Incapacity Benefit

From Dr John Greensmith :


Bristol Evening Post Letters.

A long-term illness, like M.E., doesn’t behave itself conveniently for a
claimant to be properly assessed for fitness to work by an instrument as
blunt as the Government’s Personal Capability Assessment test, used to
decide eligibility for benefit.

In a single day, an M.E. sufferer might have a struggle to get out of bed,
washed and dressed, yet be quite well enough to go shopping (as people on
the street are often keen to point out, “You always seem all right when I
see you.”), then later not have sufficient strength to lift a cup of tea or
knife and fork to their lips and later still have the required
concentration to read a book or do a crossword. It is that variable and

A moment’s thought shows that M.E. is rarely seen at its worst by
Government officials, passers-by and even the patient’s own GP because when
they are, they are least visible, indoors, sometimes in bed. Many of the
most severely affected 25% of sufferers are completely bedridden.

When a judgement is made that the claimant is fit for work – often by civil
servants or by doctors who have never seen the patient before – they never
see the effects of the testing, later the same or next day, which have
often left the claimant exhausted.

It may be hard for fit and healthy people to understand . It is not known
by those of us who suffer it why it happens. But it does. And people with
M.E. and other chronic illnesses should not be punished for others’ ignorance.

The first step to understanding is listening.

Yours sincerely
Editor, ME Free For

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