Bus pass medical data card designed and trialled in Huntingdonshire – volunteers needed

A bus pass which contains personal medical data and could revolutionise care delivery in the UK is being trialled in the Huntingdon area.

The Cambridgeshire Care Card has been designed by technology guru Christopher Curry, best known for his work as co-founder of Cambridge-based Acorn Computers.

Volunteers are being sought from the Huntingdon area to take part in the pilot scheme which has had funding from the Department of Health.

Bus pass holders can add medical information to the card, such as blood group, medication and allergies, which could help to save lives by alerting medics and health care professionals who can access the information through a card reader.

Local GPs are also being recruited to the card scheme.

Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Huntingdon-St-Ives-St-Neots/Bus-pass-medical-data-card-designed-by-technology-entrepreneur-Christopher-is-trialled-in-Huntingdonshire-20140716142656.htm#ixzz38NB5B3JI

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THE ‘LOVE THE BUS PASS’ CAMPAIGN to retain Bus Passes in England


This non-partisan campaign is backed by the National Pensioners’ Convention. It aims to get all major political parties to pledge, before the General Election, that, if elected, they will keep the England bus pass as a statutory universal entitlement free at the point of use.


In ‘Conservative Home’, 23.09.11, new MP Brandon Lewis (since promoted to Under-Secretary of State), wrote what colleagues dreamed of, but up to then hadn’t daren’t to come out with: to abolish the England bus pass as a universal entitlement free at the point of use.

As a close ally of Eric Pickles, Mr. Lewis’s suggestions almost certainly were being quietly considered by ministerial colleagues, and a report in the ‘Independent’ July 2012 stated that, if Mr. Cameron were returned in 2015, he would cut the pass alongside other entitlements (and in January 2014 he refused to commit to retaining the pass).

Nick Clegg famously called for a ban on ‘millionaires’ riding the buses for free, which would save next to nothing, as the pass, unlike a season ticket, doesn’t have a fixed value, the cost to the public purse being cal-culated on the global cost of all journeys made (millionaires making few – if any!), but a neat way of establishing the principle of means-testing, which can then be extended over time to cover more and more people.

Brandon Lewis wrote: “It is a successful and popular policy, which we rightly pledged to retain, as it makes a difference to so many pension-ers’ lives. Yet, it is a policy that no government could have financially sustained. My own county council in Norfolk face axing subsidised bus services in order to deal with a 38% funding reduction. The bus pass risks becoming worthless if there are no bus routes to use them on. There is anecdotal evidence that many pensioners apply for a bus pass simply because of entitlement, but never use it, or only sporadically.” “Is it time to look at some form of charging? Already, one bus company is requesting a voluntary contribution from pass holders in order to maintain a route. A flat rate of 50p per trip would generate over £5m a year in Norfolk, an easy and relatively pain-free way of plugging the gap. Another option is to limit the number of trips taken per year, to say 50, and have a reduced rate for every trip taken after this. Should we look at issuing passes to households that don’t have a car, better target the scheme to those most in need without the need for means-testing?” “

Ahead of the election, we avoided discussing reform for fear of alarming millions of key voters: we need to urgently look at reform now.”

Please sign and send in the petition form.

Please collect as few or as many signatures as you wish (but the more, the better!).  You’ll find it’s ever so easy. All ages are welcome to sign: youngsters have grandparents, while those of working age have parents, and will want to be sure of having a pass as they come of age.
Click here for a copy to print off.

Please pass word on to friends and family in all parts of England: if they (or you!) call or e-mail their contact details), I will e-mail or post them forms.  The target is 100,000 by 10 September 2014, when we head for No. 10 (by bus!) from all parts of England. Thank you for your support.

It is a deliberate policy that this is an old-style pen-on-paper petition because of the many conversations and hence awareness this process generates, since we all need to be aware that at the 2015 General Election, our votes could decide whether, in years to come, there will still be an England pass for older and blind or disabled people to enjoy, and continue to make their full contribution to society.

As the campaign nears its target we plan to also do an on-line petition but the focus for now is on pen on paper: 40,533 have signed up so far.

Love the Bus Pass is a real grass-roots effort which can only succeed because you and lots of other people of goodwill in all parts of England, of all ages, get out there amongst family, friends, neighbours, at clubs and events of whatever kind, to  help reach (or pass) 100,000-plus!

Because of the large number of forms now in circulation it isn’t possible to acknowledge receipt unless you give an e-mail address or send an SAE with completed forms: and, if you can help us contain costs and spread the word by sending the odd second-class stamp (or six!), then Super Sandra, Walsall Pensioners’ Convention Treasurer, won’t object!

Click here for a copy to print off.


LTBP England Co-Ordinator: Richard Worrall, 46 Winn House, Burrowes Street,

Walsall, WS2 8NW; 01922-641084, 07522-215853; richardvworrall@yahoo.com


More than 50,000 join free bus pass fight

More than 50,000 signatures have been collected by campaigners fighting to make sure bus services are kept free for all pensioners.

The national Love the Bus Pass signature petition is being led by Walsall Pensioners’ Convention whose members fear for the future of concessionary bus travel, which is currently available across the whole of England.

They hope to raise 100,000 names for the petition, which will be handed in during a visit to Downing Street on September 10 with the help of veteran MP David Winnick.

The campaign has so far attracted 50,014 signatures on paper and the group aims to reach the target by the end of next month.

Campaign co-ordinator Richard Worrall said: “The petition is the first major step for this non-partisan campaign, which aims to get all major parties contesting the general election to pledge to retain the England bus pass as a universal entitlement free at the point of use.”

He added that the campaign supported by the National Pensioners’ Convention had attracted huge interest round the country.

“Whilst all major parties pledged before the 2010 general election to keep the pass, high-ranking coalition politicians soon started to call for ‘reform’ in 2011,” he said.

Should free bus passes be kept, or is it right to cut them at a time of austerity? Join the debate below.

Mr Worrall added: “Nick Clegg called for a ban on ‘millionaires’ joyriding on the buses, which would save next to nothing, but is a neat way of destroying the principle of universal entitlement and bringing in means-testing, with the bar being lowered over time to exclude more and more pass-holders.

“In mid-2012, the press reported that Mr Cameron, if returned in 2015, would legislate to abolish the pass in its present form. Again in January, he refused to commit to retaining it.

“The huge social, economic, health and well-being benefits of the pass are at risk. Politicians of all parties need to understand that they attack the bus pass at their electoral peril.”

Mr Worrall appealed for even more people to back the campaign to keep the concessionary pass, which was introduced in 2008.

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Valid Bus Passes being refused in London & elsewhere.

Imagine the scene – a couple leaving the Hampton Court Flower Show attempt to board a London bus. They tender their bus passes issued in Gloucestershire but the bus driver refuses it as being invalid on London buses. Feeling very unhappy about this the elderly couple, anxious to get back to the place they are staying, offer to pay the fare but that too is refused, as no cash is now taken on London buses. Obviously bus pass holders visiting London will not have bought an Oyster Card if they intend to just use bus services for transport.
We are sorry to report that get messages at regular intervals from people with an ENCTS scheme bus pass issued in England but outside London where the bus driver has erroneously refused to accept the bus pass. This places the bus pass holder in an impossible position, since the London buses no longer accept cash.
Sadly these are not the only cases where bus drivers don’t seem to understand the rules – a resident in Somerset recently reported to us that on a trip to Devon using a Somerset Bus Pass they were made to pay the bus fare to the Somerset border. This is clearly not how the ENCTS scheme is intended to work.
May we say we don’t wish to vilify bus drivers who generally do a first class job cheerfully. We do feel very strongly though that those responsible for the provision of local bus services have a responsibility to ensure that their drivers are given clear information on the acceptance of bus passes. The position is more acute in London, since the refusal to accept a valid bus pass puts older people in a very bad situation.

If you encounter any difficulty getting your bus pass accepted we would like to hear about it – please use the ‘reply’ box below.

Comment received from Devon Bus Pass office:

You may not be aware that Devon County Council has excluded service 300 from the concessionary travel scheme as of 1st April 2014 as the service is used primarily for tourism.

This means that anyone boarding in Devon will have to pay a fare to the county border regardless of where the pass was issued.

Attached is a link to our scheme document for 2014. http://www.journeydevon.info/files/2014/02/DCC-Concessionary-Travel-Scheme-1-April-2014.pdf?9e396a

Forger in fake bus pass scam escapes prison

A SUCCESSFUL graphic designer who forged public transport travel passes when he fell on hard times has been put on probation for a year.

Teen gets six months for stealing iPhone from pregnant woman
Clive Keogh (39) admitted making what were described as “extremely good quality” copies of free bus, train and tram passes that are issued by the Department of Social Protection.

Judge Ann Ryan put him on a probation bond for a year at Dublin District Court.

Keogh, formerly from Clonsilla but with an address at the Harcourt Street Hostel, pleaded guilty to six fraud charges.

He admitted possession of a fake travel pass and identity card in a woman’s name at Harcourt Street, as well as having implements for making the forgeries last July 29.

He also pleaded guilty to another count of possession of similar implements and one of forgery at Maple House, Dublin 1 on dates between May 1 and July 29. The final count he admitted was possession of a fake ID card.

Judge Ryan noted that a probation report on the accused was “positive.”

Previously, the court was told Keogh was caught after production and printing equipment was found in raids on two hostels he had stayed in while he was going through a divorce.

‘Hands off our bus pass’ campaign in Northern Ireland in face of mounting financial pressures

SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has expressed support for the ‘Hands Off of our bus pass’ campaign in response to news that funding for the concessionary fares scheme could be under threat.

Mr Ramsey says he is fully behind the Age Sector Platform campaign, and says he has been contacted by a number of people in Derry who are “angry and outraged” at the thought such a vital resource could be taken away.

“To think this hugely important scheme could be stripped away from the most vulnerable people in our society is outrageous and people are rightly angry about this,” said Mr Ramsey.

“The scheme is vital to so many of our older people and was pursued by the SDLP for many years. I have no doubt that had it not been for the work of party colleagues in the past this scheme would never have got off the ground
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Will the NHS still be viable in ten years’ time?

In this video interview published by ‘The Nuffield Trust’ we ask Rt Hon Alan Milburn, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, Rt Hon Baroness Williams of Crosby, The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, and physician, philosopher and cultural critic Professor Raymond Tallis, what they think political and health leaders need to do now to ensure the NHS remains viable in ten years’ time.

Watch video & read more

Our comment: What we need to see is active politicians from the main political parties discussing these issues which we think should form a major part of the agenda at the next general election.

Scottish Government’s plans for pensions in an independent Scotland amount to the “biggest mis-selling scandal in history”

THE Scottish Government’s plans for pensions in an independent Scotland amount to the “biggest mis-selling scandal in history”, according to the chairman of the Scottish Affairs Committee.

A report by the committee said the Scottish Government has failed to properly cost its plans for both public and private pensions.

It also cast “serious doubts” on whether a separate Scotland could set up a new benefits system by 2018, saying the time frame is “unrealistic”.

• Get the latest referendum news, opinion and analysis from across Scotland and beyond on our new Scottish Independence website

The committee found that the Scottish Government’s stated plans to consider delaying the increase in the pension age to 67 and to pay a proposed higher starting rate than the rest of the UK are almost entirely uncosted.

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