Benefits appeals system ‘on brink of collapse’
Lord Freud, Tory welfare reform minister says that the Con-Dem coalition scum government want to stop GPs signing patients off on long-term sick leave. This appears to be a particularly ridiculous decision by the Con-Dem coalition scum government which ignores the fact that it is GPs that will have intimite knowledge of their patients’ health issues.
BMJ Careers reports that huge numbers of Consultants are taking early retirement because they’re angered by ongoinging changes to the NHS.
The Royal College of Nursing reports that 50,000 jobs are under threat or have already gone in the health service in England. The Con-Dem coalition scum government disputes the figure.
100,000 NHS workers are expected to participate in the 30th November day of action over public-sector pensions.
Two nonsense NHS stories.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
C4 investigation reveals government’s work capability assessment programme is clogged with costly, unresolved cases
Thousands of ill and disabled people have become trapped in a revolving door of medical assessments and appeals at a cost of £80m, with many claimants on their second and third attempts to overturn rulings that remove their benefits.
The government’s drive to cut Britain’s multibillion-pound welfare bill by moving long-term unemployed people off sickness benefit and into work is at risk of descending into chaos, according to a Channel 4 news investigation.
The work capability assessment programme, which assesses benefit claimants to see whether they are fit for work is “teetering on the brink of collapse” as the system becomes clogged up with appeals.
Ministers introduced more stringent medical tests as part of welfare reforms designed to cut the number of people claiming incapacity benefits, currently at 2.4 million. They say sickness benefits are too often abused as an excuse for being out of work, and have pledged to end what they call the “something for nothing” culture.But the number of appeals by claimants who believe they have been incorrectly assessed as medically able to work has quadrupled in two years, with the projected numbers for 2011-12 expected to reach 240,000.
Stripping GPs of the power to sign patients off on long-term sick leave could lead to “fewer wasted lives”, a Tory minister has insisted.
Lord Freud said the Government wanted to intervene earlier to stop patients drifting into “unnecessary” on-going state support.
A Coalition-commissioned report due next week will recommend that independent assessors rule on long-term sickness instead of GPs.
Government is embarking on the biggest shake-up of the welfare state since its formation and the reforms include reassessing all sickness benefit claimants and replacing sick notes with fit notes that set out what work individuals are able to carry out while ill.
A report by BMJ Careers today shows that the number of consultants who take voluntary early retirement in 2011 has soared up by almost three quarters compared with 2010. According to the BMA, this staggering rate reflects consultants’ growing dissatisfaction in terms of the ongoing changes within the NHS.
The report, based on new data obtained from the NHS Business Services Authority Pensions Division demonstrates that the number of consultants who have opted for voluntary early retirement before the age of 60 has risen by 72.4% from 2010 to 2011. Whilst 98 consultants opted for voluntary early retirement in 2010, the numbers increased to 169 in 2011. The proportion of consultants opting for early retirement has almost doubled over the last 5 years from 7.3% in 2006 to 14.0% in 2011.
Deputy chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, Ian Wilson explained that the reasons why many consultants chose to retire at the earliest possible opportunity is based on a combination of factors, including changes to NHS pensions, working increasingly long hours and increased work intensity, partly caused because of less junior doctors’ being available due to working time restrictions, as well as the reform of the NHS.
Dr. Wilson declared:
“Anecdotally doctors are telling us all the time that if they could retire, they would retire, whereas in the past doctors tended to want to carry on for as long as they were able to. People are feeling disempowered by NHS structures and NHS functioning, and there’s an attraction for people to retire from the rat race.”
The RCN has been closely monitoring job cuts since April 2010.
The posts it has identified have either being lost already or are due to be cut by March 2015.
Many of them do not involve redundancies as the NHS tends to cut posts by not replacing staff who leave or retire.
The total highlighted – 48,029 – is the equivalent of shutting four large hospital trusts.
It includes all types of staff from administrators and porters to doctors and nurses.
The union also carried out an in-depth look at 41 trusts where cuts were being made.
In total, nearly half of the posts under threat were clinical and the scale of the cutbacks represented nearly a tenth of the workforce on average.
In the worst cases over 20% of the workforce was due to be culled.
The RCN said the findings were proof that the savings the NHS has to make – £20bn over the next four years – could not simply be achieved through efficiencies.
More than 100,000 NHS workers have now voted to strike against changes to pensions, after two more unions announced their ballot results this week.