Its been a worry in the UK for some time to longer term disabled benefit claimants that with the changes in the UK Incapacity Benefit, into the now rolled out Employment Support Allowance, would come a draconian medical testing regime . The BBC are interested in examples of this now ."Two former doctors for the private healthcare company Atos, which carries out the medical assessments have expressed concerns that the checks are being done too quickly and that the system is biased towards declaring people fit for work." (BBC Scotland)
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown - often known as the gluey-duo in those late 1990 days who believed in a "something for something society" both visited Wisconsin in the US and appeared to admire the US way to get people off welfare and back into work.
There were quite a few soup kitchens too in Wisconsin in the same period .
Factoring in recessionary possibility was not something that happened though. Mirage was all . We all know the UK service economy rode high for a time on exotic financial derivative mirages as did the US to its recent chagrin, while capital and production in their export to China and India remained inside other socially insecure contrary equations. Well those equations were certainly very insecure for the redundant workless West ready to get people "back to work" probably moving boxes of emptiness around ..
So where are UK Employment Support Allowance claimants now ? Often inside the contrary UK system that bleats false prejudice towards the disabled and which stokes up public prejudice (often reported by the UK popular press) in order to justify a harsh benefit regime . One might say its a case of bleating and beating. Bleating about and beating people down for being dependent and vulnerable.
Sadly the UK press always creates something they can "blacken" despite the fact that with armies of fraud busters the Dept of Work and Pensions estimates benefit fraud only at tenth of 1 per cent ...
Those of us in mental health in the UK have seen how tough the system is . It wants to hothouse even serious mental illness into work-regimes. There's nothing wrong with work at all. What is wrong in the UK is the impoverished support systems that make mental health recovery actually more possible .
There's currently no Patient Choice mechanism equivalent like all other medical services in the UK . Its take it or leave it treatment . Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a weak therapy for serious mental illness to benefit from . It certainly will not hold back the galloping self of feelings that want to be heard and helped in parts of the affectively disordered community, or the personality disordered community ...
Into all this now circulates an important email from BenefitandWork.org . (see at the bottom)
Steve Donnison heads the Benefit and Work organisation and spurred a democratic turnaround in the UK by helping a petition raise issues of preserving benefit conditions for the disabled. He has been having liaison with the BBC and people are invited to contact them . The BBC have clearly shown with their BBC Scotland Report"We also heard concerns that the medicals are declaring seriously ill people as fit enough to go to work." BBC 18th January 2010
NOTE BELOW : From the email sent out by Benefit and Work :
"Can you help BBC TV expose ESA medicals?
23 February 2010
Benefits and Work has been asked to post the following media request from BBC TV. We’ve had a long talk with the reporter, Liam McDougal, and we do think that they are genuinely setting out to make a programme about the problems with ESA assessments. Liam is also working with a reporter we’ve had positive dealings with in the past.
BBC television to investigate problems with ESA
The BBC's current affairs department is investigating the difficulties people face when trying to claim ESA, for a television documentary. The programme aims to highlight claimants' experiences with the new system and to investigate why people with genuine illnesses and disabilities are being declared fit to work. Do you, for example, believe the results of your Atos assessment are wrong? Or perhaps you do not think they reflect the answers you gave to the doctor at the time.
“If you've had a problem claiming ESA and would like to discuss your experience, then please contact Liam McDougall as soon as possible on 0141 422 7559 or firstname.lastname@example.org "