Where is the Lib Dem influence when it comes to DLA ?

We have read much in the last few days about how the benefits system, is about to undergo a radical overhaul. What we are just starting to hear about though is the poor way in which this overhaul will be delivered.

The last government (yes Labour people, that is you) started to look at disability living allowance (DLA) and made the system, "tougher" on people. This toughness though was done on the cheap, with non medically trained people doing one hour assessments on people on DLA to ascertain whether they were entitled to continue claiming DLA. Quite how a non medically trained individual can make an assessment on someone's mental health by following a tick box approach to checking claims it beyond me.

On Radio 5 this morning they were discussing this issue, and focussing in heavily  on Burnley, an area that will be targeted by the government to see how many people can be got off benefits and back in to work.

The fact that Burnley is something of a unemployment blackspot and is hardly fertile ground for a jobseeker at the moment is by the by for the government. So focusing in on Burnley they reported that of those people being denied DLA and other similar benefits after a one hour interview, hundreds were appealing their decisions, with 85% of people winning their appeals. Apparently there is a backlog of over 300 people awaiting their appeal to be heard.

According to Radio 5, the appeals involve seeing a proper doctor, with a full and appropriate examination, followed by proper questioning and a removal of the tick box approach to checking the claimant. One caller said the initial one hour interview had seen her score just three points, well short of the fifteen required to claim the allowance she was one. When she went to an appeal, she scored nineteen points !

My question is, surely we have a Social Security Minister who can do something about this issue ? How on earth can we have a system where 85% of people who appeal have been wrongly labelled as fit for work when they are clearly not. How can we have a system where non medically trained people are making medical judgements on the health of individuals ? In short, where is the Lib Dem influence that Nick Clegg and other lovers of the coalition keep going on about, because if this is happening and we are supporting it, then nobody should be proud of the coalition.


Miss Ben E Fit said...

Medical personnel assessing benefit claimants’ capability to work, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, are not given enough time to assess complex cases such as those involving multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

That is the message in evidence to Professor Malcolm Harrington’s review of the Work Capability Assessment submitted by Prospect.

The union represents medical advisers and healthcare professionals employed by Atos Healthcare, the company tasked with undertaking the assessments.

Prospect is also calling for measures to allow exemption from examination for people with severe disabilities.

The report uses the example of a young male paraplegic who, having been discharged from a spinal unit able to undertake basic self-care, such as self-propulsion in a wheelchair, would still be summoned for examination, despite easily scoring sufficient points for his employment and support allowance to continue, because he is not in the support group.

Anonymous said...

Norfolk County Council

3,000 jobs to go, mainly women, mainly from rural communities

Letrs see how many get jobs in the private sector ???

This is a disgrace

and pure ideologically driven

if not they would agree to put backl the money axed when the economy improves

but they wont

Norfolk Blogger said...

Anon - Off the point, but as a NCC employee, I feel NCC staff do a wonderful job.

Anonymous said...

yes, it is a total disgrace

we are entering the dark days of the 80s again only this time it will be worse

I truly hope the lib dems reap what they sow

Norfolk Blogger said...

The problem is though that these appalling one hour assessments were a labour invention. Who sowed the seeds of the system ?

Anonymous said...

why does that matter?

what's important is that people stand together as a society and get rid of them