Who is doing the diagnosing Esther McVey?

4 04 2013

This is the video of Esther Mcvey on Channel4 News discussing DLA to PIP.

McVey seems somewhat flustered, unable to articulate clearly her point, unaware of the realities of the policy she promotes, obsessed with asking Krishnan Guru Murthy to “hang on a sec” and generally talking rubbish.

Much of the online outrage at her talking rubbish, was at her statement on how the government perceive themselves to be treating disabled people “generously”.

But this isn’t the bit that concerns me, neither does her claim of governmental generosity (although if she’s expecting any kind of thanks or praise she can think again)

No! A small throwaway sentence at 3 minutes 14 seconds in, reveals the truth behind the governments disability assessment processes. DIAGNOSIS.

Yup, that’s right the Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey actually says on prime time national television (3m 14s in if you want to double check) “If we can actually diagnose individuals through their historic data and their medical data…” Think about that for a moment. Think about the sheer arrogance of that statement.

If WE can ACTUALLY DIAGNOSE INDIVIDUALS through their historic data AND their medical data…

Now what set of well trained professionals do we expect to have the knowledge, skills and experience to be able to undertake such an important, life saving task as diagnosis? Who are “we” that do the diagnosing?

Prior to that statement McVey is discussing face to face ATOS assessments and for those with degenerative conditions, paper only assessments. So could “we” be the ATOS IT system or the DWP decision maker? Are they now responsible for diagnosing conditions? Are we now to send all our medical data to a civil servant for diagnosis? What training will this person have in identifying conditions and appropriate treatments or supports?

There are times I experience exacerbation with the medical professionals I see, where I wonder if an average bloke on the street wouldn’t do as good a job, but would I put my life and future in their hands? Would I hell!

I can imagine any official response to McVey’s statement being along the lines of ‘slip of the tongue’, ‘wrong choice of words under pressure’ but this is a professional woman, employed in her ministerial role to be able to clearly and confidently articulate the governments position and to be able to do so under pressure. With this in mind her choice of words regarding “diagnosis” is telling. I’d place bets on the use of diagnosis being a commonly used term in government corridors and meetings. Through the week McVey had already outraged others by talk of “healing” people and now these ministers and MPs, these jumped up civil servants, pen pushers and office workers, actually believe they are responsible for diagnosing people who ALREADY HAVE MEDICAL DIAGNOSES.

Diagnosis and cure by the government with their policies? HALLELUJAH! Praise the House of Lords! It’s a miracle.

You don’t get DLA based on just filling out a form. You need to provide contact details for ALL the professionals involved in your treatment and care. Your GP, your consultants, any nurses, care workers, support workers, social workers… If you can plan in advance and send in their reports with your application, it makes the process somewhat easier but decision makers are still meant to confirm the accuracy of the reports themselves. Decision makers are not there to diagnose a condition and I doubt their abilities to treat or heal conditions either.

So what exactly are the government planning? We already know what they think of the NHS. We know that in time, treatment and diagnosis will only be for those who can afford it. We know that people unable to work through sickness or disability are already labelled “work shy scroungers” and that society has cruelly turned on them in an attempt to cover their own backs.

Is this the first publicly admitted sign of a government led two tier health system? Those who “strive” get doctors and medical diagnoses at a price but those who cannot get an ATOS/DWP penpusher diagnosis? I know, I know all a bit woooooOOOOh conspiracy theory but what else are we to think when a government minister is on national news saying THEY will diagnose?

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