An Open Letter to my GP’s whole Practice
Dear Dr <name>
Work Capability Assessment: ESA50 – to be returned by 30 July 2013
Within the last two hours, I have opened the white envelope the postman delivered this morning. It was from Atos, who have reopened my file and restarted the process of my Work Capability Assessment. This is the second time I have entered this system this year – the first time left me feeling this way.
Last time, your practice was able to use this Regulation to help me and Atos closed my file. The DWP accepted the authenticity of your opinion and my claim, saying they would review it in six months. This is that review. When I spoke to your practice recently, I got perhaps the mistaken impression that ‘you’ believed this route is no longer effective regardless of any opinion the practice might have. I heard this to mean that no matter what we both might agree about my health, I was to somehow consider myself ready for work when this moment arrived – that because this process is being applied to a lot of people then its simply ‘my turn’ and I might just as well buckle-under. This leaves me in a highly vulnerable and very difficult situation.
The first thing you need to know about me is that I am not allowed to ‘buckle-under’ if what I am being asked to do is criminal – it is a very simple but powerful tool belonging to those who desist from crime. I haven’t buckled under to unfair practices for most of my life and my crime involved my refusal to buckle under. I have already indicated my reasons for refusing to buckle under this time. Since the moment of my crime, my behavioural standards have been as impeccable as it is possible to be for a human being. As a result, in prison, I could refuse to buckle-under by engaging in refusing behaviour without any Prison Officer needing to engage the formal disciplinary processes. It meant I spent my imprisonment at a recognised enhanced level and have no formal disciplinary record. For absolutely certain, there were those who didn’t like what I did in response to their treatment of me but they could not fault how I did it. On each occasion I had to challenge what was being done to me, I had to refuse the ‘life’ they were offering.
Let me make one thing clear. I am not refusing to work. Returning to work would be good for me but I’d like you to understand exactly what that is going to entail because I don’t think you quite appreciate the problems that are going to need resolving.
Let’s first examine the DWP route. According to the DWP – especially when considering getting people back to work – the stated policy is this:
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 paves the way you’re a radical welfare reform programme designed to tackle entrenched poverty and end intergenerational worklessness. These reforms are urgently needed.
The Government has made it clear that employment and personal responsibility are fundamentally important in reducing poverty and is committed to ensuring the most vulnerable in society are helped to fulfil their potential while also ensuring that those who can work are also helped to do so. This is its clear policy objective. (link)
The way this policy is implemented for some of our local Job Seekers looks like this – please notice the use of unethical practices. Knowing what I know as a desister means that I must refuse to comply with such an instruction – which would result in my being sanctioned and welfare benefits denied me. I have a public duty to rehabilitate – if I comply with that instruction I will, in my own opinion, be in breach of my rehabilitation. So to comply with my public duty means I am sanctioned by the State as a workshy scrounger when, in fact, I am trying my hardest to be a law-abiding citizen. If this test is no longer administered, I will be placed in a system with an established record of failing. I have very powerful feelings about this and would ask you to consider what impact this is likely to have on my future mental health at a time when we are both seeing enough improvement for me to think about going back to work.
If we were to agree that I needed to attend the face-to-face Work Capability assessment, then I face a system that has been rigged to fail. This is not speculation – this is fact. Again, I enquire what would you anticipate the likely impact this process will have on my future mental health and my capacity to truly return to work?
When I was seeing my CPN, he told me his measure for my ability to return to work was this: could I deliver an acceptable standard of work to an employer, 5+ days a week/ 40 hours or more. My answer is No, I can’t – not under the terms society requires me to do so, No. The reasons are these:
As a desister, with criminal convictions for violence and threats to kill, I will never been forgiven by the State. This conviction always has to be declared. As a woman in my late 50’s, I am hard to employ because I am considered too old for the standard work market. Were I fortunate enough to find such a tolerant employer, I would probably be far-too over-qualified for any work available and all that is before we consider the impact on both my mental and physical health this process will cause. At every step I face rejection. Whilst I can deal with this, it requires that I endure extremely high stress levels and everyone takes their time making up their mind about me. It is not a process that can be rushed without laying myself open to justifiable claims of manipulative behaviour. Can you begin to see how every door is closed in my face?
The final alternative is this: for me to return to self-employment. Let us consider this prospect for a moment because I have been self-employed before, so I have some idea of the problems I am likely to face. But let me give you another example of a woman who chose this route and see how she is doing.
To set up a successful business requires investment, as I am sure you are aware. Business cannot function without it in this world. Such enterprises require equipping, advertising, promoting as well as delivering the service but for any business to succeed, there needs to be a market for it. First, I have to identify what I intend to deliver. As a desister – yes, we are ALWAYS going to come back to that because the State insists on it – anything I market to the public has to be quality-controlled because I’m not trustworthy. Never mind how I behave or what I do, I will NEVER be trusted in my country again. Whilst I think our State is corrupt and run by criminals, I still have to place myself and anything I do in public view if I am being required to return to public life through work. Therefore, much like my example above, finding someone to invest enough to get my business off the ground will probably mean asking the public for help.
Let me ask you a question: Supposing you were surfing the internet and came across a kickstarter page set up by a violent criminal – no matter how laudable, how likely would you be to contribute if the money went direct to the criminal? And how much would you decide was ‘enough’ when it came to the amount being asked for? Now allow me to explain the practical problems facing someone like me at the outset of such a venture.
These are the ‘things’ I haven’t got but which I know I will need for a successful business start-up: a telephone landline; broadband; transport; equipment like a computer-printer and the resources to run it; presentation materials, so printing; and postage. I will have to upgrade my wardrobe for the kind of work I have in mind, simply to be acceptable to potential investors – that’s before I can start persuading them to part with their money – plus all the things I have forgotten in ten years. As a desister, I will have to achieve this whilst placing safeguards in place to ensure the public can check I am not running a scam. On top of all of the above, I need to pay my rent, my utility bills (nothing will run without electricity), the upkeep of my home and all my personal needs and responsibilities. Given the likely impact of all these demands and the current impact of receiving my EDS50, how well do you think I am likely to be, both mentally and physically, come September when my certificate runs out?
As at the time of writing, I have to inform you that my physical is deteriorating. Facing down that which I regard to be criminal takes a heavy toll upon the body, as I am sure you are well aware. In my own case, I genuinely believe I am facing a system that wishes me dead. When belief is supported by the facts, I understand that it is regarded as a valid point of view by those capable of discerning the difference between truth and lies. The biggest problem I face, when making these points, is the inability of the professionals involved to hear what I am saying – I am not believed until I act on the actions I promise to take in the event for being forced to attend a WCA. These remain unchanged since my first response to my first ESA50 and remain so because I have found it to be an effective strategy when I am refusing to buckle-under. Whilst there have been many beautiful people, in the last few years, who find my actions distressing and seek to persuade we in other directions, I’ve always found the direct approach to be most effective in cases like this, especially given my experience in using them.
Whilst I am gratified that signs of working to an acceptable standard of ethics is appearing in our professional spheres; and am also deeply grateful to the BMA for issuing advice on this matter to GP’s; I am yet to be satisfied that all professionals in this country understand the significance of an ethics-fail. It is therefore my intention to test the ‘system’ for lawfulness. If I am to be subject to this process, I will need to test it every step of the way and it needs to be done in public – hence my posting this letter where others can read it. My dispute is not with you – it is with government policy. All I am asking you to do is come to a professional decision, in my case, as to whether I might still qualify for exemption. I don’t intend to present myself at surgery, but if you believe there is a need please do not hesitate to contact me. Within a ten-minute slot, it is impossible for any of you to obtain a full picture of what is occurring to your patients. I know I’m not alone in this – I am attempting to communicate with you how I intend to deal with it given my personal commitment to Desistance.
I feel very strongly about what our government is forcing our country to do to its people. I believe it is wrong at every level imaginable. I believe the government is lying about its intentions and I believe I can prove it to a criminal standard of evidence. I intend to fight with my faith. If I live and succeed in business I will be teaching other people to fight these lies too. How well do you think this government would support a woman like me in such ambitions? Precisely.
Until then, it will be over my dead body that I obey and unlawful order from this government. I mean every word I say.
Thank you for your time.