By John McArdle Black Triangle Campaign
Sunday 19th May 2013
As our members and supporters know, Black Triangle has been at the forefront of lobbying members of the medical profession to help us bring an end to the DWP-Atos Work Capability Assessment régime at the earliest possible time.
We began locally when our campaign member and Medical Adviser Dr Stephen Carty submitted a motion through the Lothian Local Medical Committee (LMC) to the Scottish Conference of LMCs (Scottish GPs associations) at Clydebank last year.
The motion calling for the WCA to end “with immediate effect” was carried almost unanimously. We quickly submitted it to the UK LMCs conference in Liverpool, where it gained the overwhelming support of UK GPs before making its way to the British Medical Association’s Annual Representative Meeting where doctors from every discipline carried it almost unanimously on 24th June.
Sadly, as John Pring of Disability News Service has reported, the BMA’s leadership have so far failed to give any meaningful effect to the motion.
In November we launched our ESA ‘Substantial Risk’ Regulations 29 and 35 Campaign asking GPs to apply the law to discharge their ethical duty of care to act where policies and systems are causing avoidable harm to patients.
Where GPs have done this the campaign has been a great success.
We have distributed the information throughout the NHS locally in Scotland and 26 magnificent doctors from Scotland and the rest of the UK at the coalface of have joined with us in lobbying the BMA leadership to disseminate knowledge of the Regulations to GP practices everywhere.
The Scottish media has done its bit with coverage in The Scotsman, The Herald and the Edinburgh Evening News. We are deeply grateful to them for this act of socially aware and responsible journalism. However, we have been completely stonewalled by the UK London-based national media such as the BBC and sadly, even by ‘friendly’ publications such as The Guardian who, shocklngly (and not for the first time) do not seem to have found our campaign work meritorious enough to warrant a mention in their esteemed title.
As the environmental movement say: ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’.
This has been our tactic from the outset and in that spirit we have arranged to meet with the Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, Michael MacMahon MSP, this coming Thursday to present our case to him advocating that the Scottish Parliament now intervene on our behalf in support of our ESA Regulations Campaign.
As Sir Nicky Winton whose 104th birthday it is today has said:
“I think there is nothing that can’t be done if it is fundamentally reasonable.”
We are confident that our ESA Regulations campaign is fundamentally reasonable in every respect.
Further still, we are confident that once it receives the close attention it truly merits, it will prove to be the single most effective weapon we have as a civil and civilised society in fighting back to protect all our sick and/or disabled citizens from the most wicked, unconscionable and ruthless attack on the civil rights of disabled people in living memory.
If we in Scotland are successful in enjoining the support and backing of the Scottish Parliament in ensuring that all Scottish GPs know how to apply the regulations, we are confident that GPs in England and Wales will also rapidly follow suit.
Wish us luck and when we go there, we go there for you.
All of you.
It’s all we can do.