Friday, 30 December 2016

Still angry.

I must still be alive - I still get really, really angry.

First here's an article from The Daily Mirror on 28/12/16, which calculated the fees paid to the private companies which have been given the job of assessing the benefits paid to sick and disabled people.

This is something that used to be done by the state; to be precise by the Department of Work and pensions and the medical assessments carried out by the applicants doctor. This was all at minimal cost - take a look at how much it costs us now;

Daily Mirror 28/12/16

"Fit-to-work firms Atos and Capita have earned more than £500m of taxpayer cash running a hated Tory scheme to assess people for disability benefits.

"Analysis of Government data by the Mirror shows the two firms were paid £211m for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments in the first 11 months of 2016.

"That was up from £198m in 2015, £91m in 2014 and £7m in 2013, the year PIP launched.

"PIP is designed to help disabled people live independently and is replacing the old Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

"Yet despite the assessments' £507m price tag, thousands of decisions based on them are being overturned on appeal.

"Figures to September 2016 show 61% of 90,000 claimants who appealed against a PIP decision at a tribunal won their case."

Here's the reality of these expensive assessments; this from another Daily Mirror article from 29/12/16.

Dad DIES 10 months after Job Centre bosses told his doctor not to write any more sick notes

The DWP wrote to James Harrison's doctor behind his back and declared him fit for work 10 months before he died
ByJohn Ferguson
29 DEC 2016
Daily Mirror.

A seriously ill dad died just 10 months after Department for Work and Pensions bosses advised his GP not to write any more sick notes for him.

James Harrison had been declared “fit for work” and should not get medical certificates, the letter said.

But 10 months after the DWP contacted his doctor without telling him, James was dead at 55, the Daily Record reported.

His daughter Abbie, 23, said: “It’s a disgrace that managers at the Job Centre, who know nothing about medicine, should interfere in any way in the relationship between a doctor and a patient.

“They have no place at all telling a doctor what they should or shouldn’t give a patient. It has nothing to do with them.
“When the Job Centre starts to get involved in telling doctors about the health of their patients, that’s a really slippery slope.”

Abbie said James had worked since leaving school at a community centre near his home. But his already poor health went downhill after the centre was shut down by austerity cuts.

He had a serious lung condition and a hernia before the centre closed, and developed depression and anxiety afterwards.

Abbie said: “He’d worked all his life. He wasn’t the kind of guy who knew anything about benefits.

“But as his health deteriorated, there wasn’t any chance he could do a job. He applied for employment and support allowance.”

James got ESA but only at the low rate of £70 a week, the same as jobseekers’ allowance. He was then sent for one of the DWP’s hated “Work Capability Assessments” – and declared fit for work.

Abbie said her father James had worked all of his life
Despite that decision, Abbie said James remained in constant need of medical help and had to go to his doctor regularly.

But the GP repeatedly refused to give him a sick note, and James began to suspect the Jobcentre were to blame.
Abbie said: “He really needed a note. He was too ill to go to the constant appointments at the Jobcentre and he didn’t want to be sanctioned.

“He became convinced the DWP had been talking to his doctor behind his back.”

Abbie didn’t believe James’s theory at the time and thought he was just confused. But when she asked to see her dad’s medical records, she found a letter in his file from Julia Savage, a manager at Birkenhead Benefit Centre in James’s home city of Liverpool.

The letter was addressed to James’s GP. It said: “We have decided your patient is capable of work from and including January 10, 2016
"This means you do not have to give your patient more medical certificates for employment and support allowance purposes unless they appeal against this decision.

“You may need to again if their condition worsens significantly, or they have a new medical condition.”

PhD student Abbie is furious that James had to waste time at his short doctor’s appointments pleading for a sick line he wasn’t going to get.

And she is sickened by the way the system treated her father at every turn.

She said: “I’d love to interrogate these DWP people the way they interrogated dad – ask them to explain the things they put him through.

“Dad wasn’t well. Who knows, maybe he could have improved if he’d been given some support, rather than subjected to suspicion and scepticism at every turn.”

Asked about the letter, a DWP spokeswoman said: “The GP would have been notified so they know the outcome of the assessment.

“And as the letter says, there’s no longer any requirement to provide a fit note unless the claimant appeals the decision, or their medical condition worsens or they have a new medical condition.”


But then the Tory governments of Cameron and May don't care how much they hand out to their friends at outsourcing companies, their priority is not handing out money to the desperate people who need it.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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