Fury as Tory welfare police order kidney dialysis patient Paul Mickleburgh back to work

Paul Mickleburgh

By Claire Elliot, The Daily Record

HE’s one of the world’s longest surviving kidney dialysis patients and has had 33 years of renal treatment, four failed transplants and 14 heart attacks.

But now, in a shameful indictment of Tory welfare cuts, Paul Mickleburgh, 53, has been deemed fit to work.

The dad of three, who was diagnosed with renal failure when he was 19, was forced to give up his job as a technician 20 years ago after his body rejected a fourth donor kidney.

He is now so ill doctors have taken him off the transplant list as he would not survive a fifth operation and will spend the rest of his life on dialysis.

The machine, which cleans his blood, is now the only thing keeping him alive.

But after more than three decades hooked up to it for five hours, three days a week, other organs, including his heart, are also failing.

The Government insists that under their new employment and support allowance scheme, which replaces incapacity benefit, “those found to be too sick or disabled to work won’t be expected to”.

But Paul, from Aberdeen, who has also battled cancer, pneumonia, 14 heart attacks in the last five years and suffers from spontaneous internal bleeding and brittle bones, has been placed in a “work-related activity group”.

This requires him to attend “work-focused interviews” and actively look for employment or his incapacity benefits will be cut.

Incredibly, the Department for Work and Pensions reached their decision without Paul even being interviewed or given a medical.

Paul said: “How ill do I need to be? Apart from being dead, I don’t know how I can get much worse. It makes me so angry.

“I was asked to tell them all my illnesses and when I had finished it was a page and a half.

“I enclosed all my medical history, medication, dialysis times and what it does to me after being on it for 33 years.

“But to my shock I have been passed fit for work and must attend work focus interviews and do everything possible to find work or lose my benefits.

“I’d liken this to what the Nazis did, working the disabled and the sick until they dropped dead and were no longer a burden.”

Paul, who has a mechanical valve fitted in his heart, a twisted bowel and suffers agonising joint pain as a result of prolonged renal treatment, has now written to his MP, Malcolm Bruce.

He needs painkillers just to get him through each dialysis session and it takes him a day to recover.

Paul wrote to the Department for Work and Pensions urging them to reconsider his position but his plea was rejected.

He was told: “You must take part in work-focused interviews with a personal adviser to continue to receive employment and support allowance in full.

“The adviser will help you take reasonable steps to move towards work.”

Paul said he believed it was “all to save money and they don’t care who they upset”.

He said: “It’s unrealistic and unreasonable to expect me to attend these meetings when there is no realistic prospect of an improvement in my health.

“I’m worried sick about these changes and I believe I took my last heart attack due to this cruel policy which makes the disabled feel they are a burden.

“My wife and children have all worked since leaving school. We’re not a family on the take.”

Paul’s wife, Joyce, who runs her own dog grooming business, said: “I understand that they’ve got to sort out the benefits, but there are better ways to go about it.

“There is just no way he can go to these meetings, let alone go to work. When he comes off the machine he goes home to bed and I don’t see him until the next day, he’s so exhausted.

“What’s he to do, kart the machine around behind him? It’s crazy.”

Aberdeen South Labour MP, Dame Anne Begg, said: “A lot of the changes being made by this Government seem to be particularly harsh on disabled people. And the people who are getting hit the hardest are those who have worked hard all their lives.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said they did not comment on individual cases.

The Scottish Daily Record

Comments
  • DAVID A SHAW June 1, 2012 at 8:12 am

    This is a fine example of the stupidity, ignorance and dare i say it DELIBERATE policy of the DWP to force chronically ill people into situations that will actively cause them harm, both mentally and physically and hopefully end up with their death. Hence they no longer are a drain on the system. Yes just what the Nazis did , historically correct assumption.

  • Celia June 1, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Well they are obviously out to kill us all off, there’s no other valid reason for this.

  • david stevens June 1, 2012 at 10:39 am

    i think its fairly obvious to anyone now that this new back to work system is not designed to get people into work, nor to care about their future, but instead to smudge the unemployment figures. companies like BEST and A4E just prove this further….but for disabled an seriously ill people, to assess someone who is ill without actually assessing them is just barmy. and where is their common sense? it doesn’t take a genius to figure out their methods are wrong so why their decision makers haven’t realised this is beyond me. i can only assume they are evil people with twisted morals and ethics. and he job centre should have more sense to speak up up to powers that be when they know their policy is wrong. they won’t though because they are porgrammed negative sheep who only reply with ‘you’re not allowed to do that’

  • Linda June 1, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Just how disabled do you need to be to pass the test? It would appear if you have a heart beat that’s enough!!! My heart goes out to this man and his family, having to live every day must be hard enough, without the stress and worry of having to deal with this.

  • jeffrey davies June 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

    yes but you miss the point atos he can bend arm or leg you fit for work and on it goes wre will it end atos the jesus firm who make the sick walk on water jeff3

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