The Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS Business Services Authority are finally about to publish new versions of a form that will allow disabled people claiming universal credit to show their pharmacist if they are entitled to free prescriptions.
They said this and other changes, which will be introduced more than two years after the government promised to change the documents, would be included on forms to be introduced gradually from this month in England.
The disabled people’s organisation Disability Wales is leading a £72,000 project, funded by the Welsh government, that aims to ensure disabled people have “adequate support and knowledge” to prepare for the likely negative effects of the transition period that will follow this month’s exit from the European Union (EU).
The Brexit transition period will last through 2020, and the Welsh government believes it could impact disabled people disproportionately.
Areas of concern include the supply of medicines and medical devices; travel and accessibility; legal rights; the employment of personal assistants from the EU; and the settlement of disabled citizens from the EU and in the EU.
The project will include two regional events next month that are aimed at disabled people, their organisations and allies.
Rhian Davies, chief executive of Disability Wales, said: “Our project will enable concerns to be raised with and addressed by key decision-makers as well as provide up-to-date, accessible information, the lack of which so often fuels fear and anxiety.”
Arts Council England has announced grants of between £75,000 and £100,000 for 12 disabled-led arts organisations, as part of £4.3 million in National Lottery funding aimed at improving the diversity of the arts and cultural sector.
The funding has been provided through the Elevate programme, which aims to increase the diversity of the arts and culture sector by building the capacity of diverse-led organisations to deliver their mission, develop new partnerships and increase levels of income.
The user-led charity Changing Faces has today (Thursday) published the results of a survey of more than 1,000 people with a visible difference which found more than a quarter of them (28 per cent) have experienced a disability hate crime because of how they look.
Nearly seven in 10 (68 per cent) have experienced negative behaviours because of their visible difference, 42 per cent have had negative experiences online, and one in 10 say they are repeatedly harassed on social media.
The charity has released a film as part of its new hate crime campaign, #VisibleHate (pictured).
The Department for Education has announced £300,000 plans to fund trials of “ground-breaking” assistive technology for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in up to 100 schools and colleges in England.
The pilots will run from April 2020 until July 2021 and will assess the impact of different types of assistive technology such as text-to-speech and speech recognition software and eye-gaze technology.
A new report from the Resolution Foundation has found that the negative impact of universal credit (UC) is greater in some parts of the country, such as Liverpool, than others.
Across the UK as a whole, 46 per cent of benefit-recipient families will lose out, while 39 per cent will gain from the switch to UC, rising to 52 per cent losing out in the Liverpool city region and 32 per cent gaining.
But if there is a disabled person in the family, 60 per cent of families will lose out across the UK, compared with just 29 per cent gaining.
Disabled people’s organisations including The National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK) and Disability Rights UK are calling on the BBC to keep its red button TV text service, which is set to be withdrawn at the end of this month.
They say that although the service has largely been replaced by internet use, it is still a “vital service” for visually impaired, D/deaf, disabled and older people and other hard-to-reach social groups, many of whom do not have internet access.
A report into employment barriers faced by black disabled people living with sickle cell disorder found they often face “structural issues in employment, work and welfare which are acting as barriers to inclusion, empowerment and citizenship”.
The report, which is accompanied by a new guide for employees and employers, is part of the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) research programme, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.
The Department for Transport yesterday (Wednesday) published new guidance for maritime transport operators in England and Wales on how to improve accessibility for disabled passengers and staff, and how to comply with passenger rights regulations.
Producing the guidance was one of the commitments made by the government in its Inclusive Transport Strategy, which was published in 2018 and updated last year.
Pictured: Actor, presenter and campaigner Adam Pearson in the Changing Faces film
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