(Click on the icon left, OR HERE if any problems, to follow the vote live in the morning. Black Triangle will be issuing a press release tomorrow 28th June 2012 at 17.00)
Tomorrow in Bournemouth the British Medical Association’s Annual Representative Meeting will debate the following motions which The Black Triangle Campaign put forward. If these motions are passed they will become official BMA policy:
Thursday 27th June 2012 09.30 – 09.45
479 Receive: Report by the Chairman of the Occupational Medicine Committee (Paul Nicholson).*
480 Motion by LEWISHAM DIVISION:
That this Meeting in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by Atos Healthcare, believes that:-
i) the inadequate computer-based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons;
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.
480a Motion by SCOTTISH CONFERENCE OF LMCS:
That this Meeting in respect of work capability assessments (WCA) as performed by Atos Healthcare, believes that:-
i) the inadequate computer based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons;
ii) 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.
Black Triangle has sent the following email to the ARM Committee:
We note that the DWPs current policies and systems have been shown to be harmful, indeed devastating, to patients in violation of the GMC’s recent ethical guidelines published in Good Medical Practice:
‘…that a doctor must (overriding duty or principle) take prompt action if he feels that “patient safety is or may be seriously compromised by inadequate… policies or systems.’
As a Disabled People’s Organisation who insist that there shall be ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’, we implore the committee to insist upon the:
Halting of all doctors’ involvement in the administration of the WCA in the role of ‘Health Care Professional(‘HCP’) in ‘Disability Assessment’ for DWP/Atos, until such time as proposals for its replacement with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm are placed in the public domain and can be discussed and agreed upon by all parties, including disabled people themselves.
We believe that the harm that is being done is of such a magnitude that the only appropriate and ethical course of action for our medical profession is to immediately withdraw cooperation with the Government’s unjust and inhumane WCA regime.
Together with our doctors, we demand that the assessments must be halted “with immediate effect”.
We note with alarm that a spokesman for the BMA is reported to have told John Pring of Disability News Service that:
“Doctors told the DWP at the meeting that the WCA was “fundamentally flawed” but that they were open to “anything that improves where we are at the moment”.
We do not believe that this conciliatory approach to the negotiations with the Government is satisfactory, given the cataclysm which sick and/or disabled people are presently suffering, or that it gives effect to the will expressed by GPs through the motions passed at Clydebank and Liverpool LMC Conferences.
We note that a DWP spokesman told Disability News Service that:
“Officials met the BMA recently and we are aware some GPs would like a feedback mechanism. We will continue to work with them”
The lives of disabled people are being utterly devastated here and now.
We believe that whilst such an adverse event (‘significant event’) reporting mechanism would be warmly welcomed by disabled people, its discussion should form only one part of the BMA’s discussions with the government as to how, in the words of the LMCs motion – to replace the WCA with a ‘rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm’ to patients, some of the weakest and most vulnerable people in our society’: But for now, the WCA must end immediately.
We believe that the WCA functional descriptors are inadequate and “deny” a person’s very real illnesses and disabilities. It is fundamentally flawed and cannot be ‘reformed’.
The test itself was ‘pioneered’ by the US insurance industry (Unum Provident) to unlawfully deny legitimate insurance claims.
It must be scrapped and replaced with something entirely different, designed and formulated by Medical and Health Care Professionals; and disabled people themselves, in such a way that harm is avoided and the fundamental human rights of sick and/or disabled people are respected in full.
The WCA has sought to redefine the meaning of ‘disability’ beyond all recognition, as the perverse absurdity of tens of thousands of detailed cases of patients with the whole spectrum of impairments being found “fit for work” and no longer entitled to state support fully attest.
We welcome Motion 480 part (ii) “Calls on the BMA to demand that the WCA should end with immediate effect”
We call for the actions of the committee to give effect to the will of Scottish and UK LMC Conferences by making just such a demand.
We call upon the BMA to issue a press statement to this effect and to demand that the General Medical Council immediately suspend DWP/Atos’s Assessment Centres’ ‘Approved Medical Environment’ status.
The hard evidence of serious harm and numerous suicides in direct result of these ‘assessments’ is overwhelming and irrefutable.
Doing nothing is not an option.
Doctors must act now and boycott the WCA until further notice and publicly call upon all allied Health Care Professional (‘HCP’) bodies and their memberships who have, until now, been supplying Atos ‘Healthcare’ to follow suit on the ethical rule here stated.
Hundreds of thousands of sick and/or disabled patients are hoping and looking forward to receiving news of a press statement/conference ARM’s Conference containing words that will recognise and give effect to this plea.
We have placed our trust in you.
Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights