Musings: Lifestyle Change vs. Political Change and Disability

Just replied to a comment on my blog from a disability campaigner now owning that his focus is on “lifestyle change rather than political change” (I’m one of more than a few people with criticism of the BioPsychoSocial mantras being rammed down our throats).

This is my response:

“Again – lifestyle change for disabled people not born into privilege will not happen without political change.”

No place for disablism in disability campaigning

“There’s a great irony in telling someone to feel positive
whilst ensuring that they feel negative.”

Nell  Bridges, 2012

Life online brings out the best and worst in people and often when you least expect it, with Social Media copping more than its fair share. Every day is a  struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside. It’s hard enough to explain to someone who really has no clue just how debilitating chronic pain and invisible illnesses are. It’s even worse when the person that needs convincing is another person with disabilities, a Carer or self-proclaimed disability advocate passing judgement on that which they have very little knowledge of, if any at all.  Continue reading

#ATOSUni Campaign Update No. 4: Enter Margaret McCartney

 

ATOS PROTEST BANNER
Image by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty via Flickr

 

Great news!

As promised to me in my last ATOSUni Campaign Update, today on Twitter @mgtmccartney has sounded the klaxon calling for nurses who have taken part in Derby University-Atos training to speak to her in confidence.

M. McCartney Twitter Screenshot
@mgtmccartney, Twitter

Margaret McCartney is the GP who sensationally added to the Atos maelström with her British Medical Journal feature “Well enough to work” in which she investigated the ethics and fairness of the disability assessment process. #ATOSuni will be part of a planned follow-up and Dr. McCartney can be contacted privately via e-mail at margaret@margaretmccartney.com.

#ATOSUni has yet to hit mainstream consciousness even with the Machiavellian farce that is the House of Lords Welfare Reform Bill discussions and voting lead by Investment Banker Lord Freud. A testament to just how badly the decks are stacked against people with disabilities and benefits recipients in general are the Welfare and Employment Conference 2012, featuring Department of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, which takes place on 26th January and Lord Freud’s “Of Mutual Benefit Launch” Demos event held in March 2011. The latter is all the more odious as it was “a privte, invitation-only roundtable taking place under Chatham House rule in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons”.

I can but hope that Dr. McCartney is able to make inroads where I have not.

Related articles

@CreativeCrip #ATOSUni Campaign Update

Earlier this month ATOS Healthcare, a subsidiary of French IT firm Atos Origin, quietly made it known that they had joined forces with University of Derby – Corporate to accredit training for Atos Nurses. Their Certificate of Achievement – Disability Analysis will give Nurses 30 of 120 credits required for a BSC (Hons) in Nursing.

It is important to note that just a few days after the ATOS-Derby announcement, The Green Party called for the removal of ATOS from benefits assessments.

There are many concerns about this alliance and  programme that need addressing. It is even more imperative in the aftermath of the Second Reading of the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords and subsequent push by the Liberal Democrats to amend the WRB time-limiting ESA stipulation at this year’s Party Conference that we get much-needed answers.

  • The Coalition’s Secretary for Work & Pensions Iain Duncan-Smith & Disability Minister Maria Miller have been conspicuously quiet on this matter as have the Liberal Democrats and Labour Opposition. Again, only The Green Party has specifically addressed the growing concern of ATOS’s questionable practices and called for the French IT firm to be completely removed from benefits assessments.
  • The ATOS-Derby press release implied that ATOS Healthcare is fully in control of the methodology by which ESA & DLA medical assessments are carried out. 
  • How is it that what really amounts to little more than corporate “in-house” training (namely medical “observation” at ATOS centres & getting to grips with the ATOS LIMA computer system ) can be
    1. professionally accredited and
    2. comprise 25% of a BSc (Hons) nursing degree (30 of 120 credits)
  • If the Department of Work & Pensions is in total control, then surely the process should be opened up to more than a single “Provider”, as with there other government-outsourced healthcare services? Proposed NHS reforms specifically come to mind along with existing Back To Work programmes (ESA WRAG & JSA)
  • On the basis noted above, would other Providers
    1. have to  adhere to ATOS methodology (including LIMA)
    2. be required to have the ATOS-Derby Certificate
  • As ATOS has mandated this Certificate as a requirement for their nursing staff, who covers the cost of the programme – them or their employee?
  • Conversely, how would the same apply to other Providers and their employees if lumbered with ATOS as the official DWP overseer?

Even with the proposed amendments to the WRB, the deck is still being stacked against people with disabilities with this ATOS-Derby alliance and the related nursing certification. This in spite of Harrington himself finding ATOS-driven benefits assessments “unfit for purpose”.  It is interesting to note that many universities around the globe offer either specialist disability training as part of a nursing degree or as a standalone specialist nursing  qualification, so far not one them has partnered with a profiteering IT corporation influencing government policies which themselves are driven by anti-welfare disablist ideology.

Note: 

Thank you to Mark Brown (@MarkOneInFour) for his feedback on Twitter and kotaatok for their comment. on my original post. I attempted to raise this with several media contacts; will be vigorously pursuing to raise awareness.

Green Party calls for the removal of #ATOS from benefits assessments #ukpoli #wrb

Green Party members yesterday voted to pass an emergency motion calling on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to stop using IT firm ATOS as its assessor of benefit claimants.

Concerns have been raised over the company’s suitability to conduct assessments, ranging from the lack of disabled access at their assessment centres to the shocking fact that 40% of their decisions have been found to be wrong on appeal [1].

Source: Green Party

Read more here: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/09-09-2011-green-party-remove-atos-from-incapacity-testing.html

Ask UNUM FAQ: Atos, WCA, CardiffU and Biopsychosocial Model

Frequently Asked Questions – Ask UNUM  – includes answers re: Atos, WCA, CardiffU, biopsychosocial model and criticism. You can find them on Twitter as @AskUnum.

UNUM is professional in getting corps to sign up to their “Biopsychosocial Model” of Sickness. The flipside of Benefits practices. £££££ off the back of ESA – one big con.

Continue reading