Joint Response by DPAC and Black Triangle on Dr Phil Peverley’s Comments in Pulse Republished in The Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph
This post is in response to the following articles:
Dr Peverley’s original rallying cry in the Pulse was that he did not want to sign ‘sick notes: ‘Save me from the unworking well’
Reported in The Telegraph
‘A GP incensed at his surgeries being full of the “disgruntled unworking well” has said he considered displaying a poster of Professor Stephen Hawking along with the caption: “This bloke is not on the sick”’
The Daily Mail:
DPAC and Black Triangle condemn the misguided, insensitive, inflammatory and defamatory comments of Dr Phil Peverley.
We also want to condemn the pitch and severity of the pieces in the Mail and Telegraph (2nd August) framing Peverley’s comments, as a further outrageous abuse of the facts and issues affecting disabled people and those with diagnosed long term health issues.
Peverley’s words are an insult to all those that suffer the misery and anxiety of Atos within the regime designed to remove support from disabled people. His words are an insult to those that have died shortly after being declared ‘fit for work’ or before an appeal which found that, once again, Atos were wrong-something that happens with increasing regularly in a system that is chaotic and unworkable.
Those people may also have been within the so-called ‘proportion of punters’ that Peverley claims ‘are hell-bent on trying to prove they’re really ill, and need us [GPS] to confirm it’ or maybe they were some of the perceived ‘disgruntled unworking well’ who are ‘full of indignation at being considered reasonably healthy.’ The Department of Works and Pensions DWP own figures show deaths within 6 weeks of tests were at over 10,000. The DWP are refusing to publish up –to date statistics, so we would guess that these figures have risen significantly.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Black Triangle on the 28th June 2012 the British Medical Association (BMA) supported a call 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.’
Peverley, on the other hand, thinks Atos are doing a great job – despite new evidence everyday that they clearly are not, despite MPs, journalists, and the public accounts committee condemnation of their conduct and the multi-million Atos contract (See Dr Margaret McCartney’s piece in the British Medical Journal and Black Triangle’s’ 2013 letter of support from Doctors, Trade Union general secretaries and civil society).
Remarkably, Peverley declared that he considered putting a picture of Stephen Hawkings in his surgery with the caption: ‘This bloke is not on the sick!’
The comparison of Professor Hawking to every single disabled person is beyond bizarre.
As Dr McCartney has put it with regard to Atos’ sponsorship of the 2012 Paralympics:
‘I’m worried about Atos view of ‘disability’.
‘I’m worried that they somehow think that all people with disabilities somehow have an elite athlete inside them.
‘The truth is that some people are physically different and it is society that disables them; there are some disabled people who are phenomenal athletes, and there are some people who are so sick or disabled that they can’t work.
‘Atos has made many disabled peoples’ lives miserable, and it would have been far better had they put their sponsorship money into making their system fairer.
‘If there is a legacy from the Paralympics, I hope a small part of that will be considering how fairly we treat sick people when they are most vulnerable – currently, Atos is failing us all.’
Professor Hawking is a man with the funds to ensure a network of P.A. support, home adaptations and technical aids – something far out of the reach of the majority of disabled people – where even a basic level of support is becoming increasingly unlikely in the current slash and burn climate.
Hawkings won’t miss his ILF payments if the appeal hearing against the DWP doesn’t produce the correct verdict.
Hawkings won’t need to worry about local authority cuts or the tsunami of other cuts, caps, punitive costs, sanctions and penalties being imposed on disabled people and other low income people by this Government.
In Sept 2012 the BMA also said that GPs workloads had massively increased due to the chaotic system of the WCA and increasing numbers of appeals. Peverley also says:
‘These fitness-to-work assessments – under Atos, and under anyone who takes the role for that matter – generate a massive amount of work in general practice’
in his column in the Pulse. However, neither the Mail nor the Telegraph wanted to pick up on the increased workloads the Atos/WCA system is causing for GPs.
None wanted to mention that people can now be charged up to 200 pounds for GP reports, to support them in an assessment, or that GPs increasingly refuse to supply reports either – a further hurdle for disabled people and those with debilitating long term health issues in the attempt to gain the support they need in the punitive assessment process.
The Mail and Telegraph both carried the comments of Peverley. True – they’re both right wing newspapers and tools of Tory propaganda. Yet, the pitch and severity of both pieces in framing Peverley’s comments was a clear abuse of the facts and issues facing disabled people; as are Peverly’s inflammatory comments.
Peverley’s original Pulse piece fits the welfare ‘reform’ agenda perfectly.
An agenda that incorporates the right wing media and Governments constant demonising of disabled people as feckless/workshy/scroungers – Peverley’s original rallying cry in the Pulse was that he did not want to sign ‘sick notes.
The piece headlined: ‘Save me from the unworking well’ was posted on the 29th July. Neither the Mail nor the Telegraph showed the same eagerness to publish his jaunty column of 25th April ‘A Curious Case of Missing Sick Notes’ which talks about the constant losing of sick notes by the DWP. But why would they?
Let’s have 100% ‘fit to work’ even if a 100% drop dead in the process!
Meanwhile, for those that can afford it like Professor Hawkings and other upper-middle class citizens there’s always the Unum ‘back-up plan’.
In the meantime Peverley has been reported to the GMC. Twitter @gmcuk
There is a facebook campaign group at Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants: facebook.com/permalink.php?…
Peverley is on twitter @PhilPeverley Please remain polite and courteous at all times while expressing your legitimate concerns and criticisms! We must not bring ourselves into disrepute!
His surgery address for letters is at the link below – please do not use the surgery telephone lines!
Dr Phil Peverley
To Protest against this and the other attacks on disabled people join DPAC’s 7 days of Action http://dpac.uk.net/2013/07/reclaiming-our-futures-7-days-of-action/
DPAC twitter: @dis_ppl_protest
Black Triangle twitter: @blacktriangle1
Also from the wit: Red mist over black humour
GP defends column describing older people as ‘senile old gits’
Helene Mulholland The Guardian,
Its intention may have been satirical, but older people’s charities have reacted with fury over a recent magazine column penned by a Sunderland GP in which he describes elderly patients as “crumbly, senile old gits”.
Rick B @TenPercent
4th August 2013 from TwitLonger
@Dis_PPL_Protest @AnitaBellows12 @Hossylass @suey2y @edwinmandella @clarercgp @chocolatewig@blacktriangle1 bottom line: in law the offence is tested as does the person feel discriminated against, I can categorically state that his views made me feel discriminated against. I felt if I were his patient I would not get adequate care because he is prejudice against people with disabilities and especially if those disabilities meant they had to be involved with the social security system because they were not independently wealthy or could not earn enough to live, hence both class/status based bigotry and ableism. I would suspect if his patients were surveyed we may indeed find evidence of poor treatment and even malpractice. This is not different to a doctor expressing racist views and then questioning if people of colour would receive equal treatment from that doctor.