Disabled Veterinary Surgeon crippled by chronic pain today blasted Con-Dem benefit cuts to Scottish Parliament Committee Meeting

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IAN MEGAHY, who spoke out at Holyrood, was assessed fit for work by Atos after being deemed too ill to use public transport after his assessment.

Ian Megahy who was giving evidence at the committee meeting this morning
Ian Megahy who was giving evidence at the committee meeting this morning

 
A VET who was forced to give up the job he loves because of crippling pain has slammed the Con-Dem benefits system.
 
Ian Megahy’s heartbreaking testimony to the Scottish Parliament exposed the Tory lies that the brutal welfare cuts are designed to help those most deserving of support.
 
The 50-year-old had to give up his job as a vet and part-time Glasgow University lecturer nine years ago suffering from the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.
 
But he was left devastated after being assessed fit for work last year, despite being sent home from his Department for Work and Pensions test in a taxi after being deemed too ill to use public transport.
 
He later collapsed in a doctor’s waiting room and required an ambulance after being told his appeal had failed. After putting him through this turmoil, the DWP later admitted they had got it wrong and agreed he could remain on benefits.

The case is the latest example of the trauma caused by the Coalition’s cuts. Last week, the DWP revealed more than a quarter of Scots on incapacity benefit before October 2010 had been reclassified as fit for work – in excess of 17,000 people.

The Con-Dems claim the process is designed to weed out so-called “skivers”.

But Ian, from Hamilton, laid bare the torment the process is causing to Scots with legitimate illnesses and revealed he has been relying on a wheelchair since the stress caused by the assessment, carried out by French firm Atos.

“I am a robust, strong character,” he told MSPs. “There is not many people who would say I’m a walkover – but this process has pushed me to the very edge.”

Ian said that if it was not for the support from his wife Sharon and daughters Lesley, 22, and Alison, 20, he wouldn’t have coped.

He added:

“That’s the main reason I wanted to speak out. It is doing that to somebody with superb family support and great friends. I am the person who should have it easiest – but it is an utter nightmare.” 

Ian at work as a vet
Ian at work as a vet

Ian was one of three witnesses who gave evidence to Holyrood’s welfare reform committee.

He qualified as a vet in 1984 and set up his own practice before being struck down with the debilitating illness. He insists that, contrary to what the Con-Dems claim, it is the most deserving who are losing out as a result of their policies.

Ian said:

“I desperately want to get back to my work – I love my work. That is what makes it so particularly offensive. That is what makes it so demoralising because we all are trying our very, very best.

“But the trouble with the DWP and Atos is they demonise the very people who do try.”

He also launched an attack on UK Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who has refused to meet the Holyrood committee.

“They say the moral test of governments and civilisations is how they care for their old, their young and their sick,”

said Ian.

“I would like to thank my government for caring about these matters. You certainly do not get that impression from Westminster.”

Former teacher Marlene Hepburn, from Stirling, also sent a start message to Duncan Smith. She said:

“I would just ask him, ‘Where is your heart, where is your sense?’”

Marlene told how multiple sclerosis has left her unable to lift her legs, to climb more than two steps, made her prone to falls and left her double-incontinent.

“Who’s going to employ a woman that falls over, and then has to go home and get showered?” she said. “They have no idea of the reality of living with a disability.”

The committee heard claims that Atos emphasise mobility and play down difficulties in their assessments for DWP.

Marlene said her smart appearance and tasks she does to cope with her MS, such as swimming and volunteering at an MS support group, were used to demonstrate her fitness to work.

She added:

“I have a problem with my bowels. I said I wore pads and the report said ‘she only wears pads’. I change them four times a day but that didn’t make the report.

“It was the dismissal of the fact that I had these problems: ‘They weren’t important. They didn’t impact on my life’. I felt really threatened because it was conducted with a need to get me in and out, and the fact that I sat for 45 minutes with ‘no apparent discomfort’ went against me.” 

The trio at Holyrood
The trio at Holyrood
 

Lesley McMurchie told how her husband, a former head of offender management at Fife Council. suffered a mental breakdown after more than 30 years of work and family issues.

“The state has contributed to making him worse,”

she said.

“I thought when we set up the welfare state it was to be there for people like my husband, who worked really hard, who did his best, so that in times of need there would be something there. But it’s not there.

“He’s now not in receipt of any kind of benefits. He’s basically on the scrapheap. A very sick system has been put in place and it doesn’t have the people at its heart.”

The DWP said the previous system abandoned people to a life on benefits and insisted they’d made substantial changes to the work capability assessment.

A spokeswoman added: “Our reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities and universal credit will make over three million households better off through making work pay.”

The Scottish Daily Record

Comments
  • […] Roden alleges that some politicians ‘including some in the Labour Party who are unable to speak out publicly’ are ‘furious’ that AtoS workers are being ‘demonised‘!  […]

  • jeffery davies February 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    yet another one abused by this system of abuse by atos dwp who will put a stop it before there are no ill ones left yep its just like the nazi party waiting for your turn to go to atos assesment only medicals when youcomplain to the mp,s then they are medicals but denied your benefits ny atos abuse left to go homeless and starve this is the modern britain the sick and disabled got to put up with welcome to the humanity of abuse aby them who should look to protect you jeff3

  • Pink Parrot February 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Oh enough already! The game’s up DWP. We’re not abandoned on benefits, or languishing, festering, shirking or scrounging. You’ve been found out for the rotten-to-the-core lying, propagandist, disability deniers that you are, you and your partners in the gruesome twosome, ATOS. The game is up. We will never forget the people who have died after being found fit for work. Ever. This is not politics, this is people’s lives!

  • JJ February 6, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Yes, Pink X

  • MPH February 6, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Agh! At least the Scots appear to be sitting up and paying attention, the English, on the other hand…

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