A despicable drive-by thief stole a disabled woman’s portable ramp in Cambridge – in less than 60 seconds.
Richard Seed, 58, of The Westering, dropped off his disabled wife Penny, 49, at Abbey Pools to go to the gym for her first day of physical rehabilitation after diabetes meant she cannot walk more than a few feet.
He put the ramp back in the boot of his car and drove along Pool Way in Abbey ward. He turned right on to Newmarket Road heading towards his home near Cambridge Airport at about noon on Friday.
It was while passing the area near Ivett & Reed stonemasons and Peasgood & Skeates Funeral Directors, just before the roundabout at McDonald’s fast food eatery, that the £300 ramp fell from the boot of the vehicle.
Mr Seed carried on a few yards and turned at the roundabout to return to pick up the ramp – which is bright red steel with a handle.
The turn took Mr Seed between 30-60 seconds to complete but when he reached the spot where the ramp had fallen, it had already gone and was nowhere to be seen.
Pensioners angry at ‘price fixing’ on mobility scooters launch the UK’s first class action lawsuit that could open the floodgates for campaigning consumers
- National Pensioners Convention alleges Pride breached competition law
- NPC said Pride banned retailers from advertising online prices below RRP
- Lawyers say case could be worth £7.7m and represent watershed moment
- Pride said it is not aware of evidence that consumers have suffered loss
A pensioners’ group is suing a mobility scooter company for alleged price-fixing in what is believed to be the UK’s first ‘class action’ law suit.
The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) alleges Pride, the market leader in the UK’s mobility scooter sector, breached competition law by banning online retailers from selling scooters below the recommended retail price.
Lawyers believe the case could be worth nearly £8m and represents a watershed moment for consumers.
Improving later life for people with sight loss
Funding has been scrapped for social care for 12,415 blind or partially sighted pensioners, a report reveals.
It means those who rely on help with everyday tasks such as getting out of bed, cooking, cleaning, washing, dressing and eating could be left to their own devices.
A joint investigation by Age UK and the Royal National Institute of Blind People found poverty-stricken over-65s had been disproportionately affected by the loss of public services due to cuts.
Around half of all blind and partially sighted older people live alone.
Read more: Our forgotten army of carers need a boost if we want to help elderly and vulnerable people
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “That so many blind or partially sighted older people who need social care aren’t getting is profoundly shocking.
“Losing our sight is something many of us fear the most, and the idea of struggling alone without social care assistance in such circumstances seems appalling in a civilised society.”
BIRKENHEAD’S Ian Martin insists the only way is up for disabled cricket as England’s visually impaired team get ready to challenge for next month’s Blind World Cup.
Martin, head of disability cricket at the English Cricket Board, is adamant that England are leading the way with the infrastructure they have in place for success, writes Marios Papaloizou.
However the 44-year-old is not about to put any pressure on the 17-man side heading to South Africa for November’s Blind World Cup, England kicking things off against Sri Lanka on November 27 in Capetown.
With the likes of India and Pakistan to overcome England will face stiff competition to take the top prize for the first time in their history.
But for Martin the most important thing is that the team perform to the best of their abilities, and if they do that then they will be in with a shout of silverware.
He said: “What we look to do with all our squads is for our guys to be as best prepared as they can be and to perform to their potential.
Cardiff University experts will look at faulty genes underpinning the learning disabilities that can go hand in hand with challenging behaviours and adult mental health problems
Welsh scientists are to probe why children with learning disabilities often end up with behavioural problems and troubled mental health in adolescence and adulthood.
Experts from Cardiff University will look at faulty genes underpinning the learning disabilities that can go hand in hand with challenging behaviours and adult mental health problems.
Professor Jeremy Hall, from Cardiff University’s MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, and scientists from Cambridge University and the University College London, hope to recruit 10,000 people to the study.
Professor Hall said understanding the link to faulty genes would see parents given more information and better prepare them for the future challenges they face.
The research also offers hope more effective treatments will be developed. Experiments on mice with Rett syndrome – a developmental disorder that almost always affects girls – have reversed the condition after treatment on the problem gene.
Professor Hall said: “There are an estimated 1.5 million people with intellectual disabilities in the UK and a significant number of them are children under 18 years of age.
“Whilst we know intellectual disability can be caused by events such as extreme premature birth, birth injury or brain infections, research has found that minor chromosomal anomalies – known as copy number variations (CNV) – are strongly associated with children with an intellectual disability.”
England’s Physical Disability squad
BROMSGROVE cricketer Sam Wyles couldn’t inspire his country to victory in Dubai last month – but he knows they should have returned to England with some silverware.
England’s Physical Disability squad embarked on their second ever international tour as they once again took on Pakistan in T20 and ODI series’ in the UAE.
After winning just one game on their maiden trip in February 2012, England slipped to narrow 2-1 defeats in each series but Wyles believes they were the better side.
The experienced Pakistan outfit were able to grind out the results after England pulled it back to 1-1 in each but Wyles insists, with six first-time tourists in the squad, there’s plenty to be excited about.
“Obviously the results didn’t go our way but everyone stuck together,” said the 24-year-old, who plays his club cricket for Wythall.
“I think it was very similar to last time. Last time we got ourselves into good positions and lost the crucial moments and it was the same this time.
“We probably won 60 or 70 per cent of the games but let ourselves down at crucial times. It is just about keeping our heads and composure when the tough part of the game starts.
The elderly were ripped off by Britain’s biggest mobility scooter manufacturer for nearly two years in an online price fixing scam, regulators alleged yesterday.
The Office of Fair Trading said it believed Pride Mobility from Bicester, Oxfordshire had “infringed competition law” and restricted consumers’ ability to get value for money.
Shoppers looking for deals on up to seven different models of Pride Mobility scooters were unable to shop around because internet retailers only ever gave the recommended retail price, the Office of Fair Trading said. The “practices” occured over a two-year period from 2010 to 2012.
Pride are the market leader in the mobility scooter sector, selling the “Jazzy Power Chair” and “GoGo Es 8” scooter. Today’s provisional finding from the OFT is the latest case to stem from an investigation of the entire mobility market two years ago. Then, it said prices for mobility scooters could vary in price by as much as £3,000.
Last month, Roma Medical Aids was accused of breaching competition law by preventing online retailers from selling its scooters or even advertising their prices on the web. In July last year, regulators criticised Derby-based Optimum Care Mobility for mis-selling to the elderly and disabled.
Independent mobility aid website Help My Mobility has released its latest buyer’s guide booklet, revised and re-written for 2013. The 33-page document, available in full for free from their website, details thorough advice and information on buying mobility aids in an easy to follow, step-by-step format. It covers a wide range of products, from mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs, to stair lifts and adjustable beds, each with its own dedicated section.
The self-published guide is intended for anyone looking to purchase a mobility product in the foreseeable future, and focuses on key questions, benefits and features of owning each particular type of aid. Also included are payment guides, allowing users to consider how they will pay for their product, and a broad overview of where they can buy them from; locally, nationally, or online.
Help My Mobility specialise in offering free, impartial guidance to ensure users have all the necessary material at their disposal, to be able to make a judgement about selecting the correct mobility equipment for themselves. The guide does not use brands or act as a marketing platform for companies, therefore no product names or information is given.
For more information on mobility products, or to view the buyer’s guide, visit www.help-my-mobility.org . Or why not like their Facebook or Google+ pages for the chance to take part in exclusive competitions and surveys, or follow them on Twitter @MobilityAdvisor for the latest mobility news.
A system which decides whether disabled people are fit to work has been branded “unfair” by Bradford Council.
The Government’s Work Capability Assessments (WCAs), which decide whether people on disability benefits are well enough to work, have already been heavily criticised by disability rights organisations.
The Council has now raised serious concerns about the process, which is run by the company Atos Healthcare in a £400m contract.
These include worries about the system being unfairly weighted against people with health conditions that fluctuate, as the test is whether they could work on ‘the majority of days’. The Council is also concerned at the time it takes for appeals against decisions to be either upheld or rejected.
It is now asking the Council’s health and social care scrutiny committee to investigate the situation locally and write a report on its findings.
The Council is also writing to all MPs in the Bradford district about the matter.
The motion was originally suggested by Respect councillors and amended by the ruling Labour group before being agreed by the full Council.
Councillor Alyas Karmani said: “It’s a very, very stressful process. There is one person in my constituency who has got MS and the assessor was asking silly questions.
The cost to the taxpayer of dealing with appeals against disability benefit refusals in tribunals has more than trebled to £66 million over four years, Justice Minister Helen Grant has revealed.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne urged the Government to stop wasting taxpayers’ money after uncovering figures which showed the estimated cost of tribunals hearing employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals rose from £21 million in 2009/10 to £66 million in 2012/13.
Mr Byrne said the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) needed to “get a grip” after uncovering the figures in a parliamentary question to the Ministry of Justice.
The figures, disclosed by Mrs Grant, showed that under the coalition Government the cost to the courts service increased by £24 million – up from £42 million in 2010/11.
Mr Byrne laid some of the blame at the door of Atos, the company controversially contracted to run work capability assessments on behalf of the DWP, saying “more decisions are wrong than ever before”.
Speaking outside the Commons chamber, he said: “Atos is now spinning out of control and it is costing the taxpayers millions to clean up the mess.
Our comment: Getting more decisions right first time could help get the number of appeals down.
A Hampshire couple, left devastated by the theft of a mobility scooter from their property, have described their delight at the donation of a replacement machine.
Fred (92) and Mary Baker (87) discovered the theft at just before 9am on June 8th, after owning the scooter for only two months. It is thought that thieves accessed the complex in Sholing, Southampton, via the building’s main door, stealing the scooter from the communal hallway.
“I went into the hallway and thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s gone,’” Mrs Baker – an osteoporosis sufferer – told Maxwell Kusi-Obodum, reporting for the Daily Daily Echo.
“It’s disgusting. We are like prisoners in our own home and are stuck indoors on one of the warmest days of the year.”
However, an online mobility scooter resource elected to take action and help Mr and Mrs Baker. The news team at www.Help-My-Mobility.org – based only 15 miles away in Milford-on-Sea – came across the Bakers’ story and were thoroughly moved. They decided to donate a replacement scooter to the couple.
“I can’t believe how generous Help My Mobility have been, this will really change our lives,” said Mrs Baker, while Mr Baker described how he and his wife felt stranded without their scooter;
“There’s a bus that comes around and picks us up and takes us to town, they have a special hoist to pick the scooter up and drop us off in town. For the last week or so we’ve been unable to get there,” he said.
Help My Mobility’s director, Jason Tate told of his disgust upon hearing about the theft;
“When news of the theft came in, we were appalled,” he said.
“We feel extremely privileged to be able to help Mr and Mrs Baker, I could sense how much a scooter means to them and how it will enhance their quality of life”
The new head of Capita’s personal independence payments says disabled people must be central to the process
When Capita begins its contract, in June, to assess claimants for the new disability benefit, known as personal independence payment (PIP), all of the assessment centres will be located on the ground floor.
Stephen Duckworth, head of Capita’s PIP programme, reveals this information with a wry smile. Although it seems an obvious measure, the ground-floor location is important, given that many applicants may be in wheelchairs or unable to manage stairs.
It is also significant because the failure of Capita’s rival disability assessors, Atos, to make sure that all its centres had ground-floor wheelchair access became symbolic of how earlier assessment schemes had gone wrong.
Applicants for the benefit will be met by “meeters and greeters, buddies if you like, to ensure that people aren’t overly anxious as they wait for their assessment”, Duckworth says. A large number of these people will themselves be disabled, part of Capita’s commitment to employing up to 40% of disabled people in its assessment team.
“The rationale behind that is that the more disabled people are involved in the process, the more disability confident, disability knowledgable, disability aware, the organisation will be,” Duckworth says.