Archive for the ‘Mo Stewart (Disability Researcher)’ Category

The Abuse of Power In a Corrupt Society


 

 

This isnt the easiest thing to write, it may anger many (which is not intended),but we need to understand how the abuse of power works on the psyche of people who are the downtrodden victims of a corrupt government.

The Blame always belongs at the top of the chain, but more often in a culture of blame we misdirect our anger to those struggling within the corrupt system to enact policies which are grossly unfair and cruel by its very nature of its design. So we have a government which is rogue and a dictatorship that now cannot be denied, however things can change. We can change it by changing our thinking, by garnering information and using it to make that change happen.

We all remember  lab rat experiments where they place food in one place and poor rat goes back time and time again choosing to get electrocuted in the  hope it can eat, well thats precisely what this government are doing to its citizens right now. Its starves them and controls them with deprivation of basic needs, but what if we choose to turn it on its head and not play the blame game. For the last 8yrs many disabled people and those with chronic ill health, the unemployed and carers and workers have been subjected to such experiments,at the really harsh end of that pointed stick,however many others have too, some knowingly and some who just found themselves in the place of choosing to do what morally is right or keep their heads down out of fear in such a unstable job environment.

These same tactics were used in holocaust, people lived in terrible fear and the horrors that ensued cannot be denied to the victims who lost their lives in such appalling circumstances. Where they were encouraged to report neighbours because failure to do so could result in their own demise, helping those poor souls in need  of a hiding place could at flick of switch result in your death as well as theirs, where people followed orders they knew were wrong but out of fear complied none the less as their own survival depended on it. We are all parts in the machinery, some more important than others from the government’s standpoint.

 

So you think what am I waffling on about?  That is now being repeated in 2017 under this Government, and those before it, the similarities cannot be ignored any longer, when the UN has twice slammed this government for human right abuses of disabled people and a society which is largely unaware of what is happening as the government control the propaganda releases. The problem with it is the last 8yrs of successive governments have managed to experiment on its citizens in the biggest behavioural science project ever thought of ,using the flawed ideology that its all your own fault that you are unable to find work , or that you live in poverty since the late 1920’s. The divide and rule tactics that ensure we blame everyone else for our misfortune or treatment, rather than the ‘real culprits in power’ who create policies of harm,while forcing others to do their dirty work. Claimants have been scapegoated by the government to such a degree that society has swallowed the rhetoric wholesale, rather than blame their bosses for ‘piss poor wages’ or ‘zero hour contracts’ which caused a huge inequality between worker and claimant, then it was immigrants stealing our jobs or terrorism, yet the real reason that jobs are not being created to give a living wage. To exploit you and keep you begging. The DWP have blamed ATOS et al and vice versa, the NHS has been absorbed into DWP now hence why the likes of big business giants like ATOS,Maximus,CDHA,G4S,Capita et al all grabbed the multi million pound contracts out of pure greed while treating their staff with same disdain that ‘if you dont like it piss off’,when in reality ‘real’ jobs are not available creating fear in workplace through lack of workers rights or fear of becoming one of the downtrodden, they willingly or unwillingly oppress daily. Yet now more suffering will be inflicted via  Universal Credit and the Health & Work Programme only this time it will affect workers too, almost no one will be unscathed.

Governments blame councils and workers demands for breakdown in services we all need daily, so while you turn on the frontline staff, they are cutting budgets faster than you would believe year in year out, all deliberately done to under fund and force privatisation  while literally making a killing themselves from profits as they dip their bloody grubby little hands into every conceivable project they can to turn a profit. Gradually reducing most services to its knees and letting others go to the wall and sold off so they can profit from that too. The welfare state is no different it run like a business hence the use of the word ‘Stock’ they are stocktaking the country for the biggest sale in the world to highest bidder,the USA and China being major players.We are stock and services are stock.

 

Why so they can then sell you Insurance products to bail the banks out again , yes the ones that sold you down the swannee river  before when they crashed the economy in 2008.  It is they who will profit if you can afford to buy their products, and many will deny your claims too and if you can’t afford a policy tough shit you will just snuff it like in victorian britain where if you were poor you were denied,exploited and worthless if unable to produce profit for your elitist masters benefit.

I get why people are  so enraged by the way they are treated having been through process myself many times,  I feel every death just like rest of society that actually gives a fuck, as a compassionate person who wouldnt?  This brings me back to my point of setting us against each other, while they literally get away with murder,but you are blaming other workers for trying to survive,while your masters rule over you  and serfdom is re-created where you doff your cap for the crumbs on offer at the table. We owe this change of thinking to those we have lost along the way.

 

Dont be a Lab Rat! Fightback against your oppression, take the reins from their hands and then we can change things for everyone in society and get people caring for each other again, where we don’t treat others any less favourably than ourselves.Don’t collude in oppressing others who oppress you because it their job  .That’s real change! Thats a Future to look forward to?

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mo_Stewart/publications

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BypgDGmCVGDTYWktZ0lpMDFiczQ/view

https://dpac.uk.net/research/

https://benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3013-sobbing-decision-makers-plead-with-claimants-not-to-appeal

https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2016/nov/12/assess-disability-benefits-esa-fit-to-work-dwp

https://blueannoyed.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/universal-credit-report-hidden-dangerous-policy-decisions-that-will-cause-harm/

https://blueannoyed.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/universal-credit-the-conversation-nobody-is-talking-about/

https://blueannoyed.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/cuts-that-will-cut-deep-it-is-time-to-say-enough/

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com

http://www.nsun.org.uk/assets/downloadableFiles/ALDONSKOY-Workfare-coercion-in-the-UK_AL-Donskoy2.pdf

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/rogue-company-unum-had-a-profiteering-hand-in-the-governments-work-health-and-disability-green-paper/

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/government-plan-further-cuts-to-disability-support/

 

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Universal Credit Report -Hidden dangerous policy decisions that will cause harm


This report from Disability Campaigner Gail Ward is a must read for all benefit claimants and those claiming  ‘in work’ benefits claimed by millions in the UK. It has plenty of references and downloads contained within the document and it will alarm many, it should, as this government is targeting the poorest in society at the expense of saving the rich. Some of those already transferred will know the horrors already highlighted recently by Citizens Advice (CAB),but the majority do not. This blog doesn’t have the capacity to embed the entire report to enable reading online ,but you can download it from the link below in the hope that this will help many prepare for the next onslaught by this barbaric government whose sole purpose is to hound claimants, and save money for the state putting profit before people. If you thought WCA (ESA) was bad this will make it look relatively tame.

 

https://www.scribd.com/document/353794654/Universal-Credit-Report

Labour Returns to It’s Roots


Corby with mos book

 

Without a right-leaning New Labour leader, there is now an opportunity for the Labour Party to represent the people it was originally created to serve, writes MO STEWART.

There is an entire generation in Great Britain who have no knowledge of the original Labour Party, who confuse Tony Blair as its former leader and who have no comprehension of the damage the New Labour Party created.

 

Three consecutive general election wins for Tony Blair when leader of the New Labour Party was, by anyone’s standard, a significant achievement.  Blair was the Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, was the youngest British Prime Minister since 1812 and was to became the longest serving (New) Labour Prime Minister which is an achievement not easily surpassed.

 

However, there was a reason why the party was called ‘New Labour’ as it broke away from its traditional roots, and engaged with right-leaning policies not dissimilar to those of the previous Conservative government. Efforts to impress the middle class voters were at the expense of the Labour heartlands and the workers the original Labour Party was created to protect.

 

Blair claimed to want to move the Party to what he called the ‘centre ground’ which, in reality, created right-leaning policies, which were in opposition to traditional Labour Party values. Under his leadership New Labour reduced what had been historic links with trade unions, abandoned what had been the Labour Party’s commitment to nationalisation and supported Britain’s entry into the European Union.

 

His landslide victory over the Conservatives in the 1997 general election was impressive following eighteen years of Tory rule and, for a while, all was well.  However, the longer Blair served as Prime Minister the more right-leaning policies were produced. He made every effort to attract the middle class vote, whilst distancing the party from the working class and the trade unions, whose members stopped voting at general elections in their hundreds of thousands as no political party represented them.

Blair’s embarrassing devotion to all things American meant that the regularly claimed “special relationship” between America and Great Britain was reflected in foreign policy, as Blair took this nation into a war in Afghanistan in 2001 we had no business fighting, which was used to give the Republican President Bush the moral justification for American hostilities.

 

On the domestic front, it was the Blair government who commissioned David Freud to investigate welfare funding.  As a consequence of a totally discredited 2008 report by Freud, Blair’s successor Gordon Brown was the New Labour Prime Minister who introduced welfare reforms.  The reforms permitted an unaccountable foreign corporate giant to reassess welfare claimants using the entirely bogus American influenced Work Capability Assessment (WCA), and was no longer in charge by the time it became obvious that the use of the WCA would kill people.

 

Time has moved on and Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the leader of the Labour Party, for the second time, in September 2016.  Never in the history of the party has there been such relentless personal abuse by Labour MPs still loyal to Blair , but opposition to Corbyn from some Blairite Labour MPs couldn’t muster the support he attracted from the grassroots membership of the Labour Party, who elected him to office.

 

Corbyn has rejected the austerity measures employed by the Tories, which were always guaranteed to cause preventable harm to the most vulnerable people in society.  He has also rejected the neoliberal politics employed by the Conservative, the Coalition and the New Labour governments, which created a free-for-all in the world markets, which eventually led to a world banking crisis in 2008.

 

Whilst grotesque salaries were offered to the few, Cameron used the banking crisis to justify the introduction of austerity measures in 2010.  The sick, the disabled and the poor have all suffered the most as a direct consequence of the austerity measures, as tax breaks were given to the wealthiest people in the country and corporate giants were permitted to fail to fund corporate taxes.

 

Devotion to neoliberal politics, together with austerity measures and a vast reduction in funding for essential public services by the Conservative government has created preventable harm and vast inequalities. There has been a return of Rickets to Britain for the first time since the Second World War, together with increases in Tuberculosis, which are linked to the savage Conservative/Coalition government austerity measures which meant that the poorest and the most vulnerable would be often left without food.

 

The answer to that is the desperate need for food banks generously supported by the British public, school breakfasts begrudgingly introduced by the Tories to reduce adverse commentary, to be replaced by nourishing hot school lunches if Labour are returned to power in the 2017 general election.

 

As leader of the Labour Party Corbyn would never agree to commit British military forces to another war zone at the behest of the Americans. He will return rights to British workers, stop the university students being plunged into debt when attending university and has promised to stop the dangerous WCA which has been linked to the deaths of almost 100,000 people since 2011.  This, together with a guaranteed increase in funding for vital public services, including the NHS, the Police Service and the Fire Service would secure a much better and safer future for the British people.

 

It’s now twenty years ago since Blaire enjoyed a landslide victory against the Tories in 1997 and introduced New Labour to the unsuspecting British people. Twenty years later, it is possible that Corbyn could enjoy another significant victory over the Tories, and this time he would introduce a traditional Labour government to the British public.

 

All that is need is for a majority of adults to vote Labour in the general election on June 8th.

 

Mo Stewart is an independent researcher and retired healthcare professional. Her acclaimed book ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’ was published in September 2016 by New Generation Publishing.

STATE CRIME BY PROXY: corporate influence on state sanctioned social harm


An independent report by Mo Stewart

 

Abstract

In the UK there are three words that identify the government enforced suffering of sick and disabled people, and they are: Work Capability Assessment (WCA). This report identifies the influence of an American healthcare insurance giant with successive UK governments since 1992, the influence of a former government Chief Medical Officer and the use of the WCA, conducted by the private sector, as the government permit state crime by proxy when justified as welfare reform.

 

Introduction

Historically, the United Kingdom’s (UK) welfare state provided a guaranteed financial safety net for those in greatest need, from the Beveridge Report (Beveridge 1942) until recently. However, with people living longer and the cost of the welfare budget rising, in 2006 the New Labour government identified future welfare reforms (DWP 2006) to reduce the growing costs of out-of-work disability benefits. Identified as ‘a political choice and not a financial necessity’ when introduced ‘without any ethical approval’ (McKee 2014), the adoption of additional austerity measures by the Conservative led Coalition government in 2010, which accelerated the welfare reforms, soon created a climate of fear for chronically sick and disabled claimants dependent upon welfare income for financial survival. Subsequently, government imposed benefit sanctions, used to enforce the welfare reforms, would eventually cause death by starvation in C21st UK (Gentleman 2014). The future demolition of the welfare state was first suggested in 1982 by the Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (Travis 2012). Using neoliberal politics, every UK government since that time has covertly worked towards that goal. It is the political thinking used as justification for the welfare reforms of the New Labour government, which introduced the use of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for all out-of-work disability benefit claimants (Stewart 2015), and for the extensive welfare reforms and austerity measures introduced by the Coalition government since 2010, and the Conservative government since 2015.

In 2008 the out-of-work disability benefit was changed from Incapacity Benefit to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), in an attempt by the then New Labour government to limit claimant numbers. Outsourced to the private sector, all claimants of the new ESA would be subjected to the WCA ‘fitness for work’ assessment, as exclusively conducted by Atos Healthcare, with the WCA using the critically flawed (Shakespeare et al 2016) biopsychosocial (BPS) assessment model (Waddell and Aylward 2005), adopted to limit the numbers of successful ESA claimants, as the diagnosis and prognosis of the claimants would be totally disregarded, as first advised by Aylward in 1995 (Aylward and LoCascio 1995: 755).

Using the BPS model, the WCA was identified as causing preventable harm to chronically sick and disabled claimants who were not fit to work (Stewart 2011, Jolly 2012, Hale 2014), together with the inevitable harm created by the adoption of additional austerity measures (Pring 2015; Barr et al 2015; Stewart 2016a; Garthwaite 2016; Shakespeare et al 2016; Elward 2016), with all additional research evidence disregarded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who exclusively cite DWP commissioned research in official reports.

Background

Following in Thatcher’s footsteps, in 1992 the John Major Conservative government invited the American corporate giant UnumProvident Insurance to consult, with reference to future welfare claims management. By 1994, the company were appointed as official government advisers and the 1994 Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act introduced Incapacity Benefit, as designed to limit access to out-ofwork disability benefit (Wikeley 1995), which had significantly increased due to increasing numbers of claims for psychological causes of illness.

By 1995, the Department for Social Security’s (DSS) then Principal Medical Adviser, Mansel Aylward, co-authored an academic paper with UnumProvident government adviser John LoCascio, the second Vice-President of UnumProvident Insurance. ‘Problems in the assessment of psychosomatic conditions in social security and related commercial schemes’ (Aylward and LoCascio 1995) was supported by evidence from America, and argued that the UK’s General Practitioners (GP) should not be expected to determine a patient’s incapacity, and so the authority and clinical opinion of GPs would be curtailed (Aylward and LoCascio 1995: 755)

Prior to joining the Civil Service, Aylward was a GP and also worked in the private sector as Chairman and Managing Director of Simbec Research, from 1974 – 1984, which was a company founded by Aylward (Wales online 2004). Shortly after being appointed as the Principal Medical Adviser for the DSS, Aylward was identified in the national press as having been involved with the creation of a private company identified as Mediprobe, when trading as the Nationwide Medical Examination and Advisory Service Limited, and used by healthcare insurance companies to medically assess insurance claims (Rowe,1998). The company was incorporated in 1994 and dissolved on 20th January, 2015. This clear conflict of interest was disregarded by the DSS, yet Aylward’s significant links with the private healthcare insurance industry questions his objectivity when writing a future government commissioned report regarding the assessment of welfare claimants for disability benefit (Waddell and Aylward, 2005).

The 1995 paper (Aylward and LoCascio 1995) expressed concern as to the increases in ‘subjective impairments’, with conditions such as chronic pain and fatigue syndrome listed as the significance of diagnosis was rejected as having ‘a high degree of subjectivity’. This had implications for the welfare budget, and it was suggested that claimants of Incapacity Benefit should have a psychiatric evaluation (Aylward and Lo Cascio 1995:760).

The introduction of the biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment had been successfully adopted by UnumProvident Insurance in America, to limit payment for healthcare income protection insurance claims (Rutherford 2007, Bach 2012, Stewart 2015), and LoCascio was guiding the DSS as to how to introduce the BPS model into the UK. Quite literally, by disregarding diagnosis, the main emphasis of the BPS assessment would be an excessive concentration on psychological factors. The DSS doctors were trained by LoCascio, and DSS non-medical Adjudicating Officers would make benefit decisions based on activity ‘descriptors’, not medical evidence, as the claimant’s doctors’ opinions were marginalised (Sivier 2013).

The former Department for Health and Social Security was split into the Department for Health and the Department for Social Security (DSS) in 1988 and the DSS was then renamed the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in June 2001. By November 2001 a conference was assembled at Woodstock, near Oxford, with the conference listed as ‘Malingering and Illness Deception’ (Conference 2001). Many of the conference participants had an association with UnumProvident Insurance, as represented by John LoCascio, and the goal of the Oxford conference was the future demolition of the British welfare state (Stewart 2015). There was a total of 39 participants, including the DWP Chief Medical Officer Mansel Aylward, and Malcolm Wicks, in his capacity as the then DWP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the New Labour government. To reduce the numbers eligible for benefit, illness would be redefined and many welfare claimants would be declared fit for work, and incentivised into jobs as entrepreneurs if no paid employment was available (Conference 2001: 290).

New Labour was committed to reducing the 2.7 million people claiming Incapacity Benefit and, to do that, a new assessment model would be used. From 1979 to 2005 the numbers of working age claimants of Incapacity Benefit had increased from 0.7m to 2.7m. A total of 21% were recorded as having a mental health problem in 1995 but, by 2005, a total of 39% of claimants had a mental health problem, which was just under 1 million people (Rutherford 2007: 40). Since that time, politicians of all persuasions have prioritised the reduction of Incapacity Benefit claimant numbers by 1 million people. New Labour decided to alter this situation, which had implications for the welfare budget and so ‘…claimants will become customers exercising their free rational choice, government services will be outsourced to the private sector, and the welfare system will become a new source of revenue, profitability and economic growth’ (Rutherford 2007: 41).

More DWP commissioned research was to follow to justify future government plans. Dr Mansel Aylward was the DWP Chief Medical Officer until 2005 and accepted his future appointment, as the Director of the new UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research (the Centre) at Cardiff University in 2004, with no-one other than Professor Malcolm Hooper objecting to this very obvious conflict of interest (Stewart 2015).

 

The Waddell-Aylward biopsychosocial model

Commissioned by the DWP, the Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits (S/C Basis) was rapidly produced in 2005 by Gordon Waddell and Mansel Aylward (Waddell and Aylward 2005), when both authors were sponsored at the Centre with £1.6 million by UnumProvident Insurance (Cover 2004), who fully expected to gain from the UK welfare reforms, and the planned future reduction of the numbers eligible for State funded welfare support for sickness and disability (Stewart 2015).

The S/C Basis DWP commissioned report (Waddell and Aylward 2005) was used as evidence for much of the 2006 Green Paper (Green Paper 2006): A New Deal for Welfare: empowering people to work 2006, which criticised the ‘perverse incentive’ of giving people more money the longer they stayed on benefit (Green Paper 2:13). The Green Paper also claimed that up to one million people could return to work, with further political claims that a million DWP claimants had expressed the wish to do so, which was dismissed as being without foundation in the S/C Basis footnote 16 (Ravetz 2006).

The S/C Basis report (Waddell and Aylward 2005) identified Incapacity Benefit which it claimed ‘traps’ people on benefits and, effectively, condemned claimants to a lifetime of dependency. The report acknowledged that: ‘Contrary to some sensational headlines, IB is not out of control… There is no “crisis”…’ (S/C Basis, 4: 75) The emphasis of the DWP commissioned S/C Basis report by Waddell and Aylward (2005) was that the model used to assess Incapacity Benefit claimants was incorrect and, instead of using the medical model, which the report claimed focused on a claimant’s incapacity rather than their ability, the Waddell and Aylward recommended model to be used was the biopsychosocial (BPS) model.

Of course, the medical model of assessment also acknowledged medical opinion, so it was time to change to using the BPS model of assessment, which disregards medical opinion in order to limit the possible number of future claimants. This was a replica of the BPS assessment model successfully introduced by UnumProvident Insurance in America to limit access to healthcare insurance claims and to guarantee future profits (Stewart 2015, Bach 2012, Rutherford 2007).

Waddell and Aylward’s 2005 report (S/C Basis), which would be used by the New Labour government to justify the introduction of the welfare reforms, was subsequently exposed by Emeritus Professor Alison Ravetz, who identified the DWP commissioned report as being ‘largely self-referential’ (Ravetz 2006). The Waddell and Aylward designed BPS model would eventually be discredited by academic excellence, which exposed the Waddell and Aylward BPS model as having ‘no coherent theory or evidence behind this model ‘and demonstrated ‘a cavalier approach to scientific evidence’ (Shakespeare et al 2016), when referencing ‘Models of Sickness and Disability applied to Common Health Problems’ (Waddell and Aylward 2010).

The former city banker, David Freud, was commissioned by the New Labour government in December 2006 to offer recommendations to reduce the welfare budget. Commonly known as ‘the Freud Report’, ‘Reducing Dependency, Increasing Opportunity’ (Freud 2007) was rapidly produced in six weeks, with claims of a potential massive reduction in Incapacity Benefit claimants. By May 2007 Professor Danny Dorling, when writing as the Guest Editor for the Journal of Public Mental Health, exposed the identified flaws in the Freud Report. It seems that Freud had ‘got his numbers wrong’ and had misinterpreted his own references, so there never was going to be the predicted massive fall in claimant numbers (Dorling 2007).

The protocol and limitations of being published in an academic journal meant that Dorling’s substantial evidence, which had exposed significant flaws in the Freud Report, would not become public knowledge and the DWP based their future welfare reforms on more totally discredited DWP commissioned research. Enobled, never elected and appointed as the DWP Shadow Minister for Welfare Reform in 2009, in 2010 Freud was appointed as the DWP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Coalition government and was reappointed as the DWP Minister of State for Welfare Reform in May 2015 for the Conservative government. A DWP press release in December 2016 announced Freud’s retirement from his ministerial position (DWP 2016a) and claimed that Freud had been ‘…the architect of welfare reform, which has revolutionised the way benefit claimants interact with the state’.

The influence of UnumProvident Insurance with the UK welfare reforms was demonstrated in the supplementary memorandums provided for Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPSC) reports, which clearly listed the transformation of Incapacity Benefit to the new ESA out-of-work disability benefit. The requirement to ‘resist diagnosis’, ‘revise the ‘sick note’, ‘encourage the Government to focus on ability and not disability’, ‘change the name of Incapacity Benefit’ and ‘benefits not to be given on the basis of a certain disability or illness but on capacity assessments’ have all come to pass, as UnumProvident Insurance have influenced UK government welfare policy since 1994 (Stewart 2015). Yet, the fact that UnumProvident Insurance was identified, in 2008, by the American Association of Justice (AAJ, 2008) as the second worst insurance company in America was totally disregarded by the DWP.

Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair in 2007 as the New Labour leader and Prime Minister and, in 2008, introduced the WCA for the future reassessment of all Incapacity Benefit claimants, and the assessment for all new claimants of its replacement, the ESA. The lucrative WCA contract was outsourced to Atos Origin IT Ltd, identified as an international IT corporate giant with no healthcare experience. To conduct the WCA, a branch of the company identified as Atos Healthcare was formed, and the Lima software used for the WCA computer questionnaire was designed by Atos.

Adopted by the Brown government in 2008, following the introduction of New Labour’s 2006 Welfare Reform Bill, the recommendations from the 2001 Malingering and Illness Conference (Conference 2001), the S/C Basis DWP commissioned report (Waddell and Aylward 2005) and the Freud Report (Freud 2007) would greatly reduce the authority and the clinical opinion of GPs, and offer the assessment of claimants who are too sick or profoundly disabled to work to the private sector whose doctors, according to the General Medical Council, ‘have total immunity from all medical regulation’ (Stewart 2015). Based on the BPS model, the removal of the significance of GP opinion opened the door to the introduction of the WCA ‘non-medical’ assessment. This meant that very many genuine ESA claimants were to be refused financial support, and the ‘nonmedical’ BPS assessment of chronically ill people would be conducted by the unaccountable private sector, as recommended by Waddell, Aylward and LoCascio and by former City banker David Freud, when adviser to the New Labour government (Freud 2007). Atos Origin IT Services UK Limited is a French corporate IT and software company, who were contracted by the New Labour government in 2008 to conduct the WCA, at a then cost to the public purse of £500 million per annum (Rutherford 2007).

From 2010 Atos Healthcare used the computer based WCA questionnaire to begin to reassess all long-standing Incapacity Benefit claimants being migrated to the ESA. This meant that very many genuine claimants were refused financial support and instructed to apply for the unemployment benefit, Jobseekers Allowance, with severe sanctions and the total loss of income, often for weeks, when too ill to attend an appointment with the Jobcentre (Stewart 2016a). ‘It is discussed how the state and business act in collusion, as both generally share the same neoliberal conviction on how society should function. This partnership is no more evident than within welfare, where the state have established proxy measures to outsource harm production to distance themselves from potential ramifications’ (Elward 2016). In March 2015, Atos Healthcare were replaced by Maximus to conduct the WCA.

The American healthcare insurance system of disability denial was used for the design of the WCA (Stewart 2013), and the involvement of Atos Healthcare was used to distance the government from the preventable harm created by the use of the WCA. Identified state crime by proxy was knowingly created by the DWP, as the private sector was introduced on a wide scale in many areas of welfare and social policy (Elward 2016). As of February 2014, 92,000 people have died following a WCA, including 2,380 people who died after being found ‘fit for work’ (Butler 2015), as the DWP have again refused to publish the updated ESA mortality totals (DWP 2016b).

Zemiology is the study of social harm. Eight years after the introduction of the WCA, when using the totally discredited Waddell and Aylward (2005, 2010) BPS model of assessment (Shakespeare et al 2016), the preventable social harm created by the introduction of the WCA has been identified by independent research (Stewart 2015, Barr et al 2015, Baumberg et al 2015, Shakespeare et al 2016, Garthwaite 2016, Stewart 2016b), which continues to be disregarded by DWP Ministers. Instead, Ministers prefer to reference DWP commissioned policy based reports, or publications from a right-wing think-tank, whose research exclusively references DWP commissioned policy based research and demonstrates that the claimed ‘independent’ research is ideologically motivated (Robertson, 2012).

It remains cause for concern that, in keeping with Conservative Party ideology, certain corporate funded academic think-tank research demonstrates the ongoing influence of neoliberal politics in published reports when claiming: ‘…almost three quarters of claimants who have had their assessment are in the support group and subject to no conditionality, with very little support to return to work.’ (Pickles et al 2016: 6). This one statement demonstrates the danger of right-wing think-tanks whose research demonstrates that costs, not need, are the priority of the welfare reforms when presuming that people in the Support Group, allocated because they are considered by the DWP to be too ill to work, yet ‘independent researchers’ continue to suggest that there is a problem because these often very, very ill people haven’t yet made any effort to find work. One more example of the danger of commissioned academics considering cash not care, when totally disregarding diagnosis and prognosis in any welfare setting (Stewart 2016b).

These influential reports either commissioned by the DWP (Waddell and Aylward 2005, Aylward and LoCascio 1995), or provided by right-wing think-tanks (Pickles et al 2016) when funded by the private sector (Robertson 2012), continue to demonstrate the ideological resistance to the fact that many chronic illnesses are permanent. Recovery is not possible for many very ill people, and totally disregarding diagnosis and prognosis is dangerous as is the constant psychological pressure that welfare benefit for a permanent diagnosis is no longer guaranteed (Stewart 2015), and those in greatest need are intimidated by the DWP who have ‘…guaranteed human suffering of the least able on a vast scale.’ (Stewart 2017)
What was once the psychological security of the welfare state has been totally destroyed by neoliberal politics, when enthusiastically supported by the national press (Stewart 2017). The market is the dominant force, costs are the only priority, and all evidence of care, concern and compassion has been successfully removed when using academic research that lacks credibility and totally fails scrutiny (Shakespeare et al 2016, Stewart 2016b).

Conclusion

By disregarding diagnosis, prognosis and the claimant’s past medical history, when using the Waddell and Aylward (2005) BPS model for the WCA, the constant suggestion by DWP Ministers is that claimants of out-of-work disability benefit are ‘inactive’, so disregarding the vast numbers of chronically ill and disabled people who do work in the voluntary sector whenever well enough. By definition, anyone allocated to the Support Group following a WCA are too ill to work in paid employment. But, the constant political rhetoric insists that not enough people leave the Support Group to find work (Pickles et al 2016). There seems to be no comprehension that working in paid employment is inflexible, whereas working in the voluntary sector means that chronically ill volunteers can work when having a ‘good day’, and rest when too ill to contemplate leaving the house. This is very obvious to anyone whose healthcare trained, and whose priority is the welfare and wellbeing of the chronically ill claimant and not simply the desire to reduce the costs of the welfare budget, regardless of human consequences (Stewart 2016a).

There is a strong ideological resistance within the DWP as to the reality of the lives of chronically sick and disabled people. The DWP disregard the fact that many ESA claimants are profoundly ill, and will never recover regardless of intimidation and coercion. Relentless DWP threats of benefit sanctions, using a discredited assessment model (Shakespeare et al 2016) that totally disregards failing health and can oblige claimants to seek Jobseekers Allowance when deemed ‘fit to work’ regardless of diagnosis, prognosis or consultant medical opinion (Stewart 2016b) was always guaranteed to cause preventable harm on a vast scale. When advised by Waddell and Aylward (2005), illness is dismissed by the DWP, as is diagnosis and prognosis, and this problem remains relentless and a constant threat to the wellbeing and the survival of chronically ill claimants.

Due to policies demonstrated to have created state crime by proxy when using the private sector to distance the government from the predictable inevitable harm created by the introduction of extreme right-wing policies (Elward 2016, Stewart 2016b), those who were meant to benefit from a welfare state as originally designed to protect them, now live in fear of the DWP, which is causing them guaranteed preventable harm and unnecessary loss of life (Scott-Samuel et al 2014, Gentleman 2014, Pring 2015, Butler 2015, Elward 2016, Stewart 2017).

 

Acknowledgements

Grateful thanks to Lewis Elward for access to his Masters dissertation and his kind permission to quote from it.

Funding

This research received no grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

 

References

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Aylward M and LoCascio J 1995: Problems in the assessment of psychosomatic conditions in social security and related commercial schemes. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 39, 6, 755-765

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Butler P 2015: Thousands have died after being found fit for work. The Guardian, 27th August

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/27/thousands-died-after-fit-for-work-assessment-dwp-figure

Conference 2001: Malingering and Illness Deception. Oxford University Press 2003

Cover 2004: UnumProvident teams up with Cardiff University http://www.covermagazine.co.uk/cover/news/2151231/unumprovident-teamscardiff-university

Dorling D 2007: Guest Editorial: The Real Mental Health Bill Journal of Public Mental Health 6, 3, 6 – 13

DWP 2006: Welfare reform green paper: incapacity benefit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/welfare-reform-green-paperincapacity-benefit

DWP 2016a: Lord Freud to retire from ministerial role. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lord-freud-to-retire-from-ministerial-role

DWP 2016b: Social Security Benefits: Written questions – 41684 https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answersstatements/written-question/Commons/2016-07-04/41684/

Elward L R 2016: Corporate Welfare Crime : two case studies in state-corporate harm. MA Dissertation, the University of Liverpool.  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311683866_Corporate_Welfare_Crime_ Two_Case_Studies_in_State-Corporate_Harm

Freud D 2007: Reducing dependency, increasing opportunity: options for the future of welfare to work. Department for Work and Pensions.

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Jolly D 2012: A Tale of Two Models: Disabled people vs Unum, Atos, Government and disability charities. The Centre for Disability Studies, the University of Leeds

McKee M 2014: Austerity, A Failed Experiment on the People You Tube recorded talk in New Zealand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Fd-uBRPqY

Pickles C, Homes E, Titley H, Dobson B 2016: Working welfare: a radically new approach to sickness and disability benefits. REFORM February 2016

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Shakespeare T, Watson N and Abu Alghaib O 2016: Blaming the victim all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability. Critical Social Policy, 37, 1, 22-41.

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Stewart M 2011: Welfare Reform ~ Redress for the Disabled http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html#WRES

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Stewart M 2016b: Cash Not Care ~ the planned demolition of the UK welfare state. London: New Generation Publishing

Stewart M 2017: Welfare reform is killing people, but the Tory press don’t want you to know. http://www.welfareweekly.com/welfare-reform-is-killing-people-but-the-torypress-doesnt-want-you-to-know/

Travis A 2012: Margaret Thatcher’s role in plan to dismantle welfare state revealed. The Guardian, 28th December.

Waddell G and Aylward M 2005: The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits. The Stationary Office.

Waddell G and Aylward M 2010: Models of Sickness and Disability applied to Common Health Problems. The Royal Society of Medicine.

Wales Online 2004: Tending a family crisis. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/tending-a-family-crisis-2429599 Wikeley N 1995: Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994 The Modern Law Review 58, 4, 523-533

Mo Stewart February 2017

© 2017 Mo Stewart

Psychological Wellbeing and Work-Mo Stewart


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Guest Blog by Mo Stewart

Dear Christian van Stolk

Re: Psychological Wellbeing and Work

Please excuse this unsolicited contact by an independent researcher in Cambridge.

I have read with interest the Psychological Wellbeing and Work report, as conducted by RAND Europe and funded by the Contestable Policy Fund and, FYI, please be advised that I am a former healthcare professional in my previous career.

I shall copy in the Secretary of State for Health, who now leads on mental health, and his Shadow together with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and his Shadow.

Now in my 8th year of independent research into the ongoing welfare reforms in the UK, as guided by neoliberal politics and strongly influenced by American social security policies which have had a detrimental impact on claimants, may I please draw your attention to the book ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’, which has achieved critical acclaim since its publication in September 2016.

To that end, may I suggest you invite access to the research by contacting my publisher and inviting a review copy of the book.

 This recent book review may be helpful: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disabled-researchers-book-exposes-corporate-demolition-of-welfare-state/

It is cause for continued concern that major DWP policies, often negatively impacting on the wellbeing of some very ill and vulnerable people, are invariably introduced using research commissioned by the DWP, whilst disregarding the vast catalogue of distinguished research evidence as provided by a variety of academic experts when not commissioned by the DWP and whose funding is not linked to political ideology.  Please see attached examples of academic excellence.

It is noted that your report refers to ‘work’, which exclusively identifies with paid employment and disregards the beneficial nature enjoyed by an army of volunteers in the UK, many of whom are chronically ill or profoundly disabled and for whom a return to paid employment is neither practical nor inducive to their wellbeing. As a volunteer, it is possible to benefit from a working environment with colleagues and a purpose when well enough and enjoying a ‘good day’.  There is no-one to make accusations when too ill to leave the house, with a diagnosed condition that will never improve regardless of DWP intimidation and threats.

In keeping with reported comments by David Freud, all DWP commissioned research seems to presume that anyone in receipt of out-of-work disability benefits should have access to the benefits for the short-term, with no acknowledgement at all that many, many health conditions are permanent, cannot improve  especially with endless intimidation and coercion by the DWP, and that there is no evidence whatsoever other than totally discredited DWP commissioned research of the claimed one million people on out-of-work disability benefit who should or could return to work.

It is also noted that a report identified as ‘Psychological Wellbeing and Work’ disregards the ongoing identified preventable harm created by the DWP, the relentless political manipulation of the public with claims for which there is no foundation, suggesting that 75% of claimants of out-of-work disability benefits are ‘inactive’,  ‘bogus’, ‘idle’, ‘skiving’, ‘workshy’ and ‘scrounging’.  This has created a situation where chronically ill people, who are not capable of paid employment, now live in fear of the DWP following relentless coercion and intimidation, aided by the national press, which led to a 213% increase in disability hate crimes in the UK during the Coalition government’s term in office, and genuine claimants now living in fear of applying for welfare funding to which they are entitled, to this nation’s everlasting shame.

There are now claimants who have starved to death in the UK, quite literally, as the unreserved and savage use of sanctions has been imposed by the DWP in an effort to force compliance of the unprecedented DWP welfare ‘reforms’ on those least able to protest.

The most vulnerable in society are paying a high price for the political ideology of neoliberalism, some with their lives.

Suicides and deaths are the tip of the iceberg of misery and suffering on an unimaginable scale experienced by those who

are physically or mentally unfit to work, as the government implements an increasingly punitive and authoritarian regime

against benefit claimants. Vulnerable people are left destitute by sanctions that suspend or end their benefits if they fail

to comply with orders to attend ‘assessments’, ‘training courses’, or submit the required number of job applications.

Psycho politics, neoliberal governmentality and austerity

Philip Thomas

Self & Society Journal

Volume 44, 2016 – Issue 4

Perhaps, when considering future interventions for mental health, Consultant Psychologists and Psychiatrists who are not politically motivated could be consulted as they actually have clinical experience of working with ‘common mental health’ problems, which should not imply that they are not serious problems, and they are less inclined to have the welfare budget as their top priority as opposed to the wellbeing of often very ill patients.

It seems unlikely that more coercion by Jobcentre Plus and the DWP, when masquerading as psychological support, is likely to benefit sufferers of mental ill health, who are not known to respond well to relentless intimidation with endless threats of sanctions and the possibility of starvation close to their lived experience.

The travesty of this ongoing government imposed human suffering, where chronically ill people in receipt of welfare benefits are presumed to be bogus, was adopted due to the introduction of neoliberal politics, the outsourcing to private companies very lucrative DWP contracts and the failure to audit the contracts.  Chronically ill people have suffered and died due to political ideology that is unrelated to the health or the welfare of the claimants, and was motivated by the desire to reduce welfare costs regardless of human consequences. The fact that the DWP have refused to publish updated mortality totals of those who have died following the totally discredited Work Capability Assessment may alert you to the ongoing problems, as faced by those least able to defend themselves against this ideological assault.

See: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/green-party-calls-on-government-to-launch-benefit-deaths-inquiry/

I would alert you to the fact that a great deal of the identified increased mental health problems are due entirely to the DWP policies of recent years, where all chronically ill and disabled people in need of welfare benefits are presumed to be bogus unless proven otherwise, the constant savage rhetoric in the national press, the increases in disability hate crimes and the fact that the British public have been successfully misdirected on route to the UK eventually adopting private healthcare insurance to replace the welfare state.

Your research will no doubt benefit administrators in the DWP and the DoH, but will not benefit anyone suffering from a common mental health problem as enforced ‘therapy’ may well now be added to their many burdens for the enormous crime of being too ill to work. The fact that what was once guaranteed and vital financial support has been removed actually guaranteed an increase in the onset of mental health problems, for those who are physically disabled as well as for those with a mental health diagnosis as their primary health problem.

I trust this information may be helpful.

Best

Mo Stewart

Disabled veteran (WRAF)

Disability studies researcher

Retired healthcare professional

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mo_Stewart/publications

http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/library/author/stewart.mo

www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html#documents

Academic confirmation we have all been waiting 7 years for- AYLWARD’S REPUTATION DESTROYED BY ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE


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 Courtesy of Mo Stewart July29th 2016

Re: Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability.

by Tom Shakespeare, Nicholas Watson and Ola Abu Alghaib

 

Critical Social Policy, May 25,2016: 0261018316649120

http://csp.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/05/25/0261018316649120.abstract

AS you all know, I have been exposing the dangerous WCA in my research since 2009.  Eventually, I was able to expose the use of the totally discredited biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment, used for the WCA and adopting a ‘non-medical’ assessment model to resist funding benefit.  Waddell and Aylward’s ‘research’ was based on the modified version of Engel’s BPS model as identified in the 1970s. They are responsible for the BPS model used for the WCA, which has destroyed countless lives.

 

Finally, the very long awaited academic support has arrived in the form of a blistering attack against Mansel Aylward and Gordon Waddell’s research ‘evidence’ who, historically, have written DWP ‘commissioned’ research that has influenced government policy, which led to the introduction of the WCA.

 

Originally published in Critical Social Policy Journal, Tom’s scathing attack against the BPS duo is now attached and is available via Tom’s website at UEA: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/58235/1/1351_Shakespeare.pdf

 

The Waddell-Aylward BPS has remained largely unexamined within academic literature, although it has not escaped critique by disability activists (e.g. Jolly 2012, Berger n.d., Lostheskold 2012, Stewart 2013). In this paper we build on these political challenges with an academic analysis of the model and the evidence used to justify it. We outline the chief features of the Waddell-Aylward BPS and argue that, contrary to Lord Freud’s comments above, there is no coherent theory or evidence behind this model. We have carefully reviewed claims in Waddell and Aylward’s publications; compared these with the accepted scientific literature; and checked their original sources, revealing a cavalier approach to scientific evidence. In conclusion, we will briefly outline the influence of the Waddell-Aylward BPS on contemporary British social policy, and the consequent effects on disabled people.” (p4) (My emphasis MS)

 

Waddell and Aylward slide between general statements that are scientifically valid, and specific statements that are matters of opinion or political prejudice. They also tend to cite their own, non-peer reviewed papers extensively. For example they claim ‘We have the knowledge to reduce sickness absence and long-term incapacity associated with common health problems by 30–50%, and in principle by even more’ (2010, 45). They underpin this claim by reference to one of their earlier publications, Concepts of Rehabilitation for the Management of Common Health Problems (Waddell & Burton 2004). However, there is no evidence cited in this 2004 work to support such a claim, in fact this publication even acknowledges the paucity of evidence in this area (Waddell and Burton 2004; 50).” (p20)

 

“In conclusion, the relationship of the advocates of the Waddell Aylward BPS to the UK government’s ‘welfare reform’ does not represent evidence-based policy. Rather, it offers a chilling example of policy-based evidence.” (p24)

 

The research ‘evidence’ used by the DWP to justify the dangerous WCA, using the discredited BPS model, is finally exposed as having ‘no coherent theory or evidence behind this model’, which is academic speak for being totally bogus.

 

 

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