If the government gets away with forcing people with MH problems to undergo treatment in exchange for benefits (my experience both as carer and victim is that what treatment there is inadequate, already overstretched, and hard to access**), this will undermine the basic right of patients to refuse any treatment they feel is inappropriate or harmful.
**I also feel very strongly that many of those afflicted by mental illness need the services of a skilled clinical psychiatrist, not some numpty with a gold star in counselling.
It will then, I’m sure, be only a matter of time before the whole toxic scheme is rolled out across the entire disability benefits spectrum – no treatment, no money.
However, with physical illness as with mental illness, nothing is as simple as these moronic ministers would like Daily Mail readers to believe. Most of us who are physically ill are already heavily burdened with drugs, so where else is there to go? Counselling won’t cure me any more than it will cure a broken leg. Likewise, seeing a consultant once a month would be utterly pointless, even if it were possible. Locally, repeat appointments are running at 6-month intervals (though mine has recently been stretched to 10 months). And who gets sanctioned in cases like this? Not the hospital, that’s for damn sure.
I’m past retirement age, so wouldn’t be affected (until they find a way to fuck with my pension and my DLA), but let’s assume, for the sake of argument that I’m of working age, and that this really will happen – and the more I think about it, the stronger my conviction that it will. Just how many specialists would it take to “justify” my benefits? Because Atos assessors wouldn’t have a clue as not only do I have multiple conditions, each impacts on the others in varying and often unpredictable ways.
I’d need these as an absolute minimum:-
A rheumatologist (for FMS; Cervical spine arthritis; Osteoarthritis)
A psychiatrist (to deal with long-term depression and frequent suicidal ideation)
A cardiologist (for Heart failure; Aortic valve calcification & stenosis; Angina)
An endocrinologist (for Addison’s Disease)
A vascular consultant (for Bilateral Lymphoedema, chronically infected and, according to my GP, likely to kill me; leg ulcer)
A respiratory specialist (for COPD, which comprises asthma, bronchiectasis, emphysema – COPD just rolls up pre-existing conditions under an umbrella term – they don’t actually go away)
And a battery of specialists to deal with the mental and physical aspects of long-term damage from being struck by lightning, and M.E. which might be one and the same, but either way are inextricably linked. Why a battery of specialists? This is why.
So all this, let’s say, comes to pass, and there’s another problem – I’m housebound. It’s incredibly difficult for me to keep ONE hospital appointment, as I never know how functional I’m going to be on any given day until that day arrives. Keeping multiple appointments would be impossible.
It’s obvious, looking at that list, that it would be far cheaper just to bite the bullet and pay me but, doubtless, sanctions would be built in, and failure to attend appointments would result in loss of benefits – everybody wins except the claimant/patient.
And let’s be clear about this – enforced treatment, especially of the mentally ill, is not, in any way, intended to benefit the patient. It is, with malice aforethought, intended – as is pretty much inevitable given the vagaries of mental illness – that people will miss their appointments and be sanctioned. And, doubtless, sanctioned unto death.
And all of it deliberately engineered to reduce the benefits bill.
It also explains why IDS is still in post when better men – better human beings – have been fired. It needs his utter lack of conscience to push this through to its ultimate conclusion if these monsters get a second term with a majority – the Tory Final Solution. Not death camps, though I’m sure they have their proponents within the party, but state-sponsored Death by Sanctions.