Psychiatrists try to defend failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ Universal Credit project

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has tried to explain its reasons for failing to object to a pilot project in Cornwall in which Job Centre advisors – with no training – decide whether claimants need mental health care.

This Site reported on the project in August:

The department… is trying to cut doctors working on mental health out of the benefit system by claiming that rank-and-file Job Centre advisers are just as able to spot mental health problems – and recommend the best treatment.

They aren’t; they can’t. It’s just a cynical bid to stop people with mental health problems from claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

The Tory government’s press release stated: “The initiative means work coaches can continue to refer people with mental health conditions to specialist one to one support, without the need for a GP or clinical assessment.”

I responded:

“Without the need”? Translation: “Without the support of evidence from a qualified doctor who can bring their expertise to a benefit tribunal.”

The press release said: “The support is also designed to help people find their way back into the workplace when they’re ready.”

I responded:

Translation: “The intention is to ensure that people with mental illnesses must continue to seek employment, whether they are ready or not.”

Disability News Service is now reporting that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has responded to this insult against its practitioners – after being nudged to do so by no fewer than five disability groups.

RCP states, according to the article, that:

RCP’s social inclusion lead has “continued to raise concerns and provide expert advice about the impact of welfare reform on people with mental illness and those with learning disabilities”.

[It says] it is “clear that anyone undertaking a mental health assessment needs to be sufficiently qualified to do so and, as part of the assessment, should engage with clinicians involved in providing care to the person concerned”.

[It also says] RCP believes that a jobcentre would not be “a suitable therapeutic environment to assess and discuss an individual’s mental health”.

[It adds:] “Having to do so would likely increase the stress and pressure on people with a mental illness when seeking support, and the possibility of them seeing the receipt of benefits as being conditional on them agreeing to mental health treatment.

“In addition, there is a risk that being referred to the wrong type of treatment may reduce the likelihood of seeking help in the future, make their illness worse and increase the likelihood of experiencing a future crisis.”

The disability groups are not happy with this response – and rightly so.

Why the delay in responding? Were these psychiatrists hoping the issue would go away?

Is the RCP going to talk to the Department for Work and Pensions about its concerns? Or were its comments just a sop to the disabled people’s representatives?

And what about the people of Cornwall?

What have they experienced while the RCP stood by in silence?

Source: Dismay over psychiatrists’ failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ universal credit project – Disability News Service

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  1. John ocoy November 7, 2019 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Thier. Is an egender. To deflect. The nasty. Elites. Morrerly. Criminal. Activities. By punishing. The innasent. Who have done the right thing. In life. Buy a policy. That. History will judge this outrageous. Masodic. Disisions. That have and still harms so meny. As criminal.

  2. trev November 7, 2019 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Jobcentre Advisers, or Work Coaches or whatever the hell they are (Dole Clerks), in my experience do not take any notice when informed of mental health issues or even understand what those issues or conditions are or what they mean. They don’t add anything on to your record or case file to say that you have a specific condition, or seem to record the fact that you have notified them of such. I don’t even bother to mention it anymore because I am sick and tired of having to explain to yet another Dole Clerk what my condition is and what it means. I shouldn’t have to repeat myself ad nauseam, it should be enough that they have been informed the once, and I should not have to explain what it means, it is up to them to look it up and read what it says on both the NHS and MIND websites, OR to pass the information to their superior. My condition means, amongst other things, that I am highly susceptible to Stress, and therefore should not be expected to apply for jobs that are described as “fast paced” and “target driven”, which pretty much rules out every vacancy I see. Having to commute long distances or work long shifts might adversely affect me too. I just go along with the JSA – DWP claim-game of jumping through hoops and constantly applying for jobs I don’t want, can’t do, and am never likely to get, purely to avoid Sanctions and continue to receive my JSA, all of which is itself stressful and soul-destroying enough. The only goal and target I am focused on is living long enough to get my State Pension and only then will this living nightmare end.

  3. Jeffrey Davies November 7, 2019 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    All part of their aktion T4 program work makes you better just like that sign over the gates that our very own RTU IDs went to see while he was dwp minister history repeating itself once again

  4. Tony Dean November 7, 2019 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    I wondered why the suicide rate in Cornwall had gone up. (50% higher than the national average.)

  5. Jenny Hambidge November 7, 2019 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    A young man I know has been referred to an online CBT course called SilverCloud. Leaving aside the question as to whether it is ethical on not to do this on ones own on line, I see that in the list of referring agencies the one and only DWP is listed. So it is not only in Cornwall that this is happening Mike, but in Powys Teaching Health Board and who knows where else?

    Have to say when mental ill health is due to loneliness. grief, isolation and when most counsellors agree that the relationship between Client and Counsellor plays a pivotal role in treatment, what an insult to be told ” Talk to a computer”.

    • Mike Sivier November 8, 2019 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      That’s very worrying.

  6. Jenny Hambidge November 7, 2019 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    OH and Guess what the Company “SilverCloud” that mental health is being outsourced to is a USA company, and one of its straplines is that it “cuts costs” .Much cheaper than trained therapists. The patient can also look for work whilst doing the “course”. Soon DWP will be telling us to amputate our own legs by following directions online. Gee, though isn’t someone making a packet out of people’s suffering and distress! The silver lining, I guess.

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