“Cash Not Care – Reviewed, Oct 01, 2016
Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state
Author: Mo Stewart Review by: Laura Graham
Cash Not Care is the conclusion of six years of independent self-funded research by Mo Stewart into the influence of a discredited American healthcare insurance giant over sickness and disability financial support here in the UK.
Stewart’s work demonstrates how successive governments have, since 1992, adopted US-style welfare policies in order to demolish the UK welfare state, with the current Conservative government leading an “unprecedented hostile political attack against chronically sick and disabled people, who are financially dependent upon long-term sickness benefits”.
Today’s policies of fear began in 1992
The book pinpoints the beginning of today’s “policies of fear” to John Major’s Conservative government of 1992, when Peter Lilly, then Secretary of State for Social Security, hired the US-owned UnumProvident Insurance to advise on how to reduce an identified rise in the number of claimants of long-term sickness benefits.
Within two years, Unum were considered to be official government advisors.
Included in Unum’s advice was the message that US doctors had exaggerated patients’ needs in order to ensure that their fees were paid by healthcare insurers, and the suggestion that British doctors would do the same to support claimants of long-term sickness benefits.
This developed into a complete disregard of the claimant’s medical history during Work Capability Assessments (WCA) with the focus on “functional assessments” to determine “functional ability” on the day of the assessment.
Chief medical officer embraced “disability denial policies”
The creator of this approach is a former Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, who was in post when Unum were invited to advise, and who left the DWP in April 2005 to take up a research post at Cardiff University funded by the same insurance giant known for their “disability denial policies”.
It is the same Chief Medical Officer who introduced the concept of malingering when discussing sick and disabled benefit claimants which – without any supporting evidence – was accepted.
Stewart comprehensively explains:
“In October 2008, the UK faced a claimed ‘catastrophic’ fiscal deficit, in part caused by the need to fund an additional £37 billion to rescue the banks to avoid a global financial crisis. This event significantly increased the growing UK fiscal deficit and attention was drawn to the need to urgently reduce government costs. One mechanism used to reduce the deficit was a structured reform of the welfare state and the welfare budget was placed under close scrutiny”.
Private contractors used facile tests to assess disability
The Work Capacity Assessment was outsourced to the private contractor Atos and the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was introduced.
Atos “Disability Analysts” were given six weeks training in how to assess disability (not diagnose) and desperately ill people, with one of the tests being whether the person undergoing the assessment could pick up a pen from the floor, and without any access to the person’s medical history.
Seriously ill and disabled people judged fit for work”