This morning, 28th June 2012 at 09.45 am, Britain’s doctors from every medical discipline voted to demand that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as carried out by AtoS ‘Healthcare’ on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) end with immediate effect:
That this Meeting in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by Atos Healthcare, believes that:-
ii) calls on the BMA to demand that the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.
The BMA have published the following report on their website:
Scrap work capability assessment, doctors demand
28 June 2012
The computer-based system being used to determine whether people receiving incapacity benefit are fit to work should be scrapped, the meeting agreed.
London GP Louise Irvine said the WCA (work capability assessment) system was causing ‘distress’ to thousands of people with long-term health conditions deemed fit for work, as well as subjecting the doctors involved to ‘McDonaldisation’ of their careers.
She said 40 per cent of those who appealed WCA decisions were successful and this success rate rose to 70 per cent for those who took up legal representation.
Dr Irvine said: ‘There is no empathy in the system, it is all accusatory.’
However, London consultant in occupational medicine David Snashall urged the meeting not to call for the WCA to be replaced, arguing that there was a scrutiny process in place to improve the system.
Professor Snashall said there was a fundamental misunderstanding surrounding the computer-based system, which was ‘merely a guide’ and did not mandate the questions.
However, the meeting supported a call on the BMA to demand that the WCA should be ended ‘with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause unavoidable harm to some of the weakest and vulnerable in society’.
The Black Triangle Campaign, from whom the original motion originated, warmly welcomed the carrying of Lewisham Division’s motion which added to their motion (480a) that the BMA ‘demand’ the end of the WCA ‘with immediate effect’.
Black Triangle Campaign founding member John McArdle issued the following statement:
We are absolutely delighted that this motion has been carried.
The decision today will send out a shockwave throughout our society that will penetrate to the highest levels of this ConDem Government, and to the Labour Party who have been complicit in the continued operation of this barbaric ‘assessment’ régime – began by them – which has led to the avoidable deaths of dozens of disabled people recorded by H.M. Coroner – and caused enormous harm and misery to hundreds of thousands more.”
What we have witnessed today has been a coming together of human beings from across our civil society – our doctors uniting together with our sick and/or disabled people who are under savage attack – who are being persecuted and tyranised all in the name of unconscionable cuts and austerity for the weakest and most vulnerable while £95billion in tax goes uncollected each year and people like Bob Diamond is able to preside over a banking system that has systematically swindled our entire society and get away with it.
The WCA is a smokescreen for cuts to disabled people’s welfare and nothing else.
The succesor to Disability Living Allowance – the so-called ‘Personal Independence Payment’ to be introduced in April next year – with the express aim of cutting 20% from the budget set aside to ensure that disabled people are able to live with a modicum of dignity in a society that has the right to call itself ‘civilised’ society – is similarly nothing but a full-scale attack on the fundamental human right of disabled people to live with dignity in keeping with the U.K.’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
We put the Government on notice.
We are uniting across civil society in defence of our human rights and in defence of our N.H.S. and our public services.
The Government have sought to vilify and demonise our doctors over their pensions dispute – something we as disabled people are entirely used to. Before they seek to crush an opponent, they first mount a sustained campaign in the right-wing media of of misinformation, defamation and outright propaganda designed to ‘divide and rule’ people from the group under attack.
Don’t fall for it. Our doctors have shown the world where their true priorities lie -and that is with the interests of the patients and the NHS above and beyond everything else. They too, have been dealt with shamelesslesly and duplicitously by this Government of amoral millionaires who wouldn’t understand what ‘ethical’ conduct was if they looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary. Private profit is their God and the altar upon which they are willing to sacrifice all that we hold dear.
We now call upon the BMA to give full effect to motion 480 by calling for a full boycott of the WCA. No doctor should violate the code of medical ethics by supplying their labour to AtoS.
We call upon the General Medical Council to revoke, with immediate effect, DWP/AtoS’ assessment centres’ “Approved Medical Environment” status and launch a full inquiry. Doing nothing is no longer an option. People are dying.
We furthermore ask that the BMA calls upon all the other professional bodies and individuals who as Health Care Professionals (‘HCPs’) supply their labour to AtoS, perpetrating and legitimising policies and systems that cause serious, even fatal harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society.
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