Anger at government rejection of PIP tribunal decisions and “not really disabled” claim by government policy head

There have been many expressions of anger and disbelief at the government’s recent action in rejecting two tribunal decisions in connection with PIP (Personal Independence Payments) and in particular at the statement by George Freeman MP, head of Theresa May’s policy unit.

See for example these recent articles from the Guardian here and here.


NICE propose that an autism register is maintained in each GP practice

Statement from the National Autistic Society:

“NICE has today released its menu of potential new indicators. This looks at what information should be required of local commissioners and what should be required of individual GP practices.

Following on from our charity’s Autism Diagnosis Crisis campaign, which many of you signed up to and helped us with (and thank you for that too!), NAS and the RCGPs have been talking with NICE about these indicators and managed to persuade them that they should pilot an autism register in each GP practice. The idea behind this being that GPs will know that a person is autistic and be able to make reasonable adjustments to a consultation more easily. They will also be able to keep in touch with autistic people better and ensure that they are accessing primary care. This is similar to the existing Learning Disability Register. NICE have been piloting this.

The proposed menu that has opened for consultation today proposes that a Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) indicator be established for an autism register in each practice. QOF exists to change GP behaviour and make sure things are recorded (it’s the reason you had your blood pressure checked the last time you went to the GP).

The consultation is open until 8 March and we will be responding to (strongly!) encourage NICE to take this proposed indicator forward as a means to ensure that primary care data is improved.

The consultation is here:

Request for volunteers to take part in research at the Autism Research Centre , Cambridge University

We have received this request from the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge: “We are currently interested in recruiting additional participants for our research database. Registration is completed online ( and those who choose to sign up will have access to many different studies both online and in person. Please forward the attached flyer and this information to any adults (over 16 years old) diagnosed with autism spectrum conditions or parents of children (under 16 years old) with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.”

If you think you may be interested in taking part in this research, you can download the flyer here: ARC Flyer Aug2016

Cuts to Social Care – That BBC ‘Today’ Interview 17th February 2017

Much of the recent debate about funding for social care has focused on older people but a third of all social care users are working-aged people with disabilities. In the BBC’s Today programme (17th February 2017) John Humphreys interviews Carole Ross, the mother of a severely autistic child, and Liz Sayce the chief executive of Disability Rights UK.

Liz Sayce talks about the social care crisis: she discusses better ways for local authorities to provide social care by proactively working with disabled people and how such support is threatened by major cuts to care packages.  Listen to the excerpt here:

Interestingly at the start of this section you will hear John Humphreys refer to autism as a “disease”. How far are we from widespread understanding of the condition?



ASDA, Tesco & Morrisons Introduce New Accessible Toilet Signs Recognising ‘Hidden’ Disabilities

See article on Disability Sheffield’s blog page:

The Independent reports that “the new signs will urge customers to remember not all disabilities are visible.

The signs are intended to make people with conditions like Crohn’s disease, autism, anxiety, and inflammatory bowel disease feel they can use disabled facilities without facing criticism from other shoppers.”



Sheffield Autism Partnership Consultation launched

The Sheffield Autism Partnership Steering Group are holding a consultation period, from Monday 19th December to 13th February 2017. There is a survey form for anyone in Sheffield who is affected in any way by an autism spectrum condition, or for anyone at all who is interested, to complete.

“The Steering Group would like to suggest how an Autism Partnership for Sheffield could work but we would welcome your views. We have written this survey to find out what you think. The survey closes on 13 February 2017. We hope that the Partnership will start work as soon as possible after that date.”

You can respond to the survey in different ways:

Government Green Paper on Helping Disabled People into Work published 31st October 2016

Government Green Paper on Helping Disabled People into Work published 31st October 2016

The Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health on 31st October 2016  announced “new plans to help more people with long term conditions reap the benefits of work and improve their health.”

See the press release here and download the full report in PDF format or Open Document format. See here for the National Autistic Society reaction to the publication of the green paper.  And further – much more critical – reaction here from DisabledGo and from Disability News Service.

Sheffield is to be one of two trial areas: “Large scale trials are to be created using the Innovation Fund. The first trial areas are expected to be the West Midlands Combined Authority and Sheffield City Region. Seed funding is being provided to support the design stage. Trials could begin in spring 2017.”