The September PAiL Newsletter

Institutional racism

PAiL Newsletter September 2020

Welcome to this our late August newsletter for PAiL members, partners and older Londoners. Please distribute to your friends, colleagues or members and use any of the information or links here and include in your own newsletters. As London’s official regional age forum we provide a voice for older Londoners and their organisations and to ensure that our concerns, issues and recommendations are heard and relayed to the relevant authorities.

Positive Ageing in London is pleased to announce that our new website is now in place and includes a lot of useful information and links plus now has a forum for people to discuss their experiences and share views.

Section 1 – PAiL Campaigns

London’s Recovery must take all older people’s needs into account

London has set up a London Recovery Board composed of London’s leaders from local government, business, the community, education, and essential services to coordinate plans for recovery from COVID 19.  The Board has drafted eight “missions” – broad challenges and objectives in different areas – to help guide the work programme for a future recovery plan which will be in place to help cope with the pandemic. 

The eight missions are:

  • A strong civil society
  • A robust safety net
  • Health and wellbeing
  • A new deal for young people
  • Good work for all Londoners
  • A Green New Deal
  • Digital Access for all
  • 15-minute cities

PAiL has been lobbying for older people’s needs and voices to be fully taken on board in this recovery. We’ve produced our own London Recovery Plan – (Click Here to Read On Our Website) which sets out challenges facing older people and solutions which went to the London Recovery Board. We believe that all older people’s needs should be taken into account in shaping the best recovery plan and that we don’t want to be grouped into a category called “vulnerable” and forgotten in recovery.

Feedback to the missions on older people so far has been helpful to ensure that older people are catered for in recovery.  But it’s important that we continue to get a wider range of older people’s needs communicated to the London Recovery Board when it starts to develop concrete work plans for recovery. PAiL is setting up a Mission Delivery Support Group for each of the eight missions to help progress work and provide support and advice to the London Recovery Board.   If you would like to provide your views and get involved in any of these groups then please contact

Public transport in London – challenges facing older Londoners  

Having safe public transport in place in London is key to the recovery of older Londoners. But older people are cautious about using public transport and we’re not seeing a dramatic return to pre -Covid levels. Concerns are expressed by some older people about safety considerations which doesn’t help their confidence. Tim Whitaker reflects here (LINK TO WEBSITE NEWS ARTICLE ) on the key issues with schools returning and workers being urged to get back to the office and whether confidence for older people will return.

Section 2 – BAME and Coronavirus

A Virus That Doesn’t Discriminate, But Thrives On Discrimination

There’s no denying the fact that the coronavirus and the associated COVID-19 have had a huge global impact, with recovery from the social/societal, economic and physical health and psychological fallout being measured not in months, but years. In a daily COVID-19 press conference on the 27th of March, Michael Gove cited the fact that both the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary had contracted coronavirus was a reminder that “the virus doesn’t discriminate”.

But while all communities and creeds are potentially vulnerable to the direct and corollary effects of the virus and pandemic, evidence suggests that four groups, in particular, carry more risk than others: men, the elderly, front-line workers and ethnic minorities. Much has been reported about the effect COVID-19 has had on people of BAME backgrounds, particularly with regard to the fact that the risk of death involving the coronavirus among some ethnic minority groups is significantly higher than the risk of death in the same context for those of non-BAME (white) ethnicity. COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on and taken root in the cracks in the UK’s socio-economic and cultural architecture that have disproportionally impacted BAME families well before the coronavirus was identified.

The Inequality Facing BAME Seniors

New research shows that people from ethnic minority backgrounds aged 50-70 are more likely to be in the poorest 20% of the population in England compared with white people. (  The data showed that black men and women are living on an average of £100 less per week compared to white men and women in the same age group. However, Black people in their 50s and 60s are more likely to be still having to work than white people of the same age who are three times more likely to have retired. This shows they are more likely to be in low paid jobs but crucially also lack other sources of income, particularly pension savings and other assets. The researchers argue that action is needed now to prevent these inequalities deepening.

But research is fine but apart from greater awareness, there needs to be action on the ground. Brent is one of the councils in London which is looking at these issues locally and has just published a report on poverty  One of the recommendations the council is pursuing is more investment in social housing which would help older people in the borough.

Section 3 – PAiL Information

Work and Employment for Older People During London’s Recovery

Work and Employment issues are in danger of becoming an older age free zone in the London recovery plans and in the government response to the  coming recession.

I work  with many older unemployed and workless over 50s and this pandemic has increased the numbers of older people needing to apply for benefits as well as affecting their mental health, feelings of isolation and helplessness. It is already known that with each year over 50 the chances of getting another job is massively reduced. 

To add to their concern, the ending of shielding for vulnerable people means that many older people at greater risk, feel they are being forced back to work when there are still insufficient COVID safe workplaces. Without compulsory social distancing and wearing of masks in offices and in schools they are more likely to become infected. They need to know that it will be safe to return and that COVID safety rules are in place and enforced


A Brief Story: Ageism in the Fight Against COVID

Marjory, a colleagues on the board of EngAgeNet – the national age forum network – was justifiably upset when in response to the national call for people who had recovered from COVID 19 to offer their blood was refused due to her age.

Despite the need for more people with potential antibodies to give blood that may be turned into plasma which can be used to protect others, or used for research, she was rejected on the grounds she was over 70, without any explanation or justification. Is this based on real medical and health grounds or just yet another example of the unthinking ageism which seems to permeate the way this COVID crisis has been handled? Are there others who would like to share their experiences around this issue?

Toilets – using them safely

As toilets are re-opening, here are some tips for reducing the risk of contracting COVID from using them.

The key is to touch as little as possible with your hands and carry your own hand sanitizer and tissues

  • Use shoulders and wrist to open doors or grab the handle with a tissue;
  • Lift the lid with your feet. After use, please also close the lid before flushing as the virus is excreted.
  • If the taps are not touch-free, use a tissue to close them, or use your own hand sanitizer instead of washing.
  • Use the back of your hand to start the air dryer – or just use tissues

Lack of GP Surgery One to One’s

In July, Jan Shortt, NPC General Secretary, wrote to Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS in England, urging a rethink of the new guidance from NHS England that encourages doctors’ surgeries to abandon taking repeat prescription requests by phone and not to exclude millions of older and vulnerable people from using the telephone as a method of getting repeat prescriptions. We are sharing the NHS England response with you.

(Link to Email Response Here)

AGE UK Questionnaires for the London Recovery Board

Please take the time to fill in these questionnaires for seniors from Age UK, they are feedback for the London Recovery Board and the best way to have your say on the board’s plans for our recovery.

From Our Partners

Tony Tuck – “Key Issues” Newsletter

Webinar series: Join the debate
Design and the environment – 3 Sept, 15.30-17.00 BST
Building a healthy and health-creating society: Design and the environment 
Register Here:

The National Pensioners’ Convention is calling for an urgent inquiry after a new report revealed some care home staff were told to put blanket Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders on residents at the height of the pandemic.

Make your voice heard on our online Discussion Forum
The new PAiL revamped website has a discussion forum for members.
It is very easy to use: 
Go to the home page
The first time you use it, you will need to click on the ‘create an account’ at the bottom. Click on a topic to contribute to the discussion OR click on ‘Add a topic’ in the ‘Main Forum’ section to start a new one.
The September PAiL Newsletter

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