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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jeremy Hunt is trying to sneak through a law which will give him the power to quickly close any local hospital

Jeremy Hunt is trying to sneak through a law which will give him the power to quickly close any local hospital without listening to local people. No hospital is safe.

He’s changing the rules after losing twice in court trying to close Lewisham Hospital against the wishes of local people, doctors and nurses. The sweeping new law - the 'hospital closure clause' of the Care Bill - will give the government the power to shut down any hospital, in as little as 40 days, regardless of how well the hospital is performing. [1]

Jeremy Hunt is hell-bent on pushing this through. And time’s not on our side. It could be as little as one week before MPs vote this sinister threat into a reality.

If we’re going to have a chance of stopping Jeremy Hunt we need to throw the kitchen sink at this. And we need to move fast. Vote now to decide whether or not we should launch a big campaign. Yes or No?
Our NHS is precious. And it’s important that we know hospitals, accident and emergency and maternity services are there for us in moments of crisis and joy. It’s terrifying to imagine the government having the power to close any hospital without hearing the wishes of the local community.

It’s going to be tough to stop Jeremy Hunt. But we’ve done it before - twice in Lewisham alone. And if enough of us are keen, there are exciting possibilities for next steps. And new tactics we could try which would take even Jeremy Hunt by surprise!

The 38 Degrees staff team sit down on Monday morning to plan out the week ahead and decide on how we split up staff resources. The most important factor when making those decisions is what 38 Degrees members think.

Should trying to stop the hospital closure clause be 38 Degrees' top priority over the next few weeks? Please vote now to help decide whether to launch a big campaign by clicking on the buttons below.  

Thanks for being involved,

Becky, Ian, Rebecca, David and the rest of the 38 Degrees team

PS: A study of NHS foundation trusts in England has found the number of those in financial trouble has nearly doubled in a year from 21 to 39. Jeremy Hunt has shown before he’s willing to close good hospitals to bail out ones which are struggling - this law would allow him to do this, even if local patients and doctors were strongly against it. [3]

[1] What is the Hospital Closure Clause. Read more on our blog here:
[2] BBC News: Rise in NHS Foundation Trusts with deficit, says Monitor hospitals

38 Degrees is funded entirely by donations from thousands of members across the UK. Making a regular donation will mean 38 Degrees can stay independent and plan for future campaigns. Please will you chip in a few pounds a week?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

European Disability Forum Calls For Full Implementation Of The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities

Structural funds

Athens, 22 February 2014 | EDF Board meeting gathered together representatives from EDF member organisations around Europe. The first of the two days of the meeting opened with a European conference focusing on the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities and structural funds.

Opening the conference, the Greek Deputy Minister of Labour, Social Security and Welfare, V. Kegkeroglou, referred to the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Greece and the real challenges in its implementation. V. Kegkeroglou underlined that citizens with disabilities must fully enjoy their rights at equal basis as all the other citizens, in all areas of life: employment, access to information etc.

On behalf of the Greek National Confederation of Disabled People, its Vice-President, Thomas Kleisiotis, talked about the fights of the Greek disability movement to protect the families of persons with disabilities from the crisis and the austerity measures.

EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, highlighted the importance of 2014 for the European Union and its member states, as the upcoming EU elections will reform the synthesis of the European institutions. “These elections are not just a typical procedure but an essential one and their result will have an important impact on each Member State of the EU”, said Yannis Vardakastanis calling on EDF member organisations to use EDF manifesto to campaign at national level for the key priorities of the disability movement.

The Head of Unit, Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development of the European Commission, Wladyslaw Piskorzm, highlighted the important contribution of EDF to the European Commission’s work. He ensured that the European Commission is revising the partnership agreements from the countries paying attention that they include measures for persons with disabilities.

Lila Sylviti
European Disability Forum | nothing about us without ustel +32 2 282 46 04 | fax +32 2 282 46 09 -

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Friday, February 14, 2014

CCDS seminar: G. Thomas Couser - Narrating Disability Inside and Outside the Clinic

Narrating Disability Inside and Outside the Clinic: Or, Beyond Empathy

Prof. G. Thomas Couser

Date: Wednesday 12 March, 2014
Time: 2.15pm–3.45pm
Place: Eden 109, Liverpool Hope University, UK

The persistent devaluing of the lives of disabled persons, as periodically
manifested in news accounts of abuse and neglect, underscores the value of
disability life writing. Outside the clinic, disability memoirs have become
surprisingly popular; indeed, at least in the USA, their proliferation has
helped to spur the memoir boom. But the voices of disabled people especially
need to be heard and reckoned with in medical schools, to complement and
counterbalance the medical paradigm. It is not enough for medical personnel
to empathize, or attempt to identify, with disabled patients, however; in
order to fully serve the needs of their patients, they need to make
cognitive—rather than affective—adjustments. Functioning as what Prof.
Couser calls “quality-of-life writing,” disability narrative can play a
major role in the reorientation of medical professionals.

G. Thomas Couser retired in 2011 from Hofstra University, where he was a
professor of English and founding director of the Disability Studies
Program. His books include Recovering Bodies: Illness, Disability, and Life
Writing (1997), Vulnerable Subjects: Ethics and Life Writing (2004),
Signifying Bodies: Disability in Contemporary Life Writing (2009), and
Memoir: An Introduction (2012).

This seminar is part of the new CCDS series, The Voice of Disability. Other
dates include:

21st May, The Reality and Rhetoric of Pupil Voice: Exploring the Educational
Journeys of Young People Labelled with Behavioural, Emotional, and Social
Difficulties, Marie Caslin.

25th June, Young DaDa: Evaluating Participation in the Arts, Claire Penketh.

For further information please contact:

Dr David Bolt

Saturday, February 8, 2014

My Letter to Atos North America and the Organizers of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

Teddy Katz
Director, Media Relations and Chief Spokesperson, TO2015

Florence Vayleux
Communications, Atos North America

Subject:  Atos Joins TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games as Newest Premier Partner

Dear Mr. Katz and Ms. Vayleux,

I am a 57-year-old Disability Studies specialist and disability activist from Montreal, Canada who has been reporting frequently and voluntarily, since January 2012, to senior United Nations officials. (See attached, and ) on the welfare crisis for the United Kingdom's sick and disabled. Austerity measures, consisting of draconian welfare reforms and "sham" means-testing (Atos Healthcare U.K. and the Department for Work and Pensions) are ostensibly to blame for their plight—with disability hate crime and inflammatory media attacks factored into this mix.

Just a short note to inform you that I intend to vociferously protest Atos joining the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games as its newest Premier Partner.

I will be compiling a massive bibliography of materials pertaining to the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) in UK, which is exclusively carried out by Atos Healthcare UK. This bibliography will, by virtue of its critical content, effectively deplore the immense suffering and hardship of sick and disabled Britons who have been deprived of benefits, made penniless, and even driven to suicide by Atos Healthcare UK and its sham assessments. In addition, I will be including articles on the London 2012 protests against Paralympic sponsor Atos, and the current opposition to Atos sponsoring the 2014 Commonwealth Games—in an effort to sway the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games organizers to contract with an IT company other than Atos.

These materials will be mailed to Toronto and Canadian government officials; major Canadian newspapers, radio and television companies; disabled persons organizations in Canada; and, of course, the organizers of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games themselves.

Here's just a small sample of the materials that I have already compiled:

I look forward to any comments that you might have regarding this matter, and will carefully consider any arguments to dissuade me from my intended course of action. Please keep in mind that I do report voluntarily to the UN's human rights office, in Geneva, who are currently investigating Britain's welfare reforms, including the  Work Capability Assessments carried out by Atos Healthcare UK. (See,, and

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Best wishes.

Samuel Miller

Samuel Miller
Blog: Hephaestus: Disability Studies
Blog: My Disability Studies Blackboard
(Montreal, Canada)