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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Who Knows Best?

This article includes a couple of statements that appear frequently.  I have never really understood them, but they are important because they are used to justify much of what the Government is doing:
“The Government believes the system deters some patients from returning to work, even if they are physically able to do so and would find employment a helpful part of their recovery.
A report by Prof Malcolm Harrington, the government adviser on testing welfare claimants, said the “automatic entitlement” to the illness and disability benefit for cancer patients had been counterproductive, and led to patients becoming dependent on benefits, stigmatising cancer and causing employers to make poor decisions.“
·      Did the “old” system really deterred patients who can work and want to work from finding a job?
·      Have patients where working would be an important part of their recovery programme been denied the opportunity by “the system”?
·      Are there sick or disabled people who can work and want to work, but have allowed themselves unnecessarily to be sidelined and prevented from even trying to find a job?
·      Quite what “poor decisions” have employers been making and what would the “better decisions” have been?

To be honest, I don’t know, but I find it hard to believe. 
I’m sure by now that if there were droves of sick or disabled people wanting jobs but being denied the chance, it would have received far more publicity.  By the same token, it the current actions by the Government were striking a chord with these same people ( . . . . thank God they are at last doing something about it . . . ) we’d have heard much more support for the changes, when in fact I have seen nothing other than concern & criticism.
I have never trusted any unitary, highly prescriptive view of anything, as plausible as it may sound.  People are obviously not all the same and need individual consideration – one size does not fit all.    These sweeping generalisations are just a loosely veiled attempt by the Government to impose its will by convincing us it is in our best interests.  Thank you very much, but I’ll be the judge of that.
I have been through three WCAs and not once has anyone from Atos or DWP asked me what I would like to do.  Perhaps this would be a sensible first step in the right direction.

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