Early warning letters make little difference to the outcomes of claimants

DWP say sanctions early warning letters make little difference to the outcomes of claimants

The DWP have abandoned the idea of a ‘Sanction Warning Letter’ because DWP staff reported, in trials, that these made little difference to the outcomes of JSA claimants. Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Officer said: “The DWP has not said how many of those in the trial who were sanctioned went on to successfully appeal that decision [four out of five appeals are successful]. “ The DWP is now exploring the feasibility of an alternative process to give claimants written warnings, instead of a sanction, for a first sanctionable failure to attend a Work-Search Review. Read more


Removing barriers to starting or finishing apprenticeships

Disability Rights UK want you to tell them what reasonable adjustments might be required to help disabled people to achieve a successful and inclusive apprenticeship. Your views will help them when they meet the Minister for Skills Anne Milton MP, in early July.

Responses wanted by 30 June. Find out more

Kevin Doughty Presentation at Cumbria University – the future for telecare

I was delighted to see the excellent presentation from Kevin Doughty (the grandad of telecare) which he gave on Wednesday 23rd May at Cumbria University in Lancaster. https://uk.linkedin.com/in/kevin-doughty-b236b34

New system launched to help measure and prevent medication errors

The new system will link prescribing data in primary care to hospital admissions, enabling the NHS
to monitor and better understand medication errors, with the aim of preventing them from

Boxes of prescription medication

A groundbreaking system to help the NHS monitor, learn from and prevent costly medication errors has been launched today.

As part of the Health and Social Care Secretary’s plan to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, the NHS will introduce a series of indicators to show whether a prescription may have contributed to a patient being admitted to hospital.

The indicators will work by linking prescribing data in primary care to hospital admissions. This will allow the NHS to monitor and better understand medication errors, with the aim of preventing them from happening.

The first indicators will focus on how different medicines may be contributing to people being admitted to hospital with gastro-intestinal bleeding. The programme will cover more medicines and associated conditions later in the year.

The launch of the new system follows research which highlighted the impact of medication errors, with an estimated 237 million taking place every year.

Medication errors can range from delivering a prescription late to a patient being given the wrong medication. Errors can happen at any point at which a patient comes into contact with a drug, including:

  • prescribing
  • dispensing
  • administering
  • monitoring

Care Minister Caroline Dinenage said:

Today marks a vital step on our journey towards making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world. While our own research has shown us the shocking toll medication errors take on our health service and its patients, the NHS itself needs a consistent way to measure medication errors. This groundbreaking initiative will help give us the data we need to stamp out these costly errors.

The indicators will work alongside other measures designed to reduce medication errors and encourage openness and transparency, such as new defences for pharmacists if they make accidental dispensing errors. Plans also include accelerating the introduction of electronic prescribing systems across more NHS hospitals this year.

Through this innovative programme of work, the NHS is leading the way in responding to a global issue which the World Health Organisation has described as “a leading cause of injury and avoidable harm in healthcare systems across the world”.

Valproate Epilepsy drug

Valproate: New licensing rules for controversial epilepsy drug
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has changed the licence of the drug
Valproate to protect women from giving birth to children with malformations or learning defects.

Guidance states that the drug must no longer be prescribed to women or girls of childbearing
potential unless they are on the pregnancy prevention programme. A new warning will also appear
on packets. The move comes after a European regulator endorsed a similar ban last month.

Headway South Cumbria Conference 18th May 2018

Headway South Cumbria ran an informative conference at the Castle Green Hotel

The Ripple Effect of Brain Injury, Count the Ripples, Count the Cost

Attended by over 170 people, it gave an opportunity to listen to leading professionals working with people with brain injuries and their families. It proved useful for members from all walks of professional life and  for people living with brain injuries, their families and carers.

Read more and see the presentations at




We are eager to meet patients in Cumbria diagnosed with Neuroferritinopathy to understand what challenges they face and how the Alliance can help.

Neuroferritinopathy or adult-onset basal ganglia disease is a genetic neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of iron in the basal gangliacerebellum, and motor cortex of the human brain. Symptoms, which are extrapyramidal in nature, progress slowly and generally do not become apparent until adulthood.[1] These symptoms include choreadystonia, and cognitive deficits which worsen with age.[2][3]

Cerebellum and basal ganglia

Councils cannot cap personal budgets under Care Act, Ombudsman warns

Councils cannot set maximum budget levels when calculating the cost of people’s care, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has said.

The Ombudsman has issued the advice after an investigation found Wiltshire Council had a policy of placing people into bands, and paying in line with those banding levels, regardless of need. This is contrary to the Care Act.

The Ombudsman became aware of the council’s system after a woman, whose adult son had substantial and complex health problems and disabilities, had her support cut significantly.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found the council at fault for using an outdated matrix tool to calculate the amount of support offered to the family, and for reducing the support offered immediately, rather than as a staged reduction as the matrix tool said it should. It was also at fault for the way in which it reduced their funding for transport.

Read more


Case law on personal budgets






A new High Court decision makes it clear that and personal budget assessment must be clear/transparent, to ensure that the care package meets the user’s needs. The assessment should not make assumptions about services or other help that may be provided.

In this case the local authority was wrong to take into account family support which the family was not willing and able to provide. Read more and see full decision 

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