Sunday, 10 December 2017

Broken Pip Assessment Process Example By Paula Peters

PIP - Personal Independence Payments.
On Tuesday, 12th December 2017, Winvisible, DPAC and MHRN are holding a vigil outside the Royal Courts of Justice from 1 pm to support the PIP court case for claimants in mental distress.
I want to share a little bit about my friend L story with PIP, she went through the transition from DLA to PIP in September last year. She never said anything to me at the time, but once her award was sorted out, she told me that she worried all year about how she would afford to heat her home and if she would be able to keep her cat Mog, who, have to say, is her lifeline and a lot of the time company for her. Cuddling Mog is what helps her ground herself.
Just at the beginning of her transition process I was staying at her flat when I had a dreadful headache, and asked if she had paracetamol. She told me top drawer in the kitchen.
I went there and found 26 boxes of paracetamol. I was shocked by it, but, also worried and knew why she would have done that. I got them out of the drawer and talked to her about it. She said she wanted them there with the option of taking her own life or harming herself if she did not get through the PIP Process as she could not face the prospect of all the stress of it. I love my friend dearly, but knew I could not help her with this as was going through a really tough time myself and under the home treatment team myself at the time.
I did get help for her, and we went to A and E, and she was under the home treatment for the weekend to keep her safe. She handed over the 26 boxes of paracetamol and had a phone chat with her psychiatrist on the Monday, who once told what was the factor for this incident, said, she is in a fragile state, and chronically pyschotic, that if anything happened to her, he would hold the DWP and Atos personally responsible and complaints would be lodged with the highest level. He wrote her a letter to state that, and we got her care plans, photos of the hoarding situations, a letter from the GP, which had to be re written, one from me, and a lot of help and support from Gail, Maggie and myself filling in the form, getting it photocopied, and sent off recorded signed for.
L has paranoid schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and is clozapine for this and needs constant monitoring as clozapine can cause heart failure. she attends clozapine clinic once a month under the cmht. She will never be discharged from them and is crisis most of the time and barely able to function. She cannot travel anywhere without support, simple journeys terrify her. She does not feel safe outside gets messages in car number plates and has audio and visual hallucinations. She cant plan a journey anywhere and needs constant support to do so.
We got a doctor letter to say she could not travel to the assessment and needed a home visit and needed an afternoon appointment because of the heavy sedation of her meds mornings L could not function and was often asleep. We asked for her access needs to be met under the equalities act of 2010. We stipulated that quite clearly.
Atos sent an appointment to go to Vauxhall for 9 am in the morning. ATOS ignored that. So we phoned them up and pointed out the equalities act of 2010 and that due to her mental distress and heavy sedation of her meds that this appointment was not appropriate. That she never had appointments in the morning and we could prove that with her GP if required to do so.
The receptionist we spoke to said she had never heard of the equalities act of 2010 and did not know what it was, or what disability discrimination was!
I said, you will do when i go to the MP and the media with the story and get them involved and how you discriminated against her and did not take her access needs into account when planning an appointment, even when requested to do so and quite happy to get a barrister involved for additional publicity.
There was heavy silence at the end of the phone to this, which said to us, we knew we had ATOS and they knew we were not joking. They said they would send another appointment through.
Within a few days, they said no assessment was required as L had plenty of medical evidence to support her claim and would do a paper assessment. She sent enough paperwork that was two inches thick.
When in December last year she did get her award, I read her medical report. Carried out by a physio therapist. There was no record of her attending clozapine clinic as part of managing her condition. It simply did not exist. L got one point for using a dosset box to put her meds in. I could not believe it. Nor was there any mention of the intent to harm herself with 26 boxes of meds, the trip to A and E or home treatment within the past several weeks. I was angry.
March this year and the government bought in £4.5bn cuts to PIP and mental health claimants going through the assessments did not qualify for points if you did not have 16 hours of therapy a week to manage your condition. Who on earth gets 16 hours of therapy treatment. It does not happen, and with severe mental health cuts and discharging back to primary care many do not have a CMHT to go along to to get medical evidence for claims.
Then claimants do not get points for mobility for needing support for planning a journey or having problems travelling due to psychological distress.
That will impact on L when she is next assessed when her award is due to come to an end.
I told her about the court case on Tuesday and asked if she was going to come with me. She said she felt distressed at the mere thought of it, and did not want to go as it was too close to home and it would cause additional distress.
So to R the claimant bringing the case, L is with you in spirit as are many thousands upon thousands of others.
Solidarity to you. x

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