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Accessibility at our Railway Stations-Have your say!

Start Date:
1st February 2016

End Date:
22nd March 2016

Unfortunately Shropshire Disability Network have only just heard about this consultation re West Midlands Rail franchise so unfortunately local meetings about it may have been missed. All is not lost as this is your opportunity to have your say! Do you find trains overcrowded? Are stations manned at the appropriate times? Are the train times unbalanced so you miss connections? Are our stations accessible especially for disabled & limited mobility passengers? Have you a good experience you want to share?

West Midlands Rail has been working alongside the Department for Transport to produce a joint public consultation seeking the views of the public and stakeholders on rail services and stations for the next West Midlands rail franchise. This covers all services currently operated by London Midland under the existing franchise agreement which is due to end in October 2017.

West Midlands Rail are currently  working with the Department for Transport on what they want the next operator to deliver. This gives them the opportunity to look again at the services provided by the West Midlands franchise and ensure they meet the needs of the people and areas they serve and cater for high levels of passenger growth.

Click here to take part in this consultation-it closes on Tuesday 22nd March 2016:

Other ways to respond to this consultation is by email to: or

Write to:  Department for Transport, 4/15 Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road,  London SW1P 4DR

For more information re Public Events click here:  Public_events_for_the_West_Midlands_franchise_consultation

For a map of the West Midland Rail Franchise click here: west-midlands-rail-franchise-map

To see a the complete consultation document click here: west-midlands-rail-franchise


Appalled? You Should Be!

On Wednesday the BBC published a story about 14,000 disabled people who had had their mobility taken away because the new PIP Assessment said that they no longer qualified.

This means that people lost their cars and their mobility scooters. The Government called it “fair”. Fair because people’s conditions changed and they no longer needed their transport. Fair because they had a right to appeal.

The BBC piece shows just how “unfair” the whole process is: inadequate representation, inadequate advice and a stressful appeals process in which 40% of appellants were unsuccessful in getting their mobility back.

This story didn’t make the front pages; it should have. You can read all about it here: BBC UK News.

Tell us what you think. Sign in and make a comment or take our poll.

Do you think its fair that disabled people should have their right to mobility removed under the current PIP assessment scheme?
  • Add your answer

Thank you for taking our poll.




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We’ve lost our Forum!

Oops! You may have noticed some changes to our website recently. A new cleaner look with everything up front and no need to scroll down long pages – hooray!

BUT we appear to have lost out forums. The forum is very popular with some four members particularly Swap and Sell.

Worry ye not, we’re on to it. It may take a day or two but it will be back. In the meantime, here’s the link.

Swap and Sell


Stop The Cuts To ESA!

Shropshire Disability Network has been invited to comment on the changes to ESA which will come before Parliament this week. You can see the Open Letter to Ian Duncan Smith and the Survey Commissioned by Mencap at the bottom of this post.

Express your view by participating in our poll of members at the end of the post or log in and make a comment.

Ahead of key vote in House of Lords over 30 national charities and Peers sign Open Letter to call on Government to stop £30-a-week cut to Employment and Support Allowance 71% of people think cuts to welfare will make the UK a worse place for disabled people to live 57% of people with a disability said that the amount they currently received was not enough to live on with more than a quarter(28%) of disabled people reporting that they couldn’t afford to eat, and over a third (38%) that they have been unable to heat their home

Ahead of a key vote this week in the House of Lords over 30 national charities, members of the Disability Benefits Consortium, have signed an open letter (below) to Iain Duncan Smith warning that the Government’s cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will “push disabled people further away from work and closer to poverty.”

Research from Mencap, a member of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), has also revealed the extent to which the public are against the Government’s cuts to welfare and the effect this will have on disabled people.

The general public poll of over 2,000 UK adults revealed that:

· 71% of people think cuts to welfare will make the UK a worse place for disabled people to live.

· Just 6% thought the Welfare Reform and Work Bill would make the UK a better place for disabled people.

The Government has proposed a cut of £30-a-week for new claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA. The WRAG is specifically there to provide support for those people who are assessed as being unfit for work but able to undertake activities to help them move towards work. Currently there are almost half a million sick and disabled people receiving this benefit.

The Government has however suggested that sick and disabled people who get this benefit are being disincentivised from finding work because of the £30-a-week more they get compared to those on Job Seeker’s Allowance. However the DBC strongly disputes this claim and a recent survey in October of over 500 disabled people found this to be completely false:

· Almost half (45%) of respondents say that the cut would probably mean they would return to work later

· Just 1% said the cut would motivate them to get a job sooner

· Almost 7 in 10 (69%) say cuts to ESA will cause their health to suffer

· More than a quarter (28%) say they sometimes can’t afford to eat on the current amount they receive from ESA

· 40% have become more isolated and less able to see friends or family after their ESA was withdrawn or reduced.

This warning comes just two weeks after over 100 disabled people from across the country visited Parliament to speak directly to their MPs about their concerns around the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, particularly the cut to ESA. This DBC ‘mass lobby’ took place on Wednesday 13th January and acted to show MPs the huge fears that exist amongst disabled people around their benefits.

Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive of Mencap which co-chairs the Disability Benefits Consortium, said:

“Not only are disabled people telling us loud and clear that this cut to ESA will make their lives harder, with both their health and chances of returning to work being harmed, we also see how the general public are deeply concerned with these cuts. The fact that just 6% of people believe the Welfare Reform and Work Bill will make the UK a better place for disabled people shows the urgent need for the Government to reassess its benefit reforms.

“Disabled people have told us of the vital role support from benefits like ESA plays in their lives, and the fact that so many say that taking this support away would leave them isolated from their communities, closer to poverty and further from work should be enough to make the Government listen – especially when this cut directly contradicts its noble desire to halve the disability employment gap.

“Ahead of this key vote in the House of Lords we ask Peers to listen to disabled people’s deep concerns, and urge the Government not to create a step backwards for disabled people.”.

Tell us what you think by voting in our membership poll:

Should Shropshire Disability Network Support The Open Letter to Ian Duncan Smith?
  • Add your answer

Thank you for supporting the poll on this important issue

About the Disability Benefits Consortium

Open Letter To IDS

Survey Results

healthwatch TW 250-253

YOUTH launches CAMHS survey

Start Date:
24th January 2016

End Date:
29th February 2016

Members of YOUTH – Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin’s group for young volunteers – have begun conducting a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) survey. The CAMHS survey will look at young people’s understanding of mental health services across the borough.

Both Telford and Shropshire decision-makers are currently looking at how the CAMHS service will be commissioned in the future, YOUTH felt this would be a good time to run their CAHMS survey. We feel it is important that young people’s views are considered before any decision os made so the results will hopefully be fed into the commissioning process.

It is also hoped that the CAMHS survey will give Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin an overview of young people’s experiences with mental health issues in general – what’s causing you the most stress? How do you deal with that stress? Do you know where to go for help?

Since the survey launch in December, thousands of copies of the survey have been distributed to secondary schools and sixth form colleges across Telford and Wrekin.

If you prefer to complete the survey on-line click this link

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Primary Care Needs Assessment – have your say

Start Date:
1st February 2016

End Date:
29th February 2016

Healthwatch has been commissioned by the Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to collect information on how people use primary care services (e.g. GP surgeries), as part of the Primary Care Needs Assessment. This is your opportunity to provide information that is important to you when accessing appointments, information re your health etc.

The goal of the Primary Care Needs Assessment is to find out how people use their GP practices. The information gathered will help the CCG to plan the future delivery of these important services, so it is vital that as many people as possible have their say.

To gather the information needed, Telford & Wrekiin CCG are conducting a brief survey. Healthwatch staff and volunteers will be visiting waiting rooms at GP practices across the region throughout February 2016 giving patients the opportunity to complete the survey while they wait for their appointment.

The survey can also be completed online. Make sure you have your say!

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Hot Topic-Social Care

Each month Healthwatch Shropshire have a hot topic. To start the New Year, they have chosen Social Care and are asking members of the public to share their experiences of using Social Care Services in the county.

Healthwatch Shropshire would like to hear about local people’s experiences of using Shropshire Council’s Social Care Services. Shropshire council provides a wide range of services & many changes have taken place over the last few years.

They are looking at people’s experiences ie:

  • What is your experience of getting in contact with the council through First Point of Contact (FPOC)?
  • Have you had any involvement with People2People? People2People provides social care advice & information, re domiciliary care enabling people to stay in their own homes. Do you have a positive story or was the experience not what you expected?
  • How well have they communicated with you?
  • Was the information useful?

Unless you ask for information to be disclosed, all information will be treated confidentially.

You can share your good & not so good stories by:

  • Telephone: 01743 237884 or
  • Email: or
  • Post: (no stamp needed) send to: FREEPOST, Healthwatch Shropshire, 4 The Creative QUater, Shrewsbury Business Park, Shrewsbury SY2 6L




Continue reading

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Threat to Shropdoc-Have your say (closing date 22nd January)

Start Date:
13th January 2016

End Date:
22nd January 2016

Start Time:
00.01 am

End Time:
23.59 pm

IMPORTANT!! Please read and tell your family & friends in Shropshire-Threat to Shropdoc!
Gp practices have received a worrying message from Dr Russell Muirhead, regarding the potential loss of Shropdoc as the local OOH provider (Out of Hours) and are very concerned by this. This has also been reported in the local press & on Shropshire Radio.

What they are proposing is to merge or remove Shropdoc (which is manned by trained local Shropshire GPs and nurses) and replace it with a call centre run by 111 where there are mostly minimally trained call handlers following a computer protocol and with much less clinician input.
We hoped that by making you the public aware of this threat and worrying development that you would write to the CCG to let them know how much we value Shropdoc in Shropshire as our local OOH provider. If you value Shropdoc and don’t want it to disappear please do the following:

  • 1. Write to your MP to tell them.
  • 2. Please send your comments and experiences of the current services i.e Shropdoc to the following emails – or
  • 3. Please complete the online survey where there are questions on both 111 and on the local OOH Provider i.e Shropdoc
  • Do you know of anyone without IT access or cannot use a computer? They can still take part by calling the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS). They can also provide you with a hard copy of the survey. These are the telephone numbers: Shropshire PALS-0800 032 0897 or Telford PALS 01952 580 407

The closing date is Friday 22nd January 2016 so time is of an essence.

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Survey by Action on Hearing Loss-Closes 21st January!

Start Date:
11th January 2016

End Date:
21st January 2016

Start Time:
00.01 am

End Time:
23.59 pm

Impact Consultancy and Research are currently carrying out a consultation on behalf of Action on Hearing Loss. Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) wish to consult about proposed changes to the way that their services are delivered to older people experiencing hearing loss. The consultation is via an on-line survey for both organisations and individuals and telephone interviews with both organisations and individuals. The time scales for the consultation are very short and we need responses to the survey by Thursday 21st January. 

The following survey link is for organisations or groups in your area (eg health and social care organisations or organisations working with older people): 

The following survey to any individuals, for example volunteers that your organisation is in contact with: 

Organisations: If your organisation works with older people we would really appreciate if you could take part in a 15-20 minute telephone interview about Action on Hearing Loss’s proposed new service delivery. If you are prepared to do this please contact me by email and I will contact you to arrange a convenient time. Email Telephone: 01432 860 323 or 07984 609 025 Alternatively if you know of another organisation or individual that you think would be interested in taking part in a telephone interview then please let me know. Your help and co-operating are greatly appreciated. If you have any questions about the consultation then please do not hesitate to contact me.