Letter to Chief Medical Officer from Mo Stewart ” brutality of WCA together with the excessive use of sanctions is negatively impacting on public mental health”  this “government enforced tyrannny…”

11 May 2019

Mo Stewart

https://www.mostewartresearch.co.uk

https://www.researchgate.netiprofile/Mo Stewart/publications  

 

      Date: 3rd May. 2019

 

Professor Dame Sally Davies
DBE, FRS, FMedSci

Chief Medical Officer, 

Department of Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street, London SW1H OEU

[Dear Dame Sally]

Re: Preventable harm is government policy

Priority Attention

Further to previous contact, I am writing to alert you to the identified increasing preventable harm created by the flawed assessment model adopted by the Department for Work              and Pensions (DWP) to restrict access to the Employment and Support Allowance, the Personal Independence Payment and, most recently, to Universal Credit.

You will recall that the commissioned research used by the DWP to justify the adoption of the Waddell-Aylward biopsychosocial (BPS) model for the work capability assessment (WCA) has failed all academic scrutiny (Shakespeare et ai, 2016), that the brutality of the assessment system together with the excessive use of sanctions is negatively impacting on public mental health (Barr et a12015; Webster, 2015), and that the assessment model was influenced by corporate America long ago; as this government enforced tyranny has been adopted by consecutive neoliberal governments who imported American social policies (Daguerre, 2004) for political ideology and for no other reason (Stewart, 2019).

Given that the infamous 'Freud Report', as used by the DWP to justify this tyranny, was discredited within weeks of being published as Freud had 'misinterpreted his own references' (Dorling, 2007), then you will I'm sure realise that both government commissioned reports used to justify the adoption of the fatally flawed WCA have been discredited by independent academic excellence.

Professor Peter Dwyer has just completed a five year project, that involved six universities, which concluded that conditionality of social security benefits DOES NOT permit or encourage vast numbers of disabled people to find jobs, contrary to DWP rhetoric, and their key findings were that conditionality created a range of negative behaviour changes (Dwyer et ai, 2018):

  • counterproductive compliance

  • increased poverty, and on occasions, destitution

  • movements into survival crime

  • exacerbated ill health and impairments

The referenced published papers will alert you to this unacceptable ongoing preventable harm adopted by the DWP, as those in greatest need now live in fear of the Department. The healthcare professions are waiting for you to speak out against this ongoing preventable harm in your capacity as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), and so are the chronically ill and disabled community who are being terrorised by their own government, on route to the demolition of the welfare state to be replaced with private healthcare insurance, as all planned a long time ago (Stewart, 2016). There may be 'Better Health Within Reach', as claimed in your 2018 annual report but not, I respectfully suggest, if chronically ill or disabled in C21st UK and in need of financial support from the state. Victims are, quite literally, killed by the state, which demonstrates a catastrophic indifference to human need: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/22/stephen-smith-benefits-system-dying

In the ten years since the adoption of the WCA, a lot of detailed research evidence has been published and it seems to me that the CMD and colleagues should be aware of this disturbing evidence, that confirms the ongoing unnecessary preventable harm created by the social policy reforms of consecutive UK governments. Your colleagues may welcome access to this evidence which will be shared with them. Some of my colleagues have co-signed this letter, as listed below.

Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward's biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability
https://journals.sagepub.eom/doi/fuIl/10.1177 /0261018316649120

'First, do no harm': are disability assessments associated with adverse trends in mental health? Alongitudinal ecological study

https://jech.bmj.com/content/70/4/339

Benefit sanctions: Britain's secret penal system

https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret -penal-system

Importing Workfare: Policy Transfer of Social and labour Market policies from the USA to Britain under New Labour

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/l0.1111/j.1467-9515.2004.00375.x

Psychological tyranny masquerading as welfare reform
https://www.mostewartresearch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Psychological-Tyranny-Masquerading-Welfare-Reform.pdf

The Real Mental Health Bill
https://www.aeademia.edu/3720014/Dorling Real Menta Health Bill

Final findings report: Welfare Conditionality Project 2013-2018
http://www.welfareconditionality.ac.uk/wpcontent/
 

Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cash-Not-Care-plan ned-demol ition / d p/178507783X

Yours, most sincerely

Mo Stewart

 

Fellow, the Centre for Welfare Reform

Author of 'Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state'. London, New Generation Publishing, 2016

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther-King Jr

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Co-signatures

Professor Peter Dwyer, University of York

Dr Simon Duffy, Director, Centre for Welfare Reform
Dr Anne Daguerre, University of Middlesex

Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite, University of Birmingham

Professor Tanya Titchkosky, Dpt of Social Justice Education, University of Toronto
Dr Marion Hersh, University of Glasgow

Dr Maria Burghs, De Montfort University

Dr lisa Stafford, School of Public Health & Social Work, Queensland, Australia
Dr Stephen Weatherhead, University of Liverpool

Dr liz Ellis, Centre for Health Science

Dr lucy Series, University of Cardiff

Stephanie Headon, University of Bolton

Eri Mountbatten, Centre for Welfare Reform

Jim Elderwoodward OBE, Centre for Welfare Reform
Laura Welti, Bristol Disability Equality Forum

References

Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward's biopsychosocial model of disability Tom Shakespeare, Nicholas Watson, Ola Abu Aighaib, Critical Social Policy 2017, Vol. 37{1}: 22-41

'First, do no harm': are disability assessments associated with adverse trends in mental health? A longitudinal ecological study

B Barr, D Taylor-Robinson, D Stuckler, R loopstra, A Reeves and M Whitehead Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2016, Vol. 70(4): 339-345

Benefit sanctions: Britain's secret penal system

David Webster, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, 26 January 2015

Importing Workfare: Policy Transfer of Social and labour Market Policies from the USA to Britain under New Labour

Anne Daguerre, Social & Policy Administration 2004, Vol. 38(1): 41-56

Psychological tyranny masquerading as welfare reform Mo Stewart

The Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy 2019, Vol. 19 (1): 26-35

The Real Mental Health Bill Danny Dorling, Journal of Public Mental Health 2007, Vol. 6 (3): 6-13

Final findings report, Welfare Conditionality Project 2013 - 2018
Peter Dwyer et al, Welfare Conditionality Project June 2018

Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state MoStewart London, New Generation Publishing, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-78507-783-8 (pbk)

Health 2040 - Better Health Within Reach Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, 2018

3

 

Copied to:

Professor Michael Parker, University of Oxford
Professor Danny Dorling, University of Oxford
Professor Mark Caulfield, University of London
Professor Sir Munir Pirohamed, University of Liverpool
Professor Simon Capewell, University of Liverpool

Dr Frank Atherton, CMO Wales

Dr Catherine Calderwood, CMO Scotland

Dr Michael McBride, CMO Health, Social Services & Public Policy, N Ireland
Dr Harriet Boulding, Kings College London

Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, Imperial College London
Dr Ultan McDermott, Sanger Institute Alumni
Professor Patrick Chinery, University of Cambridge

Professor Martyn McKee, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Lucinda Hiam, london School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Professor Christopher Whitty, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Professor Dame Theresa Marteau DBE, University of Cambridge

Professor Harry Rutter, University of Bath

Professor Majid Ezzati, Imperial College London

Professor Jonathan Grant, Kings College London

Dr Claudia langenberg, University of Cambridge

Dr Dominic King, Imperial College London

Dr Tim Elwell-Sutton, The Health Foundation
Dr Jo Bibby, The Health Foundation

David Finch, The Resolution Foundation

Tom Kibassi, Institute of Public Policy Research
Stephanie Headen, University of Bolton

Dr Junaid Bajwa, Imperial College London

Orla Murphy, Dpt of Health & Social Care

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Institute of Health Equity
Sir Stephen Sedley, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford

Professor Tom Shakespeare, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Professor Peter Beresford, University of Essex

Professor Nicholas Watson, University of Glasgow

Professor Peter Dwyer, University of York

Professor Clare Bambra, University of Newcastle

Dr Simon Duffy, Centre for Welfare Reform

Dr Tanya Titchkosky, University of Toronto, Canada
Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite, University of Birmingham
Dr Anne Daguerre, University of Middlesex

Dr China Mills, City University London

Dr Marion Hersh, University of Glasgow

Dr Maria Burghs, De Montfort University

Dr Stephen Weatherhead, University of Liverpool
Dr Liz Ellis, Centre for Health Science

Dr Lucy Series, University of Cardiff

Dr Ben Barr, University of Liverpool

Dr Mandy Cheetham, University of Teeside
Dr Suzanne Moffatt, University of Newcastle
Dr Michelle Addison, University of Newcastle

Dr Lisa Stafford, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Dr Chris Grover, University of Lancaster

Eri Mountbatten, Centre for Welfare Reform

 


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