Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Definitely not fit for purpose

A link on a friend's Facebook page (thanks, John Perry) takes us to a recent blog by MP Micheal Meacher. This one is entitled 'Horror Stories from ATOS' and is a list of  the appalling practices of ATOS with regards to the medical assessments they are carrying out on behalf of the government.

There is more than enough evidence available, and not just from the usual suspects like Micheal Meacher, to show that there is a cruelty taking place, right now, right here in the UK that shames us all. Every single report, committee or enquiry into Work Capability Assessments have found them “unfit for purpose”. And they are just one part of a barrage of measures which disadvantage the most vulnerable members of our society. Think about what else has affected them:

The Independent Living Fund – Scrapped
Severe Disability Premiums – Scrapped
Social Care packages - Slashed
Support for profoundly disabled children - Slashed

I find this all very depressing and it's a depression compounded by the apparent lack of concern of the general population. Those affected are not just numbers on a balance sheet: they are lives, real people. Let's not believe the Tory narrative: they do not deserve to be demonised or demeaned as 'benefits scroungers'. Disability and ill health can strike any one at any time and a civilised society looks after those in need. Yes, even in times of financial belt-tightening. Even more so, in my opinion.

I read the following quote recently (variously attributed to Edmund Burke or Benjamin Franklin): "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are”. Surely our common humanity means that we cannot be unaffected by what's going on? Let's get outraged and stand with those who are sick and disabled. Let's write to our MPs and Ian Duncan Smith and let them know that it's unacceptable. And let's pray that we, or anyone we know, never need to go in front of one of ATOS's assessment panels.

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