Category Archives: Caroline Page

NHS Data sharing – it’s your call

file0001810786833 (653x800)Everyone in Suffolk should have received a leaflet through the post  (click here)  about how the government intends to share your personal health data with a variety of ‘approved’ (but unspecified) organisations and ‘researchers’. The leaflet came without an envelope and  will probably  have arrived with a lot of other leaflets  and many people may have thrown it away unread.

The leaflet tells you, “If you are happy for your information to be shared “ (or if you have thrown away the leaflet unread) “you do not need to do anything. There is no form to fill in and nothing to sign.”

In other words – you will automatically have opted into having your full medical information shared with whoever the government decides appropriate.

Or indeed, anyone who breaks into the HSCIC ‘secure’ system.

“The thing that worries me, is why is there no form to fill in and nothing to sign?  The government are leafleting every household in the country,and  the form could easily have contained a simple opt-in slip that you could fill in and take to your GP.  Almost everything in this country that’s not compulsory requires an opt in – from electoral registration, to becoming an organ donor. If the government wants to start a trend for opting-out rather than opting-in  why don’t we start with one or both of these?  ” asks Woodbridge County Councillor Caroline Page.

“The second problem I have is  can we be identified via this data?  The leaflet tells you that your name will not be linked to your data but the parent NHS website confirms that they are linking “your date of birth, full postcode, NHS number, and gender will be. That is enough to identify most people.

Theoretically NHS data sharing is a good idea. Nothing would please me – and people like me – more than if a responsible state used our medical data for responsible research to ameliorate our  current problems and make life better for the future. But until we can have better guarantees as to anonymity and security this initiative seems to be fatally flawed.

Personally, I’m happy to share my NHS data with my excellent GP practice, with hospitals and with various expert medical personnel.  But until we can have better guarantees as to anonymity and security  I will not be sharing my data with the state!”

A proposal – which will be discussed next month –  could additionally give access to our data to non-NHS bodies, including private firms. Make a positive decision as to whether you are opting in or out. Contact your GP surgery

Caroline Page

2014 – Happy New Year!

May the coming year bring you peace and prosperity.

The Suffolk Lib Dems are committed to working for Suffolk and representing  you, the people of Suffolk – today and every day. We’re looking forward to continuing the fight to make our lovely county a place that everyone can enjoy living in  – from Kersey to Kessingland , from Bury to Beccles (and everywhere else in the bargain!)

With your support,  we can make 2014 a year to remember!

 

Dave Wood, Liberal Democrat Group Leader,  County Councillor for Peninsula  and Lib Dem  Spokesperson for Public Protection and Environment

John Field, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader,  County Councillor for Gipping Valley and Lib Dem Spokesperson for Resource Management

 

Dave Busby County Councillor for Belstead Brook and Lib Dem Spokesperson for Finance and Property

Inga Lockington  County Councillor for St. Margarets and Westgate, Ipswich and Lib Dem Spokesperson for Health and Adult Care

Penny Otton  County Councillor for Thedwastre South and Lib Dem Spokesperson for Education, Skills, Young People and Localities

Caroline Page   County Councillor for Woodbridge and Lib Dem Spokesperson for Roads and Transport

Julia Truelove  County Councillor for Bosmere

Carers should have rights every day of the year!

Caroline PageToday, 29th November is officially Carers Rights Day – the day when the UK  celebrates family carers and tells  them what they are worth.

” I am offended by the whole concept.  Carers Rights Day seems to be a day when well-paid professionals and media pundits gather together to pat each other on the backs and declare they care.  The brutal truth is that they don’t.  Society doesn’t. Successive governments don’t.   And when I once asked Unison strikers why they were not striking for family carers they memorably replied “Because you don’t work!” ,” says Woodbridge Councillor, Caroline Page

“Carers wouldn’t need a Carers Rights Day if the state had ever given Family Carers any meaningful rights.  And the right to be accepted as a worker rather than patronised as a rather dim and unworldly saint  comes top of the list,” Cllr Page –  a longterm family carer – maintains.

“If carers were seen as the workers they are, the real cost of that care: the working hours, the loss of careers, the impact of poverty and poor health, the absence of employment-related pensions – all these might be factored into the support offered to them. As it is, people suggest they may like a session of aromatherapy!

“The welfare state has traditionally relied  on the love carers feel for those they care for to save the state the real cost of that care. Yet carers suffer from blighted careers, poverty, poor health (fulltime carers are twice as likely to be in bad health than their peers) and can look forward to little more than an impoverished old age.  Thousands of people like myself have worked unsupported 168 hour weeks for years. It is perfectly possible we might just get worn out!”, says Caroline Page.   “This is not only sad and wrong, it is also very expensive.  How much does it cost to replace 24/7 specialised, knowledgeable care? Five years ago the cost of home care was estimated as between £18 and £27 per hour depending on whether it was daytime, evening or weekend. Goodness knows what it is in 2013.

Every day should be Carers Rights Day – and everyone should recognise and remember they are a single step away from being either a carer or someone who needs  care.”

Caroline Page is calling on the government to look at and act on her wish-list :

  1. Carers Allowance should be viewed as a wage rather than a benefit, awarded to all full-time carers . Currently family carers can claim £59 odd a week -if they don’t earn more than £100:  meaning carers are expected to live and further their careers on £8368  a year. If, of course you earn a little more than £100 a week, you get no carers allowance at all. Yet the constraints on your lifestyle of fulltime caring are very equivalent to those of disability.
  2. The state must further relax rules on ‘other employment’ to allow carers the ‘luxury’ of being able to work, and have some non-caring life outside their responsibilities.
  3. The state should pay into the equivalent of an occupational pension for carers to accurately reflect (ok at minimum wage) the real hours spent caring. This could be established by reference to the cared for’s DLA returns and would give carers the prospect of a securer old age with recognition of what can be decades of real – if unpaid work.
  4. When a family carer is bereaved they are simultaneously made redundant. The state should set up robust and appropriate  training to provide  carers for genuine, satisfying jobs when their caring roles (often sadly) end. This isn’t a luxury – it is a reward for all the unpaid work they have done without prospect of career advancement. 

Caroline Page