PIP Assessments ? The Guardian's View + Further Articles

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Today's Guardian , Social Care Network :

https://www.theguardian.com/social-care ... rtbreaking

I accompany people to disability assessments. The lack of empathy is heartbreaking

A taster :
What I have found particularly hard, in my experience of assisting claimants, is the apparent lack of understanding or empathy from healthcare professionals and telephone representatives at Atos and Capita, the two private companies that carry out the assessments. For someone with a physical or mental health condition, for example, there are challenges involved in simply travelling to the assessment. A client who lives in Cardiff was asked to attend an assessment in Swansea, with no recognition that this could be difficult.

Usual comments section at the bottom ... should be VERY interesting !

Just one for your starter for ten :

Thank goodness you care, Ms Watts, and have taken the trouble to present your facts to all of us. I have witnessed an ATOS interview and can concur with everything you write about the lack of empathy and understanding during such an episode. I have never believed such processes should be carried out by anyone other than seriously experienced and fit for purpose staff. Certainly none of the representatives I have met from either ATOS or Capita fit the nature of the job they are doing and it is a scandal.

Reality for so many of our fellow carees.

Welcome to this Sad New World ....
I too have experienced first hand the lack of empathy shown by ATOS PIP assessors. I wrote a post here a few years ago which explained how uncaring the young man was who did my Husbands assessment. He cried when it was over, it was so humiliating, degrading, intimidating and we were both treated abominably! We were called mate throughout; this was a lack of respect to both of us in our 60's, we don't use this language. He had no empathy whatsoever, no understanding of the trauma that we had faced with almost losing my Husband and now him being afraid to go out in case he had another heart attack. How on earth can a complete stranger assess someone they don't know and only see for an hour at the most!

This young man had no empathy whatsoever, he behaved in an inhuman way to myself and Husband and we had no doubt that we were being punished for becoming ill.

We have spent everything we have ever had, having been carers to our Son for the past 29 years who has Schizophrenia, OCD, GORD, Autism and has recently had a stroke. You would think that having been carers for all these years they would take into consideration the fact that we have saved the tax payer billions over the years and we are not scroungers!

Recently a friend of mine had a Dr's letter confirming her conditions and how they affected her, she also had a letter of a family support worker but they took more note of an assessor who was with her for 50 minutes? So very wrong on all accounts!

What a frightening world we live in when people with disabilities are treated like criminals for becoming ill!
What a frightening world we live in when people with disabilities are treated like criminals for becoming ill!

Therein lies the reality of life for so many in both CarerLand and CareeLand.

No way to challenge the relentless System steamroller , leaderless , and an underlying feeling of demonisation through Austerity , and the System's goal posts virtually being " Work and support yourself , don't expect us to do so if you don't. "

Only when the casualty count becomes too " High " for public perceptions will anything change.

Even then don't expect nothing more than slightly increased rations ... not for our benefit but merely to reduce the numbers back to what they , and public opinion , fueled by the tabloid press , consider as " Acceptable ".

After all , high casualty counts don't win elections ... unless it's the enemy numbers ... and we are are still not considered to be the enemy even if certain areas of the press disagree !

Not good news for MS sufferers !

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 20206.html

People with MS lose more than £6m of benefits a year after PIP is introduced, show figures

A third of MS sufferers who previously received the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance have had their payments downgraded since 2013

There are at least 38,000 people with MS yet to be reassessed for PIP, indicating that in line with the current trend, an estimated minimum of 11,000 more could still lose out on the mobility component alone. This would mean a further £20m per year could be taken away from them by the time PIP is fully rolled out.

The Department of Work and Pensions has not provided any evidence to show that those people losing out have less need for support.

In light of the findings, MS Society warned that mobility assessments were failing to reflect the barriers faced by people with MS, such as the unpredictable and fluctuating nature of the condition.

Pip may be popular as a character in Charles Dickens novels but ... somewhat ironic in today's Sad New World.

What's next ?

Bambi ... the social care slayer ?

Quite honesty , some of today's reports would seem fiction a mere decade or so ago ?

Our Department of Propaganda spokesperson said :

IN response to the findings, a DWP Spokesperson said: “Under PIP 36 per cent more Multiple Sclerosis claimants receive the highest rate of support than under DLA. We recognise symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can fluctuate over time, and regular reassessments mean we can ensure people with degenerative conditions get the help they need as their condition changes.

"Assessments consider illnesses which affect sufferers during the majority of days in a year, rather than just on someone’s 'best days' or assessing ability on a single day.”

Pull the other one , it's got bells on it !
More on the impact of PIPs from today's Independent :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 45356.html
Almost 80% of people on disability benefits 'have seen health worsen since introduction of Tories' new system'.

Research from Disability Benefits Consortium says the PIP system is leaving most people worse off

No great surprises here ... merely what many of us have seen across individual reports across the media , and from conversations with claimants who have switched over.

A new benefits system for disabled people is making their health worse, leaving many isolated and struggling to pay for food and bills, according to a new report.

A major survey by more than 80 organisations reported that 79 per cent of respondents said their assessments for personal independence payment (PIP) had made their health worse, due to stress or anxiety.

More than a third of those who have had their funding cut in the middle of a benefits shake-up said they were struggling to pay for food, rent and bills, while 40 per cent said they had become more isolated.

Again , worth reading the whole article together with the expanding comments section at the bottom.
One article from today's Guardian which really does put the cat amongst the pigeons ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... d-claimant
Benefits assessor sanctioned for mocking disabled claimant.

Alan Barham, who was dismissed by Capita after undercover footage emerged, given caution order by disciplinary panel.

A benefits assessor who was caught on film mocking disabled claimants of personal independence payments and suggesting they were liars has been found guilty of misconduct by a professional standards tribunal.

Alan Barham, a paramedic who carried out PIP assessments for Capita in Northampton, brought his profession into disrepute and undermined public confidence in the integrity of the PIP assessment process, a health and care professions disciplinary panel found.

It issued a five-year caution order, meaning any prospective employer will have access to details of the case on an online professional register for that period.

Barham was covertly filmed by a Channel 4 undercover journalist. Footage showed him boasting that he would largely complete assessment forms before meeting the claimant, and afterwards would often disregard the evidence they gave during their assessment.

He told the reporter he would “completely dismiss” claimants’ explanations for why they needed disability benefit, and rely instead on his own “informal observations” to “catch them out”.

WORD OF WARNING ... full article contains some strong words !

Barham told the panel that at the time he was filmed by Dispatches, he had become arrogant and big-headed. He had been lauded by Capita for the high percentage of excellent reports he produced and was well paid. He had allowed all this to “go to his head”.

He joined Capita in 2014 after 11 years in the ambulance service as an emergency medical technician and paramedic. He was dismissed by Capita after the programme aired.

The panel said that although Barham’s behaviour was not sufficient to warrant being struck off the professional register, and this was an isolated incident for which he had shown remorse, taking no action would have sent out the wrong message to the public.

Although the caution order will not prevent Barham from practising as a paramedic, the panel said it did not regard it as a lenient sanction, because it would negatively affect his employability and reputation.

Feel free to make your own judgements.

Citizen's Advice Bureau ... Disability Hate Crime .... guidance :

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-a ... ate-crime/

The Criminal Justice Act 2003.also comes into play here.

And what did the offender receive ???????????