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  • 17 Mar 2017 15:44 | Simon Labbett (Administrator)


    On Monday 6th March, leading sensory loss charities Thomas Pocklington Trust, Sense and Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) hosted an event in the Houses of Parliament to launch their report entitled “Experiences of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for People with Sensory Loss”.

    The report was produced by the three charities in partnership with NatCen, Britain's leading independent social research institute. The report highlights the experiences of people living with sensory loss, in navigating the PIP process. While it revealed that people with sensory loss eventually received a positive financial outcome following the switch to PIP from Disability Living Allowance, it also highlighted that the journey through the process for people living with sensory loss was overwhelmingly negative.  Issues with the accessibility of the ‘one size fits all’ approach were brought to light, along with a “confusing” PIP2 claim form and a troublesome experience in the face-to-face assessment, most notably a lack of sensitivity from assessors.

    The launch event was attended by MPs, representatives of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and key stakeholders from across the sector. The event was sponsored by Nusrat Ghani MP, chair of the APPG on Eye Health and Visual Impairment. The report was welcomed by Lord Low who spoke at the event and endorsed the importance of working with people with sensory loss to improve their access to, and navigation of, the PIP system.

    The report has a series of recommendations and urges DWP to work with Thomas Pocklington Trust, Sense and RNIB to promptly address key concerns and ensure that all PIP applicants, including people with sensory loss, have a positive and straight forward experience.

    Lord Low of Dalston said:

    “I would like to thank Thomas Pocklington Trust, RNIB and Sense who commissioned this research and NatCen Social Research, who carried it out. It’s hard to think of an issue which would be more important for visually impaired people. The research being launched today is invaluable in highlighting the problems in the PIP application process for visually impaired people, and in helping to bring about improvements.

    “I support the recommendations made in this report, and I hope that DWP will be willing to work with sensory loss organisations to make the necessary changes to improve the process and the experience of people with sensory loss.

    “I hope everyone will show their support in doing what they can to get behind this report and help make the PIP application process more straightforward and above all more accessible for people with sensory loss.”


    Marsha de Cordova, Engagement and Advocacy Director, Thomas Pocklington Trust said:

    “We are pleased to have launched our report in Parliament today in conjunction with Sense, RNIB and NatCen. It is absolutely vital that people with sensory loss are able to easily navigate the PIP system, and we look forward to working with the Government on our recommendations to guarantee a smooth transition between Disability Living Allowance and PIP.”

    Fazilet Hadi, Director of Engagement at RNIB, said:

    “Blind and partially sighted people should be able to expect an accessible PIP application process, with all information provided in their required format, and assessments carried out sympathetically and accurately by trained staff. The DWP has a responsibility for making sure this happens.”

    Jasmine Basran, Policy Advisor at Sense, said:

    “The experience of PIP assessments for people with complex needs are overwhelmingly negative and cause unnecessary stress, which leads to high appeal rates. Assessors lack knowledge and sensitivity of complex conditions like deafblindness and this leads to poor practice, including people with complex needs receiving information and PIP forms in inaccessible formats, and making assumptions about capabilities based on inaccurate tests. The DWP must review the PIP process and take responsibility for the quality of training, including increasing specialist knowledge among assessors, as a first step to improving the PIP process.”

  • 07 Dec 2016 08:28 | Simon Labbett (Administrator)

    RWPN's mentoring scheme was launched in January 2017 and we've teamed up our first pairs of workers. All our mentors have been trained for RWPN by Resound Training and we are now looking for Rehab Workers who would like to try being mentored.  Being mentored isn't just for newly qualified workers - hearing an alternative view of our complex job may be just the kick needed to revitalise your enthusiasm.  To find out more click here

  • 13 Sep 2016 18:18 | Simon Labbett (Administrator)

    This is the third incarnation of the statement and was produced to cover how vision rehabilitation fits into the provisions of the Care Act 2014 (in England).   All vision rehabilitation providers should make their managers aware of the content. 

  • 05 Sep 2016 09:09 | Simon Labbett (Administrator)

    The Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York are carrying out a study of Vision Rehabilitation Services (IRIS project), funded by the National Institute of Health Research - School for Social Care Research. The research aims to examine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of vision rehabilitation services funded by local authorities in England. We have Ethical and ADASS approval to conduct the research.

    Recruitment has been going really well. Eighteen services are already taking part in this research and we would like to have another two services involved. If you provide a vision rehabilitation service that is funded by local authority and are interested to take part in this research, we would like to hear from you now.

    Please contact Parvaneh Rabiee or Ann Hopton at the University of York.

    Email: ; telephone 01904 32 1950,

    Email, telephone 01904 32 1970

    You can visit their webpage at

  • 11 Jul 2016 18:10 | Simon Labbett (Administrator)

    RNIB's 10 principles were launched in July this year.  These principles set out standards of good practice from the first contact made to the local authority, to the assessment and planning process, accessing the right support, and ensuring those supporting blind and partially sighted people have ongoing professional training.

    Word file below:

    RNIB 10 principles of good practice in vision rehabilitation.doc

  • 31 Mar 2016 18:36 | Simon Labbett (Administrator)

    New Research: Improving Rehabilitation for people with Impaired Sight:-The IRIS Project

    Community-based vision rehabilitation services have the potential to have a positive impact on people’s daily life and emotional well-being. However, there is little research that is able to tell us how much these services are able to improve outcomes for people with sight loss and at what cost.

     The Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York are carrying out a study of Vision Rehabilitation Services (IRIS project), funded by the National Institute of Health Research- School for Social Care Research. The research aims to examine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of vision rehabilitation services funded by Local Authorities in England. We have Ethical and ADASS approval to conduct the research and we are now we are now currently recruiting organizations to take part in this research. 

     If you provide a vision rehabilitation service (in-house or contracted out) and are interested to take part in this research or want more information relating to this research we would like to hear from you, please contact Parvaneh or Ann at the University of York. Email: ; telephone 01904 32 1950,

    Email, telephone 01904 32 1970

    You can also see our one page summary     York Uni SPRU Overview of the project IRIS.FINAL.docx and visit our webpage at

  • 19 Mar 2016 13:30 | Simon Labbett (Administrator)

    This may be a crucial development in the future of training for Rehabilitation Workers. With a looming crisis in workforce numbers as a number of the profession look to retire, a new generation of workers is needed. Trailblazer apprenticeships may offer the way ahead, but  it can only happen if employers express an interest now.  The attachment below sets this in context and describes the next step.  Please read and discuss with managers.

    Apprenticeship trailblazer briefing for employers (3)docx.docx

  • 10 Aug 2015 20:29 | Anonymous

    Blind Veterans UK urges better signposting for vision impaired ex-Service personnel

    Blind Veterans UK is calling for rehabilitation workers to signpost patients to relevant organisations so they can access vital sight loss support.

    The call comes after research has found that almost a quarter of those supported by national military charity Blind Veterans UK struggle with sight loss for six years or more before accessing the charity’s free support and services[1], meaning that many people are unnecessarily missing out on potentially life-changing support for too long.

    Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women, has been providing vital services and support to help veteran discover life beyond sight loss for 100 years.

    93-year-old WWII veteran Jim Hooper has been given ‘an entirely new lease of life’ since starting to receive support from Blind Veterans UK. In 2012, Jim was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration which has robbed him of his sight, along with his independence.

    In 2013 Jim contacted Blind Veterans UK for support: “Blind Veterans UK has helped me regain my independence. It has given me an entirely new lease of life. The support from all of the people at the Brighton centre has been just brilliant - the IT instructors, the ROVIs, the carers, all of the staff. I can't speak highly enough of them - they're very, very supportive.

    "I've been given a computer to use at home, and I've learnt how to touch type. I'm competent at sending and receiving emails, I use the computer to write letters and documents and other such things. Blind Veterans UK has given me a talking watch and a talking clock. They've also given me a CD player which I can listen to talking books on, I've listened to at least a dozen books and novels now.”

    Blind Veterans UK offers free, lifelong support to blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women, no matter how or when they lost their sight. Services and support are provided through the charity’s three centres in Brighton, Sheffield and Llandudno, North Wales.

    Blind Veterans UK want rehabilitation workers to ask the blind and vision impaired people they work with if they have ever served in the Armed Forces or done National Service, and if they have, to refer them by visiting or calling 0800 389 7979. Alternatively, request an information pack by emailing

    [1] January 2015 postal survey of Blind Veterans UK beneficiaries conducted by Clarient Research. 24% of 1,235 respondents who answered this question.

Press Release: Second Sight  - Argus II Bionic Eye

Second Sight Argus press release.docx

click on the link to read

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