The nursing regulator has finally clarified how many disabled people have lodged complaints about nurses who have carried out disability benefit assessments for government contractors.The figure produced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is its third attempt to produce accurate statistics on how many complaints it has received about the conduct of nurses carrying out assessments for personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance.NMC said that it received just 22 complaints about the conduct of nurse assessors working for Atos, Capita and Maximus during 2016, and not one of them was taken forward past the initial screening stage for further investigation and regulatory action.Many benefit claimants have raised concerns about the apparent refusal of NMC and the Health and Care Professions Council – which regulates paramedics and physiotherapists – to take seriously their complaints about healthcare professionals who carry out assessments.Disability News Service (DNS) has been trying for four months to secure accurate figures on complaints to the NMC about assessors, after originally lodging a freedom of information request in mid-December.NMC first responded in January with figures that showed it had received more than 1,600 complaints in five years about nurses working for Atos, Capita and Maximus.Those figures were published as part of a DNS investigation that showed how healthcare professionals – mostly nurses – working for Capita and Atos have lied, ignored written evidence and dishonestly reported the results of physical examinations in PIP assessment reports compiled for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).But in February, NMC withdrew the figures, blaming its failure to use the correct terms in searching its database. It also said the data it had provided had not been “manually checked or filtered”.It then provided – on 6 February – new figures which suggested that there had been only 29 complaints during the whole of 2016 across the three assessment companies, including just three complaints lodged against Capita nurses, one of which had to be abandoned because of a failure to secure consent.But DNS questioned those statistics because two PIP claimants had come forward to describe how they had lodged complaints about Capita nurses last year.NMC has now produced a new figure, which it insists is accurate, and has apologised for its earlier errors.DNS agreed to narrow down the request to just one year because of restrictions imposed by freedom of information legislation.NMC now says it received just 22 complaints about assessors from the three companies in 2016, and that all 22 were closed at the initial “screening” stage as NMC was “satisfied that these did not meet the threshold for regulatory action”.The figures are likely to bemuse disabled campaigners, and those who contributed to DNS’s investigation, which found significant evidence of concerns about the honesty and competence of nurses who carry out benefits assessments.
A disgraced former disability assessor and paramedic has avoided being struck off, despite a tribunal concluding that he made offensive remarks about disabled benefit claimants.Alan Barham was sacked by the government outsourcing giant Capita last year after being exposed by an undercover reporter working for Channel 4’s Dispatches.He later contacted Disability News Service (DNS) to protest about the way he had been treated, claiming he had been made a “scapegoat” by Capita.Barham told DNS earlier this year that nearly everything he was caught saying by Dispatches was standard practice, and was therefore “driven by Capita”.But the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service this week found four allegations against him – relating to comments he made to the undercover reporter – were “proved” and that he was therefore guilty of misconduct and his fitness to practise as a paramedic was “impaired”.Despite those findings, the tribunal did not strike him off but instead handed him a five-year caution order, which will mean that the word “caution” will appear next to his name on the Health and Care Professions Council website for the next five years.The tribunal heard he had been working for Capita as a PIP assessor for two years when he was filmed by Dispatches (pictured).The four allegations found proved by the tribunal panel were that Barham had boasted of finishing one assessment report before a claimant had even arrived for their PIP assessment; that he told the undercover reporter that it was usually “informal observations” of how claimants behave during the assessment that assessors “catch them out on”; that he had said that assessors can usually “completely dismiss” everything they are told by a PIP claimant; and that he had made an offensive comment about a claimant’s weight.Two other allegations – relating to taking pictures on his mobile phone of the cover pages of assessment reports, to ensure he was paid for the work he had done – were found “not proved” because there was no proof he had breached the confidentiality of PIP claimants.In evidence to the tribunal this week, Barham admitted that the comments he had made were “disgraceful, aggressive and nasty”, and that he had been “embarrassed and ashamed to see himself in the footage”.The tribunal found he had “demonstrated genuine and heartfelt remorse for his actions” and that he had had an “otherwise unblemished career”.Although the panel said it was “paramount that the public is able to trust the integrity of the PIP assessment process” and that claimants need to have confidence that assessors “carry out the PIP assessments in a fair and sensitive manner”, they concluded that a caution was a suitable sanction because Barham’s behaviour had been “a lapse which was both isolated and limited”.But the husband of one of the PIP claimants Barham assessed was furious at the panel’s decision not to strike him off.As a result of Barham’s face-to-face assessment of her, a month before the documentary was screened, Jacqueline Nicholls had been found ineligible for PIP.It was only after the documentary was aired and the Department for Work and Pensions agreed that she could be reassessed that she was granted the enhanced rate for both the daily living and mobility components of PIP.Capita upheld a complaint lodged by Jacqueline and her husband David that Barham had made inaccurate assumptions about the impact of her brain injury and had even lied in his report.Barham later insisted to DNS that his assessment had been correct, according to Capita procedures.These allegations – and those concerning another PIP assessment he carried out – were not heard this week by the tribunal panel because HCPC had decided earlier this year that they were not serious enough to merit findings of misconduct or lack of competence.On hearing of the result of his hearing this week, David Nicholls told DNS the punishment Barham had received was “totally unbelievable” and that he should have been struck off.He said: “When I found out that he was not struck off I could not believe it after all the misery he has caused, supported by agencies like Capita that have no care for what they are charged to do.“There is something very wrong with the system that allows people like this to get away with such things.”Barham was approached by DNS following this week’s hearing but had not commented by noon today (Thursday).
Will the national trend of increasing labor militancy break through into San Francisco’s public sector? Or is talk of a charter amendment just short-term leverage to sweeten this year’s negotiating morass? The answer may well be “yes.” It could be both. Even formerly staid San Francisco unionists are out getting arrested for blocking the streets this year, demanding better contract terms. It’s hard to imagine that this city’s unions would see the success and positive coverage of striking teachers in West Virginia, Los Angeles, or Oakland and not want a piece of that. The amendment Mar is contemplating would leave binding arbitration in place. But, as noted above, a union that figures it can do better by pulling off a strike than submitting to the whims of an arbitrator would likely go the former route. Would that render San Francisco a chaotic realm of dragons and zombies and beheadings (i.e. the 1970s)? Not necessarily. This is how it’s already done everywhere else in California. We are the outlier. But it would certainly shake things up around here. So, that’s something that may well factor into the current ongoing Diet Coke and pizza and negotiating sessions. And, come November 2019 or 2020, it may end up on the ballot. Winter is coming. Get ready to vote. Nor, for the most part, have public sector strikes. That, in large part, is due to binding arbitration. In this county, uniquely, after public employee unions and management have given it their shot at the bargaining table, unresolved matters are punted to a neutral third party, who makes a binding ruling. A union engaging in a strike is shut out of this arbitration process. That’s enshrined in San Francisco’s city charter, and the Public Employee Relations Board has ruled this is legally hunky-dory. But this is not a “blanket ban on strikes,” as the city continues to assert. Rather, forfeiting binding arbitration would appear to be a calculated risk for a union that opts to strike. So, the city’s position that it can fire unionized workers who strategically withhold labor — and its practice of making new hires sign papers affirming this — seems more than a bit tenuous. “I think the people who run this city are really very smart. Do they honestly believe the charter language will stand up when it’s challenged?” asks Rudy Gonzalez, the executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council. “They should work with us and figure out how to amend the charter.” Email Address But nobody seems to be happy. Maybe it’s just too much Diet Coke and cold pizza, but everyone your humble narrator spoke to involved in the collective bargaining process is collectively ticked off.In much of the world, when labor and management reach an impasse, the threat of a strike looms. American workers are striking in greater numbers, and in greater frequency, than they have for nearly three-and-a-half decades. Whether it’s teachers or hotel workers or others, labor militancy is on the rise. But not in San Francisco. Not among the public sector, at least. Here, any employee walking off the job “shall be dismissed from his or her employment pursuant to Charter section A8.346.” New employees are made to sign a form acknowledging that “any employee who participates in a strike can be fired.” But that may yet change. Supervisor Gordon Mar — perhaps the most labor-friendly legislator on a labor-friendly board — acknowledges that he is working with the city’s unions on exploring a charter amendment that would strip this language from the City Charter: language he and this city’s organized workers claim is both illegal and unenforceable. “I am very interested in pursuing this,” Mar tells me. And, perhaps, those ongoing, contentious labor negotiations just became a little more so.If, a couple of years ago, you were told that labor’s most reliable ally on the board would be the District 4 supervisor, you’d probably have been surprised. But that’s the case. Elections do have consequences. Photo by Joe Eskenazi.Are the city’s charter provisions banning strikes illegal? Depends on who you ask. If you ask city officials, many say no. If you ask judges — they say yes. All the way back in 1985, the California Supreme Court ruled that “the common law prohibition against all public employee strikes is no longer supportable … strikes by public employees are not unlawful at common law unless or until it is clearly demonstrated that such a strike creates a substantial and imminent threat to the health or safety of the public.”More recently, in 2017, the state’s Public Employee Relations Board unambiguously ruled that San Francisco could not prevent its workers from engaging in “sympathy strikes” — that is, the city cannot make its workers cross other workers’ picket lines. Also in 2017, the Public Employee Relations Board stated that, “An employer may not impose terms that waive or forfeit the statutory rights of employees or their organizations to engage in concerted activity, including the right to strike. Public employees have a qualified right to strike. … there can be no unilateral forfeiture of the right to strike.”So, what’s going on in San Francisco? Well, if this were Game of Thrones, we’d spice up this arcane procedural stuff by tossing in some incest or a beheading or dragons eating someone. Sorry. That kind of stuff really hasn’t happened here since the 1970s. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter At this very moment, no matter what time of day “this very moment” is, there’s a halfway decent chance that representatives from San Francisco’s government and the more than two dozen — two dozen! — separate unions engaged in collective bargaining are sitting around a table, popping Diet Cokes, and attempting to hammer out a deal. It would be tempting to compare these fraught and adversarial political maneuverings to Game of Thrones. Everybody compares everything to Game of Thrones. Well, let’s not: One involves a series of rapidly shifting alliances between warring parties that have little faith in one-another, in an attempt to win security and exert dominance — all under the looming existential specter of malevolent outside forces attacking the realm. The other is a TV show. You don’t expect labor-management bargaining sessions to be Happy Happy Joy Joy time in this or any city. But times are ostensibly happy and joyous. Contentiousness would be understandable during a recession, but we’re not in a recession. San Francisco’s revenues in 2018 easily topped $11 billion. Revenue has grown for 10 consecutive years, by an average rate of 6.1 percent — and, in that time, has just about doubled. There was 12 times as much money oozing around the city’s general fund at the end of 2018 as there was at the conclusion of 2010.
WE’VE been asking fans to name their greatest Saints v Warrington moment on our Official Facebook site.Ahead of the Super League match between the two sides on Friday August 30, supporters have been reminiscing over the numerous epic clashes.Keiron Cunningham’s last gasp try at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in 2005 is a stand out, whilst a number have mentioned Sean Long’s late drop goal in the same season.And, there’s a big shout for the Regal Trophy Semi Final in 1996 which saw Saints win 80-0.Get in on the debate by clicking here.Tickets are now on sale for the match which kicks off at 8pm.You can buy at the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.This year’s series is currently split and with playoff positions on the line there’s plenty to play for. #saintsheartbeat
FEISTY, full on and sometimes ferocious… James Roby’s Testimonial had it all and whilst Wigan Warriors won 28-16, there was plenty to enjoy if you’re a Saints fan.The home side were on the front foot for most of the match with Luke Walsh looking all the scrum half the club has been crying out for.The forward line of Kyle Amor and Alex Walmsley led with strength and power all night and the defence was pretty stingy at times too.And, Saints will continue to improve and providing the side continues to gel, there is much to be excited about.As for the game…a friendly? Only on paper perhaps and both sides ploughed into each other from the off!There were 25 penalties and a sin-binning in the 80 minutes…Saints led 12-6 at half time after they soaked up the Warriors pressure.Adam Swift scooped up the ball to go 60 yards after a Wigan mistake whilst Walsh’s towering bomb caused enough problems for James Roby to score.But the defence was just as keen too – denying the Warriors on several occasions.Wigan fired ahead early in the second half but Swift’s second ensured a cracking end to the match.And Saints had chances too, and the possession, but just couldn’t force their way over the line.Gil Dudson and Joe Burgess scoring late on.Whilst the talk of the game was James Roby and the number 9s decade at the club, most fans would have been pleased to see Walsh’s name on the teamsheet as well as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Adam Swift and Sia Soliola.Wigan also lined up with a strong side with Dan Sarginson and Tony Clubb both getting starts.James Roby received a guard of honour from his teammates – and a rousing round of applause from all four stands at Langtree Park – before the sides ripped into each other.Saints showed good hands and made good yardage on their first set before Walsh pinned Wigan back into their own corner.Both sides then exchanged sets before Saints made the breakthrough.Wigan tried to get the ball out of their own half and such was the force of the home side’s defence, Adam Swift scored the first try.Matty Bowen lost the ball on contact and the winger scooped it up and went 60 yards.Walsh with the conversion.Jonny Lomax stopped a certain try seconds later as the Warriors pushed the pass from a penalty before the home side almost profited again.This time Mark Percival’s pass to Swift was just a little strong.On 20 minutes, Wigan forced a drop out and then won a penalty right on Saints line.And the pressure told with Liam Farrell darting through on the angle to pull the Warriors back into it.Saints almost immediately hit back; Percival breaking on the left hand side and kicking through to force a knock on from Matty Bowen.But the chance was lost as they failed to organise their attacking line.Alex Walmsley was sinbinned with seven to go – more as a result of Saints persistent interference in Phil Bentham’s eyes than anything the big man did.But cometh the hour, cometh the team. With a man down Walsh sent a massive high ball up, Burgess slipped under pressure and Roby mopped up.Walsh making it 12-6 at the break.Compared to the ferocity of the opening first half stages, the second was timid until more penalties handed Wigan field position.And Joe Burgess made no mistake as the ball was sent right.Smith levelling it from the touchline.Matters got worse on Wigan’s next possession – a simple chip over going through hands for Blake Green to get the go ahead try.Swift replied immediately to bring Saints back into it before the home side won a penalty as all players got involved in a melee.Saints then had a lot of possession and field position but couldn’t make it pay.And they were disrupted too when Walsh took a knock to the head forcing Brown to shuffle his side.The chances continued to come though and both Percival and Hohaia would want their time again as the ball got close to the line.And those failures cost them dear as Burgess went over in the corner to seal the win.Gil Dudson scoring at the death.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Swift (2), Roby,Goals: Walsh (2 from 3)Warriors:Tries: Farrell, Burgess (2), Green, DudsnGoals: Smith (3 from 3), Hampshire (1 from 2)Penalties:Saints: 14Warriors: 11HT: 12-6FT: 16-28REF: P BenthamATT: TBCTeams:Saints:1. Jonny Lomax; 5. Adam Swift, 22. Mark Percival, 4. Josh Jones, 26. Matty Dawson; 3. Jordan Turner, 7. Luke Walsh; 16. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Willie Manu, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.Subs: 6. Lance Hohaia, 11. Sia Soliola, 15. Mark Flanagan, 17. Paul Wellens, 18. Alex Walmsley, 24. Gary Wheeler, 27. Greg Richards, 30. Carl Forster.Warriors:1. Matty Bowen; 32. Joe Burgess, 3. Darrell Goulding, 23. Dan Sarginson, 4. Iain Thornley; 6. Blake Green, 7. Matty Smith; 8. Scott Taylor, 19. Sam Powell, 10. Ben Flower, 12. Liam Farrell, 24. Tony Clubb, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.Subs: 14. Jack Hughes, 15. Logan Tomkins. 16. Gil Dudson, 17. Dom Crosby, 22. Eddy Pettybourne, 25. John Bateman, 26. Ryan Hampshire, 27. George Williams, 28. Jordan James, 31. Dom Manfredi.
NATHAN Brown said the performance in the loss to Hull KR was “unacceptable” considering Saints’ recent results.His side were beaten 40-10 at the KC Lightstream Stadium to leave them still seeking their first win since 2007 over in East Humberside.“Three weeks ago we were poor against Catalan and got a great response,” he said. “We beat Castleford and Wigan who are both doing well, but then to come here and do what we did; we can’t brush that under the carpet.“If there was one like that after a good three months then possibly you could but you can’t ignore two in the space of four weeks.“It doesn’t matter where you sit in the league, the commitment and effort for each other has to be better.“We can’t make emotional decisions but we have to go and look at some things to see how we can make two efforts like that in four weeks.“We have Kyle Amor back training with the team, Anthony Laffranchi has been given the all clear and Matt Dawson, Richie Beaumont and Gary Wheeler – 19th man today – are available. So there are things to look at but we have to be careful.“It isn’t acceptable to toss up what we have in a short period of time.“If you are genuine about Old Trafford then you can’t do what we have done in the last four weeks and consider yourself the best in the competition. If we can’t back up and not be far off then that is not acceptable.”Saints were 14-10 down at half time and that wasn’t a bad position considering the lack of ball says Brown.“I’ve said all week that Hull KR’s league position is false. They’ve had injuries but have players coming back. They played well against the Giants and had a few things go against them.“In the first half, we gave them a couple of intercept tries and they scored after we didn’t find touch on a penalty. At half time we thought we could turn it around but in the second half we had some blokes who have been good for us this year turn in their worst games and that combined across the board meant it just wasn’t good enough.“We had some momentum in the second half but it doesn’t take much to be off in this league – and you can see that from the table.“I thought Mose Masoe and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook were great today and the last two weeks have been their best performances of the season.”
THREE intrepid Rugby League supporters are embarking on an epic journey to raise money for Rugby League Cares – the umbrella charity of Rugby League and raise awareness for our sport as a whole.Rugby League Cares works in supporting four main areas of Rugby League: protecting the heritage, grants for grassroots Rugby League and other areas, player welfare and the benevolent fund which is currently supporting the family of recently injured Conor Lynes.It also works directly with the Steve Prescott Foundation and State of Mind.The volunteers aim to raise £3,000 which could help the charity positively affect the lives of even more people involved in Rugby League.Dan and his two friends Beck and Mike have purchased an old 02 plate Renault Scenic and set off on their journey on Saturday April 4 to arrive in Perpignan for Monday April 6 in time for the Catalans Dragons Vs Widnes Vikings Super League fixture.They are hoping to receive donations along the way in the form of car merchandise to help make their old motor look like a Rugby League Fun Bus on the way into Perpignan and are also asking to have their car signed by every available first team player in Super League!Currently ticked off the #InkOnMetal car signing list are Leeds Rhinos, Huddersfield Giants, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Hull FC, Salford Red Devils, St Helens, Castleford, Wigan and Warrington, with Widnes and Hull KR coming up over the following week, concluding with Catalan on Monday just before their fixture with Widnes Vikings.The group will be roughing it – eschewing hotels for tents – and using only good old fashioned maps for navigation.They will also be engaging via social media with all of their details below for Rugby League fans to follow them on their journey. They will even be uploading Vlog updates via youtube during their Road Trip and hope to interact with as many Rugby League fans as possible.These fans really are going to some lengths to get every Super League club on board for what is speculated to be a first in professional sport – were every first team player of the top division of a league competition sign the same vehicle.Following their return the vehicle will become Rugby League Cares official mascot for 2015 and fans may get a chance to see it at prestigious events such as Magic Weekend and even the Super League Grand Final where fans can have a look at their team’s signatures and get pictures.Katie Irwin, Operations Manager of RLCares commented: “We are proud to be associated with Dan, Beck and Mike’s journey and are extremely humbled to have been chosen as their nominated charity. The generosity of ordinary fans of Rugby League never ceases to amaze us, and we will be offering any help we can to the lads along the way.”The Rugby League Road Trip team added: “This began as a normal away day plan as we have always wanted to travel to Perpignan. However it presented a great opportunity for us to raise awareness for our sport and the great work Rugby League Cares does from supporting growth at grassroots to helping Rugby League stars find a career after Rugby League. Our sport is truly unique and this was proved after only a few phone calls and clubs started organising dates for signing our car.“We sincerely appreciate the generosity of these large businesses and thank them for their support. We hope our trip can entertain fans and they join us on our journey through social media and help us raise as much money as possible for a great cause! Our aim is £3000 but with the help of ordinary fans like us we could raise an amount of money that will positively affect the lives of thousands of people involved in Rugby League nationwide.”You can follow the Rugby League Road Trip a number of ways:Twitter – @RL_RoadTripFacebook – www.facebook.com/RugbyLeagueRoadTripYoutube – www.youtube.com/channel/UC7pOBmi8u0kYVe_ZcfOtX3wAnd you can donate directly to Rugby League Cares through Dan’s JustGiving account: www.justgiving.com/RLRoadTrip or by texting ‘RLRT99 £2′ to 70070 to donate £2.See www.rugbyleaguecares.org for more information
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Each of these heroes will receive a $10,000 cash prize. One of the 10 will be named “CNN Hero of the Year” and receive an additional $100,000 for his or her cause.Their efforts are being highlighted at “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” a global broadcast event on CNN airing December 17 at 8 p.m. ABC’s Kelly Ripa will join Anderson Cooper as co-host for this star-studded 11th-annual show, live from New York’s American Museum of Natural History.You can vote up to 30 times daily (10 votes by email login, 10 votes by Facebook login, 10 votes by Facebook Messenger).Related Article: White House bans CNN reporter after confrontation with TrumpVOTE HERE WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Bitty and Beau’s Coffee owner Amy Wright has been nominated for the CNN Hero of the Year award and she needs your vote to win!She was named a CNN Hero back in June. The story featured Wright and two employees Matt and Jessie. The segment shows the inspiration that many see every day when walking into the coffee shop. We have featured Wright and her husband as an Extraordinary Person of the Week.- Advertisement –
An argument between the 23-year-old victim and suspect escalated when the suspect allegedly hit the victim with the bat approximately four times.The suspect left the scene before the sheriff’s office arrived.The sheriff’s office says no arrests were made at that time due to the suspect leaving the scene. COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — An argument turned into an alleged baseball bat beating in Columbus County.The sheriff’s office says it happened around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday at a home on Old Stake Road in Chadbourn.- Advertisement –