Monthly Archives: December 2013

#Atos and the “Day of Judgment”

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This post follows on from “Forward Planning“, posted on 9 December 2013.

Since it appeared, there has been additional material posted to the web on this subject. The first came from TynesideMind and is a video of stories from their clients about the experience of being subjected to a Work Capability Assessment. If you  don’t yet understand the problems facing those subjected to the test, I urge you to watch it.

I’m deeply grateful to both TynesideMind and those clients who gave consent for their stories to be told both in general principle and personally. Personally because I am presently a counseling client of TynesideMind and am due to be subjected to the Atos test depicted in the video this coming Thursday probably in the same Assessment Centre in Newcastle.

So, following on from my previous post, I checked my GP’s letter and arranged for it to be faxed to Atos. My doctor says the following things about the present state of my health (apologies for the poor quality):

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There is more. When I called Atos to ask for the right fax number, the man who dealt with my query asked me the following question:

What do you expect that will do?

I had to explain to him that during the previous WCA I had been summoned to, last March, a letter from my GP had been faxed to them. As a result, my WCA been cancelled and my file was closed. Only then would he release the fax number to me.

There is one ‘small’ problem with my GP’s lette, which both of us missed. It makes no reference to the specific regulations that empower both Atos and the DWP to cancel a WCA. The particular regulations can be found here:

ESA Regulations 29 & 35 – Substantial Risk Exceptional Circumstances

(Further details and information can be found via The Black Triangle Campaign)

I don’t know how serious this oversight is yet but neither Atos or the DWP can deny its existence in my own case because it was used last March after my GP wrote to them quoting these regulations.  It is therefore perfectly within Atos’s authority to listen to my GP and take him seriously. It is also reasonable to assume that, prior to writing the letter, he checked the opinion of my counselor – he did. My counselor confirmed my suicidal ideation under the exemptions applicable to counseling confidentiality, although she had already been given my full, free and informed consent to do so.

This is the situation at the time of writing.  Tomorrow, I will discover what Atos has decided.

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Please bear in mind that what I am attempting to do here is to bring a forensic insight into the processes of being subjected to the WCA.  Any  decision in my case is likely to hinge upon whether my suicidal response is authentic or not and/or whether my belief that the stress of the WCA is likely to cause further damage to my already failing heart has any validity in fact. I understand that, at present, Atos is ‘unable’ to assess my mental and physical health together – its an either/or matter even though I suffer from both.

In matters of true judgment, we have to consider and weigh the evidence. What I’m going to do now is invite you, the reader, to arrive at your own judgement based on the evidence. This is the kind of evidence I would want presented at any inquiry into my death, whether ‘natural’ or by my own hand, so I see no harm in weighing it ahead of time.

With regard to my suicidal ideation and the likelihood of my acting upon it – is there any evidence that supports this proposition? You are invited to consider the content of the following blogs:

Tales of Suicide Survivor

Further Reflections on Suicide

Medical evidence can be obtained from Hull Royal Infirmary (December 2001)

Further evidence can be obtained from the HMP Prison Service during 2003-5 and 2008-10 with particular reference to actions relating to suicide prevention.

So, in answer to the question: Yes I do have a history of acting on my suicidal ideation; latterly, this behaviour is most noticeable when I believe I am being abused by the systems I depend upon.

My claims to heart failure can be verified as follows :

I was subject to a heart attack in November 2012.  I was subsequently hospitalised with heart failure in November 2012 and again in September 2013, not long after I had received my WCA ‘call-up’ papers from Atos. These details are all available via my medical records. I believe that attending a further WCA puts me in danger of further potentially-lethal harm because it leaves me feeling like this and such high levels of distress impact directly upon my blood pressure which places unnatural pressure on my already failing heart.

This is my evidence with regard to questions around the authenticity of my health and mental health claims. I would challenge Atos and the DWP to provide an equal standard of proof of duplicity by both my Medical/Mental Health teams and me if they intend to call our word into question.

The next step of this Judgment are the allegations I make of lethal intent in my post ‘Forward Planning‘. I allege that the present Coalition government, with particular reference to those issuing orders within the DWP, together with others unknown, are engaged in an attempt to deprive me of not only of my life but of my Right to Life. Is there any evidence to support this contention?

Interestingly, there is.  It comes from a very reliable source and has only recently been released:

Government Reviewer Opposed Rollout of ESA

What this information makes extremely clear is that, against professional advice, the decisions being taken in the DWP at the time were based on ideology, not the best interests of claimants. If it is understood that such decisions were being made then, and we assume that the underlying ideology remains unchanged, then any intent, lethal or otherwise, contained within subsequent DWP behaviour will make this apparent.

So this is what the DWP have been doing over the last three years. The department has been told repeatedly that the WCA is not fit for purpose:

This is the LSE explaining the problem in May 2011.

Here, in 2012, GPs warn that the WCA is “driving our patients towards suicide” and accuse Ministers of using work assessments to ‘hound’ disabled people on benefits.

In 2012, again, MSP’s challenged the Tories about the WCA in the Scottish Parliament. Their response was to claim the stories being told were ‘anecdotal’.

It became far less anecdotal in October 2012 when the WCA mortality statistics were released.

In 2013, however, the mortality statistics ceased to be available, even under FOI rules – this presumably returns the issue of WCA mortality to the realms of anecdote.

These are the findings of the 4th independent review into the WCA.

This is an Appeal Court judgment against the DWP and supports the contention that the WCA discriminates against those with Mental Health problems. Please note the following paragraph:

 

Instead of accepting the tribunal’s findings, and conducting an urgent trial, the Government appealed to the Court of Appeal against the tribunal’s finding of “substantial disadvantage”.

Mental Health Resistance Network

 

This is a study that demonstrates how the DWP and Atos apply targets when passing or failing those subjected to the WCA.

This concerns a new ‘layer’ in the WCA Appeal process, introduced on 28 October 2013, which deprives me of any income at all whilst I exercise my right to appeal a WCA fail. (It is a matter of record that I failed two previous WCA’s and won both my appeals at tribunal)

 

I would submit that the UK government’s behaviour, as detailed above, points to a callous and casual disregard for my Right to Life. I would also submit that my contention that the UK government is actively and unlawfully seeking to deprive me of my life is a validly held opinion based upon the facts submitted.

 

I would invite both the DWP and Atos to submit evidence, of the same standard, to prove otherwise.

 

Let us all observe what happens now.

 

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Forward Planning

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Today or tomorrow, I have to check my GP’s letter to Atos regarding my WCA on 19 December. He is going to repeat the message given to them last February when Atos were told my attendance was likely to be life-threatening. At that time, Atos closed my file and my ESA claim was upheld.  In the months since, I have been prescribed antidepressants for my suicidal ideation and was hospitalised again with symptoms of congestive heart failure in September/October 2013. Subsequent tests indicate that my diastolic function has deteriorated further since my heart attack in Nov 12. My high levels of anxiety concerning this WCA will certainly not help matters.

Whilst I have covered these issues more than once in the past,  it’s worth noting the changes I will face if this WCA goes ahead and I am required to attend.

Firstly, I will likely fail because I’ve failed every WCA I’ve attended in the past.  My illness fails to register on their ‘points’ system. Then, my problems were rooted in mental health issues and, after each failure, I won my case at appeal. The WCA is now publicly recognised as failing ESA recipients with mental health problems – check out the facts for yourself – so I was set up to fail before I even walked in the door. Therefore, my expectations of  further pending failure are firmly grounded in reality and supported by the evidence.

Secondly, Atos didn’t have a very good track record with assessing heart patients in early 2012. It would be nice to post up-to-date figures on WCA mortality rates but, guess what, the DWP has stopped collecting or releasing that information. As someone directly impacted by this government policy, I find it deeply disturbing that evidence pointing to lethal consequences is apparently being covered up by the very people who are inflicting these ‘procedures’ on folk like me. To my eye, this points to ‘intent to murder’ – the evasive and irresponsible behaviour of government when the public start dying early due to their social policies suggests that a dramatic increase in mortality is precisely what they want to achieve. For those who think my opinion is overstated or melodramatic, you are invited to consider the following information.

Thirdly, the Atos WCA is not a test at all. It is in exercise made to look like a test. The WCA pass rate is not down to any medical opinion, it’s down to targets – if the pass rate maximum has already been met, the person being assessed will automatically fail because the system requires it. You can find more information on this here.

Finally, there has been a change in the Appeal system. When I fail this WCA – because that’s the way the cards have been stacked – I can appeal. In the past, my appeal went straight to the tribunal and I retained basic ESA until it was heard. The DWP have introduced a new ‘layer’ to this process. If I wish to appeal against a rigged Atos decision, I must now ask for my case to be “reconsidered” by the DWP before I can appeal to the independent panel. During this reconsideration – which is time-unlimited – there will be NO benefit payments at all. ESA is only reinstated once I have failed my reconsideration and have lodged my appeal at tribunal. If I need income to live now, I understand I am supposed to relinquish my claim for ESA and apply for JSA. To apply for JSA I must formally declare I am fit for work, which I am not. Were I to do that, the DWP could quite rightly claim that my JSA application contained false statements which would then support the prejudiced contention that all benefit claimants are cheats. Are you now beginning to understand exactly how this system works?

The more I look at this situation, the more it reminds me of the cruel Nazi shunting from pointless pillar to meaningless post of Jews and other social outcasts during the Third Reich. In a world fixated and dependent for its survival on money, to actively deprive the sick and disabled of any form of such income is to threaten their lives by removing their capacity to survive. It won’t produce more workers, as this government maintains it will, it will produce high mortality statistics instead – the very statistics the government is seeking to hide. When considering government ‘social policy’ towards our sick and disabled, it becomes increasingly hard not to conclude that our deaths are to be regarded as “socially beneficial” because that seems to be the only way to explain  government and ministerial behaviour in the matter.

If I attend this next WCA, I will be colluding with this system that, to all intents and purposes, seeks to drive me to my grave. Simply put, I am no longer prepared to do this. If these ‘people’ want me dead, I will deliver them a corpse with my finger pointing at my murderers. This is what I have told my GP and, for the sake of any subsequent inquest into my death – whether ‘natural’ or by suicide – I am repeating what was said in this post. Both my GP and counselor believe me. They also believe I am rational.

I’m about to be harassed, insulted, hounded and otherwise forced through a government system designed to remove not only my honesty and integrity but all means to my current social existence. I’ll lose my income, my home and my life as I know it – and that’s if I live. If other people think that this government ‘offer’ is a ‘life worth living’ then let them live it – I refuse to.

I will not be a part of this monstrosity – it offends me to my very soul.

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