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A letter from Mrs S... - disabled veteran - 3 August 2012
To: Prof Malcolm Harrington CBE WCA Independent Review, 6th Floor, Section B, Caxton House, Tothill Street, London SW1H 9NA
Like many other sick and disabled people in the UK, I watched the BBC Panorama programme this week with great interest. Together with the equally important documentary by the Dispatches team, shown on Channel 4 half an hour prior to the Panorama programme, both documentaries were of real importance. Your comments in particular were noteworthy, and I am writing to thank you for your very valuable contribution.
At least now some of the British able bodied people may have been educated since the national press have been hiding reality for a long time.
Chris Grayling's comments about the waste of life and 'people at home doing nothing' demonstrates the serious problem disability activists have always had, given that all Ministers in the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) do seem to presume that anyone surviving on disability benefits has a wasted life. Presumably, working voluntarily when able is of no consequence. I am gainfully employed in the safety of my own home every day when physically well enough. I just don't earn a salary, I don't claim Incapacity Benefit and will not be claiming Employment Support Allowance either.
Whilst we can all appreciate that some chronically sick and/or disabled people should indeed be given any possible help to find work if they are physically able to consider employment, nevertheless, as you said, the computer assessment as conducted by Atos Healthcare "...won't work" when considered in isolation. Recent figures confirm that 94% of all Decision Maker decisions are a 'rubber stamp' of the Atos assessment, so nothing has changed or improved, despite government assurances that they accept your recommendations. They may Professor, but they don't implement them. The government also closed the Remploy factories that were employing disabled people......!
The very dangerous DWP 'one size fits all mentality' still exists, insisting that people with such conditions as end stage Emphysema should prepare to go to work, whilst continuing to totally ignore all detailed medical evidence, is against all my training and my understanding of a compassionate society. This is the consequence of using totally unqualified Decision Makers who have no comprehension of the significance of such a life threatening diagnosis.
I don't think any of us object to the claimed principal behind the assessments. However, any system that will not tolerate detailed information as provided by the claimant's own GP or Consultant is sinister. The comments from the Minister, during the Panorama programme, demonstrates the very dangerous situation we have with medically unqualified politicians failing to comprehend the magnitude of this process, with seriously ill people living under endless stress waiting for the DWP brown envelope to arrive, then being distressed as they are forced to endure an inhumane process, only to have the identical process repeated within weeks of the decision. This is government funded medical and psychological tyranny. Meanwhile, disability hate crimes in the UK are rising due to government propaganda, and a national press only too happy to print totally bogus DWP claims.
Since when does an occupation health assessment totally ignore all detailed medical history evidence? Only in the UK, when using medical tyranny, can a diagnosis of terminal cancers, Huntingdon's Chorea and Emphysema be totally ignored. Claiming this medical tyranny is for the victim's own welfare is obscene, whilst disregarding all evidence of the harm this system has created.
For your information, I have enclosed a recent letter to The Minister for Employment who usually responds, but he's using the standard DWP script and has never moved from it. That's because the DWP are not in charge or control of this system; they simply supervise it. This system was designed by a US corporate insurance giant, who now boast that they are 'guiding UK welfare reform' and the UK is little more than another US State for welfare and, increasingly, for our health service too.
Following the documentaries, Chris Grayling wrote a very defensive piece for The Guardian, that mentions you by name Professor, so I thought I ought to send a copy to you, now enclosed. I am also enclosing an email from Henry Rowlands, seconded to the Citizens Advice Bureau from the Royal British Legion(RBL), and overwhelmed by the atrocities against this nation's sick and disabled veterans. Henry has just taken sick leave, possibly never to return.
I do appreciate that you were given an almost impossible task Professor, the government totally underestimated the disabled lobby's strength of purpose and you did what you could. I regret that I believe the government were using you, going through the motions of using an expert whilst refusing to access or accept any other evidence from professional reports. To this day, the DWP have failed to implement many of your recommendations, people are not only suffering but dying and suicide numbers, following these bogus DWP assessments, are climbing. You must surely have come to the same conclusions yourself.
I wish you well Professor, and I thank you for having the courage to take part in the Panorama documentary.
Mrs S..., Disability activist, Disabled veteran (WRAF), Retired healthcare professionalEnclosed: Feature by Chris Grayling Letter to Chris Grayling, DWP Email from Henry Rowlands, RBL Copied to: Prof Paul Gregg, Neil Bateman, Stephen Hall PhD, Dr Chris Johnstone