Nightmare for sick people according to “38 degrees”

The local Seacombe story that follows is necessarily anonymous, and confidential, but it is 100% true and shows why, according to the links below, around 38% of such cases, when they are challenged by the sufferers or their representatives, drive a coach and horses through government guidelines.  Adrian believes the way people in such medical conditions are being treated is unworthy of a so called ‘civilised’ society.

Adrian believes this, and cases like it, shows that the government’s attitude is totally out of tune with sick and disabled people’s
genuine needs

We recently had a request for advice from an “aggressive cancer” sufferer who was unable to get benefits without jumping through hoops under rules introduced by the Tory-led government.  It seems that because his wife has a (low paid) part time job of 25 hours a week this man, who cannot eat through his mouth, who can talk only with difficulty, who is fed by direct injection  through a tube into his stomach, who is receiving chemo-therapy and radio-therapy, and can get to hospital for his medical treatments only by ambulance, must “demonstrate” that he is unable to work! 

In his all but impossible condition he was required to fill in a form indicating, amongst other things, which of his limbs can still be used!

It seems this is so that his ability to work can be assessed.  

Does it matter one jot which ‘limbs’ can still work for anybody in that condition?

After paying their rent this couple calculate they will have about £30 left each week to cover food and all other costs.

What ‘temperate’ comment could possibly be made about a government policy that produced this sort of nightmare?

The organisation “38 Degrees” has issued the following appeal to people to resist this sort of approach by supporting its petition.  If you feel “38 Degrees” is correct in its approach you may wish to sign. 

This is the message from “38 degrees”.  Read on:

For months now, sick and disabled people have been made to go through lots of tests and interviews to qualify for the benefits they need to get by. [1] “Proving” you have a disability has become a long drawn-out process, that can make life harder, not easier, for disabled people.

To make matters worse, this week we’ve found out that the government’s new approach to “testing” people isn’t working. As many as 100,000 people could have been denied the money they needed, and put under pressure to work when they can’t. [2]

Atos, the multi-million pound private company that delivers these tests for the government, has been getting away with making big mistakes. [3] Their errors may mean around 100,000 people were deemed “fit to work”, when they weren’t. Yet despite this terrible performance, Atos have hardly paid a penny in fines. In fact, they’ve made enough profit to sponsor the Paralympics next week. [4]

So as politicians get ready to stand on the sidelines and applaud Britain’s Paralympians, let’s send them a powerful message: don’t forget your responsibility to the rest of the UK’s disabled people – start making Atos pay for its mistakes.

Sign the petition now to tell Iain Duncan Smith, Minister for Work and Pensions, to stand up to Atos and sort out disability benefit tests:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/sign-Atos-petition

The Paralympics are one reminder of the value that disabled people add to life in the UK. But for many disabled people, finding work is impossible. Sometimes that’s because of the nature of their disability, and sometimes its because workplaces don’t try hard enough to include them.

When someone has a disability that prevents them from working, they deserve proper support they can rely on. That support shouldn’t be taken away at a moment’s notice because of inaccurate tests. As politicians get ready to support Team GB’s Paralympians over the next fortnight, let’s make sure they start treating the rest of the disabled people living in the UK with the respect they deserve.

The government has the power to hit Atos where it hurts: financially. They can stop awarding contracts, set higher targets and fine them for poor performance. If enough of us sign the petition demanding this happens, then the government will be forced to hold them to account.

Sign the petition now to demand the government stands up to Atos and sorts out the disability benefits problems:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/sign-Atos-petition

Thanks for being involved,

Belinda, Marie, Hannah and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1] Directgov: The Work Capability Assessment: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/Illorinjured/DG_172012
[2] A Guardian article, “NAO criticise Atos benefits contract” said “The company has conducted about 738,000 medical tests on benefit claimants in the past financial year. However, it has emerged that 40% of people appeal against the decisions – with 38% of those successful”. Read the full article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/17/nao-criticises-atos-benefits-contract?newsfeed=true
[3] Atos company website: http://uk.atos.net/en-uk/about_us/company_profile/default.htm
[4] The Guardian, Paralympic Games organisers defend Atos sponsorship deal: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/may/21/paralympic-games-organisers-defend-atos-sponsorship

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