A disabled woman died in a house fire, despite her family repeatedly warning the authorities about the risks caused by a care package which left her with no support for two hours every day, a safeguarding review has concluded.Amanda Richards (pictured) was only given a 22-hour care package after moving from residential care into her own bungalow in 2006.But social services and health agencies in Coventry knew the mother-of-two was a smoker, that a progressive, degenerative condition meant her mobility, memory and speech were slowly deteriorating, and that she also had poor “hand to mouth coordination”.Now a serious incident review has concluded that these factors “put her at risk, especially from fire, during the two hour unsupervised period when she was smoking”.She died in an intense fire in December 2013 which “took hold rapidly” while she was alone in her bungalow, and was probably caused by a dropped cigarette, match or lighter.The review also concluded that her “lack of mobility significantly affected her ability to react to or escape from the fire”.But the report’s authors said they could not conclude that she would definitely have survived if there had been a care worker with her, although there had been no attempt to “assess the advisability of leaving [her] unsupervised for a two hour period”.The review concluded: “Risk relating to fire associated with her smoking while unsupervised was not sufficiently explored in the assessments or care plan, despite acknowledgement of [her] lack of awareness of hazards coupled with knowledge of her smoking habit and her difficulties in coordination and dropping items.”A report in 2007 had concluded that Richards needed “additional support in making everyday decisions and has apparently little insight into her difficulties”, but it was not shared with all the agencies involved in her care.Another opportunity to assess her needs – and the risks she faced – was missed four years later, when the health component of her care funding was withdrawn.Julie Moseley, who also lives in Coventry, has a progressive condition and is a smoker, said the case was “appalling” and “totally depressing”.She said: “I could well be in a similar position in a few years. I do tend to drop cigarettes myself. I do smoke outdoors or in the kitchen but when my mobility is limited that might not be so easy.“I have been trying to imagine myself in that situation and it is an absolutely horrible way to die for the want of two hours care.“Given that she already had 22 hours care, it seems ridiculous that she could have been alive if they hadn’t saved just 10 per cent of her budget.“I increasingly feel that I do not want to live in a society that puts the whims of the rich over the needs of the vulnerable, and demonises the needy.”Moseley also claimed that research showed smoking could be effective self-medication for people with neurological conditions.Eleanor Lisney, a disabled activist from Coventry, and a co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, said the case had made her “very sad and angry”.She said: “Coventry has a Labour council but they had not voted against cuts – and Amanda Richards is one of their victims.”She said that Richards was not Coventry’s only victim of austerity cuts, and pointed to the deaths of Mark and Helen Mullins.Mullins was also not assessed properly by social services, claimed Lisney, and she added: “That was in 2011, and things have not got better. I suspect that they will get much worse.”Despite repeated requests by Disability News Service, neither Coventry City Council nor Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (CRCCG) have been willing to answer key questions about the Amanda Richards case.Meanwhile, the Care Quality Commission’s annual State of Care report for England has found that, in the year to 31 May 2015, one in 10 adult social care services that received a rating were judged to be “inadequate” for safety, with another third requiring improvement.And more than four out of 10 adult social care services inspected by CQC were rated as inadequate or “requiring improvement”, with just one per cent viewed as “outstanding”.Only 17 per cent of adult social care services were inspected and rated by CQC during the year.The report concludes: “The adult social care sector is under pressure and there are issues around the sustainability of provision, due to the increasing complexity of people’s care needs, significant cuts to local authority budgets, increasing costs, high vacancy rates, and pressure from local commissioners to keep fees as low as possible.”
SAINTS FINALISE FUNDING PACKAGE AHEAD OF STADIUM HANDOVERST. Helens R.F.C. have put in place a £3million convertible bond and a £3million private debt facility ahead of the completion of the purchase of the new stadium, scheduled by the end of this month. They have also converted £850,000 in existing directors’ loans into new shares.Chairman Eamonn McManus stated that £3.3m would be used as payment of the final instalment of the purchase consideration for the 999 year lease of the new stadium (and stamp duty payable on it), £2million on the fit out cost of the stadium and the balance as working capital.The Club is directly responsible for the cost of the fit out and other works on the new stadium such as kitchens, bars, kiosks, shop and furniture, additional to the purchase of the stadium in its present form.They have appointed local company, Paragon Construction, to carry out these additional works, which will be completed in readiness for the new season.McManus added that this final financing package was a remarkable achievement in the current financial climate and a reflection of the commitment of the board of directors to the Club.He added: “The funding will facilitate a transformation in the Club’s balance sheet and financial position. The value of the new stadium will significantly strengthen the asset value of the business and put us in a strong position in terms of prospective profitability after the very difficult commercial environment which we historically experienced at Knowsley Road and, more recently, at Widnes.“We intend to refinance further in the medium term by way of conversion of the existing convertible facility into new shares and/or a further private placement of new shares.“Any residual balance would be funded by way of debt, but we aim to minimise this whereby it is readily serviced and paid down from the operations of the new stadium.“The Club currently has no bank debt. The shareholders’ funds of the Club will be significantly strengthened in the year ahead and the Club placed on a very strong financial footing for the future. Most importantly, it facilitates the completion and opening of the best purpose built rugby stadium, of either code, in the country.“This will be a massive boost for the Club, the town, and the game of rugby league. We have every right to be proud of our achievements.”McManus paid particular thanks to fellow director Mike Coleman, who has supported this interim financing.He stated: “I am particularly thankful to my colleague Mike Coleman. Mike was born and educated in St. Helens and is a devoted and lifelong Saints fan. He has been resident in Singapore for nearly 30 years and is a highly successful and respected commodities hedge fund manager.“He is committed to the Club and we are fortunate indeed to have such a supportive director who has been instrumental in making the final important stages of this 10 year project work.”
SAINTS eased to a 54-18 win over Widnes Vikings U20s, writes Graham Henthorne.Jayden Sandford opened the scoring taking Mark Percival’s pass to slide in at the corner punishing a Viking error.Joe Greenwood continued his push for First team rugby scoring twice in as many minutes both courtesy of passes from his Oldham compatriot Danny Yates. The first saw him crash over the line from short range and the second from a well worked scrum move after the Vikings restart had gone out on the full.Alex Trumper got the fourth try to keep up the point a minute scoring as he stretched over the line.The Vikings got back into it as poor tackling down the middle allowed them to score twice with the resultant boost to the confidence that always follows.A Gaskell break on the stroke of half time gave Yates the easiest of tries as he followed his half back partner to the posts.Despite a polite reminder from the coaching staff at the interval to tighten up the tackling the Saints let the visitors in again on their first possession of the half, although there was a suspicion of a knock on.A classic dummy and hand off saw Lee Gaskell stretch the lead again but it was 20 minutes of mediocrity before anything else of note happened.A drive and quick play the ball from Ant Walker gave Percival the chance to put his other winger James Hill in at the left corner and Ian Cross was first to pounce on a fumbled cross kick from Gaskell for the eighth try of the night.The Vikings scored a consolation before sub Aaron McCloskey rounded off the scoring with his first try in the red vee at the whistle.Match Summary:St Helens U20s:Tries: Jayden Sandford, Ian Cross, James Hill, Lee Gaskell, Danny Yates, Alex Trumper, Joe Greenwood 2, Aaron McCloskey.Goals: Jamie Foster 9.Widnes U20s:Tries: Dec Hulme, Mick Donoghue, Ben Davies, Liam Thompson .Goals: Jack Owens.Half Time: 30-6 Full Time: 54-18Teams:St Helens U20s:1. Jamie Foster; 2. Jayden Sandford, 3. Mark Percival, 4. Ian Cross, 5. James Hill; 6. Lee Gaskell, 7. Danny Yates; 8. Jordan Hand, 9. Dom Speakman, 10. Anthony Walker, 17. Alex Trumper, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13. Danny Jones. Subs: 14. Lewis Foster, 16. James Tilley, 11. Aaron McCloskey, 15. Joe Bate.Widnes U20s Team:1. Jack Owens; 5. Mick Donoghue, 4. Owen Livesey, 3. Dec Hulme, 2. Kieran Butterworth; 6. Chris Atkin, 7. Grant Gore; 8. Ben Davies, 9. Evan Simons, 10. Alex Gerrard, 11. Josh Crowley, 12. Scott Cullen, 13. Brad Davies. Subs: 14. Sam Singleton, 15. Matty Norton, 16. Liam Thompson, 17. Ryan Stokes.
KYLE Amor, Joe Greenwood, Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival, James Roby and Matty Smith have all been named in England 31-man Elite Squad.As part of England’s preparations ahead of this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, head coach Wayne Bennett has selected the group to regularly meet throughout the season.Six training sessions run by England Assistant Coaches Paul Anderson and Paul Sculthorpe alongside Head of Human Performance Richard Hunwicks have been arranged for the EPS with the first one taking place on Monday February 27.Bennett will meet with the squad and Betfred Super League coaches mid-February to outline England’s World Cup plans and to review their 2016 Four Nations campaign.Three sessions in the first phase for the EPS will build up to a mid-season Test against Samoa on Saturday May 6 in Sydney (venue TBC) – a squad for this game will be announced in April.Following the Samoa Test, Bennett and England coaching staff will review performances of the EPS and other England-based qualified players to select a training squad in late May / early June for the second phase of the programme when the remaining three sessions start again on Monday June 26.On the national squad’s plans, head coach Wayne Bennett said: “What we have put in place for the players is a programme that will enable them to spend required time together in an international environment.“Our selection includes a mixture of the England-based players from last year’s squad, returning names who have previously been in the programme and some new faces who have been performing in Super League.“There’s a lot of talented and committed individuals in this group who are well aware that success in a World Cup tournament doesn’t come easy. Preparation is key and we need everyone to be fully focused throughout the year.”England 31-man Elite Performance Squad is as follows:Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) Zak Hardaker (Castleford Tigers) Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers) Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers) Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants) Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants) Danny Houghton (Hull FC) Scott Taylor (Hull FC) Jamie Shaul (Hull FC) Brett Ferres (Leeds Rhinos) Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos) Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos) Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos) Kyle Amor (St Helens) Joe Greenwood (St Helens) Johnny Lomax (St Helens) Mark Percival (St Helens) James Roby (St Helens) Matty Smith* (St Helens) Kevin Brown (Warrington Wolves) Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves) Mike Cooper (Warrington Wolves) Ben Currie* (Warrington Wolves) Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves) Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) John Bateman (Wigan Warriors) Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors) Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors) Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors) Sam Tomkins* (Wigan Warriors) George Williams (Wigan Warriors)* Indicates not requested for sessions until fit