Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Possible DWP/NHS Collusion: What To Do For The Best?

My 'Employment & Support Allowance - Support Group' (ESA-SG)-qualifying severe-illness-&-disability means that:
 i. I am at a significantly elevated risk of death-by-suicide; and
ii. I've been practically housebound for the last year, grounded by severe clinical depression (which precludes me from taking or making phone calls).

In 2013, 2016, and 2017, I successfully fought off the first three attempts by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to drag me into one of their infamous, discredited, and discriminatory Work Capability Assessment (WCA) swindles. Currently, I'm engaged in trying to fight off their FOURTH WCA-based austerity attack, a brief summary of which follows:
1. MAXIMUS [1] send me their 'Your appointment for an assessment with a healthcare professional' WCA summons mailshot.
2. I send to MAXIMUS my 'WCA Rejection Letter 2018', and I do not attend their WCA appointment (because I cannot do so).
3. MAXIMUS send me the DWP's 'BF223(ESA) Form', soliciting the "Good Causes" why I failed to show up for the WCA appointment.
4. I send to the DWP my 'BF223(ESA) Form Response 2018'.

Then on Fri 01 Jun 2018, the nurse practitioner at the surgery of my General Practioner (GP) left the following voicemail message on my mobile number:
"Hello [name], it's [name] the nurse at Dr [name]'s here. I'd like you to book an appointment to come and see me because, erm, they want to make sure that you've, erm, got everything right with the Employment Health Assessment Service. So you need to have a bit of a mini check with me, if you'd be kind enough. Thank you."

So it seems that the DWP has chosen to ignore my online evidence (since monitored short web links in my 'BF223(ESA) Form Response 2018' remain unaccessed), and instead have contacted my GP's surgery - raising the alarming possibility that National Health Service (NHS) personnel are being recruited to collude in the DWP's current WCA-based austerity attack.

Given that this novel (to me, at least) tactic occurs within the context of...
A. increasingly dangerous interference by the DWP in the relationships between citizen claimants/patients and their GP's surgeries [2]; and
B. a failure by the Department of Health to alert NHS bodies that claimants of out-of-work disability benefits are at a hugely-increased risk of attempting to take their own lives [3]
... then I'm not entirely sure what to do for the best in this situation, in order to best defend myself.

Q1. Has anybody else faced a situation where NHS personnel appear to be colluding with the DWP in pressing home a benefit-slashing austerity attack?

Q2. Does anybody have a positive suggestion as to what my best next move might be?

I'm currently minded to not make an appointment, but instead to try to open an email conversation with the nurse practitioner, in order to explore this situation in more detail - and I'm also very open indeed to any helpful suggestions of other ways I could usefully proceed.

Thanks in advance for your time, attention, compassion, and assistance.

______________________________

[1] MAXIMUS, Inc. - American privateer disability denial corporation, and current holder of the DWP's immoral ESA contract, disingenuously trading as the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments.

[2] Increasingly dangerous interference by the DWP in NHS matters - see, for example:
● 'Letter calls on GP body to denounce DWP’s ‘fit for work coercion’ '
– "More than 90 campaigners and concerned health professionals have sent a joint letter to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), asking the organisation to distance itself from the latest move by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)."

[3] The Department of Health's duty-of-care failure - see, for example:
● 'Department of Health silence over failure to highlight ESA suicide risk'
– "The Department of Health has refused to say why it failed to warn NHS bodies and other local services that claimants of out-of-work disability benefits are at a hugely-increased risk of attempting to take their own lives."

Replies

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hello dalinian

    I am really sorry to read about your distress in the face of the DWP's repeated  requests to attend ESA work capability assessment appointments.

    We are certainly aware of the extreme stress and difficulty that the current form of assessments is placing on disabled members of our society.  The current regime is not fit for purpose and isn't acceptable. 

    Sadly, the information that we normally have to give people on our Helpline, is that other people are trying to get this changed, and that if you are currently having to rely upon  benefits, the best course of action may be to submit to the assessment process if at all possible and then to challenge any adverse decision.

    In saying that, I really do realise that this is easier said than done. There are some people who, whatever they do, will not be able to get to the assessment and those people will have to take the decision not to go. They certainly need a letter from their GP explaining that they don't attend the surgery, for example, because they just cannot get out. This may prevent the stopping of their benefit.  These people may need help from their local MP to challenge the adverse DWP decision that is almost inevitable. 

    But this is all very difficult and no solution is fool-proof. Like many others, I look forward to a kinder age when people who have to claim benefits are treated with greater humanity. 

    Best wishes and please let us know how you get on. 

    Gill_Scope
    Benefits and Finance Specialist Information Officer 
    Scope Helpline 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 1,756 Listener
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
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