Saturday, 27 February 2010

Seriously ill patients 'told to work'

Warning this article contains language not suitable for younger children!

A BBC investigation has heard claims of seriously ill patients being told they are fit enough to work and denied benefit payments.

Two former doctors for the private healthcare company Atos, which carries out the medical assessments, have expressed concerns that the checks are being done too quickly and that the system is biased towards declaring people fit for work.

BBC Scotland's Social Affairs Reporter, Fiona Walker, has been investigating why some of those who had high hopes for ESA say it has been a failure.

Employment Support Allowance, or ESA, is replacing Incapacity Benefit. It's supposed to support the very sick, and as people get better, help them get back into the workplace.

The government said it wanted to get a million people back to work by 2015 but more that one year after introducing ESA, it says it can't measure how many people the scheme has got back into the workplace.

There are 44,000 people waiting for their appeals to be heard

During the investigation, we've heard claims that terminally ill patients are being told to attend back-to-work interviews while they apply for the new benefit.

We also heard concerns that the medicals are declaring seriously ill people as fit enough to go to work.

One of the patients we spoke to was Maureen Leitch. She says she was called in for a medical assessment just a few weeks after undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for vulval cancer.

She was declared fit for work and told she wasn't entitled to ESA.

She said: "I was struggling terribly with the whole cancer. I was in extreme pain… It was a whole load of hassle, and aggravation that I didn't need at the time I was going through the journey of the cancer… I feel insulted and badly let down, with the system."

Maureen appealed the decision and it was overturned, meaning she was eventually awarded the benefit.

Currently, there are 44, 000 people waiting for their appeals to be heard. More than a third of people are winning their appeals.

Charities and organisations including Citizens' Advice Bureau, say they're worried that thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money is being wasted because of the number of people going to appeal.

Everyone we've interviewed for this investigation agrees that getting people back to work can be good for them.

Frequent appraisals

What they're concerned about is the way the system is working in practice.

Dr Chris Johnstone is a GP in Paisley. His work to help his patients back to work helped shape the ESA policy.

He said: "I have no problem with a rigorous medical assessment done in a supportive fashion.

"But I think if you have a slipshod one done, as it appears to be anecdotally, that's unfair for the people going through the system. It feels like some of it is done inappropriately and it's almost being done to save money rather than to look after people."

Ultimately the decision on whether you get benefit or not is down to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), but they have contracted a private healthcare company called Atos to carry out the initial medical assessments.

I've spoken to two doctors who used to work for Atos. They say they are concerned about the way checks are being done. They both say they are worried that speaking out will affect their medical careers so we've agreed not to reveal their names.

This is what one of the doctors told me: "We would frequently have appraisals. They were all about how many clients you had seen and the average length of time it took to complete each assessment and write the reports.

"I wanted to know if they were happy with the quality of the reports I'd done but they hadn't even looked at my reports, only at the time it had taken. It's really tough to qualify for ESA.

"When doctors go in for the day's assessments, they pretty much know the clients are going to be turned down."

The other doctor I spoke to backed up those claims.

We asked to do an interview with Atos, but they refused.

Gaining skills

Instead they gave us a statement saying: "We are continually monitored and audited by the government to ensure that it completes the highest standard of assessment and that medical advice is correct.

"Atos Healthcare and its employees are not advised of the result of the assessment and the outcome has no bearing on Atos Healthcare targets or remuneration."

Helping people back to work is one of the key aims of ESA. But the government can't tell us how many people this new scheme has got back into work.

The minister for Disabled People at Westminster is Jonathan Shaw, MP. I asked him why his department couldn't tell us how many people ESA had successfully got back to work.

He said: "What's essential is that we are providing a programme, across the board, not just for ESA claimants but for youngsters, for disabled people for elderly people, to try and gain the skills that they can to stay in the labour market and return to work.

"We've got the pathways to work programme, which as I say is helping thousands of people who I've met up and down the country… this is early days, for the Employment Support Allowance."

Mr Shaw also said he would be looking into the way cancer patients are treated.

My Comment

There are currently a growing number of people in the UK alone claiming money for Alcohol and Drugs anyone who doesn’t fall into the following category won’t pass their medical!

(a) Alcoholic

(b) Drug Abuser

So someone who has a serious disability gets sweet F*ck all the system in this country is failing back in 1997 we were promised a better Britain I DONT CALL THIS A BETTER BRITAIN DO YOU Labour are a bunch of f*cking tw*ts they ignore the people who are seriously ill and look after the dead beats who persistently don’t give a f*ck these are the w*nkers that need dealing with drink is not an illness it is an obsession this can be treated via a special clinic same for druggies

It’s a case of you shit on our heads but you pay the taxes

Taxes that go up to cover all this shit!

"I have to hand it to
you...the labour government This is the best mindfuck yet".

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Tia Mae McCarthy ~ by Paul's Journal

LITTLE Tia-Mae McCarthy looks like any normal seven-year-old but has never been able to EAT or DRINK in her life. She was born with a hole in her oesophagus linking her mouth to her stomach and spent her first year in hospital where doctors doubted she would survive. An operation closed the gap. But Tia-Mae never began to eat or drink even though there is no physical reason stopping her. The schoolgirl has a mixture of food with vitamins and nutrients pumped directly into her stomach each night to keep her alive. Her lack of any physical desire to eat has left British doctors baffled. But mum Sue, 42, has heard that a hospital in the US could treat her.

Tia-Mae was born three months prematurely at Southampton General Hospital, Hants and needed treatment so urgently that Sue said staff would not let her touch the baby.

She said: There were seven members of staff round the incubator, waiting to whisk her off. I was just given a Polaroid. She looked absolutely terrible, and they prepared me for the worst.

Then she seemed to turn a corner and come through it, but since that day she hasn't eaten or drunk a thing. They don't think it's a physical thing any more.

The pediatrician said he hadn't come across anything like this. Unless I go to America I won't know why. I feel that I have no other option.?

An appeal by Sue, of Bournemouth, Dorset, has resulted in offers of help flooding in, with one woman offering to loan her timeshare in America.

Sue who also has a three-year-old son Finley said: All I want to be able to do is see Tia-Mae sitting at the dinner table and enjoying a meal.

SUN Health Reporter EMMA MORTON writes: Tia-Mae's body has healed but her mind is still telling her that she cannot eat.

This psychological condition is common in patients who have adapted to having a debilitating condition over a long period of time.

It could take many more years of therapy with a child psychiatrist before she can eat.

Sky 1 showed a documentary about a girl who didn't eat she had to be fed through a tube. A few years later Tia is now 10 and has finally started eating.

Miracle of girl who finally started eating food... at the age of TEN

A ten-year-old girl has delighted her family by eating food for the first time in her life.

Tia-Mae has spent a decade being fed through a tube because she refused to consume anything in the usual way.

Despite being seen by a host of experts and flown to a specialist clinic in Switzerland the youngster refused to eat.

Recently her mum Sue McCarthy, 44, offered her some yogurt and was amazed when she accepted.

Now Tia-Mae has soup for lunch, followed by custard or ice cream and the same again for dinner.

She also consumes Angel Delight, mousse, custard and semolina.

At night she is still fed nutrients through a tube, but her mum hopes that in time she will be eating like all her friends.

Born three months prematurely with a large gap between her oesophagus and her stomach, Tia-Mae spent most of her first year in hospital.

But there was no medical reason why she couldn't eat food and the condition baffled everyone.

Now the family from Alderholt, near Bournemouth, Dorset, finally believe they are close to their daughter being able to eat enough to stop having to give her the extra nutrients.
Mum Sue said: "It's lovely to see her eating.

"We can go out for dinner now. I take a little pot of soup for her and she sits and eats with us. Then for pudding she chooses ice cream or custard.

"I can't believe that just before Christmas, all she was eating was a few mouthfuls of yogurt and now we have got this long list of things that she will sit down and happily eat.

"I never thought it would happen.

"I keep thinking of her future, when she's out and about, meeting friends, going to the pictures - normal stuff that children do.

"I don't want her to miss out on all that. I think it bothers me more than it bothers her.
"The specialist has been my light at the end of the tunnel.

"Because no-one knew what was wrong with Tia, they didn't know how to help us. I was left on my own, with no idea what to do.

"We've now got little steps that are achievable and we feel much more positive about everything."

Paul's View

"seeing Tia 3 years later and has now taken steps to finally eat is great news for her family and friends she is happy and her mother Sue i admire she has gone through a lot Tia is now 10 going on 11 when the program was on TV it was like everyone else was going through what Tia's mom was and many showed support Tia and her Mom appeared on 5 News. Sue has shown great strength i don't think i could have done it.

A Mother A Carer who has shown great strength has earned the respect and admiration Tia is lucky to have a mother like Sue i hope that we can be continually updated once in a while of Tia's progress even when Tia goes into her teens and into womanhood that will be up to her family of course!


this space is reserved for any future news on Tia if her family want to share it this will be up to them to do so first!

Okay Please Read

Okay if you want to send us your comments of support to Sue & Tia below please do so but please people keep it real no ridiculous comments no comments requesting personal information okay because if your creepy then your comments will not be approved meaning! your comments wont appear on here as all comments require approval by our admin first!