Monday, 11 June 2012

Beyond Angry

We started this project in response to the stories we heard about people dying after being found fit to work. Today we've heard that @pusscat01, one of the contributors to our Monologues has just died of cardiac arrest. She was awaiting dialysis, yet Atos found her fit enough to be placed in the work related activity group. She lost her ESA several weeks ago, and sent us and others on twitter anguished tweets about the impact this had on her life and finances. We couldn't help her, but we could listen to her story and use it in the play, and hopefully make something happen with that. She was terrified of her real name being revealed, so we promised to use the pseudonym "Pussycat". Although her real name is out on twitter, we're respecting that by reproducing her story below:

"At my medical the nurse made several statements with
regard to my health and capability regarding which group I should be placed in, these are as follows:-

·        “The people who check the forms, I believe are quite understanding and will have your best interests at heart
and be sympathetic to your needs and place you in the right (support) group.  If they do not place you in this group appeal it and you will win.”
·        “You are a genuinely ill person and are unemployable due to your multiple medical conditions.”
·         “You have been working for 22 years and have done your bit.  You are not the sort of person they are trying to single out.”

·        “When filling in the form do it more thoroughly.  I understand you find it vague but you can always fill in the white boxes and explain why you think this applies. This
will increase your chances of being placed in the correct group.”
She also chose not to perform a physical examination or do a blood pressure test due to the pain and distress they may cause me.

I have greater than 50% visual loss and severe continence problems. I also suffer from chronic tiredness among many other problems, which is caused by a combination of Vitamin B12 deficiency, anaemia, kidney disease and long-term diabetes.

The report said I did not look tired. But the medical was
carried out late in the afternoon and I had spent the morning
in bed before I got up to be sure I could attend the medical!

With all that I thought I’d have enough points for the support group. I cannot believe I got placed in the Work Related
Activity Group.  My 1st tier appeal was lost and my rep let me down on the 2nd tier so it never got that far.

My experience is that depending on what doctor you see
every outcome seems to be different.  The fact that the
person I saw at the assessment actually said I should be
in the support group and then it changed when I got the final decision is amazing to me.  It would seem as though what
they say to you in the room does not transfer when it leaves that place."

Last we heard from Pussycat, she'd not had her benefits restored and was becoming increasingly worried and anxious. We're glad to hear from Sue Marsh at Diary of a Benefits Scrounger  that she was put back on ESA two weeks ago.
But the stress and anguish she was under for the past few months cannot have helped her deal with the physical problems she faced every day. We're beyond angry  to know that yet again someone so ill, so vulnerable has been treated so shamefully by the State. 
RIP Pussycat. We won't forget you.

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