Euthanasia alive and well and feeding on UK’s austerity measures

26.09.2013 - Pressenza London

Euthanasia alive and well and feeding on UK’s austerity measures
(Image by 10 Thousand Cuts and Counting has been called by Occupy London activists and David Ison, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. Image by Occupy London)

The invitation reads “10 Thousand Cuts and Counting is a ceremony of remembrance and solidarity led by disability activists, Occupy activists, Michael Meacher MP and the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral for those who have had their lives devastated by the austerity programme, including more than 10,000 people who died shortly after undergoing the Atos Work Capability Assessment, the degrading test used by the government to assess the needs of people receiving benefits related to disability and ill health – See more

The issue of death of disabled people declared fit for work as part of a new austerity drive was raised in Parliament by MP Michael Meacher who reported that 1,300 people had died after being placed in the “work-related activity group”, for those currently too ill to be in a job but expected to take steps towards an eventual return to employment. Some 2,200 died before the assessment process was completed and 7,100 died after being placed in the group for those entitled to unconditional support as they are too ill or disabled to work. Mr Meacher said: “Atos is an IT firm and uses a so-called logic integrated medical assessment, often described as rigid and tick-box because computer-based systems make it very difficult for health professionals to exercise their professional judgment. Because such a mechanistic system has little or no regard to the complexity of the needs of severely disabled or sick persons, the British Medical Association and others have condemned the current WCA as not fit for purpose.”

Charities have joined in to condemn the system:

“Half of people with a progressive disease such as multiple sclerosis have been told they will recover enough to work by the Work Capability Assessment. Figures released today showed that 45% of people who put in a claim for the benefit Employment Support Allowance (ESA) over the past five years, who had conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, Parkinson’s or Rheumatoid Arthritis were placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG). People in this group were deemed able to recover from their condition enough to be able to look for work. However, the charity Parkinson’s UK said this “directly contradicts” the definition of a progressive condition, which can only get worse over time. According to the charity, many have their benefit removed after a year as an “incentive” to find employment. Parkinson’s UK, the MS Society, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust have called for the abolition of the system. “

Categories: Economics, Europe, Health
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