All information may be accessed for non-commercial use on the strict understanding that any quotes from my research will acknowledge the copyright as that of the author: Mo Stewart.
By Mrs S... - disabled veteran - 12 February 2012
THE TOTAL FAILURE OF THE ESA IS CONFIRMED:
The new report from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), FROM PILLAR TO POST, has just been published.(1)
Take an extract from a 2006 BBC R4 You & Yours discussion (2), compare it to the 2011 report by Prof Steve Fothergill about Incapacity Benefit Reforms(3) and the new CAS Report: From Pillar to Post.(1)
The overwhelming and deeply disturbing evidence of the large numbers of sick and disabled people suffering due to the introduction of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to replace Incapacity Benefits, has previously been reported by the frontline national and smaller charities, academics, welfare professionals, doctors, MPs, the Work & Pension Select Committee, members of the judiciary of the Appeal Tribunals, members of the House of Lords, former staff of Atos Healthcare, disability support groups and the comments online from the many hundreds of thousands of victims of this government funded medical tyranny, as imported from America. However, regardless of the numbers of damning reports published over the past 18 months alone, the DWP continue to ignore them all.
This new CAS report (1) has again confirmed what is already known, and perhaps it's now time to stop writing reports and to instead demand that the ESA is abolished?
The ESA policy using the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is clearly not fit for purpose(1)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7) and is identified by this researcher as government funded tyranny against the most vulnerable people in society. Therefore, at the next party political conferences, the UK's politicians will be judged to see if they do react to what is "the will of the people" - albeit the chronically sick and disabled people - who have lots of relatives and friends who witness this government tyranny on a daily basis...
No doubt the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Ministers will again confirm that the ESA medical assessments using the WCA are working well, that claimants will be interviewed by Atos medical 'experts' and that the welfare reforms are to do with 'fairness' and not a cost reduction.... The inevitable script used by DWP Ministers will reiterate that those who need help will be offered it, and all others will be 'helped' back into work, whilst totally ignoring the often shocking evidence as reported by the many victims of this policy when at appeal tribunals. (5)(7)
The DWP will continue to totally dismiss overwhelming evidence that the ESA policy isn't working and they will also continue to totally ignore all reports regarding the welfare reforms, with the exception of the annual reports as supplied by Professor Harrington.(8)
"In too many cases, it (ESA) is failing to accurately assess a claimant's ability to work, failing to help those able to work to find employment, and failing to support many with serious illnesses." Quote from Susan McPhee, Head of Policy CAS, ref From Pillar to Post CAS report. (1)
Meanwhile, the national press and media continue to totally ignore the fact that this DWP welfare reform nightmare is influenced by Unum Insurance in America, advisers to the DWP since 1994, and one of the most discredited corporate giants in the US.(7)(9)
Unum's former Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Mike O'Donnell, was CMO to Unum Insurance - formerly Unum Provident Insurance - from March 2000 to September 2010, during the years the company were being identified as '..the second worst insurance company in the US' by the American Association of Justice, and as an "outlaw company" by the California Department of Insurance Commissioner, John Garamendi.(6)(7) Mike O'Donnell recently joined Atos Healthcare as their new Chief Medical Officer as from March 2011. There is very little effort to disguise the long relationship between these two companies(6)(7), and the DWP continues to refuse to comment.
As predicted in a previous research report(7) Unum Insurance began the predicted mass media TV advertising for their Income Protection Insurance, they have a strong presence on the Internet and large displays at every political party conference. This destruction of the welfare state was first planned by the Thatcher government in 1994, and has been agreed by every political party since then, whose MPs all refuse to comment whenever any journalist has the temerity to invite comment. It is worth remembering that it was the last Labour government who introduced the much maligned Work Capability Assessment(WCA) when Tony Blair was Prime Minister.
The corporate wealth of Unum Insurance, who were actually banned from 15 states in the US and 6 countries worldwide until 2008 (7)(9), means that they can intimidate the national press, the BBC and the mass media, where no-one is complaining as no-one dares to expose what is overwhelming evidence of Unum's influence on the UK government's welfare reforms since 1994 and, sadly, their recent 'partnership' with The Guardian newspaper.(12) The Guardian frequently challenges Atos Healthcare and, in 2010, were about to publish a front page feature article from this researcher, that exposed the involvement of the DWP with Unum Insurance, only to be stopped by their legal department just before their 'partnership' with Unum Insurance was announced...
Sadly, someone in the Liberal Democrats failed to advise their own MP's of the planned destruction of the UK welfare state.... Norman Lamb, the political adviser to Nick Clegg, demanded to know from the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, if the involvement of the highly discredited Unum Insurance with the DWP "could possibly be true"(10) and, in recent comments the Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow, was very defensive when told by two disabled members of the House of Lords that Ministers' rhetoric on disability benefits was causing disability hate crime.(11) This was creating an atmosphere similar to 1930s Germany, when disabled people and older people were regarded as a burden on the state, yet Burstow failed to accept any responsibility for the coalition government's vilification of the UK's most vulnerable people.(11) I guarantee the DWP will have "no comment" about this long ago planned transformation of the UK welfare state to the US style of healthcare, to be funded by private insurance. This was planned by successive UK governments since 1994, and the British people are indeed 'sleepwalking' into the American system of healthcare funding,(11) not least because the UK government will continue to try to keep them totally in the dark.
The government continue to dismiss, ignore or attempt to minimalise the shocking evidence as reported in all high calibre reports relating to either the WCA, as conducted by Atos Healthcare, or to the impact of the ESA. All claimants in receipt if Incapacity Benefits will be re-asessed using the WCA, with a view to moving to either the ESA or to Job Seekers Allowance for the unemployed. According to correspondence from Atos Healthcare, the 'Disability Analysts' who interview the claimants "do not have access" to a patient's medical history whilst using the constant claim that the WCA is to establish the ability for employment.
This former healthcare professional would have hoped that any assessment of chronically sick and/or disabled people by any healthcare professional should at least begin with a familiarity of the claimant's past medical history. Indeed, I would go as far as to say that it is dangerous to assess anyone with an acknowledged health condition without knowledge of the medical history.
According to Chris Grayling, the Minister for Employment, there have been 35 deaths of claimants who were found fit for work at the WCA assessment, as conducted by Atos Healthcare, but who died before they could attend the Appeal Tribunal. How many more innocent people must die, between the date of the WCA and the date of the appeal tribunal, before this government accept that the assessments are totally unfit for purpose?
According to Professor Steve Fothergill(3), these welfare reforms will: "...impoverish vast numbers of households and cause untold distress in countless more."
And they will be identical to the plight of welfare claimants in the US...
Welcome to Little America.
Mrs S..., Disabled veteran (WRAF), Retired healthcare professional
29th February 2012
References:(1) FROM PILLAR TO POST: http://www.cas.org.uk/Publications/recent-publications/From+pillar+to+post (2) INCAPACITY BENEFIT: R4 You & Yours: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/transcripts_2006_03_fri_04.shtml (3) INCAPACITY BENFIT REFORM: the local, regional and national impact by Christina Beatty and Steve Fothergill http://www.shu.ac.uk/news/release.html?ID=965 (4) AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF THE WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT - A RESPONSE TO 1st REVIEW - NOVEMBER 2010 http://justice2008.org/The_Harrington_Review_-_RESPONSE.pdf (5) HH JUDGE ROBERT MARTIN: President of Appeal Tribunals, Report 2007-08 http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/guidance/courts-and-tribunals /tribunals/social-security-and-childsupport /publications/SSCSA_PresRep07_08FINAL.pdf (6) ATOS HEALTHCARE OR DISABILITY DENIAL FACTORIES by Mrs S... http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterns.html (7) WELFARE REFORM - REDRESS FOR THE DISABLED by Mrs S... http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html (8) AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF THE WCA - Professor Malcolm Harrington: http://http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-review-2011.pdf (9) THE UNUM PROVIDENT SCANDAL - The Yale Law School: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1483 &context=fss_papers (10) BLACK TRIANGLE CAMPAIGN: http://www.blacktrianglecampaign.org/2011/09/20 /atos-unum-mps-democracy-and-trust (11) THE CENTRE FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING: http://www.bhfederation.org.uk/federation-news/item /1557-ministers-warned-over-adding-fuel-to-disablist-fire/ (12) THE GUARDIAN/UNUM Work :Life UK survey - http://www.guardian.co.uk/worklifeuk/the-guardian-unum-work-life-uk-survey