Statistics, Health & the DWP……

16 Jul

Statistics are notoriously unreliable but rely upon them our Government Ministers do.  Despite rising unemployment, a falling GDP and an increase in the UK population, the Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP still has to claw back some money from the Department for Work and Pensions, for which he is responsible.  To achieve this goal Mr. Grayling and his cronies have announced their intentions to ‘reform’ the welfare system.  To anybody with any degree of intelligence this would appear to be at odds with the current status quo.  However, with the help of Atos Origin, the company tasked with undertaking the DWP’s healthcare assessments, a potential saving in the budget has been identified.  Through the Work Capability Assessment, Atos Origin can now find that almost everybody claiming Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance is, as we will see, fit and healthy and, therein save the DWP almost £30 per week whilst causing misery to thousands of genuinely sick people……

 

As the latest population figures have been released today, it seems like an appropriate time to weigh up some of the numbers……

 

90 percent of ‘customers’ assessed by Atos Origin are ‘fit for work’.  This figure comes from the review undertaken by Professor Malcolm Harrington and comprises; 65% found ‘fit for work’, 25% allocated to the ‘work-related activity group’ and 10% allocated to the ‘support group’.  If this is a true reflection of the population at large it suggests that only 1 in 10 claimants are NOT fit for work, or 9 out of 10 are?  This figure appears prima facia, to sit nicely with other statistics issued by other organisations with regard to the numbers of people with some form of illness or disability that would prohibit work at some time.  But wait a minute; let’s look at those numbers again, in context.  I agree that approximately 1 in 10 people may be unable to work, however, the statistics given by charities and other interested groups are drawn from the whole population, whilst the statistics from Atos Origin are gathered from the claimants who already comprise the 1 in 10 people.  If you apply the ‘Atos methodology’ to the entire population it suggests that only 1 in 100 people could be considered unable to work due to ill health……

 

A look at the bigger picture produces numbers that are hugely different.  With a population of 62.2 million (which includes children and OAP’s), if we apply the 1 in 10 figure, we would have 6.2 million people unable to work.  Allowing for children and OAP’s, which make up approximately 50% of the population, one is left with 3.1 million people, which is coincidentally, almost precisely the number of people claiming one of the benefits which they are entitled to……

 

So, this relatively simple mathematical exercise clearly demonstrates that the ‘war on health’, not unlike ‘the war on terror’, is a fictional construct designed to make a people fit a budget rather than a budget fit the people……

 

The man chosen to undertake the review, required by the Welfare Reform Act, has stated that Atos Origin, the Work Capability Assessment and the DWP all fall far short of meeting the needs of the people they are paid to serve.  I would go further and say that the whole system is fundamentally flawed.  Consultants, Doctors and Healthcare Professionals are in a far better position to judge the health of their patients.  Instead of paying a private company £100 million per year to implement policies, the money would be better spent asking the HCP’s for their assessment of an individual’s health and ability to work……

 

The numbers don’t add up……

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