Friday 2 December 2011

Government Cancer PR Disaster

Oh yes, I forgot to say.

You know how I often point out the fact that if you have IV chemotherapy you qualify for unconditional ESA support, but if you take chemo orally, you don't?

Yup, it's that tough. Despite the fact oral chemo or radiotherapy can be just as physically devastating as IV, one meant you got unconditional support, the other meant you had to attend work related interviews!! Yup, seriously. No, I'm not making it up.

As you can imagine, Macmillan Cancer Support campaigned pretty hard on this issue, pointing out that the system was clearly unfair.

Well, after due consideration, the government appear to agree. It is, they conclude, clearly unfair that the scrounging IV chemo and radio patients are getting off scott free. Therefore, the government suggest they will all now have to face work related interviews.

Yup, seriously. Yes, you did read that right.

Anyone undergoing chemo or radiotherapy for cancer should not be considered unfit for work, according to the government. (Unless they have less than 6 months to live, great ole softies that they are)

I can't even think of a snappy conclusion. I literally do not know how to put that into words.

If however, the government are actively looking for ways to create the biggest PR disaster of all time, then surely this will be a top contender?


  1. Maybe you're right - it looks like they're doing all they can to upset as many people as possible. All that's left is to draft Clarkson into the Cabinet.

  2. Nothing that gathering of gits does suprises me anymore :(

  3. All Metrics have just gone off-scale. Am I allowed to swear here?

  4. I mentioned the Macmillan Cancer Support disgust and campaign in an earlier comment on another post and how I am looking after Mumrecently diagnosed(still not officially a carer)but I am and the only thing in her favour whether she manages to live a decent amount of time or has only so long remaining is that she is too old to work.

    And how nice to know that if I get cancer they'll expect me to work however ill I am or if I was told I had 8 months to live I would have to work until I reach 6 months and then could possibly pack work in and make a claim.

    And lets not forget when you give a time limit on how long someone has, its still an one knows.

    They are dispicable...

    The problem is that no one in the media seems to be taking up this story.

    I haven't seen it anywhere or is that just me?

  5. Wow, I am honestly sickened by this. I thought that nothing the government did could shock me any more but this? This makes me want to cry. And possibly punch people.

  6. Do the cancer charities know? Get them to sign petition!

  7. what clarkson said was a joke however there are those in power who would like to execute the sick and disabled and that is true and with clarkson being a very good friend of the pm i wouldn't at all be surprised that the two of them haven't joking or not discussed it at some point hence we the sick and disabled have to be on our guard after all their are many sick and disabled who live alone and a knock on the door can and does spell panic

    When you've been watched like i have over many years the only people i trust are the police who have been excellent in coming to my aid and protection from the DWP

  8. Most cancer patients will be delighted to return to work as soon as they've recovered so why persecute people undergoing horrendous chemo and radiotherapy in the meantime? Left untreated cancer kills, we all know that, so on top of fighting for your life you'll be fighting to keep your benefits? Time limiting ESA will be a disaster for those battling with cancer. This is the nastiest sickest policy since the Nazis.

  9. The old adage "Be careful what you ask for" takes on a whole new meaning with this bunch of polititians, merchant bankers, lawyers and others living off massive state funded incomes and financing their gold plated ivory towers.

  10. i was deemed fit for work because i was to ill to go for a interview i don't have cancer i'm a severe epileptic and had had a fit on the day of the medical is that fair the whole system stinks

  11. if the atos system was fair, i could almost understand this, as my mother in law has cancer and is absolutely fine on chemo, but those who need support and time off should absolutely get it!

    seems a complete backtrack on policies as its not long since they added going to be taking chemo in the near future patients to the exemption clause :/

  12. The point of Coalition policy is the transfer of money from the poor to the wealthy, in this case taxpayers' money. The point of the Atos testing is that it enables and excuses tha transfer of money from the poor to the rich. Poor taxpayers keep having to pay for these phony medicals, assessments, whatever they're calling them this week. It's the stream of money into Atos' coffers that's important, not the welfare of patients. It's a raid on the public purse - now does it make sense?

  13. Life's not fair, is it?
    If ONLY Gordon hadn't wasted all the money.
    If ONLY Gordon had regulated those pesky banks properly!
    If ONLY Gordon hadn't borrowed so much.
    The Eds seem to think that debt is cured by more debt, that too much borrowing is reduced by even more borrowing.
    Deal with it - and don't elect Labour again.

  14. what hideous creatures they really are. lower than a rattle snakes belly. why are the major papers not picking up on the way disabled and sick are treated. i have personally contacted my local paper on numerous occasions but as of yet no response its as if they have been warned off

  15. I really cannot understand why this has not been taken up by a major broadcaster or newspaper...

    The BBC and programmes like Panorama have been quick to do specials on "The Fiddlers" "The Scroungers" on welfare and also even showing genuine sick people and making a case for them to be eased into work and off being helped from the state often using the "Its good for you" mantra.

    In an ideal world it probably is but each case is individual and must be treated as such. One size does not fit all.

    This is something that could balance things out if it was featured on the programme.

    Equally, this is the kind of story BBC Radio 5 should be taking up on a programme such as Sue appeared on recently.

    Or Radio 4 should be on their special feature documentaries...or You and Yours...

  16. Gobsmacked... but somehow not totally surprised at yet another ConDem condemnation !!!

  17. Shocking! One for #bbcqt I think...every week until they admit their disgraceful error of judgement.

  18. The amazing thing is that they utterly misrepresent this snippet in their official response to the second Harrington review - to get this info you have to read the review itself. The government response document suggests that they were willing to do what the charities wanted, but the charities then refused to support it. My understanding, though, was that the rules are not changing as yet, as they are looking at more evidence and considering things further.

  19. Whizjet, you really are the worst kind of ill informed muppet, with no knowledge of recent history pre 1997.
    Who deregulated the banks? Thatcher.
    Who sold off council houses at knock down prices? Thatcher.
    To put all the current financial troubles at the door of the Labour party and Gordon Brown in particular shows you have absolutely no understanding of what's been going on.
    This is a GLOBAL recession, started in the USA by banks giving loans to people who couldn't afford them, and continued here with more of the same.
    The reason they were able to do this in the UK, is because Thatcher deregulated the banks. She is a Conservative, I seem to remember....

  20. This government is a disgrace - and so are the British professional medical bodies who are allowing the chronically sick and disabled to be medically abused by the British Government's human rights atrocities known euphemistically as "welfare reforms".

    The Nazis called the welfare reforms they applied to their chronically sick and disabled 'Sonderbehandlung', special handling, and the German medical professions were only too willing to carry out their government orders too, or conveniently look the other way when it suited their career prospects.

  21. On a more constructive point, if the support group criteria weren't so absurdly narrowly drawn, and the assessment done more sensitively, it might make more sense for there to be fewer automatic qualifications for it.

    Problem is the criteria are so, so narrow that one must be incredibly invalid to meet them, I feel. I would love to see statistics on what proportion of those admitted to the Support Group are done so after a full assessment, versus each of the means of automatic qualification.

  22. Sue: don't take this as an anti-benefits comment, but to be fair they're not proposing that IV chemo patients have to attend work-focused interviews. They're proposing there's no automatic entitlement to the support group, not that IV chemo patients are no longer allowed in it.

    And to be fair also, many people having IV chemo are entirely capable of work. I was on an IV/oral regime for 9 months and worked a high-powered job for 7 days a fortnight during that time. I did a full-time week (just going in an hour late) for the entire 6 weeks of radiotherapy too. And I felt fine. Of the 30 or so patients that were in my chemo group at one time or another, only one was incapable of working. And that was due to a complete mental collapse rather than the chemo itself. My best friend has just finished an IV chemo course for breast cancer. She, likewise, has worked throughout. Not because she had to, but because she felt fine most of the time.

    If the actual system was fit for purpose, which it isn't, I genuinely see no reason why IV chemo should be an automatic qualification for the support group.

  23. @Sam Barnett-Cormack
    So this is just a rumour taken from the 2nd Harrington Report and not actually being implemented?

  24. There may be people who feel well enough and want to work with chemo etc and there is nothing stopping them doing so, they just will not ask the GP to sign them off.

    But it shouldnt be an upper hill battle if you do feel ill, and as we all know the test is so rigid even if you are very unwell you are still likely to pass as fit for doing something. The PM used the all cancer patients go in support group in PMQ's I think more as most memebers of public feel it could possible be them at some point so cancer did seem to have more sympthetic hearing than other and equally debatiling illness.

  25. It does seem to be wrong but the real question is:-
    What can we do about it?
    Is somone able to organise a lobby?

  26. Im gonna put this out there, in all seriousness, the fact is that the government wants us dead. Anyone who is too ill or infirm to work for whatever reason and 'contribute' to this austerity regime theyve got laid out for the next few decades. That is the facts.

    Of course, well never see anything as overt as third Reich style gas chambers in this country, the (western) world is thankfully past that but, they have much more insidious methods to do away with people, and do it right under everyone elses noses. They want to starve us out slowly on the quiet or get us to simply kill ourselves from the stress of it. Its already happening, people have ended their own lives or been made homeless and ended up dead in a gutter. Its exactly what they want, they dont want us around anymore because we are undesirables. Personally im scared shitless. My stress bearing capacity hit near enough zero long ago, i will probably end up back in the psych ward at the first sign of trouble, and then i may indeed just go ahead and jump off a building, theres no way to tell because my judgement goes to shit. Combine this with the media rhetoric reaching fever pitch apparantly on tory ministerial orders, i can honestly say im starting to identify with how a german Jew must have felt in the late 1930's. And no i dont think its an overwrought comparison, not when you look at the facts.

    They wont gas us, but they will do what they can so that as many of us as possible simply fade away. Undesirables.

  27. I'd have not been able to go to the office when I was on chemotherapy. I did do the odd meetings, and I did do some work away from the office to keep away the boredom in the times during my cycles when I was able to.

    A big problem with working on chemo, as well as the fatigue and the sickness, was the infection risk which was a problem even in an office. My chemo was over 10 years ago now, so things may have improved since then. I know radiotherapy is now far more accurate than it was back then.

    Let's hope this is just an announcement that chemotherapy doesn't automatically mean support, but any assessor who sees your state on it would grant support.

  28. Ian Duncan Smith has turned out to be the most loathsome amongst a loathsome bunch. It's as if the Tories are vying with one another to see who can be the biggest swine. Torturing people with cancer is probably fashionable in the present cabinet.

  29. This is actually the first time I have found myself agreeing with the government. I think it is a mistake to have specific exemption categories in the assessment. Now they just need to change the system so that everyone who is seriously ill gets put in the support group (whether their treatment is IV or Oral and whether their condition is described as cancerous or not).

    Previously I have tried (and failed) to find legal definitions of cancer and chemotherapy and wondered about possible confusions involving things such as people who receive IV chemo but for a condition other than cancer.

    Also, with regards to the final comment about PR disasters - as cancer is one of the most well known illnesses, it is of benefit to the welfare rights battle as a whole to have patients with this label treated the same as everyone else. Sometimes governments will actually seem to use exemptions for cancer patients as a PR boost to get out of sorting things out for all patients (for example when they escaped the pressure to stop charging prescription costs for long term serious illnesses by exempting cancer patients from these charges).

  30. IDS'S wife has been treated for cancer so he knows full well on what goes on and what's it all about

    Having said he probably doesn't give a damn

  31. Duncan Smith puts cancer-hit wife before party conference

    Read more:

  32. The object of the governments reforms is like Hitler in the war and that's to create a system of fear

    And the conservatives are doing a grand job at that all of us never know when our benefits will be stopped never to start up again so that a long lingering death comes about mainly for those that live alone as it will be they that the government will focus on

    They have tried it with me many times over the years but i fought back and put my life on the line sure it's tough as many people can get hurt along the way but then death always did hurt but the DWP death is more of a mental torture so you need to have your wits about you and fight tooth and nail for what you belive in

    If you fail to fight you will die pure and simple you will need to fight 7 days a week you will be tired you will be angry your mind will be shot to pieces you will wake up screaming even thow you wont have been asleep you will be in turmoil as you have nothing to eat or drink

    you will be sick so much you will lay wherever you fell for days at a time you will lose all track of time and you will end up with a body like mine scared for life

    Yes i do know what the Jews went through and how they felt thank god for many of them they didn't know what was going to happen

    There are many politicians who think like Hitler across the world even today and we must never ever forget that

  33. [QUOTE]Jill has left a new comment on the post "Government Cancer PR Disaster":

    Sue: don't take this as an anti-benefits comment, but to be fair they're not proposing that IV chemo patients have to attend work-focused interviews. They're proposing there's no automatic entitlement to the support group, not that IV chemo patients are no longer allowed in it.

    And to be fair also, many people having IV chemo are entirely capable of work. I was on an IV/oral regime for 9 months and worked a high-powered job for 7 days a fortnight during that time. I did a full-time week (just going in an hour late) for the entire 6 weeks of radiotherapy too. And I felt fine. Of the 30 or so patients that were in my chemo group at one time or another, only one was incapable of working. And that was due to a complete mental collapse rather than the chemo itself. My best friend has just finished an IV chemo course for breast cancer. She, likewise, has worked throughout. Not because she had to, but because she felt fine most of the time.

    If the actual system was fit for purpose, which it isn't, I genuinely see no reason why IV chemo should be an automatic qualification for the support group.[/QUOTE]

    Jill you are like so many today I'm all right jack i was in a high power job etc the chemo was fine for me etc

    What you describe bears nothing of how i have seen cancer patients over the past 30 years in my travels who in the vast majority have died and in those that have survived have been unable to continue work as the chemo took it's toll with the side effects and a whole rafter of problems have cropped up since

    It would have been nice of of you to have said i was one of the lucky ones and my thoughts are with the families that didn't make it in their battle with cancer

    The way you put it jill is that it was all fine and hunky dory it's not and never will be

  34. My best friend was told two years ago that if she was going to claim ESA she would be fit for work undergoing Chemo.
    Whether you happen to turn out ok whilst undergoing Chemo then that should be treated as hindsight and an element of luck.
    We should respect anyone who is undergoing this treatment to decide for themselves without fear of being pulled through a wringer to try to make them feel guilty for not being strong enough to work and fight cancer.
    The issue is just as much mentally important as physically. Choice is paramount.

  35. Disgusted, wrote to my MP and Blogged about it!

  36. Have you noticed that in these comment threads someone always blames Labour for the decisions the coalition are making now. No one has a gun pointing at Cameron's head forcing him to take this action. It's his choice and his responsibility. These comments are always loaded with such aggression, hatred and a complete lack of compassion for humanity. What a nasty cash loving bunch they are. Human life is more important than money, isn't it?

  37. Whizjet ...pillock of the first order...The tory party are nothing but the political wing of the rich/banker elite and hate everyone not in thier gang.Labour may well proved to have been little better should they have remained in power and we should trust non of em.....if you are a tory party member you may think you are part of the elite but you are deluded they only care about the top one percent and even in that clique there is a further elite ...the so called first callers.....the ones who are first called by thier banks and brokers when the market goes up OR more importantly down....if you are not in that clique then you are just voting fodder there to put these idiots in power and if they could care less about the sick/disabled WHAT the fffff do you think they care about you....wake up.....OH and dont get sick EVER......

  38. @ anonymous (3 December 2011 20:54)

    Exactly. People over blame the previous government. With that logic it could continue backwards, we could blame Thatcher. The post second world war government had policies to protect people for a better society and these ideals stayed there until the late 1970s. Now look where we are- money is more important than people.

    @ Whizjet

    Yes of course labour borrowed money but Thatcher messed up the economy for the everyone except the rich. The Tories are taking up the austerity measures that echo the 1930s and the economy went down a very bad route because of the cuts during that period- the 1930s was a time of cuts and more cuts- it was only good for the rich. The Tories are doing this now. The labour government, at the end of the 40s, pumped money into the economy. This perpetuated it into a much better place, it aided the rise in the economy for years later. The economy needs money putting it to get money out of it, the economy needs to get 'kick-started' again. Not cuts and not forgetting the average worker. Unfortunately the Tory policies keep the rich rich and well, everyone else is just forgotten.

  39. SIGN the macmillan petition......

  40. Read the common sense that Jill posted.
    Get real, and understand that:
    So it needs to be rationed carefully, and there are so many exceptional cases from Trident to windmills, from NHS to Overseas Aid. There is no automatic entitlement.
    The Facts of Life are Conservative.
    Gordon proved that.

  41. I think you shuld get your facts right and read the proposal in its entirety before making unfounded accusations.

  42. I think(and I hate showing my possible colours politically)as I think I just try to do the right things by the most people(especially the sick and vulnerable)but three out of the four examples given in Whizjet's post as reasons for rationing what money is available are questionable.

    And dare I say many questioned recent wars we have been involved with around the world and that even without deciding whether they were morally correct, financially the money might've been better spent on the population of the UK who are most disadvantaged.

    And even now in these austere times and no matter how the money is raised they can always find money for their favourite causes.

  43. Anonymous 11.34 : If only the DWP/Daily Mail/Taxpayers Alliance would be so conscientious

    But I've learnt well from the "masters" I think you'll find the words "proposed" "suggested" etc in there. Grates doesn't it????

    AND many thousands have read it!! Why, I'm almost as famous as Littlejohn!! Just call me the anti-mail ;)

  44. Fourbanks: hysteria and personal attacks won't make your point any stronger; nor will it make you respond any more accurately to what I actually said. As Richard and Sarah both elaborated: specific exemptions (aside from terminal diagnoses, for obvious reasons) don't make any sense. A fit-for-purpose system (and note I do say the system is not such) would send people to the correct groups. And there is NO NEED for an AUTOMATIC EXEMPTION for chemo patients. Some (such as me, and the vast majority of patients in my group) will be perfectly capable of continuing in work. Others won't. What we need is a properly functioning assessment system, not a big bunch of automatic exemptions. If anything, keeping these will leave those not included by them facing an even more difficult fight, both through the system and in the eyes of a propagandised public.

  45. Adding to my earlier post(Anonymous 4 December 2011 12:20)

    I should add that of course some people will work whilst receiving treatment and find that they are strong enough either emotionally or physically. For some it will keep body and soul together but its being "forced" to attend these interviews and the reports of how the new benefit works in practice and how the assessments are conducted that worries me more.

    People who can work, want to work, have to work will be doing so without being called in to an arranged and pressurised interview.

    Also, more contact should be made between those who assess you and those do the treatment and know you best, Dr's and consultant's and access to your medical records.

    Many horror stories(anecdotal admittedly but too many to ignore)suggest that you are not able to submit information and tests are a question and answer procedure using computer software and boxes are ticked. You are unable to submit information in these assessments but today there is a news story that the Government may look into allowing access to private companies of medical records on the grounds of medical research. So that's alright then, you can only give information when it suits the Government not when you need to.

    Conditions do vary, what I suffer from(using last evening as an example) I was absolutely exhausted and could barely manage to get my body off the bed, I went out like a light and was all aches and pains for at least 12 hours.

    Many tests these days have no give or take for changes like this and they are very rigid. They have to realise that one size does not fit all...

  46. When my partner developed leukaemia he was rushed into an isolation room. He spent months in there during each phase of his treatment. Visitors had to be kept to a minimum and had to undergo strict sanitary procedures before they could enter the room. How could he have gone to an ATOS interview?

    There is a complete failure here to comprehend what having a serious illness can mean.

  47. Jill - I'd be interested in your reasoning. Why not an automatic exemption? People who want to work and are able to, like yourself, clearly will.

    This is about people applying for ESA. They clearly feel they need some support. Otherwise, they wouldn't show up in the figures at all.

    In that case, wouldn't an automatic exemption mean that you are safe if you need to be, but clearly, perfectly capable and entitled to work if you want to if you feel unable to carry on for a while - either physically or mentally?

    I have to say, I'm a little suspicious of your comment. As someone who spends a month or so of most years in hospital, I too can provide anecdotes.

    You say "Of the 30 or so patients that were in my chemo group at one time or another, only one was incapable of working. And that was due to a complete mental collapse rather than the chemo itself."

    It must have been a quite astonishing group. I have spent time with many, many, chemo patients over the years. You are right - many wanted to keep working for as long as they were able, but almost without exception, they all went down to part time hours or stopped for a while or stopped altogether.

    How often did you have chemo? Only most have treatment often and that alone would make it hard to fit around full time work.

    Very few people manage to get through chemo without feeling exhausted, depressed, vomiting a lot, constant nausea or other symptoms, losing your hair may be enough to make some not want to go to an office.

    Nope, sorry, just doesn't ring true, though clearly mere anecdotes will always throw up anomalies. Best we stick to research perhaps, with much larger sample groups.

  48. I work at The Christie. No Jill, not Christie's auction house - a hospital in Manchester: One of Europe's largest dedicated Cancer treatment centres, and an International leader in treatment and research. While I agree that not all patients are effected by Chemo in the same way, I have to say that the majority of Chemo patients I come into contact with every day are unfit for work. Quite apart from the effect of their treatment, our outpatients are so consumed with the mental aspect of dealing with their battle against a life-threatening illness, that work is the last thing on their mind, while financial worries are unfortunately very much at the forefront. Anything our Welfare State can do to alleviate financial worries is wholly justified in this instance. If someone is driven enough to discount the possibility of a potential, impending death - good luck to them, but don't pour unnecessary worry on those who don't have the financial security that goes with having a 'High Powered jobs' or the mental fortitude to unreservedly believe that their fight against cancer will be a successful one. While we all as humans understand the technicality that life is finite, very few of us are asked in the mundane prime of our lives to actually face it as a very real, imminent possibility. Any Government of a civilised country should have the empathy to leave this area well alone and look elsewhere to make the savings. Is it too much to ask for unerring compassion for people presented with the possibility of their life's end?

  49. There always was a system to identify whether people were fit for work. It was called a GP. At a time when money is tight, I can see no justification for this costly, wasteful system of assessment which lines the pockets of private business and lawyers out of taxpayers' money, not to mention the suffering and worry it causes to those who are ill or disabled.

  50. ** Oh, and I speak as one who has chemo injections every 2 weeks. They don't make me ill, but I DO get every infection or virus doing the rounds when I have them.

    This alone has seen me bedridden 3 or 4 times this year as my immune system tries (and fails) to fight off the infections.

  51. We ALL know of someone who has had cancer or has died of cancer. It effects everyone. We all have individual stories. My sister-in-law, a teacher, recently had half of her cancerous lung removed. BTW - she has never smoked in her life. Thank God she has recovered and been given the all clear. She returned to teach her class as soon as she felt well enough. I am sure that there are a great many cancer patients who already have the 'work ethic' and won't need to attend any work related interviews because they will be signed off from their jobs whilst in recovery. What IS another concern is the proposal to limit sick pay for people with long term illness and hand the signing of the sick notes over to some private company. They seem determined to force sick people to work, even those with cancer who have every intention of returning to work if and when they are well again.

    There may be a deficit to pay off but to target people in genuine need and distress is going too far. How much do the banks owe? How many £trillion? Get them to pay some of it back now instead of sitting by as they are awarding themselves obscene bonuses. George Osborne sells off Northern Rock for a whopping loss to Richard Branson and hails this loss of public money a success! All in this together? Yeah right!

  52. whizjet tory troll.... if the future is as you say god help us all as its the bankers and thier tory errand boys that have got us in to this mess and like i said they couldnt care about you at all fodder ....go ask cameron to lend you a few quid when you need it and see what he says.Go round to osbornes maansin and see if they will let you stay should you nedd to...I very much doubt it sunshine...Tory future YEAH for some but not you ,me or the rest..Now you get real...

  53. My mother was diagnosed with cancer in July started chemo in August and I buried her in October. Every time I visited her ward the patients looked iller and beds were becomming vacant due to another person dying between visits. It was the most depressing time of my life and its a disease that is a lottery. Who lives who dies ???? My mother worked all her life and only stopped work when she became ill. She caught every germ going and the thought of her being made to attend job centre interviews in her condition horrifys me. How many germs do you think are breeding there ?? I suppose it will help reduce the claimants numbers if they get xtra germs to battle. Less to pay out if they die quicker eh !! I am so ashamed of how this non elected government is treating the vulnerable. It is beyond belief. The way they are turning members of society on each other and we are turning into a country of the haves and have nots. The have nots are being trampled on. My mother felt ashamed at the end of her life to even have to make a claim for benefits but as she died so quickly they still hadnt sorted out a payment for her untill 3 weeks after her death.. I am so glad she isnt alive to see how she would be treated today as I am sure she would have felt totally humiliated by a society who has lost all compassion and care for the more vulnerable in society

  54. I don't know why they don't allow your Dr and consultant to speak up for you. They came up with some statistic the other week reported on the BBC radio news over and over that Dr's get it wrong when deciding who is fit for work(signed off)and that one in five could/should work. They did not explain how they had worked that out.

    Then again look at it another way and you could say four out of five are unfit so they have been good at deciding who is ill.

    I hate the way private companies are getting rich on the backs of the vulnerable and sick.

    There is so much truth in the comments being posted here from people in the "real" world.

    They say there is no money but they can always find it to do the things that they really wish to do.

  55. So sorry rosey to hear of your mothers death. Her generation like mine have never liked the idea of benefits hence they are very reluctant to claim them they would rather struggle on with nothing such is their great resolve

    I have always felt ashamed to claim benefits even my social house in which i had to wait 15 years for feels wrong for some reason

    Those over fifty five like myself will feel the mental torture over the coming years as our generation never liked the idea of benefits

    I have never found anyone in that age group taking to benefits and only as a last resort have they done so

    The over seventies are much worse with their determination and prefer to die then to be a burden hence the high death rate of that age group every winter

    The likes of David Cameron maria miller IDS Lord fraud are the very worst types of human beings living today and for most people who's lives are blighted by the DWP/ATOS death would be a godsend after all for some like myself just knowing that i live near the above i feel death is the much preferred choice

    Once your mind has been blighted by the above government's actions you will never be able to recover and you will always when the time comes to be out of it in heaven

    The only people when you are gone to feel the pain will be your children and grand children as they in a many cases will have witnessed your daily battles to keep going only to find that you were also battling behind the scenes the government as well

    I always had planned to get out of the uk when i become long term ill but i left it to late as my health become to restrictive and could only live in a tropical climate for my health to improve and those countries although cheaper to live in my benefits were not transferable so i have had to stay here

    There are some countries which have now been placed on a special list in where you can now claim certain benefits but my needs have changed and if i did go i may not get any health benefit at all as i am now to week to travel

  56. Begone Whizjet. Silly person.

  57. Sue: why would you be suspicious of me? Is it impossible to believe that someone could be sympathetic to your view of the overall impact of sickness/disability welfare reforms, have had chemotherapy themselves, AND feel that auto-exemptions for certain conditions aren't the way forward? Or is better to simply say they must be a liar? Ad hominem, as I said earlier, doesn't prove a point.

    Firstly, your post here is misleading. I note you didn't respond to my remarks about that.

    Secondly, since you are clearly - and ironically - as suspicious of any naysayers as you feel (and feel victimised by) any naysayers are suspicious/propagandised about your condition/campaign/postings, here are the details: 1989 Stage 1a Hodgkins Lymphoma, treated with surgery and radiotherapy; 1997 Stage 3b relapse with mediastinal involvement, treated with 8 rounds of ChlVPP and then radiotherapy. Overall, thanks for asking, it went well, save for one nightmare episode with uncontrollable cold sores, for which I had to be hospitalised. Today: still in remission, but limited capacity for aerobic activity due to scar tissue in lungs.

    Yes, I did go to work bald (well, with a bandana, as the wigs exacerbated the severe psoriasis I've had since a child, and which even the massive steroid doses in the chemo didn't banish).

    Happy now?

  58. jill it sounds your after a medal so your a strong person great fantastic and you certainty make me feel bad and week if that was your intention you succeeded your a great help to those who find life difficult

    Your the person who had it tough and won a cancer battle and condemns those that are or may be struggling

    Your the same as David Cameron in that all illnesses are in the mind so go to work

    Jill i am often accused of being negative if i were you i would keep my mouth shut

    I am pleased you are recovering well from cancer but we need to concentrate on those that are finding the road ahead difficult and we cant do that if people keep saying their OK what's the problem

  59. It is very easy to look at an issue from a personal perspective and ignore the very different experiences of other people. The fact that some undergoing chemo are still able to work, even find work beneficial, does not mean that this is true of everyone and for those for whom work is not an viable option I have difficulty understanding why anyone should object to them being exempt from the additional stress of undergoing the WCA at least until their treatment ends. As has been pointed out before, those who wish to continue working and who are able to work, and this can be dependent on the employer as well as the person undergoing treatment, will exclude themselves from claiming ESA so I really cannot see where the problem lies other than perhaps a perception that some cancer suffers are swinging the lead which is not only demonstrably untrue but offensive.

  60. Fourbanks: I'll repeat: you cannot win an argument by establishing a straw man. At what point have I said "I'm alright Jack, so tough on you"? I haven't. When did I say illnesses are in the mind? I didn't. I've made some points about Sue's post, which was a) misleading and which b) I disagreed with. I've simply said that I don't think auto-qualification to the support group is the way to go. And I don't. Or that it's a particularly crucial point to fight in the midst of these reforms. And it isn't.

    But for daring to make these points, I've been subject to ad hominem attacks, had words put in my mouth by straw man arguments, and been accused of lying.

    Guys, if you think this is the way to reverse propagandised public opinion (which I don't agree with, by-the-bloody-way), then you are sadly in for an uphill battle.

  61. Jill, I missed the bit about you believing the post to be inaccurate? Which bit?

    I wasn't for one second doubtful of your cancer Jill, just that of 30 people, only one had to modify their work arrangements in any way.

    I also say that it could well be true, just an exceptional anecdote.

    Finally, the most important point of my comment to you was this bit : "This is about people applying for ESA. They clearly feel they need some support. Otherwise, they wouldn't show up in the figures at all.

    In that case, wouldn't an automatic exemption mean that you are safe if you need to be, but clearly, perfectly capable and entitled to work if you want to if you feel unable to carry on for a while - either physically or mentally?"

    An automatic exemption does not mean you CAN'T work, just that it will e assumed you can't unless you choose to. I see no problem with that and think there should be many more of them.

    I wasn't attacking you at all - it's great to hear positive accounts and to hear from strong, resilient people like you who have fought hard. I do take your point, but I think evidence and all the studies conducted, show a rather different picture to your experience.

  62. Jill you'll never be able to get one over me i have had 30 years of DWP abuse and i know full well the government's game plan more then anyone and at the end of the day you either take my line or the government's and go to work their is no other line to take

    You will either fight your own corner as i have done over the past 30 years or you will struggle like the majority or die it's very simple

    Splitting hairs with sue isn't the way forward she and her views are on the side of caution and in my view far more accurate then any other that i see on the internet and yes she does tell me off from time to time and that's a good thing so be like me jill and take it on the chin as your views bear no relationship whatsoever in the way the government is going about with these reforms

  63. Sue - this is disturbing news but no-one else knows about it.

    Please can you advise a reference - either website or other - so I can get this out as my final alert for this year. Health now a problem, so must take a break, but this is amazing and I want to send it out if possible but would need confirmation from an official source. Thanks. Mo

  64. Sue - As you, like me, receive chemotherapy for a condition other than cancer, it surprises me that you can't see the potential problems with this automatic exemption category. For a start there doesn't seem to be a legal definition of cancer or chemotherapy, which could lead too some very complicated appeal cases.

    Why should people be treated differently depending on the name of their disease, even if they have the same symptoms and treatment?

    If the assessment test was changed to directly take account of things like nausea, vomiting, fatigue and pain, then anyone experiencing symptoms like this, as a result of either their treatment or their illness could be correctly put into the support group. A reasonable ESA50 and a letter from their doctors, would mean that people wouldn't even have to go through the potentially harmful and exhausting ATOS assessment.

    What I am really saying is any "exemption" should apply to anyone with severely problematic symptoms, whatever their cause.

    If specific groups (and especially if those groups happen to be the ones the public are more familiar with) have exemptions, then it makes it harder to get a fair deal for everyone else.

    Whilst it would be good for cancer patients to have this exemption, it makes the position for other people weaker as they become more of a minority group and one that many people have little knowledge of. The public familiarity and sympathy for cancer patients is why they are frequently used in examples (such as PM's questions or committee group discussions). Separating them from other patients weakens the campaigning position as a whole and gives the government the opportunity to make a token compromise to escape the pressure for the real change that is needed (such as was done with the prescription charging campaign).

    I would be grateful if you would address some of the points in my two posts, as I respect and value your opinion and wonder why we disagree so completely on this issue when I am usually in strong agreement with what you write.

  65. Sarah
    All this talk of groups and the whole other rafter of points you and jill make just digress from what was in the beginning a review of entitlement of benefits for the sick and disabled

    This should be down to your docter alone and the hospital staff that are treating you and no one else end of story

    If you can work fine and if you cant that's also fine forget any other scenario
    as all that does as i say in that it digresses from the main argument are you fit for work or not and that is down to those most qualified to pass judgement AND NOT DOWN TO YOU OR WHOEVER ELSE

    I have known many people in my time who have been desperate to work and the doctor has said if you do it will kill you and they like so many today who are selfish have continued to disobey their doctor and died a short while afterwords leaving their family to pick up the pieces

    You should always do what your doctor or consultant feels best for you and leave it at that and not keep trying to get all political and come out like the government with meaningless drivel that just goes round and round in circles and never ends year or year

    What you need to do is to understand the government and the way they think once you have done that you can plan your life accordingly

    The governments plan is crystal clear even a blind man can see it and that's to take away your benefits and then you as a individual will have to fight tooth and nail like i have done to get them restored and that is the only plan the government will be taking full stop end of storey

    See i told you it was simple just get wise and don't fall out with people the government aren't worth it

  66. Anecdotal I'll grant you(but I was telling the taxi driver who was asking after Mum as he took her to the initial consultation and for her scan at the hospital)about this assessment and the plans afoot...he told me his wife is virtually blind(You have to stand nose to nose for her to recognise you)and she has a condition that can shut down major organs without warning(she also has a consultant ready to fight her corner)and even she is being called in for a similar assessment.

    They are certainly determined...

    Why they cannot take eveidence from your own Dr and those treating you is beyond me...and probably most people who are fair...

    I may have said elsewhere some report that was mentioned on the radio news suggested that one in five people who are said to be sick could work and Dr's are getting it wrong when they assess their patients.

    No one said how they came up with that statistic. But lets turn it on its head and say that means that four out of five are not fit so most of the time they are getting it right. And recently many who attend assessments and fail and take it to appeal actually get their benefits reinstated so even the private companies are getting it wrong.

    Whats that costing in monetary terms and the stress it causes?

  67. Sarah - *sigh* I do see what you're saying. I find it frustrating too.

    The thing is, I think there should be many MORE exemptions. Frustrating as it is, we've been losing the battle for public opinion. If we can't get the public to see what the government are really doing, they'll never stop.

    Cynical I know, and I hate saying it, but people understand cancer. They listen when you say "People on chemo sent to the job centre" or something equally simplistic.

    If I have to get people's attention with a cancer story to make them listen to everyone else's then I'm afraid, I have to.

    It's a bit like the pension argument. Why level DOWN public sector pensions? Why not level UP private sector ones?

    Similarly, why only exclude chemo patients? Why not exclude all long term variable conditions with significant impact?

    I just hope that by publicising this story, I can get the government to level UP not down.

  68. Here's the thing?

    How many think that spending £10 billion on a missile system that can never be used is a 'priority'?

    How about the billions of UK taxpayers money funding London's Olympics?

    Then there are the billions of pounds of taxpayers money that have disappeared into the City of London and the bank's greedy maw to be spat out as obscene bonuses for the gamblers that got it wrong in the first place.

    If the English can not afford to fund their own healthcare just why are billions being spent on Libya or Afghanistan?

    Wales and Scotland have used part of their pocket money from Westminster to provide free prescriptions - England? Westminster does not give a hoot!

    The Scots created a Scandinavian style home health care system free at the point of delivery - Westminster's response to cut £200 million from Scotland's Barnett based welfare budget.

    The problem is not Westminster it is each individual English man or woman who puts up with the arrogance and disdain the Westminster political machine and its media junkies pour out all over England.

    The best reason to stop the Trident replacement is because it can not be afforded alongside proper levels of first world health care provision. Westminster could find £3 billion at the drop of a hat to fund the Libyan excursion but there is no money for the English NHS?

    There is money for NHS quangoes who do little but get in each others way as they carve their empire out of England's NHS. NICE has been a great success - UK developed (Cancer Research) and made successful prostrate cancer drug not allowed in England (too expensive) but is prescribed in Libya.

    It is time for the English electorate to stop being so bloody nice and apologetic for their useless MPs and UK (English) Government, get out there kicking butt - Clegg and Osbourne would be top of my list - and start telling your MPs what they should be doing rather than their sheep like baaing as they pass through another meaningless division and shaft the English electorate that bit more.

    The Scots have told Westminster where it can stick itself it is about time the English did as well because until that happens the elected sheep will continue to ignore you.

  69. Peter Thomson - well said. Though I should add re Trident; yes, finance is a very good reason, but it's still wrong even if it came free with a packet of smarties!

    What I don't get with some of these arguments is this.

    If you're on chemo and already in a job and can continue that job then great. And there's nothing stopping you doing so.

    If you're on chemo and in work but can't continue - maybe just temporarily, becuase, you know, it takes up a lot of your time, attending appointments, throwing up and so on, then surely you should give up work, maybe just temporarily - and have the finances to do so. (Mutter mutter says some; they should rely on their own resources rather than the taxpayer - their fault for not being rich) If their GP/Consultant recommends it.

    If someone is out of work and contracts cancer, goes on chemo, are they now expected to hunt for a job as well? Isn't that what this proposal will mean?

    So you go to your interview (if you're lucky enough to get one) And you're asked about your health, how many days you've had off sick? Or you're asked that old chestnut 'where do you see yourself in one year/five years time' what do you say?

    And don't give me all that mullarky about 'there's no money'. Of course there is. It's in the pockets of those who don't see themselves as part of this society.

  70. Sue - thank you for replying. I think are thoughts are coming from the same direction and we both want to ultimately see a fair deal for everyone.

  71. Hi Sarah
    Just to let you know that myself and many here in New Zealand are watching what's happening to welfare/sickness beneficiaries in the UK with alarm and trepidation as our re-elected National government are big fans of Duncan Smith. I am a breast cancer survivor, having lost my job while going through radiotherapy (having also done full chemo and surgery) so know exactly what you and others are going through. Our hearts are with you and we will fight as you are fighting.

  72. Thanks for commenting Marianne. We've also had comments from people in Italy, Australia, France and Canada.

    Sadly, this is a policy direction most of the world seem happy to adopt, no doubt persuaded by the same big businesses that persuaded our own government here in the UK - after all why would we be unique?

    It's sort of comforting to hear we are not alone , but sort of depressing to think that other governments can be this callous.

    Do stay in touch, I have vague plan to write something up on welfare reforms in other countries. Could you send me any links from your papers you think might be useful??

    Thanks again. xx

  73. Hidden away in the health section of The daily Fail, is an article refering to this...It should be headline news,telling the media what an uncaring bunch of (expletive) our government are. But ,that is never going to happen is it!I have oral chemo and biological injections for Psoratic arthritis and the side effects can be awful .

  74. Sue still doesn't get it.
    "It's a bit like the pension argument. Why level DOWN public sector pensions? Why not level UP private sector ones?
    I just hope that by publicising this story, I can get the government to level UP not down."


    Sorry Sue, you clearly understand neither economics, or politics. It's not possible to spend money that you don't have - look at the austerity across Europe - do you blame all that on those nasty Tories ;-) ?
    Why can't you understand that a National policy has to be affordable and also broadly based - it CANNOT cater to everyone's idea of a 'special case', or it is soon signed up to disaster and spending without limits - that's called . . . . . ah yes, I remember, "ending boom and bust".

  75. Ahhh whizjet, I do enjoy our little chats.

    Across Europe we have right wing governments. Hence the race to the bottom. Incidentally, the question goes both ways - Do you blame Labour for the deficits of Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain.....

    So explain to me Whizjet, help me in my ignorance. If business are sitting on a 600 Billion surplus, why can't they choose to pay some of that money into their employees pensions and ensure they receive an adequate living wage rather than paying it all to shareholders?

  76. No no Sue, please share with us all the experience of your vast knowledge of the public finances.
    Please, (for George Osborne as much as me) please explain where your imagination thinks this 600 billion is hidden.
    Foolish girl.

  77. I sent you 3 links - one from Gideon himself - didn't you read them?

  78. Sorry Mo (Mozza) I didn't see your message - here is the link from MacMillan

    Here is Harrington

    Dont work too hard. We need all our welfare warriors fit. xx

  79. This comment has been removed by the author.

  80. [QUOTE]Whizjet has left a new comment on the post "Government Cancer PR Disaster":

    Sorry Sue, I've been back and checked all the posts - not a link in sight.
    But JUST THINK - you may be on to something. I can see the headlines:
    "Sue Marsh, the woman too ill to work has discovered £600,000,000,000.00 that no-one else realised was there."
    "Stricken welfare warrior saves the planet and abolishes boom and bust."
    "Sue Marsh for Head of the IMF."
    "Sue Marsh for Head of the World Bank."
    Sue Marsh - who believes in spending money we don't have on special interest groups like herself - is being coached by another well known International Saviour:[/QUOTE]

    Sue would make a darn sight better prime minister then what we have at the present time make no mistake about that

    We as a country have in the bank of England in reserves have vast wealth to fight any war and still have plenty left our gold wealth is vast this money should be put to good use as the reserve is way to high in my book and as i am retired from the bank of England with family roots going back to 1918 i have more knowledge then most on the matter of how rich or not this country is

    The waste over the years on wars and waste in general runs into billions of pounds figures so large they are all meaningless to people bad government throughout the past 50 years are fully to blame for the mess we are in today

    The politicians say their educated that is most odd as i know many and have yet to meet one who can speak any common sense education it's no wonder that so many young people reject it when they see the damage of education by the likes of David Cameron kicking around who the hell in the world would wont to end up like him

  81. Whizzjet - That's weird, still I do have pneumonia at the moment, so perhaps I was hallucinating.

    Here :

    And before you scream "lefties" here it is from the government :

    Silly boy.

  82. There really are far, far too many people sponging off the taxpayer right now with their fake or exaggerated disabilities and they're one of the reasons we're in the financial mess we're in.
    This isn't going to last. It cannot last. Future historians are going to look back in astonishment at the lunacy of an age when, according to one government definition from the New Labour era, fully 11 million people – that's a quarter of the adult population – qualified as disabled. Where does the money come from?
    Three places: taxation; inflationary money-printing; borrowing.
    Every time the disability lobby squeals for more another few jobs are lost, another few basis points are lost from GDP growth. But these people don't care; they know better than that: the government owns a magic money tree and its ability to distribute the fruits thereof is boundless.

    1. Whizjet.. what a disgusting narrow mind you have! Unemployed people, disabled people and single parents on JSA have not 'caused' this recession.. you need to apply a little intelligence and develop the abilty to use your own mind. The government has got sheeple like yourself so focused on pointing the finger at 'social scroungers' which conveniently distracts you from the real facts.. in short the government and bankers have caused this recession, which just happens to be the worst recession this country has ever experienced... but they are cashing in and they don't take pay cuts! Yet instead you scorn and mock those who have nothing and are living on £60 per week.. many are forced to work 40 hours for their £60 per week on the Work Programme Scheme. In short that is slave labour.. and many retailers are cutting down workers on their payroll and taking on unemplyed people whome they do not have to pay, but get paid by the government for offering this service! On top of that the private companies working the WP are paid by the government (tax payers money) upto £2,000. You should also find out about what A4E and 'Helen' have been doing with tax payers money at the total exploitation of the so-called lazy dossers supposedly living it large on the dole!

  83. I know that there are different types of Chemo, and that they will affect people in different ways, I had bowel cancer and after surgery to remove most of my colon, it was Chemo Time, 5FU to be specific, six months of it. Oh yes it knocked me off kilter somewhat, I did however carry on working full time, even with overtime for the most part,and only a handfull of sick days. I have since had radio therapy for prostate and bladder cancer (Lucky or what!!), that was four weeks of pure draining, must admit to taking a month off for that, and three years of hormone therapy, I have stopped the overtime in the past six months though.
    My point is that we are not all scroungers, and I see no reason to give up work if you feel that you can cope,it would be nice to have time off but who would pay my bills??

  84. I can see from responses on this site that the actions of the govement are working the way they want.We should not fall into these traps of divide and conquer.I have had cancer on three occassions in the last 14 years.
    my first time i had to take 6 months off and returned on part time hours until a year passed and i was fit to go full time.
    WWhen i had my last two cancer treatments including a stem cell transplant i have not worked for 3 years as i still have health problems with my immune system and damage caused by both cancers Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins both in the bone.
    I got through the treatment only for my wife to walkout of our 15 year marriage as she was fed up with the cancer and having no life other than caring for me.I have always worked and even run my own businesses rather than be on benefits.
    Now at 57 years of age i am alone and in a bungalow. I am registered disabled but have just received a return to work interview as if i was a scrounger.I sometimes feel that the cancer won and i would be better off dead.This goverment is so destructive ,turning people at each others throats and making people like myself feel guilty for having survived the 3 lots of cancer and people targetting me as a scrounger on benefits,I bet there are no MPS who would spend £400.00 a month from a bring home salary of £1200.00 on ferry fares car parking charges and a daily round trip of 90 miles rather than be on benefits.

  85. Whizjet,
    Maybe if you tory tossers paid the tax they should like ordinary people do we would be able to look after the less fortunate in society.As it says somewhere in one of shakespeares plays ,"a pox on you"and I hope they cant cure it!