We are concerned for some people with Myalgic encephalopathy (ME) or Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other seriously debilitating conditions that are being put through assessments by a Government contracted company with a view to cutting down the national welfare bill.
These harsh assessments for Personal Independent Payment (PIP) applicants are often being carried out by employees with little medical knowledge or understanding who then frequently produce reports for the Department of Work and Pensions that are less than accurate, affecting the decisions made about peoples entitlements.
It is important to be aware that many of the applicants have long-term illnesses and disabilities that vary and fluctuate, some of whom may appear fairly able at a good time but can be seriously debilitated and even bedbound for other long periods. Physical and mental functioning in patients such as these is often short lived and cannot be sustained for any useful length of time.
The drive to provide people on long-term benefits with a route back to work or to cut the welfare bill is causing great stress to those who are genuinely disabled and this is having a seriously adverse impact on their health and income.
Having a complicated long-term disabling illness is distressing enough without being put through hoops and landed with the burden of proof to gain one’s entitlements.
Colin Barton, Chair, Sussex & Kent ME/CFS Society