Torbay: Exposing the ‘Financial Assessment and Benefit’ (FAB) Quango

TorNHSimages (10)

Financial Assessment and Benefits

Social care is in crisis – again

ADVICE: Paying for Care


Since 2010 – during the Tory-LibDems Coalition – and certainly since the privatisation of the NHS in 2012, local Social Services and NHS regions have established semi-legal (but definitely not ‘lawful’) quango-like administrative bodies designed to cement cuts in Benefits, Social Service assistance and NHS services (that operate under the ‘NHS’ logo). In the semi-independent ‘Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’ this private agency empowered to implement Tory government cuts is (ironically) termed the ‘Financial Assessment Benefits’ (FAB) team – usually staffed by failed Social Workers or those seeking promotions into other areas of the ever-shrinking Civil Service. FAB defines its own function as:

‘The Financial Assessment and Benefits (FAB) Team help clients (and their carers when needed) to complete financial assessments for social care services and offer full benefits advice. We have to work to certain rules and regulations for both charging for care and making benefit claims.’

Having worked with elderly, vulnerable and disabled people living in Torbay, the manner in which ‘FAB’ works is as follows. The purpose of ‘FAB’ is to ‘charge’ the elderly, vulnerable and disabled for any care they need to live their lives either independently in the community (such as living in their own homes) or living in controlled Residential Care. Even taking into account the Tory-LibDems cuts it is ‘illegal’ to charge elderly people for their care if they suffer from a disability – but the Tory-LibDems government (and its Tory descendents) have empowered quangos such as ‘FAB’ to pursue this course of action which effectively ‘deprives’ the elderly, vulnerable and disabled of their meagre State Benefits in return for the now sub-standard ‘care packages’ (condemned as ‘inadequate’ by the United Nations) which are provided by ‘private’ businesses that employ untrained, non-DBS-checked and poorly paid ‘staff’. By taking away these State Benefits the elderly, vulnerable and disabled are fully and completely impoverished.

Why is this happening? The Tory-LibDems government was advised upon the ‘illegality’ of the policy of ‘privatising’ the NHS and Social Services (as the elderly, vulnerable and disabled are being forced to part with State Benefits designed to help them live a dignified and independent lifestyle whilst receiving care-services [free at the point of use] already paid for through collective taxation), but that as these people (as an impoverished democratic) do not possess adequate savings or have access to finance, and are unable (or unlikely) to question this policy when applied to them or seek legal action. As the cutting of Legal Aid was made as far back as the New Labour government (under Tony Blair), options are extremely limited for the elderly, vulnerable and disabled people who have fallen prey to this vicious policy of government sponsored ‘exploitation’. However, a number of extended families with elderly, vulnerable and disabled relatives have taken legal action against the government (and their ‘quangos’) in the past and have won their cases. The Court upheld that elderly people with disabilities do not have to ‘pay’ for the care they receive, and that all the money extracted by the government quangos is to be ‘refunded’. This ruling applied regardless of whether the extended family was working or not. The problem is that as the Tory-LibDems government has been successfully legally challenged – it simply changes the law – so a to justify a continuation of this destructive policy (with many chatities accepting the changes and openly ‘colluding’).

The problem is that many elderly, vulnerable or disabled people either have no relatives to help or cannot access the legal help required to stop quangos like ‘FAB’ (as they are reliant upon the very individuals who are paid by the government to ‘exploit’ them). Furthermore, for many people suffering from cognitive disabilities, their rights are steamrolled over by an uncaring Tory State which ‘steals’ their money and places them in generally the worst ‘care’ situations from within which they are ‘silent’ prisoners. To view this attack upon the disabled in the UK in context, it is important to recognise that the UN found the Tories and LibDems ‘Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity’ in 2016 for the deaths of at least 120,000 elderly, vulnerable and disabled people as a direct result of these cuts and privatisation plans – a set of ruthless policies that still continue today despite this ruling (which makes the UK the only other country – outside of Nazi Germany – to be found ‘guilty’ of such crimes). Court action is the most effective response, but of equal importance is the ‘recording’ of the details of this ongoing atrocity committed by an uncaring Tory (LibDems) government that is slowly eradicating Britain’s population of disabled population whilst paying hundreds of millions in supporting pointless wars abroad – or in making equally pointless tax-cuts for the already super-rich! The care syste in the UK worked perfectly well when fully funded through collective taxation and has only suffered the financial problems it now does because of Tory-LibDems ‘privatisation drives designed to enrich a few chums of the Conserative Party! Treating the elderly, vulnerable and disabled as a means to generate profit is immoral and disgusting in a civilised society. All I can say to these Tory-LibDems fascists is that ‘we are watching you’!

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