Below is an open letter by a carer and parent to Carers UK about the government’s abhorrent treatment of the most vulnerable in our society and highlights why we must all continue to campaign and fight against these policies.
Thank you for the newsletter which I have admittedly quickly scanned and see no mention of what is affecting thousands and thousands of carers and service users. I will apologise in case I have missed it but regardless it is typically a subject being swept under the carpet by polite society, carers organisations and the media just to mention a few.
I am a carer and am absolutely exhausted from writing, protesting, attending meetings, supporting and trying to protect two members of my family from the acute stress inflicted by government’s corporate employee ATOS. Plus keeping things in a stable and balanced atmosphere for their health and well being whilst they endure illness.
The damage being inflicted to their health, the resultant mental debilitation the family are forced to tolerate from the libel and slander emanating from media and politicians and finally the incorrect and inaccurate reviews of illness carried out by ATOS is overwhelmingly destructive.
There are people both carers and service users alike, distraught and pleading for help. Parents who care for young adults and children watching their loved ones being thrown out of a safety net benefit when the situation remains the same.
Many are far too frightened and scared to speak out about their circumstances. Any wonder when politicians and media alike have all played a shameful role in labelling all those in receipt of benefits as “scroungers and cheats”? The accurate figure for benefit fraud is 0.2-0.5% but why aren’t our carers and disability organisations standing up for us and protesting about these dishonest practises being carried out on the most vulnerable in society?
Presently there are 23,000 homeless people in Cornwall alone, how many are disabled or carers amongst that number? They remain ill but frequently no longer have a source of income. Seemingly the country as a whole has assigned all of them to the scrap heap and deemed them unworthy of discussion?
There are carers who barely scrape by financially now facing the ominous threat of their benefit being removed from a carer or sometimes from both as we know carers are prone to ill health from what they do. Families are often existing on these pittances alone but battle on regardless. Carers have frequently given up their professions with great sadness and reluctance in order to look after their loved ones. They see others being unjustly and inaccurately reviewed and their only safety net removed. They currently live in fear of the call to ATOS knowing what this will do to them and knowing it is a lottery consisting of duplicity and the greed of profit which will decide. The law says we have a duty to care for our disabled and sick so what has changed in the UK?
Thousands being incorrectly taken out from under the protective umbrella of the welfare state by the withdrawal of the small amounts of benefit that entitles them to live reasonably, to survive whilst genuinely ill. Some with terminal disease are being passed fit for work by ATOS “Drs” and instantly having their money taken off them, dying whilst an appeal is carried out. Is this a society where no one cares about anyone unless they produce a monetary unit?
What moral values have politicians instilled into our communities by means of propaganda?
Why aren’t the big organisations focussing on this and why are they living in a pretend world?
Recently, Sarah Newton the conservative MP for Truro attended a carers meeting.
When asked about the 31 deaths caused by and well documented due to ATOS and its incorrect assessments she replied,” it was political trouble making.” What would the dead comment on that remark?
I can assure her and those well off enough to be unaffected by this corrupt government corporation, it is no such thing and would like to ask why, we as carers are not asking the government for justice for the ill and disabled?
My own daughter has suffered with M.E. diagnosed since the age of 12 by a consultant physician. She is 29 now and has been recently through terrible stress and anxiety on top of her life changing, debilitating illness owing to being called in by ATOS. She is 20 weeks pregnant and injecting herself daily with anti-coagulants owing to a previous deep vein thrombosis but she just gets on with it.
All her life has been spent suffering this serious and vastly underestimated illness, facing these harmful and repetitive needless assessments which cause her added distress. She would like nothing better than to lead a normal life and be fit once more. However she is unfortunately still ill, bravely accepts this even though she suffers on a daily basis, knowing that each day whatever activity she chooses she will pay dearly for that choice in pain and fatigue, depression and 80 other symptoms recognised by NICE and the World Health Organisation. If this illness is considered to be one which the government feel free to manipulate then I would ask why all those with M.E. are unable to donate blood? There is a mass of evidence available for her to prove these unpalatable facts but all of them have been declined. Why? To remove money from claimants, it is as simple as that.
She has been placed into a group delegated by ATOS rules and carried out by the DWP where she will be assessed for work at least 4 x a year by a job centre staff member! Are these staff now medically qualified and if so can we employ them in our hospitals and surgeries at a much cheaper rate than GPs salaries which are often in the hundreds and thousands of pounds? Those salaries will no doubt soon be in the millions once linked with all the private companies whose wheels are merrily clanking as they oil up the works in chirpy anticipation of filling the shareholders coffers with gold once again. We are all being betrayed.
Have they found a cure for M.E? It is a travesty which I hope will soon be challenged in the law courts. This is happening in families across the land, many involving both carers and service users so why are we not having this debate?
The bigger picture having cared for my family for 30 years is if we as individuals tacitly permit this without challenging the injustices and dishonest practises which are for political purposes, government ideology, profit and cheap vote catching tactics alone, what will happen to our children’s children? This is not about social conscience make no mistake, this is about pure power and wealth for the already rich. Do not listen to the deficit argument for as long as banks continue to be bailed out and receive massive bonuses it is all a convenient excuse to target the weak. Whilst simultaneously dismantling the welfare state.
We as a nation have had a well deserved and proud reputation for compassion and being considered a civilised country because of our supportive welfare system. Already we have lost our children the NHS which most people seem blissfully unaware of as because unless we need something we do not miss it. What safety nets will we leave our children as a legacy if we do not fight back against this systematic destruction and annihilation of our precious welfare state?
There will be of course the heritage of the carers’ newsletters, reams of strategies, politician’s rhetoric, all praising how marvellous carers are to peruse through but when our children ask themselves where did my protection go? What did my family/mother/father/carers organisations do to stop this catastrophe which led to my country having a profit led ethos like the USA? As I write, these same vulnerable people are piled high in America, in warehouses, church halls, in food queues, homeless and penniless. People die if they have no health insurance and now our apathy and polite distaste for discussing our carer’s and loved one’s reality is causing this very same lethal environment to evolve here in the UK into a horrific reality.
If my daughter is now fit enough to work having been evaluated by a job centre manager or staff member, I would like to see the evidence to prove she is now free of this devastating and vastly underestimated illness.
I beg of you to start asking all carers for their experiences with ATOS and to address our MPs about this amoral and damaging political complicity the last 2 governments are both guilty of as we “wonderful” carers and loved ones are bereft with concern all over the UK.
In hope of support,
With kind regards,