Sunday, 7 November 2010
When we approached ESA with my father it necessitated that I get an overview of the benefit as the DWP simply did not take into account how overwhelming the experience of claiming ESA can be for those that are severely unwell. My father worked all his life from school leaving age till his late fifties. In the last few years of his employment it was clear to all that he was becoming so unwell that work was a serious risk to his health and an intervention from the family finally made him accept the seriousness of his condition. He is a proud man and he never wanted this to be his fate. He has Asthma, Bronchiectasis, Heart Failure, Primary Immunodeficiency Disease, Allergic Pulmonary Aspergillosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Hypertension, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome and numerous other conditions to boot. The daily cocktail of drugs he needs to survive has ravaged his body. He bleeds from the slightest knock, his bones are so damaged he requires daily morphine for the pain and is unable to walk. My father was judged fit to work and placed in the Work Capability work related activity group. Despite the sheer odds that faced him, he made it to the first interview this placing necessitated and the lady from DWP was so shocked by the state of his health upon presentation that she begun the process of moving him into the support group there and then.
The outcome was good for my father in the end but his treatment during the assessment phase was akin to bullying. I have heard of mental health patients who have attempted suicide as a direct result of the pressures they have endured in their attempts to claim this benefit.
The stories, hundreds of them, that my father's treatment inspired me to search for stunned me. The most severely ill people in our society are being judged fit for work and left without support. Again, I am going to stop short of writing much more as my ire is rising.
ESA was wrong and remains wrong