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TOPIC: Lies, damn lies and medical assessments

Lies, damn lies and medical assessments 6 years 11 months ago #13671

Just received the papers for my ESA appeal and thought I'd draw attention to one of the things wrong with the medical report.

During the assessment (which took place in July 2009), I was asked when I had last worked. I said that I had last worked for my employer at the end of 2008. I also said that I was trying out permitted work at home, as I have a skill which enables me to do sporadic freelance work. In fact, I had recently done a job which involved working 8 hours a week for a couple of weeks.

I'm fairly sure I said that this work was very tiring and that I would have to find a pattern that suited me, but that the sporadic nature of the work meant I could accept work when I was up to it. I have also said much the same sort of thing to my Pathways to Work Adviser.

So, it came as a surprise to read, in my medical report, that I was doing 8 hours permitted work a week. It was even more surprising to find in the summary from the DWP that this fact was inconsistent with my claim that my chronic fatigue is variable. This was underlined, and I could almost hear a triumphant tone in the way they drew attention to it.

I shall, of course, make clear in my submission to the Appeal Tribunal, that I was not working 8 hours a week and that this statement and the conclusion drawn from it is a misrepresentation of the facts.

The assessment took 45 minutes and the assessor did not take notes, so it is hardly surprising that she would remember some of the things I said incorrectly. Just another proof, if ever it was needed, that the process is flawed and open to manipulation.

And don't get me started on the fact that one of the conclusions drawn at the end of the report, that I can walk 200 metres before experiencing discomfort, bears no logical relation to the actual content of the assessment. It is impossible to see how the assessor arrived at that conclusion.

And, finally, how can a registered nurse (for that is what she was) possibly be sufficiently medically qualified to say that someone suffering from chronic fatigue will get better in 3 months? The consultant rheumatologist I saw recently was unable to say anything of the sort.
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Re:Lies, damn lies and medical assessments 6 years 11 months ago #13677

Hi Issac,

Hope all goes well for you. You are in the same position as a whole lot of others who's benefits have been affected by the "cherry picking" that is allowed by the DWP.

They can get away with making one statement and this is what is accepted as the case. You try to tell them that you take responsibility and try, they see this as your able all the time.

Do these people ever read up on conditions, it makes your blood boil.

Brst of luck.

Kathy
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Re:Lies, damn lies and medical assessments 6 years 11 months ago #13681

  • lavenderlady
Hi Isaac

From my long experience the DWP can only see that things are either black or white. Anything grey confuses them.

Because of this they make the decision to either put you in a black or a white box. There are no grey boxes. Also all their systems are designed for black or white answers, not grey.Their systems are deliberately designed to be either black or white to make processing easier. Processing information that falls into the grey area takes much much longer.

Bear this in mind when you answer any DWP question.

The DWP want you to focus on your maxiumum capabilities as their goal is to put you back to work and pay you as little as possible.They have no interest in your personal well-being.

If you mention a maximum capability that only occurs very occassionally, they will tick the white box, indicating you have this maximum capability all the time. It is wrong, but this is how the system has been designed. Also, it is tiring and demanding for people to stop and think carefully which box you really belong in. Everything must be done quickly and effiecienty and they might have work quotas and management on their backs.

Think minimum.

If you think and speak and write maximum you endanger your health

You know the old saying 'Don't do too much'. Minimum is best.

The DWP goal, courtesy of the goverment is to focus on what you can do and to think maximum.

Your goal is to focus on what you musen't do to make your health worse, and also to consider what you can do and only do it in small stages. A caring doctor will not want you to do too much too soon, too quickly because he/she knows that it will probably backfire and you'll become worse.

The DWP and government have no such concerns.

Never,never open up to any DWP person, no matter how caring etc they appear. If you do, undoubtedly you will say something that you will later regret.

Bear in mind nurse or doctor, they are employed by the DWP. This is a legal medical. Think Crown Court, think Magistrates Court. All encounters with the DWP are legal, so watch your words. When asked a question, consciously keep your mouth closed and think. Only speak and speak slowly when you know exactly what you want to say. Don't add to it. Don't fill uncomfortable silences with chatter, because it is those times people say things that are unwise to speak.

Best Wishes
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Re:Lies, damn lies and medical assessments 6 years 11 months ago #13683

  • AndrewPatrick
Some good advice here especially about being careful what you say during a medical with the 'Witch Finder Generals'known to us as ATOS health professionals. I am frequently inclined to ask if they can't get a job with anyone other than ATOS what are their qualifications and abilities? Isaac's experience is hardly unusual!

Kathy writes, 'Do these people ever read up on conditions, it makes your blood boil.' Herein lies one of the big problems with the welfare benefits system. A lot of benefit applicants don't appear to be good at describing their conditions and that is not unreasonable, they are not medically qualified. If they can't write about them then I am sure it is just as difficult to talk about them. It also highlights the advantages of taking someone with you to a medical to take notes and if they know you and your condition to back up your story. My wife will be coming to my next medical with her shorthand notebook!

Gettling hold of good descriptions of medical conditions and the affects they have on people are not in my experience easy to come by. I suffer from a common condition, generalised or widespread osteo-arthritis. Can I find a good description of this and its affects, no. I am working on my own definitions and building up a picture of how it affects me. I would be quite happy to share my reflections on my condition and would welcome reading what others have to say.
Just a thought!

What I think might be useful to people on this site is a further forum devoted to 'condition description'. This would be a forum where people could share their experiences and contribute descriptions of conditions. Not, of course, to be used word for word by everyone but giving clues to the best way to describe a condition.

Andrew
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Re:Lies, damn lies and medical assessments 6 years 11 months ago #13685

  • pata1
  • OFFLINE
  • Retired Nurse & Former Moderator.
Hi Andrew,

Any suggestions about a new forum should be directed to the site owner, Steve Donnison, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

However, you need to bear in mind that these forums need moderatated which is carried out by voluntary moderators all who have chronic ill-health or disability themselves.

Two of our moderators who are qualified benefits advisers have just come out of hospital, and won't be back online until after Christmas.

This means at present we have only Crazydiamond with benefits experience/training and of course Steve the site owner.

We could perhaps review things in the New Year, but you really need to contact Steve about this. Perhaps it may be possible if we had more members who would be prepared to moderate ?

Kind regards.

Pat
PLEASE READ THE SPOTLIGHTS AREA OF THE FORUM REGULARLY, OTHERWISE YOU MAY MISS OUT ON IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems
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Re:Lies, damn lies and medical assessments 6 years 11 months ago #13689

  • lavenderlady
AndrewPatrick wrote:
Some good advice here especially about being careful what you say during a medical with the 'Witch Finder Generals'known to us as ATOS health professionals. I am frequently inclined to ask if they can't get a job with anyone other than ATOS what are their qualifications and abilities? Isaac's experience is hardly unusual!

Kathy writes, 'Do these people ever read up on conditions, it makes your blood boil.' Herein lies one of the big problems with the welfare benefits system. A lot of benefit applicants don't appear to be good at describing their conditions and that is not unreasonable, they are not medically qualified. If they can't write about them then I am sure it is just as difficult to talk about them. It also highlights the advantages of taking someone with you to a medical to take notes and if they know you and your condition to back up your story. My wife will be coming to my next medical with her shorthand notebook!

Gettling hold of good descriptions of medical conditions and the affects they have on people are not in my experience easy to come by. I suffer from a common condition, generalised or widespread osteo-arthritis. Can I find a good description of this and its affects, no. I am working on my own definitions and building up a picture of how it affects me. I would be quite happy to share my reflections on my condition and would welcome reading what others have to say.
Just a thought!

What I think might be useful to people on this site is a further forum devoted to 'condition description'. This would be a forum where people could share their experiences and contribute descriptions of conditions. Not, of course, to be used word for word by everyone but giving clues to the best way to describe a condition.

Andrew
Hi Andrew

I agree with you about 'condition description' and how hard it is to verbalise it etc..However, I would have thought it better to go on a particular website devoted to your condition and participate or ask about setting up a forum for this matter. The people who run these websites specilize in the particular illness. I'm sure there must be a forum/information somewhere on the web for your condition. It's just a case of perservering and finding it. There's nothing to stop you setting up a website for your particular condition and setting up a forum and get people exchanging experiences.
However, I would pursue the first option, because people all over the world suffer your condition and it's always interesting to see how other countries cope with/deal/view particular illnesses. For instance american websites are good for CFS/ME.
The great thing about the internet if you keep perservering you will eventually find the info your looking for and of course the support. Best Wishes.:)
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