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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 January 2018

Tory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

Pressure and stress can be overwhelming, photo Bhernandez (Creative Commons)

Pressure and stress can be overwhelming, photo Bhernandez (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

A disability benefits claimant

As an individual with mental health issues, it has been my misfortune to experience directly just how capitalist society, Britain 2017, treats such people. I can't imagine that my experience is particularly unique.

I was due to have my 'work capability assessment' for disability benefits in November. I was lucky enough to have the valued support of a comrade to accompany me. This cannot be understated. It is vital, wherever possible, that claimants enduring this process find someone to accompany them.

My first assessment was cancelled due to the correct healthcare professional being unable to see me. This is due to my having an eye condition that requires I be seen by a specific specialist.

Whether or not that is an optician is irrelevant. This is solely for purposes of liability. It has nothing to do with diagnostic knowledge; it's just that the Department for Work and Pensions doesn't want to be sued.

So, very apologetically of course, I am sent home, along with my companion. That's it. All the waiting is for nothing. All the stress is ignored. You are reduced to a clerical error with no thought for the consequences.

Once again I was able to call on the much-valued support of the same comrade. Unfortunately the second appointment got me no closer to an assessment.

Despite their having my contact details, I learned upon arrival that the appointment had been cancelled. This was because they were or are - who knows - going to offer me a home appointment instead.

So this will be at least three times of being put through the anxiety of anticipating an experience necessary for my continued financial security, where the consequences of failing are devastating.

There are thousands of people, many a lot worse off than I, having to endure this system. It will only get worse with Universal Credit - as if it hasn't already. For the sake of our society we must stop this government.

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In The Socialist 3 January 2018:


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Tory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

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