George Freeman, as Chief Policy Advisor to Mrs May, has created a whirlwind storm in the UK following his crass remarks in regard to wanting to differentiate between physically and mentally disabled (staying at home and taking pills for anxiety), denying the latter access to apply for PIPs Personal Independent Payments, replacing Disability Living Allowance.
He later compounded matters by tweeting he himself had knowledge of such things – some thinks he still has following his offensive remark of people at home ‘popping pills’.
Stephen Crabb made matters worse this morning comparing a blind person’s needs navigating vs someone at home, etc.
So agoraphobia, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, etc, are not, in the Government’s view, in the same area of relevancy that equates to ‘physical’ conditions.
TV networks have been playing Mrs May’s own previous statement that mental health is on par with physical health issues – pity her team and policy people do not have the same hymn book.
DLA worked well, though even to be awarded the same one had to fill in a mammoth form and then cleverly. The trouble was that the Government thought there were too many and asked why, when medicine is progressing and people are living longer healthier lives. That is a fatuous remark the retort to which is, as men have been to the moon, then why haven’t we found a cure for the common cold?
Regarding DLA, it was better if free legal centres completed and filed that form on an applicant’s behalf, for good and honest reasons. Ironically, anyone with cognitive limitations could not even understand the questions on that form nor be politically correct enough to answer honestly but in a smart way.
Then as many legal centres closed through lack of funding, the vulnerable became even more vulnerable.
When tribunals were held for the years of Incapacity Benefit during earlier similar financial witch hunts, often the three or four doctors interviewing claimants admitted they did not have any knowledge of some conditions. I have even seen a report one person showed me where a comment had been made ‘skeletal – but fit for work’!
Techniques during interviews would have been well known to interrogators, such was the perverse psychology, apparently, from what was related.
Mental illness still has more stigma than any ‘physical’ illness, and as the mind is part of and within one’s body, isn’t any issue being addressed as relevant despite it being located in the mind, rather than the foot!
We all walk around (allowing also for those who are not as able, or are in a wheel-chair or if, sadly, are bed-ridden), but whatever our situation remain as one body, and person, having within us, integral therein, mind, soul, heart and body – we are one whole person and unique individual.
Many bodily chemical or genetic aspects may be causing mental issues in the first place. As medical research progresses this is often proved to be the case, otherwise why are medications prescribed to help the symptoms of so-called mental issues if not through the effects of chemicals on the body and also the mind.
Sufferers of M.E. – myalgic encephalomyelitis are often dismissed ‘still’ as having an illness which is all in the mind. In which case why are sufferers not permitted to donate blood? ME is considered to be a cousin to MS – multiple sclerosis. ME can at its extreme variant name be terminal – other levels can leave sufferers bed-ridden requiring years of graded rest without stress then the condition finds its plateau.
I personally feel that there should not be distinctions or classifications within PIPs or elsewhere regarding these issues.
Also, if a person is coerced into taking a job they are not well enough to psychologically deal with, who knows if their condition may lead to an attack given the history of similar events in the news, despite the culprit having previously begged for help.
One such tragic event occurred in my own local area and it took another person’s life – a stranger in the main high street. The culprit was themselves a victim of sorts having begged for help for a long time leading up to that tragic day, warning officialdom they were desperate for help as they had compunctions to commit such a crime.
Transferring DLA into PIPs is new lamps for old, otherwise why not just rename for existing recipients as was done for Incapacity Benefit.
All reminiscent of when decimalisation came into being superseding old Pound coinage – it gave opportunity to round up old money into new rates. So equally DLA into PIPs is no more than an excuse to refuse existing recipients of DLA and rob them, equally in denying application to PIPs for a group or classification of people who are ‘at home popping pills’, saving yet more money.
Many are clamouring for PIPs to be aborted and reinstate DLA.
Those who opted for mobility car schemes on DLA instead of payment have had their cars taken away from them – some people who only have one lung and various other conditions.
This is all about money as far as the Government is concerned. For the sick and disabled, whatever their condition, it is cruel, barbaric and divisive against those most vulnerable in society.
It is said a Country is judged by how it treats its sick and elderly – so ‘thumbs down’ Mrs May on this one. Get your house in order and pay the bills!
Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine