Venue: Open Area, Lampton Park Conference Centre, (Civic Centre), Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions
Contact: Joti Patel Email: email@example.com 020 8583 3356
Apologies for Absence and Communications from members
Apologies for absence were noted from Cllr Felicity Barwood.
There were no other communications from members.
The minutes of the meeting held on 17th October 2012 were agreed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair.
Blue Badge Update
It was confirmed by Melanie Gadd, Assistant Head of Parking, and John Beattie that when making payments by cheque for approved applications, only the SIDEM reference on the notification letter would be required.
A member commented that they had recently renewed their blue badge and that the process took 21/2 to 3 weeks from start to finish.
The Chair welcomed Melanie Gadd to the meeting to update members on blue badge issues.
Melanie started by thanking members for their comments as it was always useful to have feedback both good and bad, as this was how services would be improved. There had been a number of changes over the last eight months regarding blue badges:
- Central Government has issued a national contract for the issue of blue badges to Northgate. The Council now inputs all approved applications onto a database for the badge to be issued.
- A private mobility assessor had been appointed to process claims and following a few issues, the system was now working well.
- Feedback on the service provision was always welcome and helpful.
- Requests for application form/enquiries could be dealt with through a dedicated telephone line and e-mailbox.
- 76% of cases were desktop assessments but in some cases, assessments needed to be in person. In order to be flexible, assessment clinics were run in partnership with Ealing Council and on average; there was one clinic per week at the Civic Centre.
- Parking Services have been working with the police Licensing Team and Fraud Team to reduce incidents of misuse of disabled parking spaces and badges and will try to carry out this activity on a regular basis subject to adequate resourcing availability. So far this has been very successful.
- Since the start of the contract Able2 had received 1,366 application of which:
- There were 167 cases to be dealt with by Able2
- In the majority of cases, the applicant had been asked for information not yet received. Some may be awaiting a clinic assessment. The target for dealing with queries was 5 working days but was currently running at 7 working days.
- The service is monitored very closely to ensure this target is met and recently advised that the standard would be met by the end of the week.
Following her presentation, members of the forum asked questions to which Melanie gave the following replies:
- A clinic assessment would still be necessary in addition to any DLA assessment.
- The charge for a blue badge application was now £10.00.
- The automatic criteria have not changed. If you are entitled to higher rate DLA, registered blind, war widow’s pension, criteria 1-8 or armed forces pension then the badge is also automatically renewed. Other than those circumstances, the award depended on individual situations and assessments carried out.
- She was happy to speak to any group and give advice if requested.
- The misuse of blue badges should be ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
Parking at West Middlesex Hospital (Debbie Green - Facilities Manager, West Middlesex Hospital)
6.45pm – 6.55pm : Presentation
6.55pm – 7.30pm : Questions
The Chair welcomed Debbie Green, Associate Director, West Middlesex Hospital Trust, to the meeting to respond to members concerns about parking charges at the Hospital.
She informed members that:
- The Trust Board had only recently taken over the job and there were not enough parking spaces.
- Charges applied to equally to patients and officers who had limited allocated parking.
- Disabled spaces were available in the staff and patients car parks and these were monitored but there was no clamping of vehicles. There were fines for people parking in disabled spaces without a blue badge.
- A new policy had been approved by the board and notices would be placed in car parks.
- An outside company were responsible for the patient car park and the Trust did not decide the charges. As part of the new policy these were reviewed in comparison to other hospital trusts and ETDE made sure their staff were well trained.
- Complaints about car parking should be made to ETDE or her team.
In response to questions asked, Debbie Green gave the following replies:
- Patients visiting the hospital with long-term illnesses were able to reclaim their parking charges at the Cashiers Office by filling in a form and getting it signed. She would look into the times the office was open to the public and refer this to the Board.
- It would be difficult to apply the same policy to discharged in-patients who were kept waiting for medication from the pharmacy and was not aware of the issue. The reclaiming of charges for long-term illness patients was a national policy. ETD Security Office would be flexible about such cases but this was not a hard and fast rule as it was outside parking regulations.
- She would look into whether there was scope for a letter to be given to a patient whose discharge was delayed but would be very surprised if this was as prevalent as before due to pressure on available beds. She was aware of occasions where relatives spoke to the Ward Manager who phoned and had the ticket cancelled.
- There was an agreed process regarding discharge time and the hospital would have to be responsible for any delay for consideration of cancelling tickets.
- Refunds for Lakeside Clinic did not apply as they have their own car park and had their own Trust.
- Charges applied to all users of the car park with and without blue badges. Only those on benefits with qualifying criteria or long term illness were exempt. There was a Means Tested Refund Booklet explained how this applied and members could phone the hospital for advice.
- Patients were not allowed to park in the staff car park but if accidentally parked there and ticket challenged members should state that the patient car park was full. Car park staff were expected to be flexible and offer help and support if possible.
- Where policies are reviewed and decision made, there would ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Service (Sunny Mehmi - Commissioning Manager for Mental Health)
7.30pm – 7.40pm : Presentation
7.40pm – 8.00pm : Questions
The Chair welcomed Sunny Mehmi, Commissioning Manager for Mental Health to the meeting to invite members to participate in a consultation on how to improve access to psychological therapies (IAPT).
He said that the service had now been running since August 2011 and the West London Mental Health Trust is seeking to redesign and reconfigure the service. Focus on people suffering from depression, struggling to cope at home or work who are currently assessed by their GP and referred to the service delivered by West London Mental Health Trust (WLMHT). Issues with recruitment, IT, finding clinical spaces are now resolved and he now wanted to re-write service provision and wanted to know the concerns of the disabled community and what issues they had. He asked how to ensure that the community gets proper access to the service and their views on what the service should look like.
Members raised the following concerns:
- Waiting times following GP referral to the service
- GPs did not understand the referral process
- On going treatment/referral by psychotherapist takes up to 2 years
- The telephone assessment service
o Stress for disabled users, were there other options?
- Availability of long term therapies
In response to questions, Sunny gave the following replies:
- There were issues with waiting times as there had been capacity issues that were now easing which should bring these down.
- He agreed that urgent cases should be prioritised.
- GP referrals that indicated that the patient had a disability/sensory impairment would be assessed face to face.
- Interpreters would be provided for patients that did not speak English.
- He will check with the telephone assessment provider regarding termination of calls after a set notified time.
- The service review included looking a long term therapy options and talking to service providers about targeting people with long term conditions.
Sunny left a questionnaire with prepaid envelopes for members to complete and return and said that their input would help shape future services provided.
The Chair thanked Sunny Mehmi for attending the meeting and that he take account of forum members issues when commissioning services.
Forward Agenda April 2013 - March 2014
8.00pm – 8.15pm : Workshops
The Chair asked forum members to contact Celia with ideas for future forums.
Feedback from DCF Workshops
8.30pm – 8.50pm
Open Forum/Other Matters
8.50pm – 9.00pm
Members raised the following issues during the open forum:
- Application for council housing.
- Planned changes to benefits
- Disabled Community Facility Grant Service
- Adaptation to properties for disabled residents
- Cyclists riding on pavements
- Street lighting
- Replacement of wheelchairs
It was suggested that officers representing the above areas be invited to future forums to discuss these issues.
The Chair thanked everyone for attending the meeting and wished everyone a merry Christmas.
Councillor Barber reminded people to look out for elderly neighbours during the current cold weather.
Date of Next Meeting
Future items for consideration
The next meeting was agreed as Tuesday 5th March 2013 at 6.30pm.
Any other business which the Chair agrees to consider on the grounds of urgency.
There was no urgent business.