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Dispatches and Panorama Mon 30th July - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Dispatches and Panorama Mon 30th July

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
From The Independent online (4th August 2012):
'Charities reacted with horror as the Government announced that Atos and another private company, Capita, had won three contracts to run a new work-capability check for disabled people being brought in next year.
The Government has suggested that half a million people could lose their benefits as part of the reforms, which affect working age disabled people from April next year. Children and pensioners will not be affected.
The companies will assess disabled people for a benefit to help with their higher costs of living, called the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which replaces the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
Atos, which has been criticised for carrying out inaccurate assessments on the unemployed, will be responsible for tests in Scotland, London, the North-east, North-west and South of England, while Capita will administer Wales and central England.
There have been huge concerns about Atos's existing scheme, with criticism of the "tick box" nature of the tests and accusations of a high rate of inaccurate decisions, with 40 per cent of rulings being overturned on appeal.
Steve Ford, chief executive of Parkinson's UK, described the news as "another bitter blow for sick and disabled people".
In a letter to The Independent, Mr Ford wrote: "It is hugely concerning to see that Atos have been given the green light for the Personal Independence Payment contract.
"Assessments carried out by Atos have led to many people being forced to appeal against decisions that are plainly wrong. How can someone with Parkinson's – a progressive neurological condition – have an assessment report that implies they will be ready for work again in six, 12 or 18 months?"
Gillian Morbey, chief executive of the deafblind charity Sense, said: "We are concerned that the Government has awarded another contract to Atos," she said. "Their track record of poor initial Work Capability Assessments is costing more in the long run."
Hayley Jordan, co-chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium, a coalition of charities representing disabled people, added: "PIP will be a lifeline for disabled people and it is essential this difficult process is managed well."
The Government yesterday described the DLA – worth up to £131.50 a week – as an outdated benefit and said the new assessment would "ensure that, unlike in DLA, disabled people will be able to have a detailed discussion with a health professional about how their impairment affects their everyday lives".
Ministers have expressed concern at the rise in the number of people claiming the benefit, which has gone from 2.5 million nine years ago to 3.2 million this year, at an annual cost of £13bn'.

Worrying times indeed to be sick, disabled or a carer. Image
Yes I agree, in addition they are bringing in the 'bedroom tax' next April. I seriously don't know what will come of us all. as if we as carers do not have enough to worry about, these huge changes cause huge concern, sleepless nights and anxiety about the future detracting from the needs of the caree. For me to access work which will be my only option, if there is a job to have, will need hugely increased support hours from social care, at great cost to them. I really dispair for the future, deviod of hope. It is carers who have to absorb the impact of these changes, not the vulnerable carees who are so vulnerable they don't even undestand the concept of money,let alone where it comes from or the hoops we have to jump through whilst carrying there needs with us. Who would be a carer in this country by choice. morally we have no choice, morally we do whats right, its a shame the government don't do whats right too and instead choose to punish us for caring and disabled people for being disabled, my son has congenital disabilities, neither he nor I asked for them, he has 3 very serious conditions to live with every day of his life, just one of them would be enough for anyone to live with. Shame on this government, shame on them.
We had a visit from the SS for our area at the start of the week and although the lady who took this meeting was very nice , she oo'd and ahh'd in all the correct places!! My Dad bless him and he certainly wasn't primed to do so "played up" the whole time she was there, she just couldn't get her head around the problems we encountered in just the hour or so that she was there. I asked if she had ever been in a caring role in any way and she of course replied I do care about folk but I've never been in this situation. Somehow I got the impression that this body of people have the incorrect meaning of the word "care" in our environment. I voiced that perhaps if Mr Cameron and his motley crew changed places with one or two of us for just a day or two they may well have a very different view on the policies they put in place. It's no wonder we get angry and frustrated, like magic fairy my two affectionately called "wrinklies" have no clue about bills, money and anything else that requires an adult decision it's all down to me. This lady also told me if I wasn't happy with any of the organisations she offered we could always pay privately when challenged as to where the money might come from she replied "well your husband has a good job doesn't he" - how I didn't bounce her over the head with anything nearby is a miracle, we are very lucky that my husband has a job that pays our own mortgage and bills without the necessity for me to work, niceties well folks what are they?? we haven't had any for 8 or more years now - RANT OVER but by God I agree SHAME ON YOU BRITISH GOVERNMENT ................
I have merged these 2 threads together to keep discussion in same place

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It really is beyond belief that computer software, which already decides whether someone has a roof over their head and food to eat, will now decide whether someone will have the means to go out or be confined to four walls, whether they can afford to buy the equipment and aids which they require or to purchase care when ESA has been such an unmitigated disaster.
I couldn't agree more. When the ATOS did my DLA assessment he stuck rigidly to the questions in the order they arose, he was after replies which fitted neatly into his boxes and if I tried to expand on my answers he stopped me immediately. At the end he said "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me" to which I replied "I've been trying to explain throughout!" This is the same doctor who wrote that the disabled car park at Waitrose was 300 yards away from the store (goodness knows where he got that idea from) and as I could walk from that car park to the store, I obviously didn't qualify. Unfortunately, this sort of questioinnaire is ever more popular, when I had a serious car accident, again I was asked about my injuries by a doctor glued to a computer screen who seldom even looked at me. Progress?!?!
Let's be honest, we knew exactly what to expect from these programmes so it's no big surprise but nor is it helpful..what's the point in reiterating what we already know?

I have yet to meet anyone who has had a good experience with ATOS so it goes without saying that the government would continue using their services. The WCA is fundamentally flawed, been there, got the t-shirt and it is fairly safe to guess that the PIP will be more of the same.

Having said that, I am not surprised that DLA has had the plug pulled on it. I'm not agreeing with the decision but no government is going to continue with a benefit that hasn't been reviewed for years, it's not really much different from the start of the abolition of Incapacity Benefit which was under the Labour Government.

I have had a look at the criteria for PIP and, no surprises again, it has a massive amount of loopholes. Do we know if this is going to be more tick boxes again?
It says that it will take medical evidence into account but looks like it is trying to pigeon hole disability..it doesn't even mention mental health or learning disabilities.

Has CUK released any statements about the new benefit and if so, any chance of a link?
Various responses can be found here

http://www.carersuk.org/professionals/r ... government

menu down left hand side takes you to more briefings and policy work

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Apparently THE global international information technology services company is to be pre-fixed: wedontgive Atos Image