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Pembrokeshire residents lose millions due to PIP refusals

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BETWEEN £2m and £3.9m will be lost from households in Pembrokeshire if former claimants of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in the county refused Personal Independence Payments (PIP) fail to win their appeals, or are paid at the lowest rate.

Around 25% of all DLA claimants who live in Pembrokeshire have been refused the PIP benefit.
In Wales, 30,000 of over 100,000 applicants have been refused.

PIPs are for those who need help with extra costs associated with long-term illness or disability and pays between £57.30 and £139.75 per week.

A BBC investigation covering the whole of Wales revealed this week (Aug 27) that this represents a cut of at least £87m in benefits for the whole of Wales.

But the UK government said 40% of claimants receive more money under PIP than DLA.

PIPs have been gradually replacing DLA as the main benefit for disabled or ill people since the roll out started in 2013.

Claimants of DLA have been made to undergo reassessments which are carried out by private firm Capita on behalf of the UK government.

To be awarded PIP, the claimant must undergo an assessment – which can include a face-to-face appointment – to decide how someone’s illness or disability impacts on the cost of their day-to-day lives.

The DWP said many people on the old DLA benefit were not assessed for years, whereas PIP assesses people regularly to ensure they receive the right level of help.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the full support that they need, and under PIP in Wales 40% of people are getting a higher rate of support than they were previously getting under DLA.

“Decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist. 3.3 million PIP decisions have been made – and of these 9% have been appealed and 4% overturned.
“In the majority of successful appeals, decisions are overturned because people have submitted more oral or written evidence,” added the spokesperson.

Of those who appealed a refusal at tribunal, 75% were successful.

In April this year, outsourcers Atos and Capita have come under fire for the reported mishandling of as many as a third of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments they carried out. The firms received a raise for their efforts last year, raking in more than £250 million each for the controversial disability welfare checks, despite Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee recently suggesting vulnerable people had been “pushed to the brink of destitution” by the contractors’ handling of the scheme.

Every person receiving Personal PIP will have their claim reviewed, the Department for Work and Pensions said earlier this year. A total of 1.6 million of the main disability benefit claims will be reviewed, with around 220,000 people expected to receive more money.

It comes after the DWP decided not to challenge a court ruling that said changes to PIP were unfair to people with mental health conditions. The review could cost £3.7bn by 2023.

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Rider of a motorbike taken to hospital following collision with a car

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A COLLISION which involved a car and a motorbike on Friday afternoon (Jun 18) saw one person being transferred to hospital.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed that the collision, which happened at approximately 1.17pm at Dwrbach, Scleddau, involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike.

The Herald understands that the accident happened at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

The incident caused the road to be closed while emergency services dealt with the situation.

The rider of the motorbike was transferred to Glangwili Hospital for treatment.

A Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a two vehicle road traffic collision which occurred in Scleddau, Fishguard early Friday afternoon, June18th 2021.

“The collision involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike. The rider of the motorbike was taken to hospital.

“The road was closed for emergency services to deal with the collision.”

A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called to attend a road traffic collision involving a motorcycle at Dwrbach, Fishguard at 1.17pm on Friday 18 June. We sent one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance. One patient was taken to Glangwili Hospital for further treatment.”

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Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

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PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be alert to COVID-19 symptoms following the identification of a cluster of cases in the Tenby area.

The 22 confirmed cases are linked to social and sporting events and local schools and have generated a large number of contactssince the first cases were confirmed on Saturday, 12 June. 

A number of individuals, including pupils, are currently isolating and close contacts of the positive cases continue to be traced.

From Monday 21 June to Sunday 4 July, a mobile testing unit will be available for local residents in and around Tenby to access if they have symptoms.

This is based at Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.  To book a test visit the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring 119.

Residents can protect themselves and others from Coronavirus by remaining at least two metres away from everyone else, washing their hands regularly, and by wearing a face covering where required. 

The virus disperses in a well ventilated environment, so opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate is another way to keep ourselves safe.

Residents should take up the vaccine when offered, and self-isolate and get a test if they or anyone in their household develop symptoms.

As well as the three most common symptoms of Coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people with any of the following, wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for them are also strongly encouraged to get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, please stay home and book a PCR test through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have wider summer cold or flu-like symptoms as described above, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

• My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or

• A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

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Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

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Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after Covid-19.”

In response to the Health Board’s proposals, Mr Davies has made it clear that he opposes any movements to centralise or downgrade services at Withybush hospital.

Mr Davies said, “I cannot emphasise how important this consultation is and so I’d urge everyone across Pembrokeshire to read through the Health Board’s proposals and make their views known. In my submission, I’ve made it crystal clear that the people of Pembrokeshire should not have to travel further for vital health services.

“I want to see Hywel Dda start prioritising Pembrokeshire by investing in services at Withybush hospital so that it can support people living and working across the county.

“There’s still time to feed into the consultation and have your say on the Health Board’s plans. The deadline is Monday, June 21 and you can find more information here – https://www.haveyoursay.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk/building-a-healthier-future-after-covid-19.” 

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