Parliamentary Question: Work Capability Assessment and ME, 14 February 2011

During questions to Department for Work and Pensions ministers on 14 February 2011, Mark Pawsey MP (Conservative, Rugby) asked if the Minister was aware of the concerns of people who have conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, who have good days and bad days.

“They are anxious to ensure that they receive fair treatment through the work capability assessment, taking account of their ability to complete activities on a regular basis. Can the Minister provide an assurance that the variable nature of such conditions will be fully considered, and that the assessment will identify the appropriate level of support for individuals to enable those who can to get back into work?”

The Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling, replied:

“I can absolutely give my hon. Friend that assurance. Indeed, I have asked Professor Harrington to work with people who specialise in ME as part of his review. I do not want us to write off everybody with a particular condition. It is important to identify who can potentially work and who cannot, and to provide them with the appropriate support. That is the goal of our policy and what we will seek to do, and I am mindful of the concerns that my hon Friend raises.”

1 thought on “Parliamentary Question: Work Capability Assessment and ME, 14 February 2011”

  1. At a recent consultation day that I was able to attend, several things ‘were being looked at’, despite the Incapacity Benefit Migration beginning this week.

    One was ‘exhaustive illness’, the other ‘mental illness’, ‘relapsing remitting illness’ the chap from the DWP knew nothing about, and ‘neurological illness’ and the challenge to the descriptors, he likewise had not a clue.

    On the ground, here, now, at this moment in time, we are being denied both IB and ESA and corralled into unsuitable Work Capability Groups, pending appeal decisions.

    The Appeals, based on evidence provided by the CAB and others, are more likely to rule in our favour.

    The system stank before and it stinks even more now.

    Professor Harrington is being used and his recommendations are not being acted upon with the vigour that was promised.

    My consultation day saw several people in tears because the DWP could provide no reassurance that even a system was in place the would adequately see a smooth migration.

    Telephones will be predominantly used in the future to discuss decisions and extract information. We were told that the DWP were planning to take into account that some seriously ill people were unable to make use of such unscheduled phone calls. This after the system has been put in motion.

    It was made very clear that we, as ‘customers’ (:() should ensure that the DWP are fully aware of our primary illness so that they apply the correct descriptor.

    This can effect so much especially in terms of the way in which the medical is conducted and the use of telephones.

    There are fundamental flaws, ‘pot-holes’, in the migration system and the Government is trying to patch them over with inadequate dollops of tarmac. It will not work.

    My ESA last week resulted in a drop from over 15 points to NIL Point. No medical reports were requested. I am house-bound. I am appealing.

    The advice from the CAB for those on Incapacity Benefit is to appeal rather than ask for a review if the decision goes against you, and you feel you have a case. The same advice applies with ESA.

    You appeal, you see a drop in income, and you wait…. and wait… and wait…. and win!

    Your mental state is inevitably affected and as a knock on so is your physical illness.

    All of this could be avoided. They trialled the Migration process and learned absolutely nothing.

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