As the world is preoccupied by the pandemic, and the British public are beginning to comprehend the full impact of Brexit, the predictable public mental health crisis created by the demolition of the UK social safety net has been disregarded by successive administrations. Few people realised that preventable harm was the inevitable creation of social policy reforms, gradually adopted by every administration since Thatcher, en route to her political ambition which was the demolition of the welfare state to be replaced by private health insurance. In order to demolish the welfare state, it was first necessary to remove the past psychological security provided by the welfare state. This has been achieved, with disability denial created by significant social policy reforms since 2008. To justify the adoption of harsh and unnecessary austerity measures, which were introduced without ethical approval, the Coalition administration elected in 2010 vehemently challenged the integrity of the chronically ill and disabled community and routinely accused disability benefit claimants of fraud; while failing to produce evidence to support their claims. Their often hostile rhetoric encouraged a 213 percent increase in prosecuted disability hate crimes, and successive administrations disregarded the thousands of deaths directly linked to the Work Capability Assessment, which was adopted using a discredited and dangerous biopsychosocial model of assessment to restrict access to long-term disability benefit. Influenced by corporate America since 1992, the UK social policy reforms guaranteed that many of those in greatest need were destined to die when, covertly, killed by the State.
Nine years ago I would not have described myself as a ‘researcher’. Nine years ago I had no need to be a ‘researcher’. That all changed in September 2008 when I was confronted by a staff member employed by a company generally known as ‘Atos Healthcare’. They were under contract to the British government to conduct the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), introduced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to limit funding for the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) income replacement sickness benefit.
The Atos Healthcare visitor claimed to be a doctor, yet refused to offer any form of identity when he entered my home for what was meant to be a medical review of my War Pension. He behaved unethically, going out of his way to create tension; refused to offer eye contact when devoting all his attention to firing off meaningless questions and entering my answers in his laptop. When I attempted to hold a conversation, he unceremoniously dismissed me with an offensive wave of his hand.
A War Pension is not a benefit and, until April 2005, it was the medical pension provided for disabled personnel who were medically discharged from military service with a permanent and significant disability. It is unrelated to long-term sickness benefit funded by the DWP.
In December 2008 I hadn’t heard of the WCA and I wasn’t anticipating any problem with the War Pension review medical. I had no idea that the DWP had adopted a ‘non-medical’ assessment model, as influenced by the discredited corporate American healthcare insurance giant, UnumProvident Insurance, who were appointed as official government advisers for ‘welfare claims management’ in 1994 in order to reduce the future DWP welfare budget.