Government cutbacks in benefits and Disability support is a subject close to most tax-payers hearts. How often do we hear people bemoaning the abuse of the system by people who have never worked, claimed all their life to be disabled, or claim unemployment benefit because they don’t want to work? Well, I have my view too. We live in a supportive society. It is one where starving people begging in the streets are noteable by their absence. Yet there are some who abuse the system. It would cost as much as the savings to catch such people out and I think they are the necessary price we pay for having an advanced system of support.
Our present government have now decided to make cut-backs. A government minister I heard on the radio, claims that even disabled people will have to tighten their belts if we are to manage the fiscal finances. He felt it was fair to make savings across the board, even if some disabled people suffer, because everyone is in the same boat. But they’ve got it wrong.
Why do I say that? I have a patient who three months ago had a brain haemorrhage. He had a severe weakness in his right arm and leg and his speech was badly affected. When seen for review in the clinic, he was walking with a stick, his speech was 90% better and although he has significant cognitive problems (severe short-term memory loss and difficulty taking in everyday events) he will be a couple of years recovering.
When he attended to be assessed for disability payments (he’s lost his income), the doctor filled in a form. I’ve seen this form. It asks if he can sit in one place for more than an hour. It asks if he can walk unaided for ten yards, it asks other similar questions like ‘Can you go to another place where you’ve never been before without help?’. Of course he can do these things. He would have to be half-dead to not fulfill all the criteria. The outcome was, according to the Department of Work and Pensions, that he is fully fit to return to work as a bus driver. With his cognitive problems, he was unable to explain that there is an epilepsy risk which means he will never get his PSV (Public Service Vehicle) licence back anyway.
OK, so that’s just one case. Talking to Jane my psychologist wife, any patient with severe post-traumatic stress or depression would fulfill all the criteria for being fit for work. What a joke!
My point? I just wanted to rant, but as I said above, the abuse is simply the price we pay for the system we’ve delivered. It is bound to be costly. Get used to the idea. If you vote Socialist for thirteen years, you can expect to come out of the other end with no money in the public purse. It happened in Sweden too. The last government said it was the fault of the banks, but the truth is, they didn’t regulate the banks properly and they spent and wasted trillions on ideas which didn’t work. If you voted for them, don’t complain now, it’s your own fault!