The role of incapacity benefit reassessment in helping claimants into employment - Work and Pensions Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by S Gibbons

It would appear to myself that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) would be seen to be fairer should more consideration be given to medications that are being taken by claimants on a regular basis.

It is commonly accepted by the medical profession that the gold standard for treatment of severe pain is Morphine and Fentanyl,

It is common practice in the medical profession that the administration of the aforementioned drugs is not taken lightly and it follows that it would be right to assume that patients receiving these drugs for pain control are indeed suffering with conditions that exhibit severe pain.

The WCA does not give adequate protection for people who are suffering great pain and as such it fails both the DWP and the claimant, this being the case it could be argued that the WCA is not fair/just in this instance.

It would be reflective of a caring and fairer WCA if provision was given for persons who are taking strong analgesia medicines to be found to satisfy the WCA on the grounds that notwithstanding their disability/illness that by the taking of such medicine they would be a liability in the workplace by virtue of the effects that the medicines would have on their mental/physical performance.

The above mentioned criteria are in my opinion sound in basis and deserve to be implemented without further consultation, they are in fact common sense and to ignore them would leave people open to serious injury in the workplace when it could be argued that people on such strong medicines should not have been in such a position in the first place. The question of liability would in my opinion hover tentatively over the heads of those in a position to order such instances to occur.

I therefore respectfully submit to the committee that great thought be given to this matter in the interests of fairness and in the name of humanity, given the named medicines are given for severe pain I see no reason whatsoever why an individual should be forced to undergo the WCA and be found fit for work and consequently put their health and that of others at serious risk.

In conclusion the following medicines are in my opinion reasonable indicators of serious pain/conditions, Morphine, Fentanyl, Pethidine, Temgesic, Methadone, Diamorphine, these all assist in the relief of severe pain ... although not exhaustive weaker medicines such has Tramadol do not qualify. It is a common belief of the layman to believe Tramadol is as strong as Morphine when in actual fact it is only for moderate pain at best.

It has been my pleasure to submit this suggestion to the committee in the hope that changes for the good of all can be made to the WCA and confidence restored to the end user, it just cannot be right that people suffering severe pain be ignored and found fit for work. The Government has a duty of care to look after those that are in need of assistance whilst at their most vulnerable in their lives, I trust that they will not be found wanting.

March 2011

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Prepared 26 July 2011