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Here we go again.....

Discussion in 'Politics & The Economy' started by overkill, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. overkill

    overkill Active Member

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    A new 'govt backed' review has concluded that GP's should be stripped of the power to sign patients off on long term sick.

    Now, I'm all for helping people back into work from long term sick. It's not much fun sitting at home bored silly, and if your employer can't offer an alternative then the idea that employers who can should be helped to do is great. That's the good bit.

    However, this is not about getting people back to work, it's about cutting sick pay and sickness benefits. That's the bad bit.

    Have the govt learnt nothing from their experience with Incaps? With a record 40% of claimants winning appeals, you'd think that the idea of non qualified 'independent (yeah right..) assessors' asking bald questions with no idea of what is or is not 'fit' would have warned them off?

    But no. The same right wing BS is too be forced on people who are off sick, and GP's, who are of course not at all suited to telling with someone is fit to work or not, taken out of the loop.

    After all, with so many vacancies about, it's going to be easy for employers to take on someone who can't work in their normal job, isn't it?:rolleyes:
  2. stanga

    stanga Member

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    Because every individual signed-off definitely, absolutely can't work in their normal job.

    You are naive.
  3. NewMan

    NewMan Active Member

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    Despite being a bit of a "rightie", I actually think this is a daft idea and I can't see it going too far, just one of those things that get "announced" only to be kicked into the long grass indefinitely.

    That being said, since this is going to be a "left wing fluffy animal loving" vs "right wing puppy drowners" ideology issue any minute, I might as well point out that hiding unemployment numbers behind long-term sickness was a trick the previous government were pretty good at - smoke too much weed or crack or drink too much alcohol to hold down a job? Well, you're not unemployed, you're just too sick to work, aren't you, you poor little thing...

    "Vote Labour, we'll give you money for smack, and sign you off work so you've got the time to use it!"


    Edit: Just watched the BBC piece about this and the MS sufferer they interviewed is a girl I went to school with - I see her updates on Facebook about having bad times with being off work for long periods of time, spending a lot of time in hospital and things like that. She was actually the person I was thinking of when I thought this was a daft idea, since who'd know her medical history better than her GP?!
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  4. overkill

    overkill Active Member

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    If they, their employer and the GP agree (and usually Occy health as well) then no, they can't. An employer can currently get rid of any employee on long term sick as long as they show good cause, and that they've gone through the three steps.

    Why assume the opposite, that 'everyone' is shaming or GPs 'are getting it wrong most of the time'?

    Sometimes peoples blinkered views astonish even me................:rolleyes:
  5. overkill

    overkill Active Member

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    I assume you did not live through the 80's then? When the govt just plain lied about unemployment figures? If you are going to start an argument on ideological grounds make sure you are not throwing smaller stones at glass than your opponents can.

    There is no need to start any sort of argument along those lines. As you said yourself, this is a nonsensical idea, based on the available evidence. There is no need to trade insults.
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  6. maf1970

    maf1970 Active Member

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    So if the GP is not the one signing someone off long term sick, who is ?
    Define long term sick ?

    It is about cost cutting. But then the whole name of the game just now is making savings across the board due to the state of play that the current government was left by the previous Labour one.:nono:

    On a lighter note :-
    :laugh:Cant help but laugh when the ad is for First4Lawyers Personal Injury Specialists.
  7. overkill

    overkill Active Member

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    Long term sick is anything over a month. In employment terms though, it is dependent on the size of the organisation. A small firm can look to dismiss if someone has been on long term sick for as little as six weeks. For larger companies the expectation is that they can (economically) keep the job open for longer. However, even then, if a large company sacks someone in a matter of months and they can show this was due to the post holder being 'key' and 'economic harm' being done to the company by their absence, they could still win if the employee made a complaint.

    No, it's called making savings at our expense so those who really made the mess don't have to cough up. I don't see too many bankers suffering just now, or worrying about the effects on them of govt cuts, do you?

    As before, cut too deeply, too quickly now, and some future govt ends up footing the bill for the problems they cause.........

    Back on topic, where does it end? Everything is being linked to the economy, no matter how tenuous. Next GP's will be told they can't sign kids off on long term sick because it keeps their parents out of work! :rolleyes:
  8. gibbsy

    gibbsy Active Member

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    Afraid that's down to Mad Maggie Thatcher when she threw thousands of colliers and steel workers out of work in the 1980s.

    Long term illness and disability has actually been taken out of the hands of GPs since the end of the last century, although the GP did have to make a written report on your condition. You were then assessed by government appointed experts. I've been through it and they can be pretty brutal.
  9. IronGiant

    IronGiant Moderator

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    If it's a mechanism to help people who have been off sick for a month to try and get back to a job that is still being held for them then I'm all for it.

    I don't think that is what its major agenda is though :(
  10. Squiffy

    Squiffy Active Member

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    Absolutely spot on thread title, although not for the reasons you think. Here we go again, another biased government bashing thread.

    BBC News - GPs should 'not sign off long-term sick'
    People should be signed off for long-term sickness by an independent assessment service and not GPs, a government-backed review says.

    The review also suggests tax breaks for firms which employ people who suffer from long-term conditions


    Hardly the 'evil' attack the sick story the OP would have it portrayed as.

    I'm completely in favour. If someone is long term sick, why wouldn't we want them to be properly assessed?
  11. la gran siete

    la gran siete Active Member

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    the GPs themselves are the best people to make that assessment not a bunch of people with, probably,dubious qualifications and a government set agenda
  12. Oldboy1934

    Oldboy1934 Active Member

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    ATOS for instance?

    It's odd that GPs will be trusted to look after an £80bn NHS budget from 2013, but can't be trusted to decide if someone is genuinely sick or not.
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  13. la gran siete

    la gran siete Active Member

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    they actually care about their patients whilst this government initiative is not about that or helping people into work but about taking as many claimants as possible off the benefit.Very cynical
  14. Squiffy

    Squiffy Active Member

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    So you completely ignore the elements of the review which suggest tax breaks for employers who take on somebody with a long term condition?

    After all, to do otherwise would undermine your the-coalition-is-always-evil approach to pretty much every thread.
  15. sharger

    sharger Member

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    Not every thread.... just the ones when it is quite plain to see another shocking exhibition of pushing through a veiled ideology eg. cutting sick pay and benefits.

    Not everyone who is sick is swinging the lead... just like not everyone who is on benefits has 15 kids and is a refugee from Somalia blah... blah as the daily mail would have you believe.

    And as for the coalition is always evil portray that you think anyone that doesn't have your 'dave I want your babies' view is a pretty poor argument.

    When you are ill where do you go? The doctors or the local government office? So if they are competent to diagnose your condition in the first instance what changes further down the line?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  16. travid

    travid Active Member

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    The occy health bloke addresed the staff a couple of years ago and said he could overturn the diagnosis of a Doctor and Consultant. We all laughed and left the meeting en-mass. All that from a bloke with a basic first aid course to his name!

    ATOS, Occy health etc, are percieved, at least in our establishment, to be there to get those who are on genuine sick, the sack.

    I am all for getting the "work shy" back to work, but a blanket policy is wrong, IMO.

    The tax break idea seems at least one good proposal, but one I suspect will be binned.
  17. neilios

    neilios Active Member

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    But what do we do about the serial sickness offenders within the nhs for instance,very few get caught as its easy to play the system and fool occy health..
    And as for gp's being tursted to look after nhs budgets...:lease::suicide:
  18. sharger

    sharger Member

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    No one likes serial sickness offenders, it does no good for the company, the employees left to pick up the additional workloads, the economy.

    Unfortunately there are those who wish to tar all long term sick with this same brush. There needs to be and currently are procedures in place to manage long term sickness. Rather like the other thread about managing peoples performance, the stark reality is that these procedures are not followed properly and subsequently fail. This leads to people shouting about how all long term 'sickies' are swinging the lead and we need new procedures to make it far easier to get rid of these people. Unfortunately this only leads to unscrupulous employees abusing the system for their own needs.
  19. dovercat

    dovercat Guest

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    The long term ill and disabled are already assessed by non-medically qualified people on a "what can they do" style system and have been for decades.

    This is just more of the same. But for the shorter term ill.


    People who think the long term sick or disabled are capable of work need to look at how severely ill or disabled you have to be to score 15+ points on ESA Employment Support Allowance to be in the work related activities group, score 15+ points and be ill or disabled enough to be in the work related activities group with limited capacity for work related activity, be assessed as in the ESA support group.
     
    Below I quote the list of things in the ESA assessment that get 9pts not enough individually to get 15pts and qualify for ESA. So a claimant only meeting one of these criteria, or one of these criteria and a 3pt criteria would be referred to JSA Job Seekers Allowance

    People who meet one of the above criteria score only 9pts not enough to get ESA. These are some your new JSA claimants not eligible for any extra support and required to meet all conditionality terms of JSA or lose their benefit.

    The ESA legislation is blatantly flawed. Some of those it makes subject to JSA conditionality or ESA conditionality. Are due to the level of disability recognized by the assessment, obviously incapable of meeting the conditionality of the benefits they are assigned to by that assessment.

     
    I do not think the point of ESA is to introduce sensible tests or fair requirements. To prevent people who are not disabled claiming to be disabled and to help those who are disabled into work if they are able. I do not think that is it's purpose. I think that is just being used to justify the introduction of ESA. It is the sheep's clothing the wolf at the disabled persons door is wearing.

    By having ESA redefine sick and disabled people as capable of some work, or possibly capable of some work at some time in the future maybe requiring specialist equipment or help to do that work. Enables the government to cut their welfare entitlement and introduces conditionality. The claimant ceases to be a vulnerable member of society deserving of unconditonal help and becomes a unemployed malingering scrounger who deserves a cut in welfare entitlement and a kick up the backside.

     
    I disagree with the government when they say the genuinely disabled have nothing to fear. They can rightly fear less welfare entitlement and conditionality.


    I disagree with the government when they say they are caring and not abandoning the disabled to a life on welfare. ATOS and UNUM do not have reputations for caring for the disabled, they have reputations for denying benefits to the disabled.

    Their assessment consists of :

    A tick box questionnaire that excludes some of the higher scoring questions. Tick none of the boxes score 0 tick the highest box on the form for the criteria and they are denied the points for the higher version they were not aware existed.

    A interview which will be held typically up a flight of stairs, and be run late. If they turn up they are capable of getting to work, if they get up the stairs they are capable of going up stairs, if they waited they can sit for a period of time. No account of the help, support, pain, stress involved or effect on their health. If they fail to attend the assessment they are not eligible for the benefit.

    The face to face assessment is not a physical and mental capability test performed by someone medically qualified. It is not even asking or assessing the criteria as defined by the legislation in a open manner. It is asking computer generated capability assessment questions and typing answers. That the computer extrapolates to take things out of context and make unjustifiable assumptions. How it works a trade secret.
    Do you watch East Enders, if they do they are assessed capable of sitting still and concentrating for an hour. It is assumed they are not just watching bits of the program and it is assumed they can comprehend the program.
    Do you have a pet, if they do they are assessed as capable of caring for themselves as it is assumed they care for the pet, so have no problem initiatite actions, planing, organizing, etc, ... It is assumed the pet is not looked after by someone else or suffering unintended neglect.
    If they wash their hair, they are assumed to have no problem moving their arms.
    Do their own shopping or cooking then assumed they can pick up and move objects.
    Etc...


    I disagree when the government says the vulnerable will be protected. I think their definition of protected is too limited.

    The claimant has to ask permission if they wish to record audio or video of the face to face assessment. This permission according to ATOS should always be denied. Presumebly they do not want claimants to be able to prove what was actually said or done. ATOS do not record the face to face assessment but ATOS do use what the claimant said as evidence in their report. The ATOS assessor is assumed to be completely honest and infallable, while the claimant is left unable to prove a thing.

    They keep changing the assessment criteria to make the benefit more difficult to claim

    They are removing legal aid so the claimant will be less likely to have legal representation at appeal.

    They also face the stress and uncertainty of being repeatedly reassessed regardless of their medical condition and prognosis, at least once a year.

    The number of appeals the DWP loses and the number of appeals the claimant fails to attend due to being dead, or an inpatient in hospital are way too high to have any confidence in ATOS system actually applying the legistlation correctly, as unfair as that legistlation is.

    Changes to ESA criteria since it`s launch with the stated aim of making the system simplar and reducing appeals. The moving goal posts defining sickness and disability


    I think the government definition of vulnerable is too limited.
    Only the support group keeps the non means tested and unconditionality. Those incapable of doing any work now and forever. They are not assigned on basis of points. They get assigned if ATOS correctly follows the legislation on the list of disabilities that should not be called in for assessment or that require expert medical advice on if they should have an assessment and that advice is correct. ATOS are suppose to use people qualified to give that expert advice. But ATOS does not use specialists to make the decision or refer to the person's medical history or consult the person's doctors, they typically use GPs, nurses and midwifes going of what someone put on a form and any supporting evidence sent with it.
    Even those in the support group get reassessed every year regardless of their medical condition and prognosis. So have to live with the stress and uncertainty of having to rely on ATOS getting it right every year and the government not yet again changing the definitions of what is sick or disabled enough to qualify as being one of the "most vunrable"
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  20. dazza74

    dazza74 Member

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    I think this is quite a good article on the subject :

    No, GPs can't always be objective over patients' capacity for work | Ben Daniels | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

    The problem I have with this is story is, is it a Doctor's place to basically take the decision to retire Ken 11 years earlier that the state degrees him able to retire, I don't think it is in this case. Also, £65.45 a week, that's the same money as JSA so I don't really see what he's get so worked up about. If there's actually no jobs, he could just surely go through the motions of looking for work and you never know he mind find something that would get him out of the house.
  21. dazza74

    dazza74 Member

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    Another thing about ESA unless I'm missing something (although I have looked into it). Seems to me the only people who can look into claiming it as far as new applicants go are those who can live for free due to the time it takes to assess a claim. If you had actually need some money coming in to live it seems you have to go straight onto JSA.

    If you've got problems with social phobia etc, can take you months to get to see a Cognitive Behaivarouable Therapist on the NHS so all you can do in the mean time is go and see the Doctor and at best get put on Anti-Depressants and sign onto JSA or get no money.
  22. travid

    travid Active Member

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  23. Oldboy1934

    Oldboy1934 Active Member

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  24. dazza74

    dazza74 Member

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    I don't think people consider when they talk about cutting benefits what it costs just to live. You might be able to feed yourself on £57.50 a week, but your going to struggle to keep the utilities going. You sure as hell wouldn't have the money to save up for appliances that most of us take for granted. If it wasn't for I believe in most cases family and friends helping people in this position they'd be more cases like this.

    Not sure what else this couple could have done other than commit some heinous crime and get banged up and then they'd get looked after at much higher cost to the state. Make me laugh this country, they won't even legalise euthanasia. If you haven't got the £10k to pay Dignitas in Switzerland to do the job for you, you have to take matters into your own hands. I know it's a dark thing to say but I'd prefer some honesty, either we want to look after people or we don't.
  25. la gran siete

    la gran siete Active Member

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    What an absolutely shocking indictment on this government and the system which has so badly failed them:mad::thumbsdow.Makes my blood boil considering he has served this country in the army and the disgusting social services had taken their 12 year old child away.If she doesnt know now what happened to her parents ,one day she will surely find out.Her parents driven to suicide because of a system that no longer cares .:thumbsdow.Evil beyond belief
  26. NewMan

    NewMan Active Member

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    It's a shame, of that there is no doubt, but let's not kid ourselves that this is simply a case of the "evil tories" at work here... As you say, it's the system that failed them - not a system the Coalition have just recently put in place, but certainly one a supposedly caring government (and one which will no doubt attempt to spin this tragedy to their anti-everything-the-coalition-propose advantage, vultures that they are) who had been in power for 13 years could have done something to fix...

    Waiting for the usual suspects to appear now to call me heartless, that I somehow wish death to innocent children and puppies, and so on and so forth.....
  27. dovercat

    dovercat Guest

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    The GP has not had the ability to do that for new claimants for many years. New IB claimants have required regular personal capability assessments for years. Being on long term benefits due to disability or sickness solely on a GP's say so has only applied to a minority of legacy sickness/disability claimants. That has ended with ESA replacing Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disability Benefit, Income Support on grounds of disability.
    As has long term non-means tested support for all but the most severely disabled, everyone else will have their household income and savings taken in to account. Spouses will be expected to provide for their disabled partners if the spouse has savings or an income, independence for the disabled partner gone. Marrying or living as a couple with someone who is disabled if you have a job or savings financially stupid.

    If you claim JSA you are declaring yourself fit for work. There is a clause in ESA regulations that specifically states this.

    You put in a claim for ESA and it is paid at JSA level for 13 weeks the assessment period. At some point during that period you get sent a questionnaire by ATOS then get called for a face to face assessment. Unless your disability is on the list of those who should not be and ATOS bothers to follow the legislation.

    If you claim for ESA is rejected, you get referred to JSA. But if you then claim JSA as advised, you are declaring yourself capable of working and available to work. If you disagree with the ESA assessment. You need to not follow their advice and demand ESA during the appeal process, which will be paid at JSA level same as during the assessment period.

    If you are severely disabled enough to qualify you also put in a claim for DLA after 3 months, as you condition needs to have lasted at least 3 months before you qualifiy. With Personal Independence Payments replacing DLA this period before qualify is due to be extended to 6 months.
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  28. sharger

    sharger Member

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    At what stage are you ever going to put an alternative view across that does not roll out your stock answer of 'it was the last goverment fault'.

    Tragic story and my heart goes out to their family. I hope you find in death the peace you did not under this regime. RIP...
  29. dazza74

    dazza74 Member

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    I don't see how they had much choice, sounds like the child wasn't being properly looked after. I'm a just bit confused with regards the husband, why wasn't he offering more support to his wife and child. I think they basically discovered the harsh reality of the current benefits system when you've no child you can claim against.

    Why the new avatar by the way, your comments alone are normally enough to stoke things up on here, you don't need a picture of that cheating bar steward as well believe me.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  30. NewMan

    NewMan Active Member

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    Probably the same time you stop rolling out your view of everything ever happening in the history of the universe being the fault of either THIS government or Thatcher. :facepalm:

    Just because you don't like the fact that the story quite clearly states that they'd been battling to get these benefits since BEFORE the Coalition came to power, don't get all huffy and try to be clever about "stock answers".

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