Introduction

crippen skeleton

Hello, and welcome to the ‘Mo Stewart Research’ website

With grateful thanks to Dave Lupton, the disabled artist who created Crippen cartoons, for his generous permission to recreate his work on this website, and to all academics, professionals and especially the distinguished researchers from the disabled community who have granted permission for me to reproduce their work In keeping with the philosophy of the Creative Commons Licence, all MS Research reports and articles may be reproduced so long as the author and the year of publication are identified. Third party documents shared on this website may or may not be copyright protected, and all copyrights need to be observed. Thanks. MS

Introduction – long read

This website is the culmination of nine years of independent, self-funded research which began with a disturbing personal experience in December 2008.

This introduction summarises the years of research.

Over the years many people have asked why I began the research, so a little personal history will offer an explanation. As a disabled veteran of the Women’s Royal Air Force Medical Branch, I am in receipt of a War Pension (WP) as awarded until 2005 to all military personnel discharged from service due to chronic illness or disability. Until December 2008, all previous WP medical reviews had been conducted by former military doctors. They always treated me with respect, asked relevant questions related to my health, and conducted a detailed medical examination which invariably led to an increase in pension due to an identified deterioration in my health.

Without warning, this situation changed in October 2008 with the introduction of an unaccountable private contractor to conduct ‘assessments’ on behalf of the government. In December 2008 my WP review was conducted by an unethical young man, who conducted a meaningless assessment when employed by the private contractor known as Atos Healthcare. When visiting my home, the Atos staff member claimed to be a doctor but refused to offer any form of ID. He resisted eye contact and created tension, completed a questionnaire which was unrelated to my health, and dismissed all my attempts to ask questions with an offensive wave of his hand. He failed to conduct any medical examination and the result of his visit was a refusal by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) administration to increase my pension, and a hostile warning to this disabled veteran not to claim again.

skeleton

Public Domain

What had not been considered during this disturbing experience was the fact that I am a healthcare professional by training, originally trained in the National Health Service. I was able to successfully challenge the SPVA decision in what became a two year battle for my WP and my integrity, as I refused to accept an anonymous SPVA administrator suggesting that I was dishonest.

The two year battle for justice introduced me to the world of research, and so began what I have described as my ‘personal voyage of research discovery ’, which culminated in September 2016 with the publication of the book, ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state ’.

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American corporate influence with the demolition of the UK welfare state

In 1982 the Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the future demolition of the UK welfare state. With cross-party agreement, every government since Thatcher has worked towards that ultimate goal without the mandate of the British people.

In 1992 the John Major Conservative administration invited the American corporate giant UnumProvident Insurance to consult with the UK government regarding future welfare claims management, for claimants of long-term sickness and disability benefits. By 1994 the company were listed as official government advisers, and by 1999 UnumProvident Insurance were identified in a Parliamentary debate as refusing to pay income protection insurance policies to genuine claimants. Yet, this American corporate giant’s influence with UK social security policies helped to create the agenda for the future demolition of the welfare state, with a 2005 official corporate document quoting Unum’s Chief Medical Officer confirming that the future UK welfare reforms were ‘…to a large extent being driven by our thinking and that of our close associates ’.

At the same time as funding the ‘UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research’ at Cardiff University for the first five years, the company were being identified in 2005 as ‘an outlaw company ’ by John Garamendi, the California Department of Insurance Commissioner, which was disregarded by the Blair New Labour government as the planned demolition of the UK welfare state was pursued.

In 2006 UnumProvident Insurance provided a detailed memorandum for the Work and Pensions Select Committee, which clearly listed the transformation of the long-term sickness and disability benefit known as Incapacity Benefit to the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The requirement to ‘resist diagnosis ’, ‘change the name of Incapacity Benefit ’ and ‘benefits not to be given on the basis of a certain disability or illness but on capacity assessments ’ have all come to pass, as demonstrated by the use of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which uses all those listed suggestions to limit access to the ESA benefit for people who are too ill to work.

Historically, UnumProvident Insurance were banned in fifteen states in America and six countries worldwide until 2008. Professor John Langbein of the Yale School of Law produced an academic paper in January 2007 identifying the ‘UnumProvident Scandal ’ that exposed Unum’s practice of disability denial, and in 2008 the American Association of Justice identified Unum as the second worst insurance company in America. UnumProvident Insurance changed its name to Unum Insurance in 2007 following negative publicity and, in November 2007, BBC News reported that the British government were being advised by an American insurance company with a reputation for ‘racketeering ’.

The Work Capability Assessment

Introduced in October 2008 by the New Labour government, with the former Chancellor Gordon Brown as the new Prime Minister, the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is a dangerous and fatally flawed assessment, adopted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) using the notorious Waddell and Aylward biopsychosocial (BPS) model, which would eventually be used for any and all assessments linked to sickness and disability benefits. The same fatally flawed BPS model of assessment adopted for the WCA in 2008 to limit access to the Employment and Support Allowance is now used by the DWP to limit access to the Personal Independence Payment, which has replaced Disability Living Allowance. Most recently, the BPS model is being used to restrict access to the new Universal Credit which is now being rolled out across the UK to replace several social security benefits, and is guaranteed to create more preventable harm to many.

In particular, the WCA has been used since October 2008 to restrict access to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and the WCA is also used by the Veterans Agency to restrict increases in military War Pensions for older disabled veterans, despite the fact that a War Pension is not a benefit.

Administered by the DWP, the ESA replaced the former Incapacity Benefit and is the begrudged UK long-term benefit for chronically ill and disabled people who are unfit to work. The ongoing political assault against the chronically ill and disabled community was inspired by the the 2001 ‘Malingering and Illness Deception Conference ’

”What linked many of them together, including Aylward, was their association with the giant US income protection company UnumProvident, represented at the conference by John LoCascio… The cultural meaning of illness would be redefined; growing numbers of claimants would be declared capable of work and ‘motivated’ into jobs. “Two factors threatened future profits however. The first was falling interest rates, and the second was the growth in new kinds of ‘subjective illnesses’, for which diagnostic tests were disputable. The old industrial injuries were giving way to illnesses with no clear biological markers – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease. In the early 1990s the new kinds of claims began to rise just as interest rates fell: profits were threatened. Unum’s 1995 ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Management Plan’ sounded the alarm: ‘Unum stands to lose millions if we do not move quickly to address this increasing problem’.”

Government and Insurance companies – establishing the BPS model
Science for ME: Where Science and the ME/CFS Community Meet

held in Oxford, where UnumProvident Insurance joined forces with various visiting foreign Psychologists, and representatives of the DWP, and concluded that the majority of claimants of long-term sickness benefit should be ‘motivated’ to find  employment.

To meet that goal, the WCA uses a discredited biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment, justified by academic research commissioned by the British government in 2005, when funded by the government corporate ‘advisers ’ UnumProvident Insurance. By adopting the fatally flawed Waddell and Aylward BPS assessment model, the WCA presumes that all ESA claimants are potentially bogus. Influenced by the American corporate advisers, the WCA is described as a ‘ non-medical functional assessment ’ and so it totally disregards diagnosis, prognosis and all medical opinion which is very dangerous and cannot possibly be justified. It is the abdication of all ethical and moral responsibility for the welfare and wellbeing of the chronically sick and disabled community, who are financially dependent upon the State, by permitting the fatally flawed WCA to be conducted by the unaccountable private sector.

The WCA is the adoption of a replica of the BPS ‘disability denial ’ assessment model, as used by Unum (Provident) Insurance to resist funding income protection healthcare insurance claims. It was willingly adopted by the DWP to reduce access to the welfare budget, regardless of the inevitable human consequences. In 2010 the Cameron coalition government increased the resistance to funding ESA, whilst demonising claimants of long-term sickness benefit which the tabloid press happily reported in banner headlines for the next five years. Savage sanctions were imposed for minor transgressions, which can stop benefit for months resulting in some chronically ill people starving to death in C21st UK, and others being admitted to hospital in a coma.

tabloid press

Public Domain

The DWP refuses to accept any detailed research evidenced not commissioned by them, and the WCA will continue to be used to resist funding ESA to those in greatest need as the DWP refuse to publish updated ESA mortality totals. Aided by the policies of successive New Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were destined to suffer. Using the politics of fear to intimidate, the adoption of the ESA was always destined to kill and thousands have died, with their deaths directly linked to the fatally flawed WCA.

All this evidence is available in the public domain. Many academics and professionals have written about it, as demonstrated in the content of the website research pages. It has been evidenced by MS in various research reports, and the evidence is all collated in the book ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state ’.

Since the adoption of the WCA in October 2008 three million chronically ill and disabled people have learned to live in fear of the DWP, as suicides demonstrated to be directly linked to the WCA continue to rise, and NHS statistics identified that, for the year 2014, 50% of ESA claimants had attempted suicide. It’s time to end this government funded tyranny against those least able to protest, and it’s time to stop using the WCA.

Research

Coroners, academic experts in their field, the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Nurses, the British Psychological Society, the President of the Appeal Tribunals for Social Security, the Centre for Welfare Reform, Ekklesia and Disabled Peoples’ Organisations have all demanded that the WCA should be stopped; all to no avail because the Government aren’t listening.  As recently as November 2017 the Senior President of  Appeal Tribunals , Sir Earnest Ryder, attacked the DWP in a speech to the Bar Council and advised that the quality of evidence offered by the DWP at Tribunals was so poor that it would be ‘wholly inadmissible ’ in any other court.

Chronically ill and disabled people who are financially dependent upon the State live in fear of this ongoing catastrophe of total indifference to human need. In 2014 the Cameron Cabinet Office attempted and failed to ‘incentivise’ MS to stop the research, using the future welfare of 80,000 disabled War Pensioners as an incentive. They didn’t want the British public alerted to the fact that their American advisers fully expected to gain from the planned future demolition of the UK welfare state. I refused to stop the research and ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state was published in September 2016 by New Generation Publishing.

Cash Not Care ’ has since gained wide spread academic approval and endorsements by the disabled community, for whom it was written.

The research continues…

Mo Stewart, June 2018