Access by Various artists

21

Funded Family Care from a recipient’s perspective

by Withheld

Eighteen months ago I was on a benefit. Shock, horror! Yes, I was on a benefit. I’d been on what is now the Supported Living Payment (SLP) for about 5 years. The washing machine was on its last legs, I’d fixed the oven using spare parts from trademe (just the door which wouldn’t stay closed), every cent had to be spent with care, I couldn’t save and the financial future looked pretty hopeless really.

Why was I in this predicament? Because I’m a mum and one of my adult children is disabled. She needs full time support. This includes what we delicately refer to as “intimate” care, but her brain is perfectly fine and like me and probably you, she isn’t comfortable with people she doesn’t know (and most of those she does know) seeing her undressed, or touching and cleaning parts of her usually considered private. Apart from that, her combination of physical needs is unique, demanding multiple specialised skills, and failure to meet them properly would result in serious emotional and probably health consequences.

It was more than 6 years ago that her needs changed to this degree. She has a progressive disorder that relentlessly removes physical capability a bit at a time. Back then she was hospitalised for a serious unrelated illness and when she recovered from that she needed round-the-clock support. Although she’s bounced back somewhat, she still needs someone with her most of the time. She felt extremely anxious about relying on support workers who might not turn up and would need to be trained to meet her needs. When you don’t have much energy to meet the ordinary demands of living, expending energy training people over and over (because of churn) seriously reduces your quality of life. The thought that you might fall or endure some other misadventure because of a new person not knowing your needs or not listening to you is worrisome. You really don’t need more worries than you already have, believe me!

With the initial health crisis over, we talked about it and decided that the best thing for both of us was that I should be her caregiver. For me it means that I’m no longer worrying about her wellbeing while I’m at work. For her it means she has a reliable person who understands her needs to support her. It has enriched the mother/daughter relationship for us both. The means to achieving this nirvana of care was the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) for caregivers. The main drawback is that benefit levels are so low and given the reason for being on the DPB/SLP, the only way out of the financial trap was death of one or the other of us (or winning lotto - which is tricky when you can’t afford to buy tickets).

Then along came Funded Family Care (FFC). The Atkinson case had been dragging through various courts for years and eventually the Human Rights Review Tribunal made a decision. Some time later the government changed the Health and Disability Act on Budget day with much fanfare about how family members providing significant care would be paid. When the actual legislative changes were made public however, it was clear that the promises were almost empty.

We read the FFC policy, realised we were eligible and after a lengthy and fraught process, I am now paid minimum wage for 40 hours of care per week, although the hours of support my daughter is assessed as needing are about three times that. We’re grateful because we are much better off. My pay through FFC is about twice what my income was on SLP, and the improved finances mean a better life for both of us. Last year we replaced a rotten ramp, changed carpet with underlay for carpet without underlay in the living room (sounds mad but firm surfaces are easier for people with weak arms to move a wheelchair on), bought specialised cushions to increase comfort and reduce the chance of pressure sores, and managed to get involved in community activities on a regular basis because we could now afford the travel costs to get there. One of the issues we had faced was social isolation, so this last is a biggie. Another issue, as you can tell from where the new money went, was disability needs not covered by The System.

Now, as I said,we are grateful for Funded Family Care. Our lives are better as a result of it BUT, it is a long way short of achieving what the Human Rights Review Tribunal decision clearly intended and we are one of the lucky few who can benefit from it.

The limitations are many. The worst is that FFC does not permit partners or spouses to be paid to care for their disabled 'other half', though ACC claimants can do this. Slightly less terrible but still offensive is the fact that family members can only be paid minimum wage but other carers coming in to do the same tasks can be paid much more. There’s also the conundrum that FFC is restricted to disabled people with high and complex needs, which by definition means that they have complex health issues, serious communication difficulties, serious learning or behavioural difficulties, or a combination of these. Yet they are required to accept the responsibility of being an employer. If you read the FFC policy you’ll see there are a lot of conditions including limits on other paid work.

Now FFC is under review. There’s a lot I would change. The existing scheme is a reluctant response to a Court decision, set up to keep the costs of the scheme as low as possible but ignoring cost savings in other areas and thumbing its nose at the judiciary and our civil rights. Supporting family members to care for people with high and complex needs can save years of residential care costs, and be better for all concerned, even the residential facilities, which do not cope well with this particular task - see this 2011 report and this news story.

Perhaps the biggest change I wish for is that our decision makers will put people, fairness and justice at the heart of their choices rather than narrow questionable costings.

Te Reo proverbs express this better than I can:

He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata

Goodwill towards others is a precious treasure

and

I orea te tuatara ka patu ki waho

A problem is solved by continuing to find solutions.

23

Family Carers Case – Five Years On

by Rosemary McDonald

The decision of the Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) in the matter of claim between Atkinson (and others) and the Ministry of Health was released on the 8th January 2010. You can download it here.

The HRRT hearing ran from the 3rd September 2008 to the 9th October 2008. The fifteen months, from the start of the hearing through to the final release of the Decision, was torture for those of us who, while not plaintiffs, were significantly affected by the outcome. My partner is a high tetraplegic, pre-ACC, and has chosen me as his carer. Paragraph 111 of the Decision most accurately describes our circumstances.

We speculated as to the reasons for the extraordinary length of deliberation. Did the Tribunal simply have no understanding of the Ministry of Health: Disability Support Services? Or was the Tribunal deliberately stalling their decision to give the Government time to respond to what we were fairly confident would be a finding of discrimination under the Human Rights Act?

It would appear that our first guess was correct. Coming from what we suspect was a position of almost complete ignorance, the Tribunal members were forced to go to a Disability 101 default setting.

The Decision is a plain English document that assumes the reader has no prior experience of the Ministry Of Health: Disability Support Services (MOH: DSS) system.

To this date, five years on, I have read no document that so clearly and cleanly describes the lived reality of accessing supports through MOH: DSS for those disabled adults with high, very high and complex care needs. Paragraphs 17 through to 40 of the Decision have been removed as they describe the types of care needed by the plaintiffs or the adult children of the plaintiffs. This care is personal and intimate, sometimes involving procedures usually performed by qualified medical personnel. There are challenging behaviours, manual transfers and special feeding protocols to avoid choking.

While gaining ‘independence’ is a worthy ideal, the reality for many MOH: DSS clientele is that true independence (i.e. able to live without the direct assistance of others) is simply not possible. For this group of disabled people, the care needed requires a high level of skill and expertise. The support required is often impossible to timetable to X number of hours per day, and is often needed at short notice. Failure to provide this high standard of care can seriously adversely affect the person with a disability...leading to injury, illness and sometimes death. The plaintiffs describe in paragraphs 42 and 43 of the Decision the inadequacies of care they had received from service providers.

The Tribunal grasped the inadequacies of the Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) process, and the examined in some depth the utterly nonsensical concept of “natural supports”, on which the NASC system is predicated.

The Tribunal was told that the NASC assessment covered

“... the following areas: living situation; current support networks (to include family members, neighbourhood and community/social groups, schools, church groups, Scouts, Girl Guides, service groups, sports and other clubs) ...” [para 53]

Paragraph 54 states:

“The individuals and organisations bracketed in the last paragraph above were described to us as “natural supports” for the family and this topic will be reviewed later.”

Let’s take a moment to look a little closer at “natural supports”.

The Ministry claimed in their submissions to the Tribunal that the care provided by the plaintiffs to their adult children with disabilities was “natural support” and should not be paid [6, 11,]. Now, we have already ascertained that the nature of some of the care required by these MOH: DSS clients is so personal and sensitive in nature that details have been permanently suppressed [17-40]. We should also remember that these cares often require skills and expertise beyond the capacity of most service providers to meet safely.

The Ministry of Health should ask itself, “Would it be appropriate to ask the Girl Guides to perform these tasks?” If the answer is “No”, then this type of care should not be described as “natural support”.

However, the Ministry of Health was clearly quite obstinate in its stance on this issue, and the Tribunal Decision devotes 33 paragraphs [116-149] to a discussion of “natural supports”, culminating in expressing a desire to see a test of “reasonableness” brought into the equation [45].

Not too much to ask, surely?

The Tribunal dares to actually state that MOH: DSS clients “...are entitled to funding assistance....for their care.” [165 c]

This is significant, as MOH: DSS documents rigorously avoid ANY use of the word “entitlement” when it comes to funding for Home and Community Support Services. In fact, at the High Court hearing in September 2010 on this decision, one of the Crown Lawyers said as part of her argument against the HRRT finding of discrimination, “These people have a sense of entitlement.”

The Tribunal heard much discussion on the history of the issue of paying family carers, dating back to “Hill v IHC NZ (Inc)” from 2001. The Hills complained to the then Complaints Review Tribunal that the IHC disallowing them to be employed as their son’s caregivers was a breach of the prohibition against family status discrimination. [65]

“The CRT found that in fact there was no explicit or implicit policy on behalf of government to do so and found that the policy was at the discretion of the IHC and was discriminatory.” [66]

Five years of ‘executive level discussions’ ensued, debating the issue of paying family carers of MOH: DSS clients. These discussions were halted in late 2005 when the Atkinson case began in earnest.

However, the Tribunal heard from the Ministry of Health that the ‘policy’ (of not paying family carers) “...is given legal effect through the exercise of power in s10 (2) New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000...” [216] The Tribunal highlights in the next paragraph a quote from a Ministry Of Health revised draft paper from December 2005 on the issue of paying (or not paying) family carers.

“The policy of ineligibility of family members for contractual employment as caregivers of disabled people has never been set out in legislation, or been subject to formal executive approval by Cabinet. Because of this, it lacks a clear and transparent basis.” [217]

No wonder the Government rushed to amend the Public Health and Disability Act in May 2013.

This is the same document that is referred to in paragraphs 76 and 77, “Payments to and Support of Family Caregivers of Disabled People: ineligibility of family members for contractual employment as Caregivers: an assessment”, which stated that “the Ministry of Health should retain the right to make exceptions to this policy, and should develop a consistent basis for this.”

The Decision devotes five paragraphs [88-92] to the “Exceptions policy”. (This particular aspect demands some considerable discussion, so we may come back to it in another post.)

The Ministry of Health gave a list of reasons to support the non payment of family carers [13] and the Ministry of Social Development said they had a “number of difficult and complex ethical practical problems.” [68]

Most of these were addressed in paragraphs 93 -103 which looked at the ACC experience with paying family carers. ACC clients(in the National Serious Injury Group) have the inalienable right to have resident family members as their paid carers. These family carers often provide all the care needs of the client. ACC has a legal obligation to fund this care and they would be unable to meet their statutory obligations without utilising family members. The Tribunal took note of the fact that there was a joint MOH: DSS / ACC service specification for Home and Community Support Services (2008), and stated that,

“It would seem artificial to us to make a distinction as to payment options to family members for home care, purely on the basis of the cause of the disability” [103]

The Tribunal also discusses at length the influence that the New Zealand Disability Strategy should have had on the Ministry of Health’s formulation of policy surrounding Disability Support Services. [104-115] It would appear that the Tribunal was idling under the illusion that the Strategy actually had relevance and that government departments when citing the Strategy (as MOH: DSS are wont to), do so in good faith.

As impressed as I am with this Decision, and the work that clearly went into the case, there is one glaring omission from the plaintiffs’ list of government documents that supported their case.

In March 2008, the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) released a report called “Financial support for family carers “. This document says that under certain circumstances (and the plaintiffs most definitely qualified);

“Paid roles for family carers would need to be agreed by the client and the family carer as part of a comprehensive client care plan. Any paid role taken on by family carers would be explicitly included in this plan as a replacement for a service that would otherwise be provided formally.”

And,

“As the family member would be contracted to undertake specific tasks, they would be paid the market rate for the tasks being performed. In other words, payment would equate to that received by workers delivering formal care services.”

This sentiment was recently echoed by the United Nations Monitoring Committee for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in its Concluding observations on the initial report of New Zealand in October 2014.

“The Committee recommends that the State Party reconsider this matter to ensure that all family members who are carers are paid on the same basis as other carers...”

Please.

32

Feelgood Flicks

by Russell Brown

You probably know that it's characteristic of people on the autism spectrum to have particular fields of interest and sometimes particularly focused abilities.

The dream scenario is that autistic people can be helped to turn these things into activities that benefit themselves and others, and perhaps even make a living doing something that they're good at, and that makes them happy. Yes, that's kind of what we all want, but with knobs on.

After Jimmy Wants a Job, the Attitude documentary about our son, James Rae Brown, screened last year, many people got in touch to say what a great young man Jim was and to wish him luck. The making of the doco was quite trying at times and the praise and recognition was due reward.

But  Kelly Rogers of the Rialto Group went further -- and offered Jim a job at the Bridgeway Cinema in Northcote Point.

Since then, Jim has been working a day a week at the Bridgeway, cleaning and restocking for minimum wage, and that's all good. But recently, Matt Turner, the Bridgeway's manager, proposed extending Jim's duties. Not just more cleaning and restocking -- but reviewing movies, for pay.

It had become apparent to Jim's workmates that he is an excellent source of pithy film reviews. He has probably seen that movie you're wondering about and he will give you a thoughtful 60-second account of it. So Matt proposed that he write reviews for the Bridgeway to use on its website and elsewhere. Jim and I discussed it and quickly decided he should make video reviews too -- after all, he was already doing that for his own purposes.

It's been a while in the making, but the Bridgeway's YouTube channel is live now, and you can see Jimmy's reviews, which are really good. Here, he tells you why he loved Interstellar and you probably will too:

Saint Vincent? Not so much ...

He did find Jimmy's Hall both profound and inspiring, but warns that it's not actually the feelgood flick presented in the trailer.

I think the strength of Jim's reviews is that he actually does review the movie and its constituent parts, and not just the media around it. They're clear and focused personal assessments, often with a humorous touch. We'll work on some technical elements over summer, but the content, presentation and editing are 100% Jim's turf.

It's been nice to be able to approach Christmas feeling this good and I'm grateful to Matt, Kelly and everyone else for recognising Jim's talent and giving him a creative job. In the meantime, I would note that if you're looking for a place to watch a movie this summer, the Bridgeway is an excellent establishment run by good people.

79

Some aspects of New Zealand's disability history - part two

by Hilary Stace

In part one I covered the eugenic ideas that underpinned public policy in the first decades of the 20th century. The assumptions that disability indicated inferiority and likely moral degeneracy led to discriminatory attitudes, laws and policies against disabled people, particularly those with intellectual disability or psychiatric conditions.

But the arrival home of disabled soldiers following the First World War (and to a lesser extent those from the earlier South African War) challenged the dominant eugenic narrative around disability. These soldiers exemplified the eugenic ideal of fighting for the empire and their impairment couldn’t therefore be linked with immorality or blamed on faulty genes.

Some, such as Clutha Mackenzie, came from privileged families. This son of a Liberal politician and short-term Prime Minister lost his sight at Gallipoli. In the 1922 general election he stood unsuccessfully for the Reform Party against the Labour Party’s John A Lee, who had lost an arm in battle. Mackenzie then put his considerable energies into the Jubilee Institute for the Blind (later the New Zealand Foundation of the Blind) and the development of a universal Braille system.

The large numbers of disabled war veterans led to the creation of the new concept of ‘rehabilitation’, literarily to make fit again. This was different to the earlier concept of habilitation for genetically deaf and blind people who could potentially be trained to be fit and useful citizens.

The concept of rehabilitation became strongly linked with employment, as in the development of the organisation which became the Rehabilitation League and which still exists as employment service Workbridge.

Hinge, Leslie, 1868-1942. World War I returned servicemen embroidering [Christchurch Public Hospital].

Ref: PAColl-5932-27. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

In the meantime, regular polio epidemics from 1916 also left thousands of children and some adults with physical impairments. Although physical disability was not as shameful to families as intellectual disability, services were often hard to find. During the Depression it was particularly tough for many families struggling to support their affected family member or access hospital care, therapy or aids.

Some New Zealand surgeons who had developed their skills during war service wanted to help. In 1935 Dr Alexander Gillies and Charles Norwood of the Wellington Rotary Club launched the New Zealand Crippled Children Society. The CCS was gifted a large home in Takapuna which became the Wilson hospital for physically disabled children, including those with polio and cerebral palsy. It was one of a few specialist residential providers across New Zealand.

The Wilson Home for crippled children in Takapuna, Auckland. Photograph taken in 1943 by John Pascoe. Turnbull Library Ref: 1/4-000643-F

The first Labour government (1935-1949) brought in various measures including free hospital treatment. In 1936 an invalids’ pension was introduced, and in 1938 the Social Security Act which is regarded as the foundation of the welfare state, provided disability support and pensions. This principle of taxing according to means in order to receive support when needed was thus established in New Zealand.

In 1939, the Director General of Education, Dr Beeby, and Minister of Education, Peter Fraser, made their visionary statement about the rights to education for every child including the words ‘to the best of their abilities and the fullest extent of their powers’, (a goal which still remains elusive to many disabled children and their families).

The rise of parental advocacy is exemplified by the beginnings of the IHC. The Intellectually Handicapped Children’s Parents Association was founded in 1949 by Hal and Margaret Anyon, Wellington parents of a son with Down Syndrome, who wanted him to have an education, employment and a home in the community. At that time children with intellectual impairment were among those least likely to access education, and were often sent to institutional care.

IHC women fundraising 1960s Turnbull Library PA Coll 9653

As a result of much dedicated activism, the parents managed to set up educational and community facilities in many centres. That was in line with best practice World Health Organisation Guidelines of the time.

In spite of best practice evidence and parental advocacy turning against the institutions, the 1953 report of the National Government’s Consultative Committee, which became known as the Aitken report after the doctor who was chair of the committee, recommended that disabled and mentally ill people be housed in large ‘mental deficiency colonies’ containing several hundred people, and extending current institutions such as those at Levin (Kimberley) and Templeton.

Parents would be encouraged to leave their disabled children in these institutions from about the age of five. The report was greeted with disappointment by the parents of intellectually impaired children who had lobbied politicians for the review, hoping it would recommend community support for their children.

The committee, which included no ‘consumer’ or parent representatives and only one woman (who was appointed after complaints), not only rejected their pleas but also reinforced the use of words and concepts such as ‘idiots’ ‘imbeciles’ and ‘feeble-minded’ that the parents had objected to. Some parents put their children in such institutions and kept their existence secret, often for many decades. One elderly man – whose brother was sent to one of these places ‒ told me this was because the parents thought the siblings would not be able to find partners if the prospective spouse knew about their ‘handicapped’ sibling.

Only six years after the Aitken report, in 1959, following a change of government, another report headed by Sir Charles Burns of the New Zealand Branch of the British Medical Association, an ally of the IHC parents, recommended small residential homes in the community and criticised the Aitken policies as ‘based on outworn and outmoded ideas’. But the momentum generated by the Aitken report took another two decades to start turning around; indeed, the 1970s saw the largest number of people entering institutions before numbers started to drop.

Funds were provided for services such as day programmes for intellectually disabled people. The 1960 Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Act was passed so organisations could employ disabled people in ‘sheltered workshops’ without any requirement to pay, or give them employment rights. Contemporary thinking was that giving people something to do, and thus keeping them out of institutions, was more important than having the working conditions non-disabled people protected. Of course, disabled people had no say in the formulation of this policy.

Concerns about institutionalisation had been growing since about the 1940s and in 1972 a Royal Commission on Psychopaedic Hospitals recommended transference from large institutions to community care, and led to three decades of deinstitutionalisation, during which the Government had to pay for both community care and upkeep for the large institutions (although both suffered from poor resourcing). At its height, an estimated 2% of the population was institutionalised with more than 800 people at Kimberley. By 1978, the occupancy rate was 0.24%, the lowest since 1881.

The establishment of the ACC had its origins in the Second World War. Members of Parliament and other influential citizens who knew about the impact of war injuries and disability on earning potential were behind the establishment of the Woodhouse Commission in 1967 which recommended the no-fault compensation scheme. By 1974 the ACC was up and running for those workers who disability was caused by accident.

But ACC served only this one group. A response was the 1975 Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act which extended some of the benefits, albeit in a less generous and means-tested form, to all disabled people. This Act was shepherded through Parliament by J.B. Munro, Invercargill Labour MP, polio survivor and IHC organiser. It also legislated compliance for the recently-developed New Zealand Standard building code 4121 including guidelines for accessibility. This standard marked the first time society had had to change for disabled people, not the other way around.

The global reforming zeal of the 1960s and 70s encouraged disability activists. The big changes of the following decades would be a result of political activism by disabled people themselves. I will outline some of the landmarks in part three.

13

Phillip Hughes: a personal reflection

by Matt Frost

I'm 34 and I have autism spectrum disorder. It is not an over-the-top statement to say I have loved one sport in particular for 25 years --indeed, it's been a special field of interest for me. That sport is cricket.

I love the tactical and thinking nature of the game and the skill that its best players show, and I value the relationships I've made from it. Cricket has allowed me to develop social relationships with diverse ranges of people who I would never have met otherwise and is an amazingly enriching part of my life.

The sport I love has been deeply rocked this past week. During a high-level domestic match in Australia, a highly-skilled batsman who had played for his country and was looking to do so again, Phillip Hughes, was seriously injured by a ball bowled at him and later died in hospital. The bowler, Sean Abbott, was also skilled and broke no laws of the game when he delivered the ball at Hughes. I think it is very important to stress this. I must say I really liked Phil Hughes' style of play -- he was aggressive and it was clear he loved the game.

Lovers of the game have reacted in all sorts of ways to express how they feel. They have put bats by their doors, they have stopped matches in tribute and they have cried. All of this is really healthy in my view, as I'm pretty sure we have deep cultural expectations that don't allow us to grieve and cry enough and take care of our mental health at times like this.

Phillip Hughes was taken very suddenly and was a sportsman who was fighting hard to be at the top levels of performance. I think that is a major part of people's shock -- the transformation from that state to death was so quick. I do think this is a part of this event we need to acknowledge and was certainly part of what I saw yesterday with my club side -- fit and active young men were being forced to reflect on the fact that one twist of fate in the game they love playing could make them not so fit and active.

That was troubling and caused some reactions that intersected with my work life -- for example I heard more than one player express relief that Hughes wasn't brain-damaged by the ball. As someone who has worked for the rights and lives of people with brain damage and other impairments, that did trouble me slightly -- is death preferable to being impaired?

But I don't judge that comment: the shock of seeing the transformation of Phil Hughes is dramatic and troubling for those who, like me, love the sport. And it should give pause for thought to those who engage in disability work or who are in the disability community. We shouldn't ignore or lighten the challenges and changes that developing an impairment can bring, particularly if sudden.

On questions of mental health, many people have expressed very justified concern for the bowler, Sean Abbott. There is concern that he may never play the game again. I hope that's not the case, although again I wouldn't judge him if he didn't. I also hope that the skilled mental health teams working with Sean Abbott do two things.

Firstly, that they don't minimise the impact on him by saying "you didn't do anything (or not much) wrong". Strictly, that's true -- he broke no laws of the sport. And in fact, if we are being honest, part of the attraction of the sport is the element of contest in it, which includes the bowler using tactics to get the batsman out. That's core to cricket and shouldn't be reduced say by banning the bouncer. But that's not what Sean Abbott's brain is probably telling him. It will be telling him "evidence says you did do something wrong - seriously wrong." I hope he is allowed to feel and process that.

But I also hope they work with him to remind him of the amazing times he has had playing cricket - the skill he showed when he took wickets, the joys he felt when his team won and which he gave to fans, the fun he had which is the reason he plays the game. Those are really valid emotions too and I hope they are reinforced for him.

So where to from here for cricket? People will and absolutely should continue to play and love the game - that's what Phillip Hughes would have wanted above all else.

I think a possible answer lies in two things. The first is the reaction of the cricket community all around the world. Its genuine sense of togetherness and care gives me a massive pride and sense of hope for the game. The second thing is connected to this.

When the Laws of the Game were being rewritten coming up to 2000, the administration of cricket made what I think was a hugely wise decision. They decided to articulate what they felt the Spirit of Cricket was and to ensure it was the first thing in the Laws. The Spirit starts like this.

"Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself."

I have seen plenty of this spirit yesterday and ever since the news came through about Phil Hughes. That is why I hope parents of young kids who want to play cricket don't stop them from doing so - what happened could not have been prevented and shouldn't stop future generations taking up and loving the sport.

But it has also made me think about something else. What's the spirit in which we engage with questions around disability? We talk about values a lot in our sector, but I'm thinking after what I've seen in the last few days that spirit is something different. Here is not the place to answer that question but I do think it's a valid one for our community. Here is the place to say that the spirit that the cricket community (players, officials, fans of the game) has shown demonstrates its character. It's that which I hope will continue to be the greatest legacy of Philip Hughes and it will be the way I will try and remember him - by continuing to try (as hard as it can be sometimes) to play this game called life with spirit.

RIP Phillip Hughes 1988-2014. "Baggy Cap 408" 63 not out.

 

Matt Frost is as a senior advisor at the Office for Disability Issues. This blog is a personal work and does not represent the Office.