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"Positive Health Statement" - Job Centre Plus

Discussion in 'Work, Finances and Disability Insurance' started by Barry, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just seen this on facebook, and to me it looks appalling.

    Is this even legal?

    In preparation for their JCP appointment someone with ME has to prepare a Positive Health Statement. In it the are 'advised' to avoid words like Chronic, or ME.

    As per:

    upload_2019-10-5_18-41-27.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
  2. feeb

    feeb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "You may find it helpful to use official diagnostic terms, unless we have decided those official diagnostic terms are on our arbitrary list of terms we don't like, where you can use an obfuscating euphemism that makes it sound like something else instead"

    Genius. What's the purpose of this exercise in doublespeak? Is it to trick employers into hiring you?
     
  3. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    #1 says to be generally less precise, #2 says use precise terms and #3 says don't use precise terms.

    Galactic brain in here.
     
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  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "Avoid words that sound worse than they are, e.g. chronic, degenerating, etc."

    What does this mean? The words are what they are. Do they think some words sound better than they are?

    Looks like the Dorset Pain Service has a version of this up: http://www.dorsetpain.org/Docs/Creating a positive health statement.pdf

    I feel like this should be a satire. How many officials do you think approved this approach?

    edit: I've uploaded a copy of the document in case it goes off-line. Archive sites seemed to get redirected away from it.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  5. ProudActivist

    ProudActivist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just wow. So glad I am not having to apply for work and deal with Job centre plus.
     
  6. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It looks as though they wish to persuade people to deliberately deceive potential employers as to their view of the condition from which they suffer. I suspect that there will be a word for that.
     
  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    And that word will sound better than it is.
     
  8. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    instead of working on getting employers to be more open minded they’re telling people applying for jobs to blag their way in. Which is only going to make employers think disabled people are liars and they are going to be even less open minded in future :banghead:
     
  9. alktipping

    alktipping Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    legally speaking suggesting clients of the joke centre deliberately lie on application forms would be akin to inciting fraud . they still want to have their cake after all if some poor fool writes out a job application negating their own illness experience then the joke centre has all the evidence to deny any benefits to that person we are definitely living in the land of newspeak it makes me so angry that morons can end up in positions way above their pay grade and get away with this tripe .
     
  10. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Since when does the word 'degenerative' "sound worse than it is"? I feel I can say for certain that anyone who is experiencing a degenerative condition finds that it 'is' a very great deal worse than the word can possibly convey.

    Orwell would be proud

    ETA well not Orwell himself obviously but ykwim
     
  11. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'd say he would be impressed. Horrified, but impressed nonetheless.
     
  12. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Its worse than that for much of the world. In any system with private insurance, or even government workers compensation schemes, failure to disclose is grounds to deny further rights.
     
  13. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wish I could say this toxic double-binding was unbelievable. But it is all too believable.
     
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  14. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    And dismission.
     
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  15. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    To be fair, this isn't necessarily a bad approach - depending on the job seeker's circumstances. It fits with current UK equalities legislation (Equality Act 2010) which prevents employers asking about an applicant's disabilities or health conditions prior to offering them a job, with a few specific exceptions. This rule is intended to prevent assumptions being made about the job applicant based on their disability (or health condition).

    The legislation for employers is quite complex around this. See for example [links ordered to give increasing detail]:

    https://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5620

    https://beta.acas.org.uk/hiring-someone

    https://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1859

    https://www.acas.org.uk/media/4504/...isability_discrim_keypoints_workplace_Nov.pdf

    The problem is that the current UK 'Work Capability Assessment' is so flawed that a high proportion of claimants who should be deemed unable to work are being found 'fit for work'. Many have died within months of this happening to them. For example (in particular, to help non-UK members understand the UK situation):

    https://www.disabilitynewsservice.c...ggesting-fit-for-work-deaths-may-have-fallen/

    https://www.disabilitynewsservice.c...ve-benefit-claimants-from-harm-or-even-death/

    So, for a disabled person or a person with a long-term health condition that would be able to do the job they are applying for with 'reasonable adjustments' from their employer, or with additional help from the 'Access to Work' scheme (see link below), then it is sensible to ensure they word their application in a positive way - and leave discussing their requirements for accommodations until after they have been offered the job.

    https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work

    However, if reasonable adjustments and additional access to work support are not going to allow the person to be able to fulfil the job criteria and/or the applicant knows that their disability or health condition is going to lead to increased absence from work, then it is completely inappropriate to 'reframe' health conditions or disabilities to make it seem that you are fit and able to do the job being applied for. For most people with M.E., the latter situation is likely to be the case.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  16. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    What if you were officially diagnosed with M.E. ?

    Speaks volumes as to what the DWP/Jobcentre Plus really think about M.E.

    so much for the recent 'training' from AfME
    https://www.actionforme.org.uk/news/action-for-me-hosts-dwp-spotlight-training/
     
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  17. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Changing the language may help one get a job. Would it actually help one to do it?
     
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  18. feeb

    feeb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    And depression! Does make me wonder if they've bought the "ME is depression" narrative, and think they're both made up or hammed up for the sake of the fantastic secondary gains of having to deal with the DWP and Job Centre.
     
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  19. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm still working my way through the DWP ESA/UC assessors manual, but my impression is that the only way for a person with M.E. (with no other health conditions or disabilities) to get into the Support Group of ESA (or the UC equivalent) is if the Health Care Professional (HCP) accepts that they are unable to reliably, safely and repeatedly mobilise more than 50 metres (including using aids or a manual wheelchair). The HCP would probably make this judgment if they agreed that claimant had 'severe M.E.'

    I think the only chance a PWME would have of the DWP accepting that work (or work related activity) would lead to a 'substantial risk' to their health, would be if they could get their GP or a consultant to make a statement to that effect and submit this with their other medical evidence. The DWP dissuades the health care professional from using this recommendation except in very extreme circumstances, and even if they do, the DWP Decision Maker (DM) can still choose to ignore it. The DM can still ignore medical advice, but if they did and the claimant suffered as a result, the DWP could have a legal case to answer.

    All of this means that many PWME who have what the DWP would consider 'moderate' M.E. are likely to fail the WCA, as obviously are those who are 'mild'. A person with moderate M.E. might be able to make up the 15 points needed for the Work Related Activity Group (or UC equivalent) if they get their 'rapid muscle fatiguability', PEM and cognitive problems accepted by the HCP, but then they would still find themselves subject to the ignorance of the Job Centre advisors and all that entails.

    What is needed is for the DWP to be educated about the severe and cumulative effects of Post Exertional Malaise on a person with M.E., and that PEM is part of the condition across all severity levels, including mild and moderate. I think we are a long way off that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  20. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This. Having had a job I couldn’t do anymore and had some time from my employer to try to work out what I could do and tried taking on a new role which I also couldn’t my experience was that managers say they will be flexible but in practice they don’t have any understanding or acceptance of the fluctuations and the limitations. Unless you have some very specific in demand skills and knowledge people will not give carte blanche to work around ME.
     
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