Ed Miliband has responded to the letter that I haven’t yet given him (!) Sonia Poulton

Ed Miliband has responded to the letter that I haven’t yet given him (!). I am not impressed. There will be a response to this even though he has made himself very clear that he supports WCA. I believe everyone who signed the original letter has a right to see his response…and so here it is…some of you may want to take a deep breath before you go any further.20 August 2012

Dear Ms Poulton,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the Work Capability Assessment, and
my apologies for the delay in replying.Disabled people need support and compassion, and the Labour Party believes in a
welfare state that fulfils this principle. The previous Conservative Government took
the opposite approach and left many disabled people on Incapacity Benefit with little
support to return to work where possible. It is also important to separate out ill health
and disability from the decision not to work, which is taken by a distinct minority.

For these reasons, the previous Labour Government introduced the Work Capability
Assessment, and I am supportive of the principles behind this test.

However, I share some of the concerns that have been expressed about the test by
you, along with many charities, disability groups and healthcare professionals.

These concerns, the high percentage of appeals, and Professor Malcolm
Harrington’s expert reviews have shown that the test must be improved. The Government needs to listen to Professor Harrington’s advice, especially when his
third review for 2012 comes out.

We have also forced a vote in Parliament on the need to reduce the human cost of
the wrong decisions that result from the WCA in its current form.

Given the importance of this issue, I am keen that you discuss this further with the
Labour Party and share with us some of the experiences of people going through the
WCA that you have collected. Anne McGuire, my Shadow Minister for Disabled
People, would be happy to arrange a meeting in order to do so. Please contact her
on ********** to arrange a convenient time.

Thank you again for taking the time to get in touch on this issue.

Yours sincerely,
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP


6 Comments Add yours

  1. James Moore says:

    I think the wca process itself is very flawed and I do think if someone who has been ill and is currently ill and still being treated by a doctor should not have to undergo the wca tests. I speak on this from my own personal experience of going through the process which was flawed, having appealed and during that time my health getting worse. Much of what was done was done in the appeal court which btw I did not have to attend. So as far as I was concerned the wca was so flawed that it was more of a barrier then a help when a person is actually sick. Perhaps for long term people after 5 or 10 years a review can be done but it does not have to be a test that has no medical merit to it whatsoever. I do not see why people at the start of the illness have to be put through a system that will only make the majority of people more ill and more stressed. That is the principle of the wca is wrong. While people tell me about long term persons I do not see the logic being applied to people who are immediately being processed as all their medical records and medical details will be very very upto date. So I am afraid I feel Ed is wrong on this one and needs to see all the gray areas to this issue which has been made a black and white one.

    I do feel also Ed having never experienced any long term conditions is not empathetic enough on this and he would be better to meet real disabled and real sick to see things from their perspective. We are tormenting a majority of people in order to weed out a few cheats and if common sense was applied then you would find much of it including the wca is not needed but re medical evaluation is. The wca will never account for things like chronic conditions which get worse over time like Heart and Lung Diseases and many other physical and in some cases mental conditions. Degenerative illnesses will never get better over time so if ATOS and the DWP are medically aware of things like such illnesses and diseases I can understand. This applied to persons who have no limbs (they will not grow back) or heart attacks and heart disease (heart muscle does not repair itself, Kidneys, Livers, and in some cases some very serious mental conditions.
    The system should have eliminated such people from having to be be retested and recent medical details and doctors opinions should be held much better in esteem with their current opinion then those of a test that is designed for occupational therapy.
    I also think the test for wca or an evaluation should have been done by the NHS using common sense and the need for ATOS has been and become a red herring

  2. Ian Wolton says:

    Ed milliband is about as much use as a sugar paper umbrella!

  3. sue mccafferty says:

    Hmm. I signed the letter to Ed but I am now finding myself feeling rather ambivalent about the whole thing. Surely the Labour party needs to get into power before they can do anything; to get into power they cannot risk alienating that swathe of middle england who, through ignorance and spite, are all in favour of welfare reform and clamping down on ‘scroungers’. I cannot see how scapegoating Ed Milliband is ultimately going to achieve anything except give ammunition to his political opponents. Yes, he could say and do more. But if we insist on focussing on this then we also risk playing right into the Daily Mail’s hands.

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