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Monday, 21 November 2011

Muddled Government Thinking

It repeatedly tries to tell us that GPs are rubbish at assessing fitness to work – they have an axe to grind, so cannot be regarded as independent, impartial or objective.  What this means is that they disregard the Hippocratic Oath and will actively work against government policy and the best interests of the national economy for no good reason other than presumably subversion and self interest.  This is of course based on nothing other than the fact that the Government does not like the outcomes from GP health assessments and so feels the need to undermine their credibility.  If I was a GP, I would be incandescent over this slight on my integrity.
It is very important to separate out the different elements of the WCA and address them separately.  The simple fact is that GPs make their judgement based on different criteria, so a direct, simplistic comparison in any way with Atos HCPs is automatically invalid.  So the first step is to segregate the 3 main elements of the WCA:

1.    The parameters within the WCA – what tests should it contain to make a sensible and realistic assessment of one’s ability to work?  This includes the consistency needed (same times every day) as well as the ability to get about etc.  I have worked for 40 years and none of my 3 WCAs tested anything like what it takes to survive a typical day.
2.    Who could and who should perform it (and probably where)?  For debate another time.  Actually this hardly matters if the assessment itself is correctly constructed and performed well – as long as the HCPs are suitably qualified/experienced.
3.    Compliance with the WCA specification – how well do the people doing it actually do it?

Despite the Government’s protestations that the content of the WCA has been designed by experts, there is still a widespread and justified belief that is not fit for purpose.  As I’ve said above, it bears little resemblance to any job I have ever done, so no surprise its outcomes are so regularly challenged successfully.
In an attempt to fix this problem the Government has progressively and dishonestly changed the assessment parameters simply to manipulate the results and in so doing has lost all credibility for itself as well as the WCA.  These changes have been based on some wholly spurious but convenient assumptions about the effect of legislation that cannot be supported with hard evidence or empirically.   In addition it has turned a blind eye to the non-compliance that is endemic both within Atos and its own Decision Making ranks.  I have never seen such a transparent deception and the fact that so many chronically disabled people have been so badly mis-assessed should cause it to hang its head in shame.  A justification based on not being able to make an omelette without breaking eggs is both inappropriate and pathetic – the ends do not justify the means nor vice versa.
A muddled approach to solving quite seperate issues is guaranteed to produce a muddled solution doomede to failure.
Saddest of all, approached logically, none of this is necessary, so I am left wondering whether the Government is stupid or evil?  Answers on a postcard please . . . . . .

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