Posts Tagged ‘Terminal Illness’

Ian Duncan Smith Whines about Being Blamed for Fitness for Work Tests Deaths

February 12, 2016

IDS Death Meme

Yesterday, I blogged on Mike’s piece over at Vox Political on the Gentleman Ranker’s umbrage at the numerous studies linking his welfare to work policies with suicides, death by neglect and starvation, and a massive rise in mental illness. Frank Field had written a letter to him asking about this. AIDS’ response was to splutter about ‘outrageous claims’, and issue a flat-out lie that claimants were treated with sympathy and dignity. They aren’t. Field himself has said that his constituents have told him that DWP staff have asked them when they’re expecting to die if they’re terminally ill. Severely depressed people with thoughts of suicide have even been asked why they haven’t killed themselves. This is vile conduct, and it stems from aIDS and his fellow Tories at the top.

Mike also reproduced the scrawled letter aIDS had written on his blog. It seems that the Minister in Charge of Chequebook Genocide was also miffed at being criticised for the failings of the DWP, when the fitness for work test was introduced by New Labour. He wailed that it wasn’t fair for them to escape criticism while he gets the blame.

I’ve no sympathy for this argument. Yes, it was introduced by Bliar and New Labour. And the critics of the welfare-to-work industry heartily despise them for it as a well. Just read through some of the blogs, and the articles on it in the ‘In the Back’/’Footnotes’ column in Private Eye for the years around the turn of the century when Bliar was meeting John LoCascio and the other ratbags from Unum. The Angry Yorkshireman has voiced his anger about it, as have Johnny Void, Kitty S. Jones and Mike at Vox Political. And they’re continuing to bash the Blairites as they try to hang on to power in Labour.

This does not exonerate the Spurious Major from his part in the mass death of Britain’s disabled. When Cameron came to power, he was posing as being more left-wing than Labour. He promised to protect the NHS from cuts, and be the most environmentally friendly administration ever. It was all just words, and once he started he swiftly showed himself to be just another privatising Tory with nothing but contempt for the poor and hatred for those at the bottom.

IDS could have stood up to him. He could have held him to make good his promises. He could have demanded that the Tories discontinue the work capability tests, or at least that they should be revised and made less stringent. He didn’t. Because fundamentally, he believes in the policy and has absolutely no qualms about the immense harm it’s doing to the very poorest.

And I particularly despise the man’s self-pity because he seems to find the suffering of others an immense joke. When one Labour MP raised the issue of how one of her constituents had been treated, aIDS laughed it off in parliament. Mike blogged about it, and has the piccie to show it. But like all thugs and bullies, it’s different when it comes to him.

He deserves every piece of criticism he gets.

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Vox Political Meme on the ‘Caring’ Conduct of the DWP

February 11, 2016

Earlier this evening I reblogged Mike’s article about aIDS’ hissy fit over Mike’s blog, and others like his, describing the way people are dying or left mentally ill, sometimes extremely seriously, after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos and now Maximus. Apparently the Minister for Chequebook Genocide thinks these are ‘outrageous claims’. The only part of his sorry affair that is outrageous is the conduct of the DWP and its mendacious and cowardly head.

Mike’s piece included this meme below, which comprehensively rebuts aIDS’ claim that those assessed are treated fairly and with courtesy. And Field isn’t the only person to have reported such treatment of claimants. Others have too. There have been a number of horrendous reports of people suffering from severe depression being asked why they haven’t committed suicide after they’ve revealed that they’ve suffered thoughts of ending their lives.

Disgraceful. As is all of this shabby, murderous, criminal regime.

Field Terminal Ill Meme

From 2011: Private Eye on Atos Throwing the Severely Disabled Off Benefits

April 11, 2014

This is from Private Eye’s edition for the 9th – 22nd December 2011.

ATOS

Unfit For Purpose

The government’s proposal to stop GPs writing sick notes for long-term illness and hand the work to “independent assessors” has private companies rubbing their hands. Bit it has alarmed those who far that patients will have to endure the same type of tick-box assessments as those needing benefits, as carried out by Atos.

The huge French service company has been slated by MPs and charities over its health and capability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, leading to wrong decisions in up to 40 percent of cases and causing “fear, anxiety and distress” to many disabled people.

Now an Atos insider tells the Eye that, under pressure from government to produce figures showing the number of claimants coming off benefits, coupled with competition to run the multi-million-pound contract, the situation may get worse. In the past 12 months a number of experienced doctors have left the company because they no longer want to part of a “target-driven” system that they say is unfair to the claimants and compromises their professionalism. One said it was “immoral”.

They have not apparently been replaced, and most medical assessments are now carried out by n8urses, who are less expensive – but would have fewer skills in musculo-skeletal disorders or mental illness, two of the main causes of disability.

For those who have been assessed by Atos, the result can be devastating. Secretary Debbie, 44, has been unable to work since a brain haemorrhage 14 years ago left her needing regular nerve-blocking injections into the head and intravenous drug treatment. She suffers from excruciating headaches and is partially sighted.

Her consultant detailed in a letter how her “excruciating” chronic cluster headaches and migraine were rated by the World Health Organisation as “one of the most disabling chronic disorders”. In August she saw an Atos assessor – a doctor, not a nurse – who appeared sympathetic. However, Debbie and her partner say the assessor then made false statements about the examination, saying an eye had been carried out when it hadn’t and bizarrely alleging that she self-harms, which she says she has never done.

The DWP then told Debbie her incapacity benefit would be replaced by employment support allowance (ESA) and that she must attend work-related activity group meetings (WRAG) seven miles from her home. If she fails to attend she will lose her benefits. She told the Eye: “my consultant, my GP, everyone says there’s no way I can work. I can’t see very well, I bang into things, I can’t even make a cup of tea without spilling boiling water. I can’t travel unattended … Yet according to Atos I’m able to work.” Having lost her appeal against having to attend the activity group, Debbie is to file a formal complaint about the Atos doctor to the General Medical Council.

Similarly, in April 2009, Mike, a 52-year-old academic, was found to have a brain tumour the size of a squash ball after he collapsed and had a massive seizure. Six weeks of radiotherapy reduced its size, and Mike has remained stable – although he relies on strong anti-convulsants to keep epilepsy, seizures and focal fits at bay – and is exhausted after short periods of mental or physical activity. Two months after the diagnosis he was ordered to attend an Atos assessment and was found to be capable of work.

Mike has found that the DWP had hidden information showing that people with terminal illness, like him, should not have had to undergo such an assessment, and that any assessment that does take place should be by an expert. But it took him two years of appeals to obtain his entitlements. His battle for compensation continues.

This confirms the other reports that Atos are instructed to find a certain percentage as fit for work, in order for them to be thrown off benefits. I’d also come across elsewhere the information that some of the doctors initially involved in the assessments had left because of its immorality and unprofessionalism. And from my own experience and those of some of the commenters here, and the reports of other bloggers like Jayne Linney I know that Atos lies and falsifies its medical reports to get the results it desires.

There is some useful information here for those seeking to challenge Atos. The article’s statement that terminally ill people should not have to undergo assessment may be of some help to some of the others challenging their assessments. Atos has a long history of declaring medically capable of finding work people so tragically afflicted. Jayne Linney has suggested that as many as 55,000 people a year may have died after being assessed by Atos. If only a small proportion of these were diagnosed as terminally ill by their doctors, then it means that Atos has been massively in breach of regulations. Which is probably why bloggers such as Mike over at Vox Political have been refused this information, and denounced as ‘vexatious’ by the DWP for daring to do so.