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UK: Private firms earn £500m from government's fit-to-work scheme

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by sarah darwins, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Guardian article. This won't surprise anyone who's been anywhere near the UK's disability assessment scheme. Atos and Capita have raked in half a billion quid over the last few years, presumably by doing a great job of denying sick people the help they need.

    Full article in the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/27/private-firms-500m-governments-fit-to-work-scheme

    The most recommended comment below the article says it all:

     
  2. Skippa

    Skippa Senior Member

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    I scored ZERO points for anything, been too angry to post about it, not even a single point and I was talked down/over every time I tried to add extra evidence during my assessment, and things I did manage to say didn't even make it into the document they send out afterwards.

    Because I can use a mobile smartphone to text and google, this was copy/pasted for multiple sections to prove I score zero points. Grrr, it was so obvious the idea is to disprove you and get you out the door asap, but the worst part was right at the start where she said "I really appreciate the notes you have written but I haven't had time to read them because I've got other people to see".
     
    L'engle, TiredSam, Kati and 14 others like this.
  3. First time bastards gave me zero points
    folk wonder why I'm angry?
     
  4. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    L'engle, Skippa, Esther12 and 7 others like this.
  5. RogerBlack

    RogerBlack Senior Member

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    The problem is not ATOS and CAPITA.

    These are very handy shields for the DWP.
    The contracts and guidelines are intentionally written so as to generate 'simple' reports most of the time.
    If you've broken your leg, and the bone is sticking out, it works well.
    The combination of (for CFS/ME) assessors not properly investigating variable symptoms, and 'can do repeatedly' is hard to fix given the amount of time to do an assessment, and the fact that the people involved are not skilled in ME.
    (never mind they may bring their own biases about the illness to the table.)

    Combine this with ridiculous DWP practices which seem intent on actively obfuscating performance, and ...
    For example - the DWP does not know how many people are claiming ESA for CFS/ME.
    They only break the claims down into disease categories, and CFS/ME is going to be a tiny fraction of one, so you can't have any meaningful statistics.
     
  6. Artorias

    Artorias

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    I was asked how often I used Facebook in my ESA medical. Not even joking. I have a recording of it.
     
  7. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    I recently helped my adult son who has severe mental illness to apply for PIP. He had previously had DLA for 7 years and had been on Middle Rate Care and Low Rate Mobility for most of that time, and is under the care of a psychiatrist, and Community Mental Health Team.

    I helped him both write the form, and gather the medical evidence, which included a social care report from his social worker which had resulted in him receiving 28 hours a care of week, with a hot meal cooked for him daily, because for various reasons he is unable to do himself. He clearly should be on the Higher Rate Care for PIP, and when the result came (no face to face assessment) he was just one point short, and was not awarded the points he needed for someone else doing all his cooking but given just 2 points as if someone was prompting him to do his own cooking. It was made completely clear by himself and the evidence given that he does not cook and that is partly why he has the care (because of not looking after himself).

    He lost the mobility component entirely.

    I have now helped him to write the Reconsideration letter to see if they will look at the evidence again prior to a possible appeal, at least on the care component.

    This is someone who was able to send evidence, (because I gathered it for him), and so I know how much harder it is for a person who has none, and many with ME or other mental health issues have none, and have no one to help them with the forms. My son's local mental health team did not want to give any written help, and his psychiatrist provided a short letter grudgingly,. The mental health nurse was worse, and told my son that she hadn't even opened the letter I sent for 3 weeks, and then gave nothing. I had written explaining precisely what PIP was about and what was needed. If it hadn't been for the social worker's report, and a very helpful Neuropsych in London, he would have had nothing very useful and yet without this financial support, some people get more severely ill from the anxiety, or into debt.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  8. trishrhymes

    trishrhymes Senior Member

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    The whole system is inhuman and degrading. Politicians must be fully aware of this. Most of them simply don't care. They act as if we are a different and inferior species to whom they will throw a few crumbs and expect us to be grateful. Or alternatively as scroungers who need to be starved back to work. It makes me so angry.
     
  9. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    The whole thing is a bad joke. What mermaid had to do for her son, and things like forming an assessment based on "do you use Facebook?" and "can you send a text message?" is so wrongheaded you wonder how on earth we got here.

    Some people are too ill or otherwise disabled to work, and I grew up thinking I lived in a country where such people were guaranteed a certain level of support to enable them to lead a life of some description and to hang on to a little bit of dignity. But apparently not.

    Whether someone can use Facebook or sometimes cook a meal for themselves doesn't make much difference if they can't afford to pay the bills and buy food.

    The issue is whether or not you can earn a living. If you can't, you need financial support regardless of your specific capacities.

    The UK long ago committed by all-party consensus to the principle of a welfare safety net for those who can't support themselves, and I really believe the majority of Brits support that idea, but this whole notion of what we thought our country was has been eroded to the point where it's mostly a memory.

    It seems like the government has done away with that post-war consensus of what Britain should be. They just didn't tell anyone they were doing it.
     
  10. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    They are fully aware of what they are doing and what the overall consequences are going to be for the population.

    That is why they do it. They want it to happen.

    Forget pleading to their better angels, they don't have any. They think this is how it should be.

    As long as somebody else is paying the price, of course.
     
  11. RogerBlack

    RogerBlack Senior Member

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    I really don't think they are.

    Many of them at least have been intentionally mislead as to the effects of measures they will vote on.
    MPs unfortunately can't be an expert in everything, they rely on briefings by departmental officials and others.

    Shortly before and after the vote not to cancel the removal of the extra payment over JSA for those in the ESA work-related group (for new awards), a lot of MPs were commenting in their media feeds along the lines of: 'Removing the payment from people who have been found fit for work will encourage participation in the job market' - when that was explicitly not what the people in the work-related group have been found able to do.
    I would be astonished if in fact someone hadn't put together a 'helpful' briefing that had been circulated.

    The above statement was also made by Stephen Crabb - who was minister for work and pensions for a period.
     
    Valentijn, PennyIA, mermaid and 3 others like this.
  12. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    I would dearly like to believe that this is all just some terrible mistake. But the evidence is now overwhelming: at the very least they are guilty of persistently wilful ignorance, confirmation bias, and failure to do the minimum required due diligence about the consequences of their policies.

    That is the best I can offer them, and that is being generous.
     
  13. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Oh, I'm sure it's entirely deliberate. But the architects of this don't see it as a bad thing. They think they're doing God's work, helping the poor to help themselves (by making them poorer, and in the case of the sick, destitute).

    They're aware, however, that others might not see it this way, hence the use of private companies to do the dirty work. Public sector workers have a tendency to be public spirited and are difficult to sack. Private companies have no conscience and their workers do what they're told or get fired.

    The use of Atos and Capita has put all this at arm's length from the government and allowed them to hide behind the greater secrecy of the private sector. If they had tried to push these policies through local benefits offices there would likely have been a revolt by the staff and industrial action.
     
    TiredSam, erin, starlighter and 5 others like this.

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