UK GOVERNMENT MUST IMPROVE DISABILITY ASSESSMENTS
Amidst the Brexit chaos this week, I continue to ensure that the injustices faced by my constituents are not forgotten. That is why I spoke in a debate on disability assessments which are carried out on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. I pointed out that those who seek support since they are unable to work due to life-limiting health conditions, often face a daunting process, and the high rate of success of mandatory reconsiderations and appeals demonstrates that the system simply isn’t working, and causes unnecessary and unacceptable stress and anxiety for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
I pointed out that private companies should have no place in our welfare system, because the introduction of a profit motive compromises the validity of decisions made, and affects the lives of those who are simply looking for the support they require. That is why the SNP Scottish Government has committed to removing the use of private companies for assessments.
I am regularly contacted by constituents who feel they have been unfairly treated during assessments, with information inaccurately recorded or missing from reports, and on many occasions they have been assessed by professionals who do not specialise in the correct field, such as a mental health professional assessing someone with a heart condition.
The system needs a complete overhaul, to address the stress and bureaucracy that claimants experience, so that people’s disabilities are properly considered, rather than tick-box exercises of simple functions. The system causes real harm to those who are already struggling every day with serious conditions and it must take more account of the often very vulnerable people with whom it deals.
I urged the minister to look critically at the current system and work to improve it for all those who use it.
Click below to watch my speech.