Thursday, 24 April 2014

Independent medical assessments didn't work in UK

Is the Abbott gov looking to the UK for examples of cutting welfare? It would seem so, with all this talk of "toughening up" on the DSP. Or to put that in minion terms, getting us DSP recipients to go and see an independent doctor to assess our disability. This doctor would know nothing about your circumstances, your medical history, but be expected to make a decision about your physical and mental health in regards to the receipt of the DSP. Or to put it even more colloquially, make us jump through more hoops.

Well they've tried this in England and it was a financial disaster for the UK gov, a huge waste of time, and in many cases the Independent assessors got things completely wrong. Is this the sort of bullshit system Abbott wants to bring in here?

Again, another article from the coal face, in opposition to the gov's attack on pensioners. Indeed it's their whole approach that's wrong, even if there was a budget crisis. I'm starting to see a pattern here.....
Atos was sacked after audits found that the medical assessments were ‘flawed and unacceptable’ in 40% of the cases audited. Instances of repugnant injustice have surfaced. Of the 1.8 million assessments conducted since 2009, one third have been the subject of appeals, of which one in three was upheld. The cost of the appeals process alone has been estimated at £60 million. As well as the poor quality of the medical reports, disability groups have been scathing in their feedback regarding the accessibility and sensitivity of the entire process. It should be pointed out that Atos was selected as the sole contractor for these reports in a competitive tender process which supposedly guaranteed the best available service. One wonders why our government thinks we can do it any better. 

Currently, obtaining a DSP is not a straightforward process. Applicants are required to obtain reports at their own expense from the GP plus any treating specialist. I do a couple of these most weeks. The reports are assessed by Centrelink and a decision is made. Contrary to what appears a widespread belief among politicians and talkback radio callers, these people are financially and socially desperate. They will have exhausted any available resources including superannuation, friends, family and insurance before applying. If they have been working steadily before they became injured or sick, they are usually in the process of losing their house or flat. Their world is contracting to be able to manage with capabilities that are a fraction of what they previously were. It is not an easy time for anyone. Do we really want to add insult to disadvantage by demanding that they undergo a demeaning kangaroo court to parade their disability on demand in order to keep the meagre resources they have left? more 

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