this will set in law a clear baseline below which care must not fall, and will allow the CQC to take action against providers that do not meet these standards.

The final report for Winterbourne View Review also sets out a programme of action to transform services, so that people no longer live inappropriately in hospital settings but are cared for in line with best practice, based on their individual needs.  The programme will also ensure that their wishes, and those of their families, are listened to and are at the heart of planning and delivering their care.

A detailed timetable of action is included in the report.  It includes the following measures:

–         by the end of June (2013), all current hospital placements were to be reviewed.  Everyone in hospital inappropriately will move to community-based support as quickly as possible, and no later than June 2014; and

–         by April 2014, each area will have a joint plan to ensure high quality care and support services for all people with learning disabilities or autism and mental health conditions or behaviour described as challenging, in line with best practice.

As a consequence, ministers expect a dramatic reduction in hospital placements for this group of people.

The Government’s commitment to this programme of action is shared by the organisations responsible for delivering change.  A concordat, signed by more than 50 organisations, sets out the specific actions that each organisation will take.  This was published alongside the final report.

NHS England and the Local Government Association are leading a joint improvement programme, with financial support from the Department of Health, to supervise these changes.  Mr Lamb chairs  the Learning Disability Programme Board, which oversees the progress of the programme.  Minutes of the Board’s meetings and other documents can be found on the Government’s information and advice website at:

The Winterbourne View Review report focuses on the need for change, but there are places that already get this right.  The Department has published examples of best practice alongside the report.  These show what is possible, and what must be achieved for everyone.

I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Myers
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health

So Government Minister believe that by addressing the elderly’s loneliness and isolation by visits from neighboors will reduce hospital visits? how exactly illnesses and disablement do not magically disapear, only specialist doctors and nurses in a chosen field can help with that.

I will of course be writing back for further claification as the response above is more baloney.

Stephen Timms Backs Campaign To Make ‘Fit For Work’ Tests Fairer For Mental Health Issues

Think Labour

Stephen Timms MPLabour’s Stephen Timms MP is backing a campaign by the mental health charity Rethink to make the controversial Work Capability Assessment fairer and more accurate for those with mental health problems.

The Work Capability Assessment was first introduced by a Labour government in 2008 and the contract to carry out the assessments on sick and disabled benefit claimants was awarded to the private health firm Atos Healthcare. Labour were to review both the WCA and the contract with Atos Healthcare in 2010 once its 2 year period expired, but defeat in the 2010 general election led to the Tory led coalition extending the contract and,.. according to some commentators, toughening the WCA.

Rethink are campaigning for improvements to the process which determines a person’s capability and readiness to return to work after evidence emerged that those with mental health issues, which have a negative effect on their ability to work…

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Profiteering energy firms would be stupid to believe they can hold Labour to ransom

Mike Sivier's blog

The UK’s private energy companies will be playing a very dangerous game if they think they can call Ed Miliband’s bluff on price-freezing.

According to The Guardian, Mr Miliband’s announcement that energy prices will be frozen for 20 months under a Labour government has sparked a chorus of protest from the affected firms.

In the first skirmish in the new political battle over the cost of living in the UK, Mr Miliband wants to “reset” what he sees as a “failing” energy market in which customers had paid £3.9 billion more than necessary since 2010. The measure would save families an average of £120 and businesses £1,800.

Energy firms say it would lead to blackouts similar to those seen in California. They say it will stall investment in new power stations.

Energy UK, which represents the largely foreign-owned energy firms, said: “It will… freeze the money to build new power…

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Ed Miliband Writes To Energy Companies Over Price Freeze

Think Labour

In recent years we have discussed the need to rebuild public trust in the energy market many times. I think we all agree on the importance of that objective if we are to build a market that both delivers for consumers and underpins the investment in future clean energy capacity that we all want to see.

Our intention is to now reset the market that has consistently failed to secure the confidence of the public or the investment Britain needs. Doing that requires two steps. First, it means legislating to build competition and transparency into the market, with a trusted regulator standing behind the system.

Second, it means ensuring that in the time it takes to put a new system in place, up to the start of 2017, we ensure the prices paid by consumers do not rise.

A fairer market for consumers must be matched by a better deal…

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Letter to Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

Rt Hon Mr Liam Byrne MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

House of Commons,



Dear Mr Byrne,

I have been watching the Labour Party Conference with much interest a given really considering the mess that has been building up under the coalition so I thought it was time to write to you, after all you will not be much help going forward without some input from the electorate.

Firstly I would like to say Thank You for allowing Sue Marsh to take the stage and speak despite jumping in as she is a lady with passion and fighting for many of us and I enjoyed listening to what she had to say which will become apparent as you read on.

The Labour Party made mistakes and errors in the past and it is for that reason I have been a floating voter since May 2010 having always been both a labour supporter and voter, however we must not forget no party has been perfect for as long as I can remember and certainly not the present coalition but the labour party shines above the rest for one reason.

No other party has done more than the Labour Party to raise the living standards in many areas and try to end poverty than any other party.

 That I believe to be the bedrock of any party and what will stand the test of time in office.

We have 19 months until the next election some may say a long time but I say not at all as you have much work to do to get the electorates trust back and show that you can lead where others follow.

Many citizens including myself have had enough of this phoney austerity policy which has done nothing than bring anxiety and despair to all sections of society other than their own, the deficit has gone up not down the selling off of the public’s assets has continued, state support to our elderly, children, ill and disabled has been cut to levels that are inhumane, The WCA is not fit for purpose and must be scraped before the next election, the bedroom tax is defunct and causing homelessness and hardship to many, The energy market is a rip off and serves no one except its shareholders.

You may think I am anti-capitalist which I am not capitalism is good for growth, however the capitalism we are seeing now is nothing short of brutal and rampant in every section of business that has to change as the financial sector has free rein to do as they please, they still have not apologised for the mess they left in 2007/08 and which goes on unabated.

The citizens only have pockets so deep and they are now digging ever so deeper to find the pennies to keep themselves above water so let’s see some compassion, empathy and ethics in everything the Government do and that must start from day one with labour if they want my vote and the votes of many others.

I am a 50 year old male from Hampshire and have my own issues that extent to many areas I am disabled due to SAH Stroke and thus have dominant right sided spasticity, I like many are suffering under the coalition disability reforms.

I live in this house with my mum in law who is virtually bed bound due to many health conditions and has dementia I share her caring needs which are 24/7 with my wife it works well with her part-time working and we would not have it any other way as we see it as our duty plus we have lost all faith in care homes and thus prefer to be responsible ourselves.

However our mum in law lives in a pokey box bedroom that is too small for her needs as she had to move out of her larger bedroom to make way for my son his fiancé and our 1 yr. old grandson, they should have their own home by now but both government and local authority rules prevent that happening.

We also have another son in the other box bedroom so as you can see we are overcrowded which is not good when there are also two disabled persons living in the house indeed it gets heated at times

I am disabled by its very definition so why after 17 years of hard labour work post stroke am I having to fight so hard for the help and support I am entitled too? I am old school and thus not lazy, feckless or any other word the Government, press and media love to use I volunteer part time to a charity that is very dear to me The Stroke Association as well as care for our mum in law is that not enough?

There is no full employment for me because I am one of many stuck between a rock and a very hard place as no employer wants a 50 yr old with disability that is the reality that MP’s do not see I have been there and done it when I got made redundant in September 2007 due to the financial crash.

I am just keeping my head above water as it is however we have no spare cash and thus live in fear of interest rates rising as that will be our cut off point if that does happen because due to not getting the right amount of govt support and ever increasing price rises in food, energy and travel we will not be able to sustain any increase in mortgage payment indeed a personal crash waiting to happen as it has done in the USA due to foreclosures.

As you can see you have a lot of work to do Mr Byrne and I hold my breath that your party will be not only my savour but the savour to many others as I am not alone.

Finally I leave you with one thought to ponder, money is not the be all and end all as some things like life are bigger than money alone.

We live in an area which has a conservative safe seat I hope come May 2015 that can change as my MP is a useless fool who does not care.

Good Luck

Yours Sincerely

 Leon Carter

CC. Ed Miliband

Here’s why Labour needs to go a lot further to win back our trust

Mike Sivier's blog


Only days after Ed Miliband announced a Labour government would sack Atos, the party’s conference is hosting an event part-funded by the architects of the ‘work capability assessment’ administered by that company – the criminal American insurance giant Unum.

‘New thinking on the welfare state’ is a fringe event taking place at the Labour conference on Monday, September 23, organised by the right-wing thinktank Reform (which has Unum as one of its funders) and sponsored by the Association of British Insurers (which includes Unum among its members). Does anybody doubt that it has been arranged in order to give Unum a chance to influence high-ranking party members? No?

Then consider: This is a private round-table policy seminar, staged by Anne McGuire MP. Rank and file Labour members aren’t invited – attendance is by invitation only. Can you smell a rat? Still no?

The event has already been staged at the…

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Rejoice or Despair that is the choice?



I am sitting here at a silly hour writing this because I Care!

I have seen the political rhetoric in the last two years in particular destroy our society, one that cared about each other and helped out where they could, where communities stuck together until Maggie put paid to those valuable qualities in the 80’s.

Why do I say this, well I will explain some cold hard facts to those who feel it is ok to attack their fellow man. Let’s make one thing clear, the banks caused this recession NOT the people.

Yet day after day our subconscious is battered with stories in various forms of media of the benefit scrounger, workshy, strivers, uncontrollable youth and the immigrant card instilling fear and dread in a once caring nation. We are encouraged to report various groups of people to various departments in government, from a self righteous standpoint…

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Do Not Support Newly Disabled Claimants Hit By Benefit Cap To Stay In Their Homes Recommends DWP

the void

tory-scum-sprayThe DWP has issued guidance to local authorities suggesting that newly sick or disabled claimants affected by the Benefit Cap should go into arrears rather than be awarded Discretionary Housing Payments to cover a shortfall in their rent whilst they await or appeal a benefit decision.

In a further callous move, the Department recommends that the most seriously sick and disabled claimants – who are appealing a decision made by the notorious Atos Work Capability Assessment not to place them in the Support Group – should not be provided with emergency housing payments to top up their rent whilst the appeal takes place.

Around 50,000 households, including 200,000 children, are currently staring homelessness in the face due to the cap on benefits which has made much of the South East of England unaffordable for families out of work.  The Government have claimed sick and disabled people will not be affected…

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Why we must oppose the Coalition’s Mandatory National IDs and Biometric Systems

Politics and Insights

The UK Government have started to roll out mandatory Biometric Global ID Cards. These will trace, track and store our information directly, wherever we go. This is now being implemented by the UK Border Agency. If you applied for a residence permit in a category that did not require you to enrol your biometric information and your application is granted on or after 1 December 2012 you must now apply for a biometric residence permit. Mandatory national ID cards violate essential civil liberties. They increase the power of authorities to reduce your freedoms to those granted by the card.

The Communications Data Bill (the Snooper’s Charter) never made it through the legislative process, yet the Secretary of State for the Home Department was asked by Dominic Raab how much her Department currently remunerates (a) telephone companies, (b)  internet service providers and (c) others annually for data storage; and what…

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