Tag: cold related hospital admissions

87 Year Old Woman Dies After Developing Hypothermia

A 87 year old woman died after developing hypothermia at home after expressing concerns that she was worried about paying her energy bills.  

Barbara Bolton, 87, had previously told relatives she had felt cold after they had visited her at her home in Bury to check on her wellbeing. Sadly as a result she was rushed to Fairfield hospital where she was then diagnosed with hypothermia.

However despite the good care given by NHS medical professionals, her condition sadly deteriorated and as a result of her worsening condition she sadly died several weeks later.

Therefore an inquest into her death was opened at Rochdale Coroner’s Court, details can be found here.

Hospital notes given to the inquest indicate that her illness and subsequent death was linked to the fact she couldn’t afford to put her heating on.

Her son, Mark Bolton, 61, said his “proud” mum had refused his offer to help to pay her power bills as reported in the Mirror. She had been heating her home by using a single gas fire in her living room and used portable electric heaters to warm the rest of her two-bedroom house.

Ms Bolton had previously worked as a pharmacy assistant at her local Tesco until the age of 82 and she had lived at her home on Dawson Street in Bury for several decades.

Her son Mark told the inquest that he spoke to his mum every night and that she had told him that she was worried about her heating bills, despite assurances from him that he would cover the costs.

Mark said “She was concerned about all her bills because she was a pensioner. She was careful, she was mindful of the prices and worried about them going up,” he said.

Mark told the coroner that he had always told her to ‘just keep your heating on’ and ‘don’t worry about the bills mum.’ “But she was very stubborn and proud about paying her own way,” he said.

He told the hearing that his mum had ‘felt cold’ when she was found sat at her kitchen table by one of her grandchildren, who had gone round after the family had not been able to contact her.

Police coroner’s officer Jane Scullion told the hearing: “Barbara was admitted to hospital on December 11, 2022, with hypothermia, and a chest infection.

“During that time she continued to deteriorate. After a discussion, she was placed on end of life care and passed away.”

Assistant coroner for Manchester North Julie Mitchel adjourned the inquest and has requested statements from her doctor and asked for a medical cause of death to be provided.

“Her death was particularly accelerated by hypothermia and there is a possibility of self-neglect due to the lack of heating so her death has been referred to the coroner,” she said.

Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures and requires immediate medical intervention. Causes include not wearing warm clothes in winter, falling into cold water and living in a cold house.

Sadly I fear that her death caused by living in a cold house isn’t the first and will certainly not be the last. Thousands if not more people are being forced by an uncaring, cruel government to live in cold and in many cases, damp houses as a result of the ever increasing energy costs.

For those saying that she should have jut accepted the help offered, it isn’t always as easy for various reasons. Admitting that you’re poor and can’t afford to heat your home is a very difficult thing to have to admit, and as a parent this can be even harder.

Society deems that parents should look after their children and not the other way round, and asking your children for help can make a parent feel like an absolute failure, and she wouldn’t have made her decision lightly.

This nightmare isn’t going to end soon, I wish it was.The reality is that thousands, including myself are counting down the days until spring arrives and warmer weather returns, it can’t come a minute too soon.

The government has absolutely no intention of changing things for the better, they prefer to spend their time trying to cover up senior ministers deception and lies rather than help those in need.

It’s one rule for them and one for us and the death of Ms Bolton and others won’t bother them in the slightest.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s a struggle is an understatement..

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I’m struggling to pay my internet bill which is due in a few days and keep myself warm like so many of you are too.

Every penny will be put to good use to enable me to fight the good fight for much longer.

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PIP Appeal Rates Rise By 119%

It has recently been revealed by Benefits And Work that PIP (Personal Independence Payments) appeal figures have risen by 119% in 2022, this is compared to the same quarter in 2021.

The rate of UC (Universal Credit) appeals has also risen by 28% the latest official figures show.

The number of cases that were dealt increased by only 18% in the same time period compared to figures from 2021.


Figures show that there were 63,000 outstanding cases by the end of September 2021 which adds to an annual increase of 96%.



The average wait time for an appeal averaged at 31 weeks. This shows that it is 8 weeks down from 2021 figures , but is likely to increase over the coming quarters as the backlog rises inexorably.

The success rate for PIP appeals remains unchanged at 68%. This shows that the vast majority of those who appeal are correct in their decision to appeal however the wait time for appeals to be heard continues to rise.



For UC claimants it is revealed that the appeal success rates are now at 49% which is an increase of 7% on the previous year.

DLA (Disability Living Allowance) success rates are now at 61% which is down 6%.

Meanwhile ESA (Employment and Support Allowance success rates are now 53%, down on the previous year at 1%

Appealing against any DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) decision is always daunting and extremely stressful. Not only is the appeal process hard to navigate, the waiting times for appeals and tribunals to be heard is increasing.

The success rate shows that those making the decision to appeal have made the right decision in doing so.

Sadly many people that are entitled to appeal fail to do so because they can’t afford to wait a long time for their appeal to be heard and also can’t cope with the stress involved, many having no support network to rely upon.

I don’t need to tell you that the downright discrimination and hatred given to disabled and unemployed people is totally unfair and discriminatory.

This cruelty combined with the increasing cost of living and energy prices is making life extremely difficult for those that are most in need of financial help.

In an ideal world this wouldn’t be happening at all but there won’t be any positive changes made to the system whilst there’s a Tory government in power.

The conservative party is doing what they do best, punishing the most vulnerable and poor for their very existence, they need to be stopped and soon before more people suffer and die as a result of their actions.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

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Universal Credit Sanctions Back With A Vengence


It was recently announced during a Commons debate in parliament that Universal Credit sanctions (UC) are “back with a vengeance”. This comes after the figures for the last quarter have been revealed.


According to the released figures the sanction rates are now 250% higher than they were for the three months before the pandemic.


It’s extremely worrying that the figures have risen so much in such a short amount of time makes me very concerned about the welfare of UC claimants.

The huge increase allows for the ever increasing number of UC claimants. In layman’s terms it amounts to 2.5% of UC claimants being sanctioned each month which is almost double the amount when compared to 1.4% before the pandemic.


Let’s not forget that in June 2022 £34 million was taken away from claimants as a result of being sanctioned. This was followed in July 2022 by £34.9 million and then in August taking the total to over £36 million.

When you do the maths this totals to £100 million which has literally been taken from vulnerable claimants that were already struggling to pay for basic necessities.


Upon questioning these figures Guy Opperman minister for employment speaking on behalf repeatedly avoided answering a question which asked why the number of sanctions had increased so rapidly.

The only other possibility being that the DWP may have changed its policy on applying sanctions but neglecting to inform everyone that would be affected by this. After all it’s not the first time that they’ve done this.

The only answer that Opperman eventually gave was “The hon. Gentleman asked specifically about the rise in the number of sanctions. Some 98.2% of sanctions are for missing a meeting with a work coach.”


Opperman declined to give an explanation as to why twice as many claimants are now supposedly choosing to miss appointments with their DWP advisor.

Of course this makes no sense because claimants are desperate to receive their UC payments. Methinks Opperman’s not being honest which comes as no surprise at all.



However Anne McLaughlin, SNP MP for Glasgow North East didn’t hold back from being honest in informing the commons the advice that she gives every UC claimant that has come to her after being sanctioned.

She went on to say;

“If you have your benefits sanctioned, do not take it lying down. Contact me and I will fight this for you, because this is wrong and nobody should have to live on less than the minimum income.”

This is of course correct, everyone that finds themselves in this position should fight it. The reality is that many don’t because they don’t have the strength to do so.

I have spoken to many people that had taken the decision to stop claiming UC because they can’t cope with it leaving them with little or no income to live on.

More MPs need to speak up about this in parliament but I won’t hold my breath. Only a few MPs including Debbie Abrahams actually speak up about this but others need to follow.

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Important News For Bus Fares Outside Of London

Universal Credit Cruelty Highlighted Again

TRIGGER WARNING. Contains mention of suicide and trauma.

A collection of stories that highlight the amount of cruelty that UC (Universal Credit) claimants are forced to endure has been recently published by Disability News Service (DNS). Sadly these stories won’t be a surprise for UC claimants

One such story article describes the death of a disabled woman who was left traumatized by the overbearing daily demands made by the UC system.



Upon applying for UC the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions)were told of the mental distress that the system was causing which in turn led to suicidal thoughts and an overwhelming fear of the DWP and the universal credit system.

Despite their knowledge of this the DWP continued to harass her.

Tragically she took her own life four days after being told she would need to attend a face-to-face meeting with a DWP work coach.

Another example describes how disabled claimant Philip Manion struggled enormously when he saw his UC payments cut from £1,260 to £500 due to a mistake made by the DWP.



Philip tried to attend a meeting to rectify this mistake but instead he was taken out of the Jobcentre by seven security guards. Their reasoning for this was because he found he was unable to log into his online journal from his mobile phone.

To add even more insult to injury he was then recorded as having failed to attend the meeting, despite attending and all of his UC payments were stopped.

Disability News Service went on to describe how former nurse Shirley Rudolph spent 10 years caring for her husband and was placed in the limited capability for work category due to suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.



Rudolph’s husband died in July and she subsequently informed her work coach that she wouldn’t be unable to attend their scheduled meeting because she was making arrangements for her husband’s funeral.



Rather unsurprisingly her work coach wasn’t sympathetic and moved her appointment to the following week. At the same time they sent Rudolph a job application to complete immediately.



As a result of the distress and the pressure Rudolph was forced to undergo she chose to end her universal credit claim and is now surviving on her NHS pension alone forcing her to struggle immensely.



Although horrible this comes as no surprise to many disabled UC claimants that find themselves hounded by the cruel UC system that deliberately targets disabled claimants forcing them to unfairly comply with rules that they are unable to achieve.

It goes without saying that no one should be forced to live like this disabled and non disabled, but sadly I can’t see this stopping for the foreseeable future.

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Campaigners Ask For Ban On Pre-Payment Meter Installations Via Court Warrants

Campaigners have recently called for a ban on pre-payment energy meter (PPM) installations through court warrants. This is spurred by concerns that energy companies are using them to disconnect vulnerable customers especially during the cost of living crisis.

According to the energy companies licence conditions they are meant to protect vulnerable people from having their energy disconnected over the winter period. However the organisation End Fuel Poverty Coalition have reported that transferring households on to expensive PPMs is resulting in people already in debt to effectively self disconnect their energy because they can’t afford to top up their meters.

Its also concerning that energy companies are using PPMs frequently as a method of revenue protection for themselves.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition have also revealed that some magistrates courts are possibly awarding warrants to install pre payment meters after revealing that freedom of information requests shows that 187,000 applications for warrants were made in the first six months of 2022. This therefore makes it unlikely they were approved on a case by-case ratio.

Reports have also suggested that energy firms are also switching customers smart meters from credit to pre-payment mode remotely without assessing the customers ability to pay for this. This is a complete failure to legally follow essential due process which includes assessing for vulnerabilities that show that it’s safe to install a PPM.


The report and figures from Ofgem reveal that approximately 152,000 households that have smart meters were switched remotely to more expensive PPM plans that also incorporate their debt by their energy supplier in 2021. During the past three months 60,000 households switched without following due process in the past three months.

The coalition calls upon the Government and Ofgem to place a ban on switching customers to a PPM with a warrant and also a ban switching smart meters to PPM mode without anyactive, informed, consumer consent.

Simon Francis, co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition is quoted as saying “Self-disconnection is as dangerous as disconnection by any other means, and energy firms need to be alert to the pain they are causing consumers by switching them to pre-payment meters without their active and informed consent.

“If people don’t keep their homes warm, they are at risk from the severe health complications of living in a cold, damp home, and those who are elderly, disabled or have pre-existing medical conditions are especially vulnerable this winter.”

Ruth London, of Fuel Poverty Action also went on to say “Imposition of a pre-payment meter is disconnection by the back door. When you can’t top up the meter everything clicks off, regardless of whether you are old, ill, or have a newborn baby.

“Now smart meters are being used to cut people off supply by imposing pre-payment remotely. We were all encouraged to get smart meters and told they would help us save money. Some people always suspected they would be used for illegal disconnections. They have been proved right.

Indeed we have.

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Please like, share, tweet and email this report. It’s essential that we continue to raise awareness of these very important issues that are for many of us a reality. You’d be surprised about how many people aren’t aware that this is happening to us.

I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do and to say it’s a struggle is a massive understatement. Like you as Christmas is looming in the near future the worry of getting through the festive period becomes even larger.

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