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Pemberton: Botched tests deny the disabled their benefits

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Firestormm, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. Firestormm


    Cornwall England
    Yesterday something good was written and published by everyone's buddy, Dr Max Pemberton in the Daily Telegraph. Can't hate the man for this credible piece of writing (although some of course have because the man himself is the devil, after-all ;) ) though I feel he is rather confused with the nomenclature of said benefits perhaps (Atos are taking on the PIP):

    Yogi, Simon and alex3619 like this.
  2. Adamskitutu


    He had to do something to try and redeem himself after the last week's fiasco.
    Jarod likes this.
  3. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    At least he can still agree with Atos about denying ME patients.
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    But it's the same biopsychosocial approach which is taken to CFS... and only a crazy militant patient could be unhappy about that!

    Honestly, this article makes me think he's even more of a lazy hack, just following his biases (and twitter trends) without doing any real research or thinking. Does anyone think he read any of Aylward's work which has under-pinned these reforms? Does anyone think he realises that the PACE trial he had been wrongly claiming showed a recovery rate of 30% for psychosocial treatments is the only piece of medical research which has been funded by the DWP? One week he's promoting the false claims being used to justify these reforms and condemning patients angered by this quackery, and the next he's condemning the effect this is having upon patients (although he doesn't know where the fault lies - maybe he should do some work, and try to find out?).

    Pemberton's articles are a fine illustration of the way that many people in this country engage with complicated issues, and the faith that they seem to have in their own instinctive beliefs and virtue. He probably does get it right half the time, but if I was writing editorials, and my opinions were no more consistent than if I'd just been tossing a coin...

    Newspapers should just be shorter imo. If they're not willing to pay people for the time needed to produce carefully researched pieces, they should try to avoid making society worse by over-promoting the ill-informed views of the relatively wealthy and powerful sub-section of society that currently clutter up their pages.
    Tito, Adamskitutu, Yogi and 1 other person like this.
  5. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

    Must say I read the article - he is a psychiatrist and his concern lies with his patients of course.
  6. Adamskitutu


    Does he?
    Tito likes this.
  7. Yogi

    Yogi Senior Member

    I agree Esther12 he is a lazy hack. I thought he was quite vindictive before but now I just feel sorry for the guy as he cannot even see the major flaw and inconsistencies in his two recent articles. His views in his article on ME and this one are effectively mutually exclusive. It is a shame he does not wish to do basic research into ME before putting pen to paper. He is clearly not the brightest but this shows he is not malicious.
  8. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    I do not believe the tests are "botched"
    I believe the whole damn thing was set up to screw folk over, as it's idealogically-driven "genocide by neglect" (removing form social help), not lethal injection/gas chamber
    whole point is to reduce taxes for the rich, make "peoons" even more scared of losing their job and putting up with ANYTHING rather than beng made unemployed, ie, slaves.
    jimells and currer like this.
  9. Simon


    Monmouth, UK
    I'm not sure this issue here is the BPS approach, even though that philosoply underpins these tests. I have no problem with people (including me) being assessed on the basis of what we can do, rather than simply on our medical diagnoses. As far as I know, all the main medical charities - who all oppose the ATOS test - have no problem with that principle either.

    The issue here is whether or not the test is fit for purpose: does it accuarately measure people's ability to work? And in this case I think Max Pemberton is on the money when he says:
    In my book, this is a good thing to say, not a bad thing, regardless of the author. OK, he hasn't done much homework: the goverment itself came up with the 'descriptors' that specify what counts as suitablility for work. It was kicked off by Labour and continued by the Coalition so has the support of the three largest poliical parties in Britain. (Marvellous). ATOS just made a bad situation worse with it's contrary application of bad rules. At no point has the government or ATOS producedc any evidence that these tests are fit for purpose.
    I think you might be able to broaden that out to "humans".
    I fear that people buy the newspapers precisely for those ill-informed and inflammatory views
    Firestormm likes this.
  10. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    I do have a question about all this. Given the decline in newspaper standards of reporting, where do people go for reliable in depth information? The internet? I don't think the internet is particularly reliable, even though I blog. Its very much a case of find out for yourself now. No sources are reliable all the time.
  11. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    I really disagree. Also, while I don't know much about these organisations, I read that the major insider disability charities were resigned to the adoption of a biopsychosocial approach, rather than unconcerned by it.

    Can you honestly imagine the DWP coming up with any BPS assessment which treated patients reasonably? The move to BPS was driven by a desire to save money, and the realisation that this could be excused with caring, paternalistic language about improving the lives of the disabled. The fact that the benefits of BPS approaches have been so spun and exaggerated meant that BPS welfare reforms were always going to be founded upon quackery which harmed patients - and so it has turned out to be. And so it will turn out to be again as DLA changes to PIP. So long as it's thought sensible to assume medical staff can just take positions of psychosocial expertise over patients simply because they have health problems, rather than something like identifiable cognitive distortions or emotional problems, this sort of imagined knowledge and power is going to be used to undermine the claims of patients.

    I wasn't able to find the piece I wanted on this (there's a really funny training document that praises a doctor for arbitrarily deciding that 60% of a patients leg pain is a result of psychosocial factors, so that are not eligible for DLA), and the article this quote links to is now off-line, but I expect that you're already familiar with how the BPS approach is being used anyway:

    The top part of ATOS's customer charter states:

    Does anyone here think that this is possible? Never mind the fact that they clearly fail to conduct fair, accurate and objective assessments of how people are affected by their health conditions, is it even a reasonable aim? If they were a truly wonderful company, working in perfect conditions, and following perfect criteria, could such a thing be achieved? Of course it could not.

    We do not have nearly sufficient understanding of all manner of medical problems to allow objective assessments of how they affect people.
    Adamskitutu likes this.
  12. jimells

    jimells Senior Member

    northern Maine
    "Follow the money" came to mind while reading the article. How is ATOS compensated? Do they get a bonus for rejecting claims? I supposed the contract is a "commercial secret", so no one is allowed to see it.

    If ATOS is administering 'government tests', then obviously the tests are public, not a 'commercial secret'. This is so typical of privatisation schemes. They almost always stink to high heaven.
  13. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

    West Australia
    Dont ask too much from mass media. I thought the general tone of this piece was compassionate, and that falls on the bonus side of the ledger when narratives are dispersed to the public.

    First line
    "It is roundly accepted that a society can be judged on how it treats its weakest members". Thats got to be good.
    It challenges anyone to think the converse.

    Yes, i did read some of his earlier articles. No,I dont have any knowledge of UK situation.
    Simon and Firestormm like this.

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