CBT for those seeking sicknotes (UK)

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    The introduction to the newspaper article below was written by a ME/CFS advocate in the UK.

    As we all know the Wessely School have been very influential in the UK, as a result ME/CFS, FM, GWS, MCS, OPP etc are all described as functional somatic disorders. Chronic back pain had also been similarly targetted. The Wessely School's hypotheses have become popular with the insurance industry and govt departments; it results in blaming the patient, cutting the costs of welfare etc and so there's no need to fund good biomedical research which they all ignore anyway.



    The article in the Guardian today 'Therapy for those seeking
    sicknotes' details an interview with Welfare Minister, Margaret
    Hodge, indicating that the government is marching ahead with its
    plans to make Cognitive Behaviour Therapy compulsory for those
    taking absence from work due to a 'mental health' issue.

    Hodge gave details of a green paper for welfare reform scheduled for
    early next year. She described the governments planned approach for
    reducing the number of Incapacity Benefit claimants as a 'carrot and
    stick' approach. This would mean that those unwilling to participate
    in an unproven therapy (CBT) could have their benefits withdrawn.
    These measures therefore have serious consequences for anyone
    misdiagnosed with a mental health problem, as is often the case with
    ME/CFS, FMS and chronic pain sufferers.

    If Wessely had got away with re-classifying ME/CFS under the mental
    health chapter of ICD-10, sufferers would now be looking at the
    spectre of an enforced CBT regime under the threat of losing all
    disability and incapacity benefits. This could still occur if the
    WHO is coerced into changing the classification in future.

    The implication of this policy is also that the 'blue-collar' worker
    is incapable of managing his/her life properly and needs help to
    overcome everyday life stressors. Hodge related this in the most
    patronising of terms to the interviewer from the Observer:

    'If you or I are stressed or have trouble with our business, we
    would go off and get a life coach or a mentor: if you're working on
    a shop floor, you get a sick note,'

    The possibility that life might actually be much more stressful,
    both physically and mentally, for someone earning a mediocre salary
    for a hard day's work, compared with the luxury and perks enjoyed by
    politicians obviously does not occur to Hodge. This attitude may
    also result in loss of benefits for manual labourers experiencing
    severe back pain as a result of work, often considered (erroneously)
    by doctors to be due to depression or anxiety.

    It looks as though these policy reforms combined with the continual
    misdiagnosis of physical illness as mental disorders could spell
    disaster for those dependent on financial state benefits.



    "Therapy for those seeking sicknotes"

    Gaby Hinsliff, political editor
    Sunday November 20, 2005
    The Observer

    People seeking sickness benefits will be sent for therapy under
    plans to tackle the stress and mental burnout fuelling Britain's
    sick-note culture.

    Margaret Hodge, the Welfare Minister, wants to use so-called
    cognitive behaviour therapy - a fashionable 'talking cure' popular
    with overstressed professionals, used to change habits from
    overeating to drug addiction - to encourage people to return to
    However, the extra help would be part of a 'carrot and stick'
    approach, under which people judged capable of working could have
    their benefits docked unless they take steps towards employment.
    Quashing speculation that Tony Blair would tone down the reforms in
    the current rebellious climate at Westminster, Hodge said it
    was 'not unreasonable' to require something in return for benefits.
    Four in ten claims for incapacity benefit are now from people citing
    mental health complaints like stress and depression, often
    aggravated by workplace disputes or family problems.

    'If you or I are stressed or have trouble with our business, we
    would go off and get a life coach or a mentor: if you're working on
    a shop floor, you get a sick note,' Hodge told The Observer
    'The issue is, can we get earlier interventions? We never see work
    as actually being one of the ways of bringing people back to health
    and wellbeing.'

    People seeking sick notes from GPs for stress could instead be
    referred to an employment adviser if it was prompted by workplace
    issues such as a dispute with a boss, 'or cognitive behaviour
    therapy if (the problem is) that you can't sort out your 15-year-old
    at home or are having trouble with your partner or whatever.' That
    might prevent some going onto long-term incapacity benefit, she

    The welfare reform green paper - now delayed until the New Year
    following the resignation of David Blunkett and his replacement as
    Work and Pensions Secretary by John Hutton - is, however, expected
    to take a tougher line with benefit claimants.
    Hodge wants to expand Pathways to Work, a pilot project that offers
    a personal adviser and medical help to help those getting incapacity
    benefit to return to work: participants have an 8 per cent higher
    chance of being off benefit after six months than ordinary

    Currently, however, the only requirement is to attend an interview
    about work prospects: only 20 per cent then inquire further about
    jobs, a figure Hodge wants to increase.

    'If you have an assessment which says you are capable of work, it's
    not unreasonable to ask of you that you should undertake work-
    related activities. It could be training, it could be learning how
    to fill in a CV, it could be looking for a job,' she said.
    Labour MPs are uneasy about welfare reforms, fearing they will cut
    benefits to the needy. However, Hodge insisted the reforms were
    about giving disabled people a 'right to work': 'As long as we are
    careful and clear about our language and purpose, then I don't think
    it will be contentious.'

    Blair's handling of public service reforms and of his reluctant
    party is expected to come under attack this week when he is grilled
    by the Commons liaison committee, made up of senior backbenchers who
    chair parliamentary committees.

    Source: The One Click Protest
  2. alonebutnotlonely

    alonebutnotlonely New Member

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