Tag Archives: learning

Mythbusting: nurse(?) makes mistake over ‘Do Not Resuscitate’

Ventilator: people with long-term illnesses, disabilities and learning disabilities are still being denied resuscitation by the NHS – and one nurse, at least, has denied the existence of this scandal.

I can’t let this pass.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on June 16, Peterborough’s Tory MP Paul Bristow asked an important question about “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders that have been made on NHS patients during the Covid-19 crisis.

Having reported on this scandal many times on This Site, I tweeted in response:

I was surprised and saddened when this provoked the following response from a Twitter user who identifies as a nurse (I won’t reproduce the tweet here because I do not wish to identify that person):

“Are you a healthcare professional?

“No.

“Then do not spread false theories about something you obviously know nothing about.”

I attempted to put my critic straight – as politely as possible, in the circumstances:

“I am a news reporter of nearly 30 years experience and have been covering this story from the start. I DO know the facts here. And I see that, since you provide no information to support your insult, you probably don’t. Go well.”

Sadly, this person would not take the (rather overt) hint and came back at me:

You have confirmed it.

It is a story.

I do not have the time, inclination or room on twitter to “provide you with information” only to say that I have 30 years experience as a nurse and have a postgraduate qualification in Professional Practice

Then this is a person who ought to have known better. The claim, “It is a story,” was an attempt to downplay the DNR deaths as fiction, and I wasn’t having that. Also the refusal to support a claim with factual information is a classic tactic by trolls who don’t have any facts to offer.

So I responded (again):

“And how does that better qualify you to comment on this? I’ve done the research so I know my facts. It isn’t fiction.”

And again this person came back at me:

Ok then would you attempt CPR on a five stone frail old woman? Am not going to carry on with this because I’m afraid you just don’t know what you’re on about

This is misleading, and a lie. Allow me to explain.

Mr Bristow’s question is available  to read in Hansard, here. He said: “Last year, doctors and care settings issued an unprecedented number of “do not resuscitate” orders to patients with learning disabilities and mental illness. Many were unlawful and caused avoidable deaths.

“Despite urgent Care Quality Commission and NHS guidance, shockingly, this practice has continued. Last week, The Telegraph reported that Sonia Deleon died unresuscitated. Her family said she was given a DNR without them knowing, and with her learning disabilities and schizophrenia stated as reasons.

“Does the Prime Minister share my alarm about these cases, which should have no place in our care, and does he agree that they should be independently investigated?”

I won’t bother to repeat Boris Johnson’s response as he made no undertaking to prevent further abuses of DNR orders.

It was clear that the issue here was not the safety of attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on a person who may suffer as much harm in that attempt as by the condition that had caused them to need reviving.

It was a political choice to deny health care to people dying with Covid-19, because they have learning (or other) disabilities. It seems to have been considered an opportunity to clear many thousands of so-called “useless eaters” from the UK’s benefit books.

Sonia Deleon’s story is a classic example; you can read about it here.

In brief, almost a year after it was revealed that a policy was in place to deny NHS Covid-19 care to people with long-term illnesses and disabilities – and NHS bosses then claimed to have warned hospitals, GPs and NHS managers not to make such orders on these people, Sonia Deleon was deliberately allowed to die because a DNR order on her had been made.

Hospital authorities claimed that it the order had been agreed with Ms Deleon’s family but they deny this strenuously.

Ms Deleon had learning disabilities and the circumstances of her death are not only a scandal in themselves but are a continuation of a national disgrace.

And I was criticised for highlighting this atrocity – by someone claiming to be a nurse.

I won’t take this matter further by seeking to identify the NHS trust for which this person works and requesting that they be reminded of the facts and properly disciplined for trying to mislead the public. I may change my mind if any further attempts at deception result from this article.

But I will take the opportunity to request that anybody who has relatives living with a long-term illness or disability, or a learning disability, should contact the NHS and ensure that orders equivalent to death sentences have not been applied to their loved ones without their knowledge.

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People with learning disabilities in England are bumped up the Covid vaccine waiting list

This is because of the recent fuss over ‘do not revive’ orders that are still being applied to people with learning disabilities – for no reason other than to make sure they die if they catch Covid-19.

The idea, it seems, is to make people think the government is ensuring that all such people will be protected from Covid-19 as soon as possible.

But I don’t see any information that people with learning disabilities will no longer have DNR orders applied to them.

And of course while we’re now told the vaccine is 80 per cent effective after the first dose, that still means 50 per cent of people are likely to catch it.

And it is much harder to survive if there’s a doctor’s order hanging over you, saying you shouldn’t be put on a ventilator.

Source: All people on learning disabilities register in England to be invited for Covid vaccine | World news | The Guardian

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Sign the petition to stop ‘do not revive’ orders on people with learning disabilities who catch Covid-19

No ventilator for you: even after the NHS announced that ‘do not revive’ notices should not be forced on people with any disabilities at all, let alone learning disabilities, it is still happening. Is this a quiet cull?

Personally, This Writer wants to know who is still signing these orders after the NHS announced that they were forbidden and everybody should be involved in deciding the level of their own care.

It is clear that this is still not happening, and it is still people with disabilities who are being targeted for death by abandonment.

This petition is an attempt to raise the public profile of an issue that the media seem determined to ignore – so let’s do what we can to get as many people to notice it and sign it as possible.

It states:

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog.

Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19.

The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year.

DNACPRs are usually made for people who are too frail to benefit from CPR, but Mencap said some seem to have been issued for people simply because they had a learning disability. The CQC is due to publish a report on the practice within weeks.

This is absolutely disgusting and cannot be allowed to continue. We must stand against this and not allow the UK to become a fascist state

We are all one and everybody has value. This is a serious human rights issue and cannot be allowed to continue in this day and age. We must join together and show we will not stand by and allow this horrific practice to continue. We must stand firm and resist this and insist this practice ends now!

Once again, the petition is here. Please sign it and pass it on to your friends and social media contacts.

This may not affect you – now. But who knows who will be targeted next?

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How many times must we tell the ‘health service’ NOT to sign death warrants for people with disabilities?

Ventilator: after all the fuss last year over people with disabilities being issued blanket “Do Not Revive” orders, Mencap has revealed that it is STILL happening.

Who is responsible for this abomination against healthcare?

It has been revealed that, despite being told not to force “Do Not Revive” orders in people with disabilities who contract Covid-19, people with learning disabilities are still having the orders forced on them – whether they agree with them or not.

Pressure over this from the British Medical Association, Care Quality Commission and others, warning that blanket approaches to care are wrong, forced NHS England to tell hospitals, GPs and managers not to issue such letters… in April 2020 – nearly a year ago!

The following month, Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock was threatened with court action unless he legislated to safeguard vulnerable people. At the very least, it is an offence against their human rights.

But now we find that people with learning disabilities are still having “Do Not Revive” orders thrust upon them:

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog.

Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19.

The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate “Do Not Revive” notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year.

Mencap said they seemed to have been issued for people simply because they had a learning disability.

Do I have to put two and two together for you?

The fact that the government refused to put people with learning disabilities on the priority list for vaccinations makes this behaviour even worse.

So we find from NHS figures that in the five weeks since the third lockdown began, Covid-19 accounted for 65 per cent of deaths of people with learning disabilities. Although the statistics are drawn from different measures, it’s useful to compare this with the rate for the general population: just 39 per cent.

Younger people with learning disabilities aged 18 to 34 are 30 times more likely to die of Covid than others the same age, according to Public Health England.

Considering the inbuilt, systemic bias against them, it seems clear that we should not be surprised – just horrified at this apparent targeting of people with disabilities by the health service (which is supposed to protect people) and the Tory government.

For the sake of balance, I should report that the Department for Health and Social Care has said that it has taken action to prevent “Do Not Revive” notices and has asked the Care Quality Commission to review all such notices issued during the pandemic.

I look forward to its report.

I wonder if anybody will be found to have issued these notices wrongly.

I wonder if anybody will be found to have died as a result.

And if so, I wonder if we’ll learn the reasons these notices were issued. How damning will they be?

Source: Fury at ‘do not resuscitate’ notices given to Covid patients with learning disabilities | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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Williamson’s failures on home learning expose Tory policy stupidity on ‘Broadband Communism’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson may be acting “to the utmost of his ability”, but so was Frank Spencer – the calamitous comedy character with whom Williamson has been compared.

If this inspires confidence in you, then you’re not thinking hard enough:

Saying the prime minister thinks Gavin Williamson is being Education Secretary “to the utmost of his ability” is not the same as saying he has “full confidence” in him.

Williamson has far too many mistakes in his recent history for any member of the public to have full confidence in him, let alone any school pupil.

Only yesterday he admitted that his Covid-19-related failures – in both policy and practice – have made it impossible to hold GCSE, AS and A level exams this year:

Perhaps you don’t grasp the enormity of the admission from what he said. Labour’s shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green, made it clear that she holds him to blame for the chaos in the education system.

The reason Williamson has cancelled the exams is that the Covid-19 crisis – and its effect on schools – has made it impossible to ensure that pupils across the UK have been educated to an equivalent standard.

The reasons for the uneven standards include the fact that teachers have been unable to plan their lessons properly due to Williamson’s unfortunate habit of announcing that schools will stay open no matter what – and then closing them.

Also, he was supposed to provide laptops to pupils, in order to ensure that they could carry on learning to an acceptable standard even if they were confined to their homes. He didn’t (or at least, he didn’t provide enough).

This has now necessitated children without laptops being added to the “vulnerable” list of youngsters who have to go to school during lockdown, alongside the kids of key workers. This amounts to another example of class warfare – kids without laptops are likely to be poor, and sending them to school exposes them to the most common vector for transmission of the killer virus:

Finally, there’s the fact that some families don’t have access to the broadband internet connections necessary to experience this kind of home learning.

The Tories now agree with Labour that this is a good idea – but it is too late to implement it in time to help this year’s crop of exam-takers.

Let us remind ourselves of the reaction – from the Tories and the mass media – when the Labour Party proposed free broadband across the UK in the run-up to the 2019 general election:

Who was right?

John McDonnell and Labour, of course (Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, that is. Kate Green, while being right about Gavin Williamson, also said that schools should stay open. That’s the lunacy of the party under Keir Starmer for you)).

If that party had been elected, free broadband would have been brought to the UK, school pupils would have been able not only to do their homework but to carry out distance learning, preparing them for their exams which would not have had to be cancelled – and it would have helped adults to work from home as well, which would have been a great help to a great many people during lockdown, as well.

That’s the problem with silly Tory ideological incompetence.

Their failure to accept the wisdom of free broadband, and their failure to equip school pupils for home learning, means Williamson has been forced to cancel exams because pupils are not well-enough educated.

As a result, the UK’s workforce will be less competitive in the world marketplace in the future, when compared with other countries that were better-prepared and more willing to help everybody in their populations, rather than just the very rich.

So when we look at the malady afflicting the UK’s education system under the Conservatives, during the Covid-19 crisis, we can see one thing clearly:

Williamson is a symptom of the illness. Conservative government is the cause.

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Learning-disabled deaths linked to coronavirus are huge – but nobody’s talking about it

The proportion of people with learning disabilities who have died with coronavirus is higher than that of people in care homes.

But nobody seems to want to mention that.

Is it because we’ve been told for the last 10 years that they are scroungers and skivers?

Between the March 16 and May 10, 1,029 people with a learning disability died in England, with 45 per cent, 467, linked to coronavirus.

Overall the number of deaths during the eight weeks is 550 more than would be expected when compared to the same period last year.

The charity Mencap warned people with a learning disability were “being forgotten in this crisis” and called for action to tackle what it said could be “potentially discriminatory practice.”

It highlighted the percentage of Covid-19 related deaths among learning disabled people was higher than those in care homes, where the proportion of Covid-19 deaths was 31 per cent for the same period.

The data has been published after an outcry over the lack of transparency about the impact of Covid-19 on mental health patients and people with a learning disability or autism.

A spokesperson for NHS England said the number of deaths was “broadly in line with the rest of the population”. This is clearly not true.

The simple fact is that double the normal number of people with a learning disability are dying – but they continue to be forgotten and, according to Mencap chief Edel Harris, they are “forgotten in this crisis”.

Forgotten? Maybe.

Or maybe that was the intention.

The fact is that the Conservative government – which has a history of discrimination against people with any kind of disability – tried to hide the figures.

People don’t do that if they have a clear conscience. They do it if they feel guilty.

Let’s remember to demand an independent inquiry into these deaths, with a focus on whether there was a deliberate move to focus resources – and attention – away from helping people with learning disabilities.

Source: Coronavirus: Hundreds of learning disability deaths in just eight weeks, new data shows | The Independent

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If the DWP reckons it’s getting decisions right, why are people still suffering?

He knows he's in trouble: Mike Penning, shortly after removing his foot from his mouth while talking about 'mandatory reconsideration'.

He knows he’s in trouble: Mike Penning, shortly after removing his foot from his mouth while talking about ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

The minister for disabled people, Mike Penning, seemed to think he had something to celebrate this week, after official figures showed the number of benefit decision appeals dropped by 79 per cent between January and March this year (compared with the same time in 2013).

He said it means the government’s new ‘mandatory reconsideration’ process is helping people to challenge wrong decisions earlier and helping target government support on those who need it most: “Getting more decisions right the first time avoids the need for protracted tribunal appeals… This new safeguard gives claimants the chance to raise their grievance promptly, provide further evidence and have their claim reassessed without the unnecessary stress of an appeal.”

How wonderful for him.

Does the man with learning disabilities who was living on a paste made of flour and water, after his benefits were suspended, feel the same way, one has to wonder?

How about the woman with breast cancer who was forced to stop chemotherapy – putting her life in danger, one must presume – because she was assessed as ineligible for benefits?

The fact is that ‘mandatory reconsideration’ was brought in to make it harder for benefit claimants like these to challenge a decision that they are capable of work.

If a claimant is unhappy with an adverse decision, they can demand a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ and it will be revisited, usually by a different decision-maker – but the Department for Work and Pensions will not pay even the ‘assessment rate’ of the benefit that has been claimed until a new decision has been reached, and there is no time limit within which the DWP must carry it out. Once a decision has been made, and if it is favourable, there is no guarantee that the benefit will be backdated to cover the whole period since the original claim.

If the claimant is still unhappy about the decision, they may then take it to appeal. This is unlikely as, by then, they will have been forced to live without any means of support for an extended period of time and other benefits such as Housing Benefit may have been denied to them because of the DWP’s adverse decision.

This is the whole point of the nasty game – cutting the number of appeals. When a benefit case goes to court it is both expensive and potentially embarrassing for the Department for Work and Pensions. Of course it is – when a judge tells a government representative that their decision has been irrational or needlessly cruel, it’s a slap in the face for both the decision maker and, ultimately, the government whose benefit ‘reforms’ made that decision possible.

‘Mandatory reconsideration’ was brought in at the end of October last year, and the figures for January to March are the first quarterly statistics to indicate its effect.

Mr Penning said: “This new safeguard gives claimants the chance to raise their grievance promptly, provide further evidence and have their claim reassessed without the unnecessary stress of an appeal.” Would this be “unnecessary stress” to DWP employees? Claimants now have even more “unnecessary stress” to handle.

It should also be noted that we can’t trust the government’s statistics on the number of appeals it has been handling.

A Freedom of Information request by the iLegal website has revealed that, between April 2012 and June 2013, the DWP received 406,070 ESA appeals – and officially recorded outcomes of only 12,800. What happened to the rest?

It seems Mr Penning has learned to speak with a forked tongue.

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