The Preventable Harm Project
THE CREATION OF
THE PREVENTABLE HARM PROJECT
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
Sir Walter Scott 1771 – 1832
Twelve years since this research began, it is now identified as the Preventable Harm Project.
Writing detailed evidence in my capacity as a medically retired healthcare professional, in early 2009, I had no experience of being a researcher. At that time, I was simply determined to demonstrate that the assessment used by the UK government to assess disabled people for financial support was fatally flawed. I am a disabled woman, and a medically retired veteran of the Women’s Royal Air Force medical branch, whose honesty had been challenged by an unaccountable private company by the name of Atos Healthcare conducting a flawed disability assessment. The assessment results challenged my moral compass by suggesting that I was dishonest, and so the research began guided at the time by my feelings of outrage.
In September 2008 the New Labour government adopted a new method of assessing disabled people on long-term out-of-work benefits in order to restrict access to disability benefit. Unfortunately, despite the fact that a War Pension is a medical military pension and not a disability benefit, this included replacing what was once the medical evaluation of disabled veterans with the new assessment, which disregards clinical opinion. In December 2008 I was met by a young man from Atos Healthcare, claiming to be a doctor but refusing to offer any form of ID. He resisted eye contact creating tension, then asked a multitude of questions from a laptop which were unrelated to my health. Suspicions were aroused. Suspicions became concerns when, a few weeks later in early 2009, I received a very hostile letter from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) advising that there had been no deterioration in my health, or increased disability, and I was warned not to ask again for a medical review of my War Pension. This negative decision and hostile letter content challenged my integrity, and so began my personal voyage of research discovery. I didn’t know that it would take ten years to complete.
Detailed research needs detailed evidence. My research meant that I successfully challenged the SPVA decision and, not only was the decision against my claim for an increase in my War Pension reversed, but every following request for a review of my War Pension was successful.
Over the years, what began as a fight for my personal integrity grew into a campaign to support the chronically ill and disabled community who were being intimidated by their own government. My contact with academics gradually increased over time and my book, ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’, was published in September 2016. It gained critical acclaim from both the disabled community and academics, and is now in university libraries in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
I launched the research website in 2018: www.mostewartresearch.co.uk
Over the years I gained more experience and more confidence. The campaign to support the disabled community grew into a project to inform academics of the preventable harm created by various UK social policy reforms. Having been published in various academic journals, and having written chapters for two academic text books, the research is acknowledged as being significant and is now referred to simply as the Preventable Harm Project. By definition, ‘preventable harm’ is an identifiable, modifiable cause of harm.
Following ten years of independent research the Project closed at the end of November 2019 with the publication of the final project report, and an academic paper published by the Journal of Public Mental Health in December 2019. Throughout 2020 I promoted the research findings, which attracted critical acclaim and an academic award for research excellence.
It’s now twelve years since the research began and I have just started the research for my next book to be called ‘Social Policy Abused: the creation of preventable harm.’
Published in September 2016, Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state is the research evidence the Coalition government tried to suppress, now in a book the Conservative government(s) hope no-one will notice.
Whilst the entire British press have been silenced, and refuse to offer the public access to the influence of corporate America with UK social policy reforms since 1992, Cash Not Care is now in the libraries of universities in the UK and in Australia, and is recommended reading for various social policy courses. The research evidence in the book is being used to educate social policy academics of the future.
New Generation Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-78507-783-8 (A4 pbk)
ISBN: 978 -1-78507-785-2 (eBook)