When this pain is bad, it really stops you in your tracks: but the DWP don't seem to see it as relevant to whether you can work or not.
If you're claiming Employment and Support Allowance, you're likely to be called to a Work Capability Assessment, carried out by the private company Atos. Incidentally, Atos is getting these assessments spectacularly wrong - and that's if you can get into their offce, if it's not one of the ones that's inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.
The assessments are done by "healthcare professionals" - doctors, nurses, physiotherapists or occupational therapists - who may have no knowledge at all of your condition. They complete a computer questionnaire based on your answers.
The questions are all about your ability to perform physical tasks. There is no recognition of pain, fatigue, or the fact that you might be able to perform a task once, but not repeatedly.
Never mind us not being fit for work. The Atos tests aren't fit for purpose.
So it's great that Scotland's GPs have called for an end to Work Capability Assessments.We, sick and disabled people, have known about the problems with them for a long time, but it's great to have recognition from the medical world. Dr Steven Carty, an Edinburgh GP, said:
Let's hope the BMA and GMC respond to this call and also condemn the WCA (so many acronyms!)
This sends a ray of hope to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.It also sends a clear message to other representative bodies including the General Medical Council (GMC) of the significant concerns shared by many GPs across the country.
In my opinion the current contractual arrangements between the DWP and General Practice are unsustainable. The WCA as performed by ATOS is not an effective or safe method of determining "fitness to work" and this must be addressed.
All doctors are duty bound by the GMC to report any system or process that may be harmful to patients. The WCA is a harmful process. Scottish GPs have spoken: the GMC cannot remain silent on this matter any longer.
We certainly can't go on with this flawed system, which doesn't recognise symptoms which are such a major part of sickness and disability for so many people.