"Truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. A loss of courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days..." Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Commencement address at Harvard University , June 8, 1978

Thursday, 10 December 2009


It has been revealed that seriously ill cancer patients are being forced to undergo cruel and completely unfair back-to-work interviews, this despite the fact that they should be exempt.

I find it sick and I am completely disgusted that terminally ill patients including those undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy are being threatened with cuts to their benefits if they do not attend the meetings. The “fit to work” interviews are for people who are seeking the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which replaced income support and incapacity benefit in October 2008. The basics of ESA is that it is supposed to be about focusing on what people can do rather than can’t do, and hope this gets them back into work.

A joint report- Failed by the System- found evidence galore that cancer patients who only had months to live were being ordered to attend meetings and pretty much be interrogated about their illness, and undergo medical examinations to check if they are telling the truth. Others who are receiving radiotherapy treatment and people in hospital have been refused ESA all together even though they are supposed to get it automatically.

Another sickening aspect found by Macmillan is people with cancer are being told that they are fit to work even though they are suffering with the long term effects of the horrible disease.

Various charities are blaming poor knowledge of ESA rules among Jobcentre Plus and department for Work and Pensions medical staff is resulting in claims being handled extremely badly. Poor administration systems and a lack of understanding about cancer are fuelling the problem, they said.

This situation is inexcusable. People who suffer from cancer should not have to attend any meeting to prove that they cannot work. We should be treating the vulnerable people of our society with much more respect. This is just another clear sign of how low our society has sunk.

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