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  • Article: Dec 12, 2018

    Yesterday I introduced a bill in Parliament to legalise cannabis for recreational and medicine use.

    The evidence is clear - prohibition isn't working.

    The war on drugs has been a catastrophic failure, leaving young people vulnerable to dangerous strains of cannabis sold by dealers who have absolutely no interest in their welfare.

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018

    An accident in a swimming pool left Chieko Asakawa blind at the age of 14. For the past three decades she's worked to create technology - now with a big focus on artificial intelligence (AI) - to transform life for the visually impaired.

    "When I started out there was no assistive technology," Japanese-born Dr Asakawa says. "I couldn't read any information by myself. I couldn't go anywhere by myself." Those "painful experiences" set her on a path of learning that began with a computer science course for blind people, and a job at IBM soon followed. She started her pioneering work on accessibility at the firm, while also earning her doctorate.

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018
    By Marie-Louise Connolly & Catherine Smyth, BBC NI Health team in https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-46474001

    The mother of a severely-disabled man who is a patient at Muckamore Abbey Hospital described a seclusion room her son was placed in as "a dark dungeon". The woman said she was horrified that in 2017 the room was being used for people with learning disabilities.

    Families want a public inquiry to investigate allegations of physical and mental abuse at the hospital. The Belfast Trust said it "apologised sincerely" for behaviour it said fell below professional standards. In July, it emerged that 13 members of staff at the County Antrim hospital had been suspended by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust following allegations of ill treatment. At the time it said: "This regrettable and unacceptable situation in no way reflects the work of our 500 dedicated and professional staff who provide excellent care every day to the 80 patients in Muckamore."

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018

    A council has apologised for the second time to the family of a disabled boy who missed out on half a year's schooling.

    The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found Surrey County Council (SCC) delayed measures intended to resolve the failings.

    It follows an investigation in May which found the council was failing to meet the boy's educational needs. The council apologised and said the boy is now receiving the "right support". The ombudsman said the "injustice" had caused the boy's family "justified frustration, anger and avoidable uncertainty".

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018

    The mother of a disabled boy has slammed the "spineless" person who left a nasty note on her car, despite it displaying a valid blue badge. The note accusing Emma Gearing, 26, of "laziness" was left on her car when she was in Maidstone with her son who is fed through his stomach.

    The note read: "Using a disabled badge when you don't need it could cost you £2,000." Mrs Gearing described the person as "gutless" and "too quick to judge".

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018

    Air travel could become smoother and less fraught for disabled passengers if a new charter for airlines and airports is adopted, say ministers. Disabled flyers have long complained of lost or damaged wheelchairs, struggles with access on planes and in airports, and poor customer service.

    If adopted, the charter would remove the £2,000 limit on payouts for damaged wheelchairs. It would also enforce better training for airline crews and baggage handlers. In the longer term, the charter would encourage the industry to look at ways to allow people to take their own wheelchairs into aircraft cabins.

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018

    It is "difficult to see" how a grant for disabled people could be reinstated without creating "turmoil", Wales' social care minister has said. Former recipients of the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) are being moved on to council-run support. Huw Irranca-Davies suggested "unpicking" changes would create problems for those on the new system.

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018

    A Labour AM says the way the Welsh Government has changed support for disabled people was "bound to be unpopular"

    Mike Hedges has questioned the logic for removing the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG).

    Funding and support for around 1,300 severely disabled people is being transferred to councils. Social care minister Huw Irranca-Davies has said the change will remove a "two-tier system".

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018

    Campaigners have called for mandatory training to ensure people with learning disabilities are treated properly in hospital.

    The Paul Ridd Foundation, named after a man who died in 2009 partly as a result of hospital neglect, said a standard for care was needed.

    A petition backing the proposal has attracted more than 4,300 signatures. The Welsh Government said the foundation was part of a working group on health improvements.

  • Article: Dec 11, 2018

    Thousands of children missing out on support for diagnosed special educational needs in England is a "national scandal", Ofsted has said. There are 2,060 children in 2018 who have education, health and care plans (EHCs) setting out their needs, but who receive no support at all. Some parents said a child is only assessed when they are excluded.