Category Archives: What’s happening in the community equipment services industry
The new issue of AT Today magazine, produced by BHTA Engage, is now online to read through a simple page reader system or to download as a PDF file.
AT Today carries a wide range of news from all areas of the assistive technology marketplace. The publication is unique in terms of the variety of content that it carries. In the online version, there are website links to all adverts and many of the editorial items, making it easier for readers to gain further information about what is of interest to them.
In the new issue, stories include…
New technology for pressure care, Smart addition for hoists, Looking to streamline care, Health at Home service launches, Link between hearing and falling, Helping with touchscreen technology, Dementia App launches, Bionic eye approval, Portable stroke device 100% accurate, See a virtual stairlift, Next step in FES technology, First ‘Bionic’ Hand fitted, Preventing DVT, Robot reminder, Electrodes control arms, Rehab at home.
To take a look at the new issue and all previous issues too, go to www.attoday.co.uk
Really Useful Stuff company launches, creating a new kind of marketplace of products for independent living.
Really Useful Stuff is a new on-line marketplace, which enables people to find ergonomically designed products that are easier and better to use, especially for older and disabled people. Good product design does exist – the challenge is that products are not always easy to find in one easy to search on-line shop.
According to Really Useful Stuff there is a real need to get better product choice out into the market place:
- By 2020 it is projected that more than half the UK population will be over 50
- There are over 10 million disabled people living and working in the UK today
Really Useful Stuff find their products by listening to the recommendations of their followers and hope that more and more people of all ages and abilities will follow them and share their product ideas.
During December Really Useful Stuff will be running a competition and the lucky winner will win an iPad Mini in time for Christmas. For your chance to win, simply suggest a product via the link on our their page, send them a photo and tell them why it is really useful. If your product appears on their website, your name will go into the draw for the iPad on the 20th of December.
“We are doing this because we believe we can make a difference to a market place for independent living that is not great at the moment. We believe we can stimulate some healthy competition amongst suppliers, helping to improve choice and price” – Founder of RUS – Kay Allen OBE
Really Useful Stuff believe they are different from other independent living sites because they are:
- Presenting really useful stuff in a cool easy to use way with better photos and more useful information
- Talking direct with the suppliers to try and get some great deals and better prices
- Getting people to tell them about other great products, and maybe even feature their own home on the Really Useful Stuff website
- Getting users to rate products and share useful tips with other users – making the world we live in a whole lot easier
Really Useful Stuff company works by getting people to rate and like products that are really useful and sharing with others using social media. The result is a really useful shopping experience that becomes influential with suppliers and makes a difference to the independent living market and is the popular choice of disabled and older people.
Their Strap line as you might have guessed is:
‘Really Useful Stuff for Independent Living‘
Across the country 100,000 people are set to benefit from new health technologies, Jeremy Hunt said recently, as he set out his vision for improving the lives of people with long-term conditions.
Speaking at an Age UK conference, Jeremy Hunt kickstarted the roll out of telehealth, the use of electronic information and technology to help people manage their health independently, as a way of giving people with long-term conditions control over their own care.
From today, local authorities will be able to bid for part of a £300 million pot of money which will boost the supported housing market and help people grow old in their own homes, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb has announced.
The £300 million cash injection will help create thousands of extra houses and flats specially designed for the needs of disabled and older people who need extra support. It could result in up to 9,000 new or modernised homes.
High quality, innovative housing of this kind will help people stay independent for longer by allowing them to receive care and practical help in their own home, reducing the need for them to go into care homes or hospitals.
From today local housing providers across the country will be able to bid for money to either build specially designed new homes, or to modernise existing specialised housing to bring it up to standard. This supported, or specialised, housing is designed to be accessible and aid independent living by having, for example:
- very few or no stairs;
- cupboards that are at a reachable height for wheelchair users;
- adapted bathrooms that are easy to access for older or disabled people;
- handrails, to reduce the chance of falls; and
- their own individual front door.
In particular, the fund will be targeting specialised housing available for owner occupation or shared ownership.
Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said:
“Most people want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, and as the population ages more and more of us will need housing that supports us.
“Our £300 million fund will help create thousands of homes, providing people with more choice and an alternative to residential care.”
Specially designed housing of this kind can give people the option to downsize from a larger home to a more manageable property designed for their needs.
In the first phase of the programme, bids will be invited from housing providers who have worked closely with a local authority and health colleagues to design affordable schemes that meet the needs of the local population.
The fund will be run in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the Greater London Authority (for London-based schemes), who will be assessing and evaluating the bids. More detail on the programme and on how companies can bid for funding to help build these houses was published today on the Homes and Communities Agency website and GLA website
Better housing will not just benefit people who need support. A more suitable property for their family member will also alleviate pressure on the carer, as the person being cared for will be able to carry out everyday tasks themselves more easily.
As well as giving people more independence, specialised housing options can also save individuals some of the costs associated with residential care homes.
Read in full HERE
The third issue of AT Today is now available online to either read using the page reader system or to download as a PDF. AT Today is published by THIIS magazine and the BHTA.
Not only does every advert carry a link to the company website, but so does every website mentioned as part of the editorial too. That means if you find a new item that interests you, then you can simply click through to a website to read more.
In the latest issue there are details of the Tongue Drive, a wireless device that enables people with high-level spinal cord injuries to operate a computer and manoeuvre an electrically powered wheelchair simply by moving their tongues. The new Freedom Leg allows patients to walk normally while completely non-weight bearing on the knee, lower leg, ankle or foot.
The 32 page magazine is packed with a wide variety of product development news. To take a look at the new issue go to www.attoday.co.uk
The OFT has taken action against several mobility aids traders, following a market study last year which found some firms were engaged in unfair business practices.
The OFT has revoked the consumer credit licences of Amarjit Gill and his business associate Ranjit Dhami over concerns about how they sold mobility aids. Amarjit Gill, who traded as ABM Mobility, breached consumer protection legislation, including using aggressive sales techniques, despite warnings from Derbyshire Trading Standards, and repeatedly breached interim enforcement orders.
Ranjit Dhami held a separate licence and had traded as A.B.M., Phoenix 1000, Eurostar, Star Enterprises and Phoenix Enterprises. She was judged unfit to hold a credit licence by the OFT because of her association with Amarjit Gill’s business.
Separately, the OFT carried out an investigation into Yorkshire-based Acorn Mobility Services Limited (Acorn) for potential breaches of consumer protection laws. As a result of constructive discussions, Acorn has voluntarily amended the terms and conditions it uses in its customer contracts and supporting documents to address potentially unfair terms.
The OFT was also concerned about complaints received about Acorn’s customer service. During the investigation the company agreed to overhaul its customer service procedures including setting up a freephone helpline and improving training for staff. The company is continuing to work closely with its local Trading Standards Service to improve complaints handling.
An investigation into a separate national mobility aids trader, for suspected unfair doorstep sales practices, is also well advanced.
Alongside the OFT’s work, local Trading Standards Services are continuing to tackle unfair sales practices by mobility aids suppliers at local and regional levels.
Read details in full HERE
David Fisher, OFT Director said:
‘We warned traders that unless they stopped using aggressive sales techniques and unfair business practices to sell mobility aids they would face enforcement, and that is what we are doing.’ ‘We will take further action, working in partnership with local Trading Standards Services, if there is evidence of unfair trading or where fitness to hold a credit licence is called into question.’
1. The market study can be found on the mobility aids market study page.
2. At Nottingham County Court in December 2010, a judge found Mr Gill in contempt of court in respect of five breaches of Interim Enforcement Orders. In February 2011, a final Enforcement Order was granted against Mr Gill under the Enterprise Act 2002 by Judge Inglis at Derbyshire County Court. The Order directed Mr Gill and his agents not to continue with or repeat the conduct which constituted the infringements recorded in the previous judgment.
3. The case closure summary for the investigation into Acorn Mobility Services Limited is available here. The OFT has carried out its investigation with the assistance of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services.
4. In December 2011 the OFT hosted an event for Trading Standards enforcers to share best enforcement practice, in order to improve compliance with the law in the mobility aids sector. The OFT will build on this work by providing enforcement guidance in the Spring.
5. The Consumer Credit Act 1974 places a duty on the OFT to ensure that licences are only given to and retained by those who are fit to hold them. Details of all recent OFT enforcement actions under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 are on the OFT’s credit enforcement page.
First Code of Practice launches to improve community equipment services for disabled children and adults
The first ever Code of Practice for community and other disability equipment has been launched in the UK in response to a series of critical reviews identifying serious clinical and financial failings.
The launch took place at the Kings Fund premises, London, on 23.10.2011.
The Code aims to support public sector organisations to help them commission and provide services more effectively.
Incredibly, until now there has been no standardised regulation of a service area that supplies over 12 million pieces of equipment to 4 million people every year in the UK.
A recent report has identified that if just 1% of community equipment fails to be delivered, the potential cost to the economy could reach an alarming £5 billion per annum. 
According to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)  every year in the UK there are over 30 deaths and 1,500 serious incidents as a result of inappropriate and unsafe equipment supplied in the community.
The Code of Practice will be administered by a not-for-profit social enterprise, the Chairman of which is the former Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, Sir Bert Massie CBE.
Sir Bert says: “Community equipment is a life saver for hundreds of thousands of people in the UK and is used every day in homes, hospitals, care homes, day centres and special schools.
“This is about providing the right equipment at the right time which supports initiatives related to self-determination, independence, rehabilitation, early intervention and prevention, together with end of life care.
“The Code should be used everywhere where people use community equipment.” (more…)
The latest issue of AT Today is now available to read online or to download as a PDF.
AT Today is a new magazine that the BHTA is producing in partnership with THIIS magazine.
It is available online to read or to download as a PDF and includes some of the very latest developments in the Assistive Technology world. Among the products featured in the new issue are home controls than can turn an iPhone or iPod into a home environmental controller, a wireless handsfree communication device, a glove to aid stroke recovery, an ageing simulation suit, a new home test for sleep apnoea, a new lower leg prosthetic and much more. (more…)
A power cut during the night killed a man with muscular dystrophy as nursing home staff were unable to connect a back-up power supply, an inquest heard.
Gavin Proctor, 35, a resident at the Ashdale home in Pembroke, was on a ventilator to help with his breathing.
A jury, which returned a narrative verdict, heard he probably would have lived if an emergency generator or a battery pack was connected.
Mr Proctor’s parents Gary and Val want tougher rules for nursing homes.
“The Health and Safety Executive and Care Standards in Wales should have stricter rules for nursing homes to safeguard vulnerable patients like our son Gavin, to stop this tragedy happening to other families,” the couple said in a statement.
This disturbing case highlights the needs for standards to be introduced in every place where equipment is provided. (more…)
The OFT has today published its emerging key findings on the market study. Please access this link in order to view the Emerging Key Findings and Invitation to Contribute http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/markets-work/current/mobility-aids/
The emerging key findings are based on the information the OFT have received so far from a wide range of interested parties and from the consumer research commissioned to understand the purchasing experiences of users/purchasers of mobility aids. (more…)