Archive for October, 2014
NZ FINANCE MINISTER BILL ENGLISH INSULTS BENEFICIARIES WITH MANSEL AYLWARD’S “WORK WILL SET YOU FREE” APPROACH
NEW ZEALAND FINANCE AND DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER BILL ENGLISH INSULTS BENEFICIARIES WITH MANSEL AYLWARD’S “WORK WILL SET YOU FREE” APPROACH! HE MAKES UNSCIENTIFIC CLAIMS THAT HAVE BEEN SPREAD BY WORK AND INCOME’S INFAMOUS ‘PRINCIPAL HEALTH ADVISOR’ DR DAVID BRATT, WHO IS KNOWN FOR LIKENING ‘BENEFIT DEPENDENCE’ TO “DRUG DEPENDENCE”:
Read this very interesting, re-edited and further updated post that ‘Marc’ initially published via ‘ACC Forum’ on 19 September 2014:
It was hard to believe what I read in the New Zealand Herald on 18 September 2014, just two days before the general election. According to Deputy Prime Minister Bill English long term benefit dependence is similar to “crack cocaine addiction”:
“Bill English’s cocaine reference slammed”, NZ Herald, video, 18.09.14:
“Bill English’s cocaine reference slammed”, Bay of Plenty Times, article, 18.09.14:
“Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has compared some long-term beneficiaries to crack addicts, sparking criticism.
Mr English made the comment while speaking to about 100 voters at a meeting at Club Mount Maunganui yesterday in his final push to Tauranga voters ahead of Saturday’s election.
“Getting stuck on a benefit (long-term) is like crack cocaine, it’s really hard once you’ve started to come off it …”
He delved into the economy and outlined his party’s economic plans.
He was joined by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges and Bay of Plenty National candidate Todd Muller.
National’s economic plan was about growing the economy steadily, creating 150,000 more jobs by 2018, delivering higher incomes, helping more businesses to succeed and addressing long-term welfare dependency, which was costing the country billions, he said.
Once people entered the benefit system, particularly those aged under 20, they often stayed on it for years, and there were concerning numbers who had been on a benefit for up to 20 years, Mr English said.
“Getting stuck on a benefit (long-term) is like crack cocaine, it’s really hard once you’ve started to come off it…
“We know hooking adults back into the education system and getting them off benefits into work in seven years rather than 20 saves the country millions,” he said.
Mr English said one of the main reasons the country’s economy was consuming billions of dollars was in the number of people on benefit long term, including many receiving sickness benefit.
Welfare statistics showed there were 300,000 people on benefit, costing $76 billion over a lifetime, and about $50 billion worth was driven by those who started on a benefit under the age of 20.
Mr English said National was getting 1600 people off welfare and back into work each week, which was “pretty good start” and the Ministry of Social Development’s case-management approach with long-term clients was paying dividends.
Research also showed many beneficiaries had solvable problems such as depression that once addressed would enable them to return to paid work.
Mr English said voters had a stark choice – vote for National and “steady as she goes” and sensible fiscal spending or vote for the “others” and watch the ship start to list and sink.
The country was in good shape and it was not time to make dramatic changes, he said.
Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services executive director Tommy Wilson said Mr English’s reference to crack cocaine showed a lack of understanding.
“You have to be there to understand it’s not an addiction. Most people don’t have a choice.”
The story was also covered by some other media:
“Bill English describes beneficiaries as drug addicts”, Yahoo News NZ:
“Bill English describes beneficiaries as drug addicts”, ZB news, 18 Sept. 2014:
“Beneficiary bashing unacceptable – BAFNZ”, Voxy, 18.09.14:
The talk about welfare dependency being just like “drug dependence” is nothing new to the well informed, who know all about Dr David Bratt, MSD’s Principal Health Advisor, who has repeatedly made the bizarre comparison in his many “presentations” to health professionals (especially GPs) and in comments to media. Here is one of his “presentations”:
“Ready, Steady, Crook”
(see pages 13, 20, 21 and 35)
Bratt is one of the most faithful followers of the ideologically influenced “findings” and “research” by Professor Mansel Aylward, who has been condemned by many disabled and advocacy groups in the UK. His long term involvement with the UNUM health and disability insurance company has also been controversial:
Aylward had input into the formation of the recent welfare reforms in New Zealand, and met Paula Bennett to advise her. He also met with a “health and disability panel” that took part in formulating and drafting up the welfare reforms that are now written in law. Aylward wrote reports that suggested many people suffering mental health conditions – and from musculo-skeletal conditions – were rather suffering from “illness belief” than true sickness. He claims that most sick, injured and disabled are able to work in jobs on the open market, to compete with fit and healthy for jobs, and should be “supported” into work, as work is “therapeutic” and has “health benefits”. His claims have been disputed by many, but as he seems to deliver the “science” and “research” findings that governments and insurers wanting to cut costs simply love, he is now held up as a supposed “expert” with credibility.
The following posts shine light on what is really behind the whole policy drives:
Even the AFOEM of the RACP has taken up Aylward’s advice and recommendations, which should not surprise, as the President of the AFOEM is Dr David Beaumont, a former ATOS staff member, and also controversial assessor or advisor used by ACC:
After the fatal shooting of two WINZ staff members in Ashburton we read articles like the following in the NZ Herald – same as in other media:
That shocking story is yet to unfold further, and be prepared that at least some of the truth about how WINZ now work with “clients” may finally come out once the matter is heard before the court at some time in the not so distant future.
Bill English should know better, but him resorting to the bizarre kinds of claims that other “experts” have used before, this shows us that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse, for those dependent on benefits for health and disability reasons. Fasten your seat belts, as the journey will not be a pleasant one. Since National has won the election, we will have another chilling 3 year term of them running the welfare system in New Zealand further into the ground.
This is a link to the original post that ‘Marc’ made available on ‘ACC Forum’:
In the morning of 19 September 2014 there was an interesting brief report by Radio New Zealand’s Political Editor Brent Edwards on ‘Nine to Noon’. He revealed how statistical figures used in the election campaign were often far from the truth. That applies to the governing National Party, same as to some other parties. But it was very interesting to hear what the actual figures were, of those leaving benefit-receipt on balance per week (while considering the inflow of new benefit claimants as well, besides of those supposedly leaving benefit receipt). And the movements off benefits are only possible due to employment being a bit more available in various regions. The figures thrown around also tell us little about how long people stay in jobs, and what they actually earn.
The actual NET figure for people leaving the benefit is much, much smaller than what we got told in election brochures and in bold claims from Paula Bennett, various other National Party candidates and the Prime Minister.
I strongly recommend people listen to the following audio recording – here is the link to the track on Radio New Zealand’s website:
“Brent Edwards discussed Fact or Fiction throughout the campaign”, Radio New Zealand, 19 Sept. 2014:
Further UPDATE from 19 Oct. 2014:
Another media article shines more light on what is behind the supposedly much “improved” numbers for people being dependent on welfare benefits:
“Govt ‘playing the figures’ on welfare”, Thomas Heaton, Manawatu Standard / ‘stuff.co’, 18 Oct. 2014:
“There are 10,000 fewer people around the country using the welfare system compared to this time last year, according to the Ministry of Social Development. The central region, which includes Manawatu, contributed 150 people to that statistic although local aid agencies thought the number was not entirely accurate.”
“However, the Salvation Army’s Palmerston North Corps says it has been approached by an increasing number of people whose benefits have been “cut or reduced”.
The increased number was “due to the new social reforms and requirements”. People were not being allocated the proper aid and were being dealt with inappropriately, it said.
Those with medical issues were receiving “jobseekers assistance” when they should have been receiving the “supported living payment”. There were cases where beneficiaries were unable to fulfil the obligations to receive jobseekers assistance.
The “supported living payment” is given to those with illnesses, the blind, or those caring for people fulltime, while the “jobseekers assistance” requires beneficiaries to attend seminars and interviews. If three commitments are missed within 12 months, the beneficiary is cut from the system. Some of those people are unable to fulfil those commitments due to illness or health problems.
Palmerston North social worker Kevin Richards said he was not seeing things as “getting better”. Clients were finding it “increasingly difficult” to qualify for welfare, because of changes in criteria, he said. As his clients were rejected, he was left looking after people who had no way of supporting themselves.”
Check the above link to read the whole article! This is more proof of WINZ staff being instructed by their team leaders and managers, and ultimately by the top levels at the Ministry of Social Development, to meet set targets and remove people from benefits. Even an increasing number of sick, injured and disabled are told to prepare for work, and to look for work on the open job market. Doctors (GPs) are increasingly told by WINZ Regional Health and Disability Advisors to not issue work ability sickness certificates that declare their clients as not fit to do any work. A new approach from the UK, that one devised by Mansel Aylward and like-minded colleagues, and pushed by these hand-picked “experts”, is used, and hence MSD and WINZ tell medical professionals to look at what their patients can (hypothetically) do, rather than what they may not be able to do. If you can do some work in sitting, you can be considered “fit” to work, even if you may never have done office work, or other kinds of work that people tend to do while they may sit. It is viewed as of little or no relevance, whether you may actually lack the qualifications and skills to do such a hypothetical job, as doctors are only meant to look at health issues based on “medical” aspects. This leads to increasing numbers of sick and impaired being denied Living Support Payment benefit entitlements, and rather being put onto the lower paid Jobseeker Support benefit.
Some may for time being get a “deferred” work test obligation, but eventually case managers will communicate expectations that clients prepare for some form of work, and urge them to attend seminars, courses or get referred to special, outsourced service providers, that will put them into whatever kind of supposedly “suitable” job there is (for nice fees paid by MSD).
And if the client’s own doctor may not complete a certificate as WINZ may wish it to look like, then WINZ case managers are encouraged to send their clients to one of their “designated doctors” to be re-examined and re-assessed. The MSD paid “designated doctors” tend to deliver what WINZ prefers, at least some of them, who appear to be used much more often, than other ones they have on their books.
Another post reveals what that entails and means:
Further information of interest and relevance to this topic:
Also check these posts for “work ability assessments” and providers they now use:
And in the following post found under this link, there is some advice of how to prepare, if anyone is asked to see a designated doctor or a supposedly “independent” “work-ability assessor”:
And here is a link to newer scientific evidence which shows that at least some forms of paid employment on the competitive, often insecure, casual and term contract based job market is not really as “healthy” as “experts” like Professor Mansel Aylward and some of his colleagues claim:
All this is information you will NOT find in any “mainstream media” in New Zealand, who have apparently not bothered to investigate, research and analyse any of this. It seems to be easier and less “disturbing” to simply report on what Ministers and other government politicians tell people, no matter whether it is based on truth or not.
WORK HAS FEWER HEALTH BENEFITS THAN MANSEL AYLWARD AND OTHER “EXPERTS” CLAIM, IT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS HARM
WORK HAS FEWER “HEALTH BENEFITS” THAN PROFESSOR MANSEL AYLWARD AND OTHER “EXPERTS” CLAIM – INSECURE, PRECARIOUS AND LOW PAID WORK CAN CAUSE ONGOING STRESS AND SERIOUS HARM TO PEOPLE’S HEALTH:
Some new research is out, which appears to somehow disprove claims made by certain UK based “experts”, especially such as Professor Mansel Aylward and a few others, many of whom are or were based at the so-called ‘Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research’ at Cardiff University, Wales in the UK. Aylward and some of his colleagues have for many years been claiming, that work in paid, open employment is “beneficial to health”, yes even “therapeutic”. While there will be an element of truth in physical and mental activity being good for most persons’ health, the very bold, repeated claims appear to be lacking sufficient evidence, at least for many forms of work on the modern day job-market, which are not at all that “healthy” even for the “fit” ones doing them. The increasing efforts by governments in a number of countries, now also here in New Zealand, to have their social security service agencies and departments move also sick, injured and disabled off benefits, and into various forms of available jobs on the competitive job-market, do appear to carry high risks for many affected persons.
Jobs are not easy to come by, for some not even in better times, and an ever increasing number of jobs are nowadays only part-time, with varying hours, also casual and temporary (term based). Also has there been a growth in self-employed, where former employees have been forced to enter service contracts as sole operators, doing forms of work that used to be done by direct employees of larger enterprises and even public service institutions. We have increasingly volatile economic situations, where boom following bust cycles lead to the shedding of many jobs, of which only some get replaced by new jobs in times of recovery. Modern day employment is increasingly insecure, and often of a “precarious” type, because employers tend to seek ever more “flexibility” and hire and fire staff as the “market” seems to require them to do, in order to keep up with fluctuating demands and growing local and overseas competition. It is not easy even for healthy and well qualified to find available secure and lasting employment, which they may need, desire and value, and most jobs bring with them very high performance expectations, which often results in stress, anxiety, physical and mental burnout, and thus cause various health issues.
Many jobs also require workers to work long hours, in order to keep up with increased work-loads, and to meet tight targets, like for timely product and service deliveries, and competition between workers exists at most workplaces, so a significant percentage of workers have little perception of true job security. Fixed term employment is common and growing – even in the public sector, and with unions having lost a lot of membership and influence, it is the norm these days that workers are mostly on individual employment contracts.
Mansel Aylward has at least accepted some time ago, that so-called “presenteeism” is harmful, where people force themselves to go to and be at work, although they are sick and should take leave. But generally Aylward and a few others continue to be relentless proponents for his recommended approach, to get people into whatever “suitable” work there may be, even if it may not be full-time and secure, kind of using it as a “stepping stone”. There is substantial evidence though, that most casual, term and temporary employment does in the majority of cases not lead to permanent, stable employment.
Aylward found great favours with – and support from – such health and disability insurers like UNUM, who did in the UK actually “sponsor” his Centre at Cardiff University for many years, which was then even called the ‘UNUMProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research’. Also has the “research” he did, while basically being funded by such a research “investor” with vested interests, been received with open arms by many other interested stake holders, such as governments with a keen interest in reducing welfare numbers and costs associated with social security benefits. Governments, like insurers and employers have a strong interest in keeping as many people in whatever forms of employment, rather than maintain a safety net for those not able to work, which creates costs, they are all keen to keep at a minimum.
Aylward prepared reports that were quoting “illness belief” as being a supposedly more likely cause for many “common mental health conditions” or “musculoskeletal conditions”. There were repeated references made in some of his and Gordon Waddell’s research to alleged “malingering” by patients. And generally, they and a selected few like-minded colleagues have been claiming, that most of such conditions were not so much disabling, and that it was rather due to other “psycho social” aspects or causes, that many sick, injured and impaired faced barriers to work. A closer look at their “research” shows that much of it appears to be nothing but a well constructed and coordinated attempt of “blurring” the lines, between what has traditionally been accepted, and what Aylward and others seem to be presenting as their alternative interpretation of many physical and mental health conditions. Hence we now get the new “focus” in the UK and also here now, that social security agencies and health professionals they work with, should rather look at what people “can do” than what they “cannot do”. This of course opens up a Pandora’s box, by allowing much rather subjective interpretation of conditions of sickness and disability, and how these should be assessed. Any physical or mental activity that can be detected as usable in any hypothetical form of a job is now being used as a reason to declare a person “fit” to do “some work”, no matter whether there is a real prospect of any job that a person can find and perform on that basis, let alone earn a living from it.
Now though, some new research has found, what many of us have expected all along, that work, and with that employment conditions and situations, can do more harm, than previously thought. This goes beyond of health and safety risks many jobs may bring with them anyway. Especially the fear of loss of employment, the insecure employment, and resulting, continued stress caused by this, can cause not only psychological, but also serious physical sickness. There seems to be sufficient evidence that it even causes asthma. And when stress can cause asthma, one must presume that it may just as well also cause many other types of sickness and illness.
I wish to present the following for readers to study and reflect upon, and it should finally send some warning messages to departments, agencies and corporations here in New Zealand, such as the Ministry of Social Development, with their department Work and Income, as well as the ACC. The now adopted agenda and efforts to move more persons with various health conditions into jobs must be reconsidered, and efforts must be made to ensure that only people that are truly physically and mentally able to, and who are then themselves prepared to try it, should be supported and referred into available employment that has the prospect of being stable, secure, safe, healthy and lasting. It cannot be acceptable to put any pressure by way of unreasonable expectations on sick, injured and disabled, especially those with mental health conditions, who are already more vulnerable, to try out employment options, that may only be short term, marginal, lowly qualified, low paid and thus insecure. It is certainly also NOT acceptable to put expectations on medical practitioners and other health professionals, to re-interpret established health conditions and methods of diagnosis, to simply suit the interests of departments or corporations like Work and Income and ACC, same as insurers and employers.
The newest research only provides more evidence to what other, earlier research has already shown over many years, and I will also provide some further information on that further below, same as a report on insecure employment, published late last year by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU).
Here is the new research that was made available earlier this year, and which Radio NZ National also reported on Friday, 03 October 2014:
“Stress at work increases risk of developing asthma, according to major new research”, The Independent, 23 Sept. 2014
“People fearful of losing their jobs are 60 per cent more likely to develop asthma for the first time as a result of their stress, according to a major new study.”
“An international team of researchers analysed data from more than 7,000 workers and, even allowing for other risk factors such as smoking and being overweight, discovered that work-related stress raises the risk of developing asthma.”
“ “This study has shown for the first time that perceived job insecurity during the recent economic crisis may increase the risk of new-onset asthma in adulthood,” states the paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.”
“The research was conducted by experts at the University of Düsseldorf, the University of Amsterdam, and Massey University in New Zealand.”
“It supports previous studies pointing to a link between the development of asthma and stress, according to researchers. The use of temporary contracts and other “flexible forms of contracting” as well as downsizing, are cited as factors which “increase job insecurity among employees”.”
“Those with “high job insecurity” had a “roughly 60 per cent excess risk of asthma” compared with those who thought the chances of losing their job were low or non-existent.”
“And the researchers warn of a “significant trend of increasing asthma incidence with increasing perceptions of job insecurity”. For every 25 per cent increase in the perceived threat of job loss, the risk of asthma rose by 24 per cent.”
“The findings also “provide a possible explanation for the increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms during the recent economic crisis in the UK.””
“TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Falling real wages mean that families are struggling to make ends meet when they have jobs so it’s no wonder that many are so fearful of unemployment and their health is suffering as a result.”
“This study reminds us not to underestimate the risks to health and wellbeing of the government’s economic policies,” she warned.”
Further links to other reports and details on the same research:
“Job insecurity is associated with adult asthma in Germany during Europe’s recent economic crisis: a prospective cohort study”, BMJ, short story, published 22 Sept. 2014:
Radio New Zealand National, audio recording of Kathryn Ryan’s interview with Dr Jeroen Douwes from Massey University, Nine to Noon, 03 Oct. 2014:
“Work stress can cause first-time adult asthma” –
“Dr Jeroen Douwes is a Massey University professor of public health, and Director of Massey’s Centre for Public Health Research. In new research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, which surveyed 7,000 workers, Dr Douwes and his colleagues found that people scared of losing their jobs are 60 percent more likely to develop asthma for the first time as a result of their stress.”
Also of interest in relation to this subject matter:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, N.I.O.S.H. publication “Stress….At Work”, 1999:
“Workplace Stress and Your Health”,
“Experts explain the dangers of work-related stress and provide solutions.” By ‘WebMD’:
“Work related stress”, ‘Better Health Channel, Victoria, Australia, link to information:
“Managing stress and mental illness in the workplace”, 12 Dec. 2013,
by Kathryn Page, Research Fellow at the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne:
“Is your workplace making you unwell?”
“With work-related illnesses on the rise, employers need to offer employees practical, financial help on the road to recovery. Peter Crush reports”, The Guardian, 18 June 2011
Later down in this Guardian article it sadly shows again, how health and disability insurer UNUM exploit the problems workers face, pushing their “product” of “income protection insurance”! And where there is mention of UNUM, a further mention of the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) and Dame Carol Black are not far away, trying to defend the agenda, that work is really “good” for health (in a “balanced” way).
WARNING: It seems this story in the Guardian was “sponsored” by UNUM!!!
And here is some not very helpful information from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, looking at this from a purely legal perspective, and giving some legal “opinion”, which will be of little help to workers that have no financial resources to afford a lawyer, that have no union representation and who are left to fend for their own. As we know, it is not easy to access legal aid these days, especially not for “civil” claims, so this will not solve anything for most:
“Workplace Stress”, December 2009:
And here is a report by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, describing and explaining how insecure or “precarious” many employment relationships are these days:
‘Under Pressure: A Detailed Report into Insecure Work in New Zealand’, October 2013:
Extract from page 10 of that publication:
“What does it add up to? We can say with some confidence that as of December 2012, at least 635,000 workers – mainly wage and salary earners (employees) – were in insecure work. They were in various forms of temporary employment (192,200) – casual work, fixed-term, temp employment agency, or seasonal work – in permanent work where there was a medium to high chance of job loss in the next year (282,400, some of whom would have been on a 90-day trial), or were actually unemployed (160,500 according to the Household Labour Force Survey). These make up 28.6% of the workforce of 2,221,900 employees and self-employed. It takes no account of the most at risk self-employed such as dependant contractors because no data is available, so it is fair to estimate that at least 30% of our workforce are insecure workers who are most at risk.”
Extract from page 11:
“There were 497,300 part-time workers in 2012. Many of these may be permanent employees. However, some part-time workers, even though they are permanent, have employment conditions that allow considerable flexibility in hours worked each week, and varying degrees of employee say in any variation.“
“Then there are people experiencing the insecurity of unsafe or unhealthy workplaces whose unacceptable extent has been documented in recent official inquiries. The Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety estimated that “each year, around 1 in 10 workers is harmed, with about 200,000 claims being made by people to ACC for costs associated with work-related injuries and illnesses” (Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety, 2013, p. 12). Again, good data are notoriously rare but 608,400 people in our labour force sometimes, often or always had physical problems or pain because of work in 2012, 226,900 had experienced discrimination, harassment or bullying, and 572,300 worked in one of the five high priority sectors for addressing workplace health and safety problems (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Construction and Manufacturing) or worked in Mining. Workers in these conditions constitute between 25% and more than 50% of the labour force but again we do not know how much they overlap with our initial count.”
“Low pay also contributes to job insecurity. Two out of five children living in poverty in 2012 were in households where at least one adult was in full-time employment or self-employed (Perry, 2013, p.138). The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates that 84,800 workers are on the minimum wage and that there are 573,100 workers on less than the Living Wage of $18.40 an hour. Again we do not know how many they add to the count.”
“Inability to access in practice ‘standard’ non-wage employment benefits such as sick leave, domestic leave, bereavement leave, or parental leave is another aspect of job insecurity. Again, there is little data on this because it frequently reflects practical conditions of employment rather than the letter of the law.“
Extract from page 12 (top):
“THE TRANSIENT NEW ZEALAND WORKFORCE
New Zealand has a highly transient workforce. In any one year, the number of wage and salary workers leaving a job is almost two-thirds of the number of existing jobs. In good times more than that number find a new job; in bad times some do not. However this does not mean that two-thirds of workers are changing their jobs every year because some change jobs more than once in a year – but it does mean that there are many workers whose working life is in constant flux.”
“In the year to June 2012, for example, Statistics New Zealand’s linked employer-employee data (LEED) series recorded 1.089 million ‘worker separations’ looking only at jobs that had changed between the four quarters of that year. Many shorter lives jobs may not have been counted (on the other hand, the count included moves between geographical locations within one employer – not true ‘separations’). There were an average of 1.812 million filled jobs over that year and 1.115 million ‘worker accessions’ – employees starting a job.
In such a job market, it should not be surprising that many jobs are insecure, short-lived and temporary.
One way this shows itself is in the average length of time jobs are held by New Zealand workers. Job tenure in New Zealand is among the shortest in the OECD.”
Extract from page 19:
Self-employment (referring here to pure self-employment, with no employees) can provide high incomes, as in the professions or farming, but can also be highly insecure with little assurance of future work or income. It is particularly subject to exploitation in circumstances where all or most of the work is through contracting to a single large company which can dictate terms. There have been numerous cases, including in the telecommunications, film, courier and road freight industries, where some employers have deliberately shed their responsibilities as employers while retaining the services of their workers by requiring them to either enter into dependant contracting arrangements or lose their jobs. There are variations in the dependency of contracting by self-employed tradespeople, particularly in the construction industry, but others such as taxi drivers and franchise holders can find themselves in similarly vulnerable positions.”
Extract from page 22:
There are few reliable official statistics on the number of agency workers, or even the number of agencies. In 2004 (based on figures from the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association) Burgess, Connell and Rasmussen estimated that the industry might constitute over 1% of the workforce, while acknowledging that agency work “undoubtedly involves more people than publicised” (Burgess, Connell & Rasmussen, 2005, p. 357).”
Extract from page 26:
“DISABILITY AND INSECURE WORK
People with disabilities have many additional barriers in the workplace. However their biggest issue is accessing and maintaining decent employment. Disabled people are estimated to have twice the unemployment rate of their non-disabled peers (Human Rights Commission, 2011). The Commission held that “this figure may be an under-estimate” (p. 5).
The advocacy group CCS Disability Action reports that, while there is clear evidence that disabled people are being discriminated against, the lack of any official data collection on the employment of people with disabilities makes it difficult to get traction on tackling their employment issues (CCS, Disability Action, 2013).
The current Government’s benefit reforms have re-categorised many people who were on the Invalid’s Benefit as ‘Jobseekers’ who are required to undertake a certain number of paid hours of employment per week. Disability advocates are increasingly reporting that disabled people are being pressured into insecure employment by Work and Income staff and employers with little understanding of disability needs, in order to fulfil the work requirements.”
One such example concerned a young person without independent means of transport being required to present himself each morning at 6.30am at a labour hire company depot several kilometres from his home. He was required to be available for a job which might or might not last for a day, a week or a month. This kind of pressure and insecurity can be especially stressful for people already dealing with the effects of a disability. In other cases, employers without any understanding of disability are subsidised by Work and Income to take on disabled workers.”
Read from page 42 onwards, about the ‘COSTS OF INSECURE WORK’:
Extract from page 42:
“While some workers opt for jobs that are temporary or part-time because it suits their particular needs, such as meeting family commitments, more and more workers are being forced into casual, temporary, fixed-term jobs or involuntary part-time work because suitable permanent employment is not available. A report prepared in 2011 (ILO, OECD, 2013) found a significant and growing share of the workforce is employed on temporary contracts across developed countries. In OECD countries from 1985 to 2007 permanent waged employment grew by 21 percent but temporary jobs grew almost three times as fast, increasing by 55 percent (ILO 2013).
In many forms of insecure work, there are often very few exits into satisfying work; much insecure work simply leads to other jobs that also fail to provide decent incomes, training or career opportunities and do little to enable a decent quality of life (McLaren, Firkin, Spoonley, de Bruin, Dupuis & Inkson, 2004).”
“Low-waged jobs are frequently not the pathway to better outcomes, as is often claimed.”
Extract from page 44:
“DAMAGE TO HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
There is growing evidence of the negative impacts on health and well-being from the many forms of insecure work. This is unsurprising, given the effect that people’s employment and working conditions have on their health. Overwork and a poor work-life balance, which are associated with insecure work, both negatively affect health and well-being. The Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (2008) reported that precarious employment was a major factor contributing to health inequalities, including mental illness and heart disease. Perceived work insecurity is a significant predictor of health problems, and people who report persistent job insecurity have significantly worse health and mental health symptoms, including depression, than those who have never perceived their jobs to be at risk (Ferrie, Shipley, Stansfield & Marmot, 2002). The Marmot review of health inequalities in England
referred to above, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives”, also commented on the association between insecure and poor-quality employment and poor physical and mental health. It noted a graded relationship between a person’s status at work and how much control and support they have in their job, which in turn influences their likelihood of ill-health; the further down the workplace hierarchy one is, the greater one’s risk of ill-health.”
“Conditions of employment which provide for annual leave, sick leave entitlements and childcare arrangements are very important for health and well-being. But workers in insecure employment are more likely to be excluded from such provisions.”
“There are also psychological consequences from insecure work; the experiences of those workers have been described by researchers as similar to those of people who are unemployed (Rodgers & Rodgers, 1989). Workers place a high value on job tenure because it provides security of income to meet basic needs. There is growing evidence about the negative psychological and other health outcomes from insecure income (Benach, Benavides, Platt, 2000).”
Extract from page 47:
“Growing inequality in New Zealand is therefore a major social and economic concern. Having been one of the developed world’s most equal countries, New Zealand has in the last 30 years experienced one of the fastest increases in inequality among developed countries. The last decade saw income gaps stabilise or decline slightly, but they are now set to widen again. As the Index of Health and Social Problems demonstrates, New Zealand’s high income inequality leads to significant problems: more than twice the prevalence of mental health problems than more equal countries such as Japan and Spain; obesity rates that are rising and are more than double those of more equal countries such as Sweden or Norway; a teenage birth rate that is five times higher than those of countries with lower inequality; an imprisonment rate that has doubled since the mid-1980s and is three times higher than in Japan and Finland; life expectancy rates that compare poorly with more equal countries; and higher rates of infant mortality than more equal countries. Although insecure work is far from the only contributor to this poor record, it is certainly one of them.”
Concluding note on that report:
The report is comprehensive, contains a lot of revealing, telling data, has many graphs showing what has been happening in New Zealand employment, informs about how this country is failing its international obligations, and how all this is impacting on the health of workers, and I highly recommend reading the whole publication! What is clear, and can be summarised is, that close to a third of all working population in New Zealand are in forms of insecure or precarious employment, many working in part-time and term employment, which generally pays less than permanent, full-time work. New Zealand has one of the most flexible and mobile workforces, providing for little security for large sections of society, to plan for their lives and to earn sufficient to ensure quality living standards.
STATISTICS NZ DATA:
Statistics NZ do not appear to provide much in the way of clear, detailed figures on full time and part time jobs that there are, as they rather focus on employment data trends. The ‘Household Labour Force Survey’ categorises people as “employed”, when they work as little as one hour or more a week – for pay or profit. That allows for a rather generous interpretation for who may be in forms of “part time” work. Full time work is any work that involves 30 or more hours a week. Periods of sickness, holidays or other reasons of temporary absence from work are not given special consideration in their quarterly surveys.
There also appears to be no data on the duration of employment that individuals may be in, and whether they do work in one, two or more jobs:
A survey on ‘Family, Income and Employment’ (SoFIE) may provide some more interesting data, but the last that is available via their website goes back to 2008:
Perhaps the government is not so keen on releasing more current data?
Own Closing Comments on all of the above:
The endless efforts made by “experts” such as Mansel Aylward, and claims made by persons like Work and Income’s Principal Health Advisor Dr David Bratt, that the best treatment for many sick, injured and disabled is to stay in work, to return to work, and to hold down jobs on the present modern-day employment market, will turn out to be ill-advised and largely futile.
It is highly worrying to even have the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM), as part of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, strongly promote these approaches, and to also try and further justify their recommendations by presenting additional position statements on what “good work” is supposed to look like.
When some employers may be able to offer good working environment, and good, healthy working conditions to existing and potentially new staff, there are many that still do not do so, for a range of reasons. There is the complex, highly competitive world of business, where cost is a major consideration for many entrepreneurs and operators at all times, and it is often also the cost of labour, which forces them to make compromises on the quality of work, especially in small to medium size enterprises.
Then we have the socio-economic environment, where governments have increasingly given more consideration to the perceived “needs” of business operators, big and small, to create ever more “flexibility” for working conditions and other legal frameworks, which though mean for many workers a loss of security, loss of stable employment, an increased marginalisation due to more precarious employment relationships, and often also lower earnings.
We have legislation before Parliament, where more “flexibility” and thus insecurity for workers is being planned, by allowing employers to interfere with their employee’s lunch and tea breaks, and where some other measures are planned.
All the “experts” and some of the medical professional organisations that agree with and support Aylward et al with their approaches, appear to willingly ignore the larger picture, where work is these days no longer a secure, longer term, reliable income earning activity, so that many workers live under constant worry, fear and stress, as they are unsure where their income may come from in the very near future, no matter how supposedly “good” the economy may be functioning. With such insecurity not being addressed, and with also ignoring also the unacceptably high risk it poses, to “usher” or pressure already sick, injured and disabled into jobs on such a job market, the whole agenda must be seen as more than questionable to follow. Especially those with existing mental health issues must not be put into marginal, insecure employment, where expectations and pressures to perform may actually have much more adverse effects than any “benefit” employment may bring to them.
It must finally be accepted, that it is a more constructive approach, to offer the social security support for those that are unable to hold down jobs for health and disability reasons, and NOT make it ever more difficult to access benefit support for them, by asking for endless medical and work capability reviews from whatever agreed or not fully agreed to “assessors”. Fair and reasonable consideration must be given to the whole, true health situation of persons, before even considering them for employment, and a more respectful way of consulting with sick and disabled is needed, to give them input and a voice re what kind of work they may be able to do or not.
Quest For Justice
05 October 2014
The unrepentent AFOEM position (click links for details):
(Last link leads to PDF file with most recent “position statement update” describing in some more or less vague terms, what “good work” should look like).
ADDENDUM – 09 OCTOBER 2014: MORE RESEARCH EVIDENCE THAT PAID EMPLOYMENT IS NOT NECESSARILY BETTER FOR HEALTH:
“Physically active work not as beneficial as leisure-time exercise: study”
October 30, 2013
“Shandong, China – Recreational workouts may help reduce the risk of hypertension, but job-related physical activity does not appear to have the same effect, according to a new study from Shandong University.
Researchers reviewed 13 studies from different countries involving a total of 136,846 people – 15,607 of whom later developed hypertension, the study abstract states. Exercising more than four hours a week was associated with a 19 percent lower risk of high blood pressure compared to exercising less than an hour a week. Yet people in physically demanding jobs saw no such benefit; they had the same high blood pressure risk as sedentary workers.
The study was published online Sept. 30 in the journal Hypertension.”
“Physical Activity and Risk of Hypertension”, A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies
Extract – with ‚Abstract’ from the website:
“From the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics (P.H., H.X., W.M.) and Department of Maternal and Child Health (B.X.), School of Public Health, Shandong University, Jinan, China; Independent Consultant, New York, NY (K.H.R.); and National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China (Y.W.).
Correspondence to Wei Ma, Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Shandong University, 44 Wenhuaxi Rd, Jinan 250012, China. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or Bo Xi, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, Shandong University, 44 Wenhuaxi Rd, Jinan 250012, China. E-mail email@example.com“
“Published literature reports controversial results about the association of physical activity (PA) with risk of hypertension. A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies was performed to investigate the effect of PA on hypertension risk. PubMed and Embase databases were searched to identify all related prospective cohort studies. The Q test and I2 statistic were used to examine between-study heterogeneity. Fixed or random effects models were selected based on study heterogeneity. A funnel plot and modified Egger linear regression test were used to estimate publication bias. Thirteen prospective cohort studies were identified, including 136 846 persons who were initially free of hypertension, and 15 607 persons developed hypertension during follow-up. The pooled relative risk (RR) of main results from these studies suggests that both high and moderate levels of recreational PA were associated with decreased risk of hypertension (high versus low: RR, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.76–0.85 and moderate versus low: RR, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.85–0.94). The association of high or moderate occupational PA with decreased hypertension risk was not significant (high versus low: RR, 0.93; 95% confidence interval, 0.81–1.08 and moderate versus low: RR, 0.96; 95% confidence interval, 0.87–1.06). No publication bias was observed. The results of this meta-analysis suggested that there was an inverse dose–response association between levels of recreational PA and risk of hypertension, whereas there was no significant association between occupational PA and hypertension. “
“Received July 2, 2013.
Revision received July 19, 2013.
Accepted August 20, 2013.”
Use the above link to access the full article with additional info links on the website of the “American Heart Association, Inc.”
ADDENDUM – 05 MAY 2015:
A NEW STUDY PUBLISHED BY DPAC AND PIRU SHOWS HOW DISABLED FACE HUGE CHALLENGES, DISADVANTAGES AND ALSO RESULTING POOR HEALTH, GIVEN DRACONIAN, UNREASONABLE AND COUNTER PRODUCTIVE WELFARE REFORMS IN THE UK:
DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS (DPAC) have published a new research report, showing that disabled face major challenges and resulting, serious risk of harm and worsening health issues due to increased pressures, unreasonable expectations and less real, effective supports. The DPAC PIRU publication, apparently still in the process of getting its finishing touches, exposes how the UK coalitions government’s boastful claims about getting more sick, injured and disabled into work are just mean, nasty propaganda. Adverse health effects will lead to more harm and higher healthcare costs down the line, it seems.
‘New study finds workplace hell for disabled workers’
” – unlawful discrimination, problems with zero hours contracts, fewer legal rights, and disintegrating long-term job prospects – “
“The study collected information from 137 disabled workers and from 141 organisations; and was produced for Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). The study covers the private, public and voluntary sectors. Principal findings include:
* Employer attitudes towards disabled workers have deteriorated in the last four years.
* Zero hours contracts are causing particular problems for disabled workers, including as result of the high levels of ill-treatment associated with these contracts.
* Unlawful discrimination, including harassment and unlawful dismissal, appears to have been increasing.
* There has been a reduction in organisational support for disabled workers and an increased emphasis on discipline.
* The study identified 24 major cuts to equality and employment law protections since 2010. These cuts were starting to have adverse impacts on disabled workers.
* With the introduction of tribunal fees, disabled workers were finding it hard or impossible to enforce the rights which remain.
Responding to the report, Debbie Jolly of DPAC said: “While more research is needed, the initial findings here show a woeful regression of support for those disabled people able to seek work. The recent cap on Access to Work adds to this, exposing the coalition government rhetoric to the stark realities and discriminations disabled people face.”
Rupert Harwood, the report’s author, said: “The study suggests that disabled individuals have been the hardest hit in work as well as out of work”.”
Read the whole post on their website – found via the link above!
ADVICE TO APPLICANTS / BENEFICIARIES FACING MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS AND WORK ABILITY ASSESSMENTS BY WINZ COMMISSIONED ‘DESIGNATED DOCTORS’ AND OTHER ‘ASSESSORS’
A). CLIENTS/APPLICANTS ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
1). When facing a medical examination under section 40C or section 88E (4) and (5) of the Social Security Act 1964 – as part of an application for, or a review of, a Supported Living Payment or Jobseeker Support (deferred) benefit, clients/applicants should tell the Work and Income (WINZ) case manager that they wish to be examined and assessed by a medical practitioner or psychologist of THEIR choice! It has to be a medical practitioner or psychologist they do not usually see. So it would pay to look around for one that has a sound, trustworthy reputation for being independent and objective. ONLY when a case manager does with good reason reject a chosen medical practitioner or psychologist picked by a client/applicant, can she/he then tell a person whom to see, which should usually still at least allow a “pick” from a list (which is what they mostly offer, without even considering a client’s/applicant’s preference)! Regrettably in at least some cases, WINZ case managers have been known to simply tell a client or applicant, whom to see – or to restrict their choice to take a pick from a very short list, which may actually consist of only practitioners and/or psychologists they prefer (i.e. “designated doctors”). This though doesn’t sufficiently meet the legal provisions, as it overly restricts the choice and option the law allows for reasonably finding an agreement.
“Agreement” must first honestly and reasonably be attempted between a case manager and client/applicant, before a WINZ case manager can object to a client’s/applicant’s choice and expect the affected person to see a medical practitioner or psychologist proposed by WINZ!
2). In selecting a medical practitioner or psychologist under those parts of the Act, a client/applicant should at least try to express the expectation that a professional medical examiner or assessor must have the appropriate, sufficient expertise and qualifications in the areas of health the client/applicant suffers from! This is not clarified sufficiently by the law as it stands, but some would suggest, the law implies that a reasonable effort must be made by WINZ case managers and other staff involved, achieving the best and most appropriate match of medical practitioner/psychologist to the conditions and disabilities a client/applicant suffers from.
Over many years, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and WINZ have been referring clients/applicants almost exclusively to general practitioners (GPs – their “designated doctors”), but one must fairly ask how appropriately and sufficiently qualified are general practitioners to professionally and competently assess for instance mental health sufferers, persons with addiction illnesses, or those with very complex physical, psychiatric or psychological conditions? Without possessing further (post graduate) qualifications in those areas, it is doubtful, or at least uncertain, that many GPs have the needed expertise to make a profound diagnosis in such cases.
This is an area needing further clarification, so by making decisive attempts to get their rights and expectations best met, clients/applicants should be very mindful of their particular needs and what a fair application of the law should mean in their case. It should therefore at least be attempted to raise the expectation to be examined and assessed by the most appropriate, most competent, suitably qualified medical or health professional!
3). When going to a medical examination/assessment by a WINZ appointed (agreed or not agreed) medical practitioner/psychologist, a client/applicant should make every effort to go WITH A TRUSTED SUPPORT PERSON! A doctor/psychologist can object to this, but then it should be negotiated with him/her, and also ideally with WINZ, whether a chosen support person should be accepted or not. Certainly any applicant/client affected has a right to be supported, so if one support person is rejected, a reasonable alternative must be accepted. It is advised to better inform the medical professional beforehand of a support person that will come along. But even if that is not done, the professional must give a reasonable, good reason to object having a support person attend.
The support person may be a friend, a relative, an advocate, a caregiver or whosoever, but having a witness, who may ideally also take notes, that will ensure that a doctor or other health professional will not be misguided, or tempted to make any wrong or biased decisions. Medical practitioners and psychologists will be prompted to act more carefully, be diligent, thorough and listen to the client/applicant and conduct a more professional, evidence based, fair and reasonable examination and following assessment. It is under the law also permitted to make an audio recording of a conversation between the assessor and the assessed. A party to any conversation is allowed to record such conversations, and while the recording person should ideally forewarn the other party, this is not necessarily an obligation. Having such a recording will make it easier to prepare for any further reviews or appeals that may be necessary, should an examination and assessment result in reports and recommendations that are not acceptable. Under certain conditions any recordings may themselves be used as evidence.
4). A Work and Income client, or partner/spouse of such, in receipt of a Jobseeker Support, Supported Living Payment, Sole Parent Support or Emergency benefit can at any given time be required to undergo a so-called ‘Work Ability Assessment’ and also re-assessments (see sections 100B and 100C). This does not apply to Supported Living beneficiaries who are by WINZ considered to be terminally ill or unable to work, due to their conditions deteriorating or not improving. Apart from them, virtually ALL working age persons on benefits can be asked to see one of WINZ’s new, outsourced, private, supposedly “independent” Work Ability Assessors. According to section 100B (4), the Chief Executive or authorised WINZ staff can determine the procedure according to which such an assessment is conducted. There is sadly a heck of a lot of discretion given to WINZ staff re how they use and apply these assessments and their results.
In any case, due to these assessments being a new measure and “service” WINZ use, and due to the lack of information on how such assessments have so far been used and applied, it is most strongly recommended, to only undergo such with a trusted support person, who can serve also as a witness and preferably take notes. Information so far obtained reveals that the providers of such assessments are largely health professionals working in rehabilitation, with various kinds of qualifications (though mostly in physiotherapy and the likes). It pays to ask for and note down their names and qualifications, and to keep detailed notes about what is asked and discussed. I would also strongly recommend audio taping conversations, with or without the consent of the health professionals a person deals with. Naturally copies of records that are prepared, and will be sent to WINZ, should be requested, either from the assessing service, or from WINZ themselves, which can be done under the Privacy Act 1993. Given the new, somewhat draconian provisions, and the unacceptable level of discretion that WINZ and MSD have been given under the amended Act, there appears to be little in the way of input a client undergoing such assessments has, in whom they see for this. But knowing one’s own health conditions and disability, it will be of absolute importance to every affected, to clearly and strongly present and point out any sickness, impairment and disability they have, to at least try and pre-empt or mitigate any potentially unacceptable recommendations that may come from the assessors. Also should it be reasonably expected that WINZ staff only send clients/applicants to health and disability professionals that possess the type of medical or rehabilitation qualification that is needed to fully understand a person’s conditions, and to competently and professionally assess a person’s ability to do any form of work – or not. If a client/applicant feels the assessor was not appropriately qualified and experienced, this should be raised with Work and Income staff.
5). When facing a Medical Board (formerly known as ‘Medical Appeal Board’, see section 10B of the Act) for having an appeal against a decision heard, which was based on a recommendation to WINZ by a “designated doctor” or contracted “work ability assessor”, the possible input into who may be appointed to the 3 member panel is not so great. But when presented with details of the panel, a client/applicant should seriously think again: Is there medical and/or health personnel on the panel that is expert and qualified enough in the areas of ill health and disability that I suffer from? Do I feel the members are all competent, with the appropriate and sufficient skills and qualifications needed to re-assess my health situation and ability to work or not? If in doubt, this should be raised with M.S.D.’s Medical Appeals Coordinator. If you do for instance suffer from psychiatric or psychological conditions causing disability, you should insist on at least one panel member being a qualified psychologist, or a GP with additional qualifications in psychology or as a psychiatrist. A Medical Board’s decision is deemed to be FINAL, and only where there are valid questions of law re the way a hearing was conducted, and a decision formed, can a client seek a judicial review of a Medical Board decision before the High Court.
Appeals to a Medical Board can also be made where a client/applicant does not agree with a decision made by a WINZ staff member according to provisions under sections 60Q, 88F, 88H, 88I, 100B and 116C (2) of the Social Security Act, where certain obligations have been, or are going to be placed on the affected person, that may be considered as inappropriate or unreasonable due to her/his own health conditions and/or ability to prepare for, discuss or perform work, training or other specified activities. Some of the provisions also apply to partners/spouses of sick/disabled beneficiaries.
In any case, if there are any serious problems arising from taking these precautions and having such requests considered and met, then it will certainly pay to consult a beneficiary advocate. But sections 40C (2) and (3), 88E (4) and (5), and other new provisions in the Act should be sufficiently clear.
Concluding comments on the above advice
Sadly most clients/applicants do not always consider all aspects, and do not prepare themselves enough re all the important questions, and the possible harmful, negative consequences they may be faced with if things turn out badly. Taking the above precautions can protect from much wrongdoing, disappointment and suffering down the line, and thus ensure a fairer treatment by medical practitioners, other health professionals and consequently also WINZ staff.
What should in this context be of great concern to all affected, is also the fact, that since 2008 the “designated doctors” used by Work and Income and M.S.D. have been TRAINED by the Ministry, which happened under the directions and management of the since 2007 employed Principal Health Advisor, Dr David Bratt (a registered GP). This is also widely not know, and as the experience with assessments conducted in some ACC and WINZ cases have shown, it pays to be very alert and cautious about medical examinations conducted by such designated doctors – and any other assessors that Work and Income and M.S.D. choose and commission!
Some Links to general official information on the major welfare reforms in 2013:
Information on the MSD website, about the reforms that took effect in July 2013:
‘Welfare Reform: changes in July 2013’
Information on the Work and Income website, also about the changes that took affect in July 2013:
“Benefit changes – how they affect you”
B). Designated Doctors, the increasing use of “assessors” for “assessments”, and some crucial information on what is behind the “welfare reforms”
MSD and Work and Income rely on about 290 ‘designated doctors’ for “second opinions” and “medical examinations” – more often now in attempts to get people shifted off the Supported Living Payment benefit (formerly the Invalid’s Benefit) onto the Jobseeker Support benefit. Former Sickness Benefit recipients were together with some on the former Domestic Purpose Benefit recipients and ordinary unemployed beneficiaries all transferred onto the new Jobseeker Support benefit. Many on health and disability related benefits will over time be re-assessed for work capacity, and may from case to case be only temporarily deferred from work test obligations for health reasons, until they will be fit for suitable work, while now being categorised as Jobseekers.
For the consultation phase and the implementation of these major reforms, the Ministry of Social Development set up a special panel:
“An expert Health and Disability panel has been established to provide advice on ways to strengthen employment assessments and services for people who are sick or disabled.”
The above is a quote from the MSD website! The members on that “advisory panel” had been meeting with, and were advised and apparently convinced by Professor Mansel Aylward, former Chief Medical Officer of DWP (the Department for Work and Pensions) in the UK, who was also himself involved in development of highly controversial, so-called work capacity assessments there, which the contracted assessor ATOS used. Also has Dame C. Black, (another strong supporter of Aylward, and proponent of the “health benefits of work” for sick and disabled) met with and advised that panel. That MSD appointed panel was instrumental in and determined to get NZ beneficiaries with health conditions firmly ushered into “suitable” open employment.
See the real agenda that was followed, released (with wiped out parts in it) as Cabinet Papers to the media and public (papers A, B and C – the last one are probably the most important one):
More information can be found here:
Hardline Professor Mansel Aylward from the UK (former Chief Medical Officer at the DWP) did in June 2013 again speak to at least one national GP conference here in New Zealand (Rotorua and/or Wellington). Doctors were being prepared to tighten up with their issuing of work capacity medical certificates – by not signing people off as unable to work too quickly and leniently.
He spoke on:
“Health Beyond Health: Another Cardinal Role for General Practice
The holistic approach embracing the social determinants of health and the importance of work”
(Main Session, Friday, 21 June 2013, Start 09:25am, Duration: 25mins – Baytrust)
Like every year, Dr David Bratt (WINZ Principal Health Advisor) did also speak and/or hold one of his now well known bizarre, selective information using “presentations” there, again comparing “benefit dependence” to “drug dependence”.
Remember these ones:
‘Ready, Steady, Crook – Are we killing our patients with kindness’
(see pages 13, 20, 21 and 35)
‘Medical Certificates are Clinical Instruments Too!’
(see especially pages 3, 16 and 33)
Professor Mansel Aylward also met with Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Welfare, in 2012, and she appeared keen on bringing in work ability testing along the ATOS Healthcare and DWP lines here in New Zealand:
‘Speech to Medical Professionals’, 26 Sept. 2012
Doctors are being told to look rather at what patients and WINZ clients with sickness, injury and disabilities can do, rather than what they cannot do. This is a game-changer, and it makes it extremely more difficult for sick and disabled to qualify for a benefit on health grounds. An expectation to work and/or train comes before entitlement to a benefit, and besides of the usual medical certificates (already called ‘Work Capacity Medical Certificates’) people are increasingly faced with not only “self assessments”, but extra interviews by Work and Income staff to discuss “hurdles” and options to return to work, same as they are as a last resort expected to undergo extra, supposedly “independent” assessments on work ability. The latter are outsourced new measures, but WINZ also continue to use “designated doctors” for at least the time being.
There are also already contracted providers delivering “job referral” and specialist “employment services” in use, for referring mentally ill target groups into open employment. It is a relentless agenda; yes the implementation of the most radical reforms in this particular area in decades. The mainstream media have reported nothing much really – on the very major changes for sick, disabled and incapacitated.
See attached also some PDF files with the following:
Earlier controversial welfare reforms and their impact in the UK
We know by now, who can tells us more honestly about what has really been going on under supposed “independent” assessors of sick and disabled in the UK:
A link to the Black Triangle Campaign website, with Mo Stewart’s report “The Hidden Agenda”:
Just one further revealing statement or article on the bizarre work capacity assessment regime now common in the UK, and according to Paula Bennett also planned as the design framework to what WINZ will introduce here:
See also these articles in the Guardian, about welfare reforms in the UK:
‘Welfare reform minister: claimants ‘have a lifestyle’ on the state’, the Guardian, 22 Nov. 2012
‘Lord Freud on welfare: making the poor pay for the risk-taking of the rich’, the Guardian, 23 Nov. 12
And via the following links some more info can be found on Professor Mansel Aylward, the “wayward” medical expert from the ‘Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research’, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Wales, UK, an extreme proponent of the almost ideological new “work will make you healthy” (and set you free) philosophy, based on a perverted interpretation of the “bio-psycho social model” for health and disability diagnosis and treatment:
‘Worklessness and Health: A Symposium’, one of the “presentations” used by Aylward:
‘Private firms’ role in creation of disability assessment regime’, the Guardian, 12 Sept. 2012:
‘The Hidden Agenda’, by Mo Stewart:
‘Benefits and Work’, blog, UK:
‘Where’s the benefit?’, blog, UK:
Closing comments on ‘Designated Doctors and welfare reforms’
As there have in the past been some quite bizarre, apparently rather biased recommendations made by “designated doctors” (who are almost exclusively GPs), and as the same apparent bias has applied to recommendations by Regional Health Advisors and Regional Disability Advisors, these news above must be of utmost concern to all affected. An increase of medical examinations – and additional, separate work capacity assessments – are taking place, and the drive will clearly be to use virtual “hatchet doctors” and MSD trained assessors to “cull” clients off the benefits, and to send them to outsourced special employment referral services, who will get paid rewarding fees for every referral made to employers.
C). Further advice on the law and system changes from 15 July 2013
Following the passing of the ‘Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Act 2013’ substantial changes to the ‘Social Security Act 1964′ took effect, affecting most, if not all social welfare beneficiaries in New Zealand. See Work and Income’s website for some initial information what changes have taken place, and how they will affect new applicants and existing recipients of benefits: http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/individuals/benefit-changes/
Although Work and Income and the Ministry of Social Development presented the changes in a rather “calming” fashion, some changes are fundamental, very severe and draconian, bringing not only new categories of benefits, but also increased obligations, expectations and use of sanctions for non compliance with them.
The earlier information in this comprehensive post has only just touched on the legal changes to the Social Security Act 1964. This post is primarily concerned with medical examinations and work ability assessments, and how WINZ uses designated doctors, and now also supposedly “independent” assessors (in cooperation with internal Regional Health and Disability Advisors in WINZ Regional Offices).
WINZ will still be using their designated doctors, to conduct medical examinations, should the usual doctor or specialist of a client not deliver sufficiently clear information on a client’s health condition and incapacity to work, or should that doctor feel the client/patient would better be seen by another doctor or specialist.
Yet with the new regime it can be expected that the already existing involvement of Regional Health Advisors and Regional Disability Advisors will also be increased, to provide additional or separate recommendations on beneficiaries’ health and inability to work. The new amendments to the Act provide for more work capacity assessments, and for them not being limited to medical aspects only, but to consider further aspects as to whether a client may be able to do some forms of work or training, despite of suffering ill health, an injury, impairment, that results in forms of disability.
Hence extreme caution is advised in regards to how to approach any medical examinations by even your own doctor/specialist, and most certainly so by a designated doctor, usually suggested and expected by WINZ for “examinations” or “second opinions”. As the new law changes have brought in provisions allowing the Ministry of Social Development and their main department Work and Income to OUTSOURCE services, similar arrangements have been made here in New Zealand, to use contracted outside “assessors” to establish a person’s “work ability”. While a range of providers appear to have been contracted for that purpose, the approach does resemble the one used in the United Kingdom, where for many years now the ‘Department for Work and Pensions’ have relied on highly controversial assessors ‘ATOS Healthcare’ for performing medical and work capacity assessments. Paula Bennett has as Minister commented that they want to ensure mistakes made in the UK will be avoided here, but I leave it to the reader(s) to judge how much you wish to rely on and trust her words.
The new legal provisions for the usual, standard medical examinations here in New Zealand appear not to have changed all that much, but they are covered in new sections and subsections of the Social Security Act. More detail on this will be presented a bit furter down in this post.
The following links to media and other publications show though, where the “journey” is heading:
Media reports on what was proposed and has since been introduced in New Zealand:
“Govt will pay to shift mentally ill into work”, NZ Herald, 30 June 2013:
The Ministry of Social Development, the Minister, the Associate Minister and government as a whole, had kept incredibly SILENT on this, and the media did otherwise not report more on these plans by MSD and WINZ. It appears that someone made this information available to the newspaper, and this was not what had been planned or expected.
The following links show further information about what was all along planned to be introduced in New Zealand:
‘New Zealand: ‘British-style work tests concern’ ~ tests were developed by disability ‘expert’ Prof. Sir Mansel Aylward’, Black Triangle Campaign, website, 11 Jan. 2013:
‘CCS Disability Action’ expressed concern, 14 Jan. 2013:
Some of the willing already prepared “facilitators” here in New Zealand:
‘Evidence-based supported employment’, website of Te Pou, The Wise Group:
Evidence-based supported employment, “People who experience a mental illness want to work and can work”, Workwise, the Wise Group:
The Wise Group, “The Wise Family”:
So while the above is only showing efforts being made for mentally ill, you can rest assured the same has been, or will be prepared – for persons suffering incapacity due to musculo-sceletal and other conditions. A number of providers have already been contracted to “assist” people into work.
Own further comments
Rest assured also that the ones like Professor Sir Mansel Aylward from Cambridge University (and his Unum financed “specialist department” that developed a perverted interpretation of the “bio psycho-social model”), same as Dr David Bratt, WINZ Principal Health Advisor, and others are behind this, and we know, that they believe that up to two thirds of “illnesses” sick an disabled suffer from are “not diagnosable” by finding clear physical proof, and according to them must rather be seen as merely “illness belief” cases.
A worrisome development, and New Zealand once again serving as a laboratory for social and other “experiments”, I fear.
I am not opposed to offer true, honest, fair and reasonable support and treatment for those sick and disabled (also due to injury), who wish to and can return to some forms of work, but with the information at hand, and the way the welfare reforms were pushed through, ignoring all concerns and objections by those affected, their advocates and families, I fear that such fairness and reasonableness will not be applied.
D). The newly amended Social Security Act 1964 and important new provisions
Here is a link to the current version of the reprinted Social Security Act 1964 (as at 07 July 2014):
It does now contain all amendments that came into force with the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Act 2013 as of 15 July 2013!
There are now different, and much higher work capability and work readiness expectations, and it is now at the discretion of the Chief Executive (that means virtually ANY authorised staff member of MSD or Work and Income – whom a client may have contact with or not), to determine whether a person receiving any benefit, or applying for one, can be work tested, can be assessed for work capability, and who can be expected to discuss work preparation, training, treatment or other measures with!
These following sections on work ability assessments make this very clear:
100B Chief executive may require person to undergo assessment
(1) This subsection applies to a person who is, or who is the spouse or partner of, a beneficiary in receipt of—
(a) sole parent support; or
(b )a supported living payment (except as provided in subsection (2)); or
(c ) an emergency benefit; or
(d) jobseeker support.
(2) Subsection (1)(b ) does not apply to a person receiving a supported living payment on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability if, in the chief executive’s opinion,—
(a) the person is terminally ill; or
(b ) the person has little or no capacity for work, and the person’s condition is deteriorating or not likely to improve.
(3) The chief executive may at any time require a person to whom subsection (1) applies to attend and participate in a work ability assessment made to determine, or help to determine, all or any of the following matters:
(a) whether the person is entitled to a benefit and, if so, what kind of benefit:
(b ) if the person is in receipt of jobseeker support (other than jobseeker support granted on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability), whether the person is entitled on an application under section 88H, or under section 88I(4), to a deferral of work test obligations under section 88I:
(c ) if the person is in receipt of jobseeker support granted on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability, whether the person has for the purposes of section 88F(2) the capacity to seek, undertake, and be available for part-time work:
(d) whether the person is entitled on an application under section 105 on the ground of limited capacity to meet those obligations to an exemption from work test obligations or work preparation obligations under section 60Q:
(e) whether the person, being a person who is subject to work test obligations or work preparation obligations under section 60Q, has the capacity to meet those obligations:
(f) what is suitable employment for the person for the purposes of section 102A(1)(a), (b ), or (c ):
(g) what are suitable activities for the person for the purposes of section 60Q(3) or 102A(1)(f):
(h) what assistance and supports the person needs to obtain employment.
(4) An assessment under subsection (3) must be undertaken in accordance with a procedure determined by the chief executive.
(5) After an assessment under subsection (3) is made, the chief executive may determine the matter or matters in subsection (3) for which that assessment was made—
(a) in reliance on that assessment; or
(b ) having regard to the assessment and to any alternative assessment under subsection (3).
Section 100B: inserted, on 15 July 2013, by section 44 of the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 13).
See also this important section covering the ‘Application of work test’:
102 Application of work test
(1) The work test applies to a person while he or she is a work-tested beneficiary, and unless subsection (2) applies, the person is subject to the obligations of the work test set out in section 102A from,—
(a) in the case of a person granted jobseeker support on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability, the date specified in the chief executive’s notice under section 88F(4); and
(b ) in any other case, the date on which the work-tested benefit is first paid.
(2) The work test does not apply to a work-tested beneficiary if the chief executive is satisfied that the beneficiary is undertaking employment of the kind required to satisfy the work test for that beneficiary.
(3) A work test obligation set out in section 102A applies on—
(a) a day that is a day between Monday and Friday (inclusive); or
(b ) a day of the week on which regulations under this Act provide (in relation to the obligation, obligations that include it, or all obligations) that it applies.
See this other important section on work test obligations:
102A Work test obligations
(1) The work test obligations are—
(a) to be available for, and take reasonable steps to obtain, suitable employment; and
(b ) to accept any offer of suitable employment, including temporary employment or employment that is seasonal or subsidised; and
(c ) to attend and participate in an interview for any opportunity of suitable employment to which the beneficiary is referred by the chief executive; and
(d) when required by the chief executive, to attend and participate in any interview with an officer of the department or other person on behalf of the chief executive; and
(e) when required by the chief executive, to undertake planning for employment; and
(f) when required by the chief executive, to participate in or, as the case requires, undertake any of the following activities that the chief executive considers suitable for the beneficiary to improve the beneficiary’s work-readiness or prospects for employment:
(i) any work assessment specified by the chief executive:
(ii) any programme or seminar specified by the chief executive to increase particular skills or enhance motivation:
(iii) a work experience or work exploration activity specified by the chief executive:
(iv) employment-related training specified by the chief executive:
(v) any other activity specified by the chief executive (including rehabilitation but not medical treatment); and
(g) to report to the department on his or her compliance with his or her work test obligations as often, and in the manner, as the chief executive from time to time reasonably requires.
(1A) The drug testing obligations under section 102B(1) are included in, and form part of, each of the work test obligations under subsection (1)(a), ©, and (f)(ii) and (iv) (each of which obligations is extended, and not limited, by this subsection).
(2) Subsection (1)(f) applies whether or not a beneficiary is subject to a sanction for failing to comply with the work test.
(3) A person cannot be required under subsection (1) to undertake activity in the community.
(5) If the chief executive requires a beneficiary to undertake an activity under subsection (1)(f), the chief executive must take reasonable steps to arrange for the beneficiary to undertake that activity.
And this section on various obligations is also very important:
60Q Certain obligations may be placed on beneficiaries and their spouses and partners –
This section applies to every person (other than a person who is a work-tested beneficiary or is for the time being exempted under section 105) who—
(a) is the recipient of a benefit under section 20D (sole parent support) and has a youngest dependent child under the age of 5 years; or
(b ) [Repealed]
(ba) is a sole parent with a dependent child under the age of 1 year, and is a recipient of a benefit under section 88B (jobseeker support) instead of a benefit under section 20D (sole parent support) solely because that child is an additional dependent child (within the meaning of section 60GAE(1)); or
(bb) is the recipient of a benefit under section 40B (supported living payment on the ground of sickness, injury, disability, or total blindness) if the chief executive is satisfied that the person has the capacity to comply with obligations under subsection (3); or
(bc) is the recipient of a benefit under section 40D (supported living payment on the ground of caring for patient requiring care) if the chief executive is satisfied that the person has the capacity to comply with requirements under subsection (3); or
(c ) is the spouse or partner of a person who—
(i) is the recipient of an emergency benefit, a supported living payment, or jobseeker support; and
(ii) has a youngest dependent child aged under 5 years.
(1A) This section also applies (despite subsection (1)) to a person who—
(a) is a work-tested beneficiary (other than one to whom subsection (1)(ba) applies); and
(b ) has been granted under section 88I a deferral of the person’s work test obligations.
(1B) The chief executive may require a recipient of a benefit under section 40B or 40D to attend and participate in an interview with an officer of the department, or other person on behalf of the chief executive, for the purpose of helping the chief executive to determine under subsection (1)(bb) or (bc) whether the recipient has the capacity to comply with obligations under subsection (3).
(2) A person to whom this section applies (other than a person to whom subsection (1)(bb) or (bc) applies) has a general obligation to take all steps that are reasonably practicable in his or her particular circumstances to prepare for employment and (in particular) an obligation to comply with any requirement under subsection (3).
(3) The chief executive may, from time to time, require a person to whom this section applies (including, without limitation, a person to whom subsection (1)(bb) or (bc) applies)—
(a) to undertake planning for employment:
(aa) to attend and participate in an interview (other than one for the purpose specified in subsection (1B)) with an officer of the department or other person on behalf of the chief executive:
(ab) to report to the department or to any other person acting on behalf of the chief executive on the person’s compliance with the person’s obligations under this section as often as, and in the manner that, the chief executive reasonably requires:
(b ) to participate in or undertake (as the case requires) any of the following activities specified by the chief executive that the chief executive considers suitable to improve his or her work-readiness or prospects for employment:
(i) a work assessment:
(ii) a programme or seminar to increase particular skills or enhance motivation:
(iii) a work-experience or work-exploration activity:
(iv) employment-related training:
(v) an education programme:
(vi) any other activity (including rehabilitation) other than medical treatment, voluntary work, or activity in the community.
OWN OFFERED ADVICE RE THE ABOVE:
To avoid any doubt, if the ‘Chief Executive’ does “reasonably”, based on available information, consider that a person in receipt of a benefit can do some work, or prepare for this, any of the mentioned measures can be taken, and if the client refuses or does not co-operate, a cut or total stop of a client’s benefit will be likely! The ‘Chief Executive’ can mean a normal, authorised WINZ case manager. Such a case manager may rely on evidence before her/him, or on additional “advice” – or a recommendation – by a Regional Health Advisor or Regional Disability Advisor, working in one of MSD’s Regional Offices. Such an authorised ordinary case manager may also rely on a designated doctor recommendation instead of, or additional to one’s own doctor’s medical assessment, PLUS on other information, some of which has not been much specified by the Ministry, when making a decision on whether a WINZ client has to undergo a medical examination, a work ability assessment and/or meet other stated obligations.
The use of designated doctors and contracted assessors, who are paid by WINZ and have to follow certain procedures, “guidelines” and criteria set by MSD and WINZ, has in the past raised questions about “independence” and objectivity.
So with all the much stricter, tighter criteria, and work capability not just being determined on medical certificates alone anymore, very many who suffer disabilities or longer term, serious illness, and who are incapacitated, will in future be considered capable of doing some forms of work. The emphasis is now to have even doctors and rehab professionals look first and foremost at what sick and disabled persons can do, rather than what they cannot!
Consequently medical examinations and assessments of any kind will become even more important and crucial, when you suffer from sickness, incapacity and therefore forms of disability. It will be essential to follow the above advice, to go to such examinations and assessments with doctors, or with other health professionals and/or outsourced service providers – TOGETHER WITH A TRUSTED SUPPORT PERSON WHO CAN ALSO SERVE AS A WITNESS!!! I recommend this even for important reviews and so with Work and Income case managers, if a client feels uncertain about how to deal with certain matters. If in doubt, and if serious issues arise, try and speak with a beneficiary advocate.
These are the new provisions for medical examinations –
For Jobseeker Support category applicants or recipients:
88E Jobseeker support: on ground of sickness, injury, or disability: medical examination
(1) A person making an application for jobseeker support on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability (the applicant) must include in the application a certificate that complies with subsections (2) and (3).
(2) A certificate complies with this subsection only if it is given—
(a) by a medical practitioner in respect of any condition; or
(b ) by a dentist in respect of a condition that is within the ambit of his or her profession; or
(c ) by a midwife in respect of a pregnancy, childbirth, or any related condition that is within the ambit of his or her profession; or
(d) by a health practitioner of a kind specified for the purposes of this paragraph in regulations made under section 132 and in respect of a condition within the ambit of his or her scope of practice.
(3) A certificate complies with this subsection only if it—
(a) certifies that the applicant’s capacity for work is affected by sickness, injury, or disability; and
(b ) indicates the nature of the sickness, injury, or disability concerned, the extent to which the applicant’s capacity for work is affected by it, and the length of time that effect is likely to last; and
(c ) contains any other particulars the chief executive may under this paragraph require.
(4) The chief executive may at any time require the applicant or a jobseeker support beneficiary to submit himself or herself for examination by a medical practitioner or psychologist. The medical practitioner or psychologist must be agreed for the purpose between the applicant or beneficiary and the chief executive or, failing agreement, must be nominated by the chief executive.
(5) The medical practitioner or psychologist must prepare, and must send the chief executive a copy of, a report that indicates—
(a) whether the applicant’s or beneficiary’s capacity for work is affected by sickness, injury, or disability; and
(b ) the extent to which the applicant’s or beneficiary’s capacity for work is affected by the sickness, injury, or disability concerned; and
(c ) whether, and if so, for how long, that capacity is likely to continue to be affected by the sickness, injury, or disability concerned.
For Supported Living Payment applicants or recipients:
40C Supported living payment: on ground of sickness, injury, disability, or total blindness: medical examination
(1) This section applies to a person who is an applicant for, or a person in receipt of, a supported living payment on the ground of sickness, injury, disability, or total blindness.
(2) The chief executive may require the applicant or beneficiary to submit himself or herself for examination by a medical practitioner or a psychologist. The medical practitioner or psychologist must be agreed for the purpose between the applicant or beneficiary and the chief executive, or, failing agreement, must be nominated by the chief executive.
(3) The medical practitioner or psychologist must certify whether, in the medical practitioner’s or psychologist’s opinion, the applicant or beneficiary is, or is not, or whether there is doubt about whether the applicant or beneficiary is or is not,—
(a) permanently and severely restricted in his or her capacity for work; or (as the case may be)
(b ) totally blind.
(4) A certificate given under this section must state the grounds upon which the opinion is founded.
(5) A certificate given under this section must, in the case of doubt referred to in subsection (3), and may, in any other case, indicate a date for review of the permanency, severity, or both, of the applicant’s or beneficiary’s sickness, injury, or disability.
The new provisions for Appeals to a Medical Board:
Appeals to medical board
Heading: inserted, on 15 July 2013, by section 62 of the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 13).
10B Right of appeal on medical grounds
(1) Any applicant or beneficiary affected may appeal to the Board against a decision of the chief executive that is—
(a) a decision that a claim for a child disability allowance is declined, or that any such allowance is cancelled, in either case on the ground that the child is not a child with a serious disability (within the meaning of section 39A(1) and (2)); or
(b ) a decision that a claim for a supported living payment on the ground of sickness, injury, disability, or total blindness is declined, or that any such benefit is cancelled, in either case on medical grounds; or
(c ) a decision under section 60Q(1)(bb) that a person in receipt of a supported living payment on the ground of sickness, injury, disability, or total blindness has the capacity to comply with obligations under section 60Q(3); or
(d) a decision under section 60Q(1)(bc) that a person in receipt of a supported living payment on the ground of caring for a patient requiring care has the capacity to comply with obligations under section 60Q(3); or
(e) a decision that a claim for jobseeker support on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability is declined on medical grounds or on grounds relating to a person’s capacity for work, or that a person’s jobseeker support on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability is cancelled on medical grounds or on grounds relating to the person’s capacity for work; or
(f) a determination under section 88F(2) that a jobseeker support beneficiary on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability has, while receiving that benefit, the capacity to seek, undertake, and be available for part-time work, and so is required to comply with the work test on and after a date specified in a notice under section 88F(4); or
(g) a confirmation, amendment, revocation, or replacement under section 88F(6) of a determination, and that results in a determination of the kind specified in paragraph (f) of this subsection; or
(h) a decision on medical grounds under section 88I(2) to decline an application under section 88H(2) by a beneficiary granted jobseeker support (other than jobseeker support granted on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability) for deferral of all or any of the beneficiary’s work test obligations; or
(i) a decision on medical grounds under section 88I(7) to revoke a deferral granted under section 88I of all or any work test obligations of a beneficiary granted—
(i) jobseeker support (other than jobseeker support granted on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability); or
(ii) jobseeker support granted on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability; or
(j) any of the following made in reliance on any work ability assessment by a health practitioner under section 100B:
(i) a determination whether the person assessed is entitled to a benefit and, if so, what kind of benefit:
(ii) a determination whether the person assessed, being a person in receipt of jobseeker support (other than jobseeker support granted on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability), is entitled on an application under section 88H, or under section 88I(4), to deferral of work test obligations under section 88I:
(iii) a determination whether the person assessed, being a person in receipt of jobseeker support on the ground of sickness, injury, or disability, has for the purposes of section 88F(2) the capacity to seek, undertake, and be available for part-time work:
(iv) a determination whether the person assessed, being a person who is subject to work test obligations or work preparation obligations under section 60Q, has the capacity to meet those obligations; or
(k) a decision under section 116C(2)(a) to the effect that a beneficiary does not have a good and sufficient reason, on the ground that the beneficiary is addicted to, or dependent on, controlled drugs, for either or both:
(i) not complying with a drug testing obligation under section 102B(1):
(ii) failing to apply for suitable employment that requires candidates to undertake drug tests; or
(l) a decision to decline a claim for a veteran’s pension under section 70 of the War Pensions Act 1954, or to cancel any such pension, in either case on the ground of the applicant’s or beneficiary’s mental or physical infirmity.
(2) An appeal under this section must be made within—
(a) 3 months after the decision has been communicated to that person; or
(b ) any further period the Board may (if it considers there is good reason for the delay) allow on application made before or after the end of that 3-month period.
(3) The chief executive is bound by the Board’s decision on an appeal under this section.
(4) The Board is to comprise 3 members to be appointed by the chief executive for the particular purpose, being medical practitioners, rehabilitation professionals (as defined in subsection (5)), or other persons having appropriate expertise in the fields of vocational training or vocational support for persons with sickness, injury, or disability.
(5) Rehabilitation professional, in subsection (4), means a person who is—
(a) a person professionally engaged in the rehabilitation of persons from sickness or accident or with disabilities; or
(b ) a nurse; or
(c ) an occupational therapist; or
(d) a physiotherapist; or
(e) a psychologist.
SUMMARISED OWN ADVICE RE THE ABOVE:
It pays to be extra careful now, and I can assure any persons facing having to apply for a benefit on health and disability grounds, to get good, sound advice, to take note of what this post explains, to also look at other posts on this site, and for instance search for anything under “assessment”, “medical assessment”, “David Bratt” (the name of WiNZ’s so-called “Principal Health Advisor”), and possibly also speak to an advocate, should any major questions or issues arise!
Few will in future get exempted from work testing and work expectations, and even doctors have been advised to be firm on patients seeking Work Capacity Medical Certificates, which are now so designed to ensure anything is looked at what can enable a person to resume any kind of work a.s.a.p.! Some will surely get a wake up call, as most have not taken note of what the last and major welfare reforms have entailed.
E). A list of all Designated Doctors WINZ had on their books in August 2012
As their selected, trained and paid doctors do not change all that much and often, the list should more or less still be valid, without perhaps the odd exception. I will also try to attach a better presented, tidier and table format list as PDF file to this comment.
CLIFFORD BRIAN AH KIT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NEELA AHMED, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CECIL W ANTONY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SAMIR ANWAR, REHAB MEDICINE
MARK ARBUCKLE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RICK BARBER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
FIONA BROW, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GRAEME BROWN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
USHA CHAND, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SIDNEY TASMAN CHOY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HUBERT D’CRUZE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
KALAWATI DEVA, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MICK EASON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ADRIAN GANE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MATTHEW SCOTT GENTRY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BRUCE STEPHEN GREENFIELD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARK GROEN, GENERAL REGISTER
CHRISTOPHER GROSS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
AIDEEN HAWKINS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JANE HENRYS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HARRY HILLEBRAND, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID HOADLEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MICHELLE HOLLIS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BERNARD KEITH HOLMES, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SHERYL HOWARTH, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
IVAN HOWIE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NEIL HUTCHISON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARK JOHNSTON, MUSCULOSKELETAL MED.
ROY KNILL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CHRISTINE LIPYEAT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GAVIN LOBO, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DEXTER LOOS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MALCOLM LOWE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ALISTAIR DEAN MACKAY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
WILLIAM MACKEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GARY MACLACHLAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HEIDI MACRAE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
UMESH PARBHU, GENERAL REGISTER
ROGER PARR, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GITA PATEL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANDRE PEYROUX, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CHRISTOPHER (CHRIS) RADLOFF, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CREASAN REDDY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JONATHAN REES, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HELEN SHRIMPTON, GENERAL REGISTER
ANNIE SI, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ALISON SORLEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CAROLYN SUTTON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JUAN TOLEDO, GENERAL REGISTER
RENATA TOLKS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SIOBHAN TREVALLYAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER VINCENT, GENERAL REGISTER
JULIET WALKER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GRAEME WHITTAKER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER WOODWARD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RODNEY (ROD) WYNNE-JONES, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BAY OF PLENTY REGION:
JOHN AIKEN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GARETH BLACKSHAW, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NIGEL BRUCE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GORDON CALDWELL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CHARLOTTE (JANE) CARMAN, GENERAL REGISTER
TIM CHIARI, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BERNARD CONLON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANDREW CORIN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JUDITH DONNELL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SIMON FIRTH, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ALASTAIR FRASER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
IAN GOURLAY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
COLIN HELM, GENERAL REGISTER
ROBERT HILLIGAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RICHARD HUDSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BARRY KNIGHT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
IAIN LOAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HELEN MCDOUGALL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SIMON MEECH, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PAUL NOONAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BRITTA NOSKE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID OFFNER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ROSEMARY PEDLEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BRIAN PERCIVAL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NEIL POSKITT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SYMON ROBERTON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MALCOLM SCOTT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JOSEPH (JOE) SCOTT-JONES, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GUNAWEN SETIADARMA, GENERAL REGISTER
DEAN TASKER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GRAEME TINGEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
TESSA TURNBULL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JOHN VICKERS, PSYCHIATRY
MARYANN WATSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ROGER WILLIS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PHILIP ASHCROFT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
AVA RUTH BAKER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JANE BATCHELOR GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GRAEME PAUL BENNETTS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STEPHEN (STEVE) BERRYMAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ROBERT J BLACKMORE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GRAEME GEORGE CARPENTER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HARSED HIRALAL CHIMA, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ALAN CRIGHTON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
IAN CURRIE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JOHN L DEWSBURY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RICHARD M EDMOND, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANTHONY JOHN FERRIS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
WILLIAM GORDON (BILL) GORDON, PSYCHIATRY
JAMES PHILIP GRAY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER HARTY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
LEWIS JOHN HUDSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CLIVE HUNTER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STUART KENNEDY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER LAW, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
KEVIN ROSS LEE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STEPHEN LEWIS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JOANNE MACGREGOR, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANDREW M MANNING, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ALEXANDER JAMES MARSHALL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RICHARD ANTHONY MCCUBBIN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STEPHEN A MCGREGOR, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
WILLIAMPAUL(BILL) MCSWEENEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER IAN MOODY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RICHARD NEWMAN GENERAL, PRACTITIONER
VIVIENNE PATTON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID RICHARDS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GRAHAM GEORGE RITCHIE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID RITCHIE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JANET PATRICIA ROBINSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BEVAN LLOYD ROGERS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID ROLLINSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER HUGH SHARR, GENERAL REGISTER
MURRAY RUSSEL SMITH, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
LINDSAY JOHN WILLIAM STRANG, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JEFF THOMPSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GERALDINE FIONA TREVELLA, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PAUL WANTY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HAMMOND WILLIAMSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HOWARD WILSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARK WINTER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
REX YULE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PAULINE BLACKMORE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
KELVIN DE GINDER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JURRIAAN DE GROOT, REHAB MEDICINE
KHONDOKER MAHEN HABIB, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JULIAN JAMES-ASHBURNER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DELAMY KEALL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CHRIS LANE , GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JANE LAVER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STEPHANUS (STEPHAN) LOMBARD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
QUENTIN MACMURRAY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RITA EILEEN MIDDLETON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JONATHAN MORTON, GENERAL REGISTER
IYNKARAN PATHMANATHAN (NATHAN), GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GREIG RUSSELL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SAM WILSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RENNIE YOUNG, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
EAST COAST REGION (NORTH ISLAND):
TIMOTHY R (TIM) BEVIN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
AVANI KARL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JONATHAN (JON) EAMES, GENERAL REGISTER
KAMAL KARL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RICHARD LOAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RACHEL MONK, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
VIVIAN (VIV) ROBERTS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ALAN WRIGHT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NELSON REGION (INCL. WEST COAST, MARLBOROUGH):
PEDER AHNFELDT-MOLLERUP, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GLENDA BARBER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARIJKE BOERS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
TIM BOLTER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID (BUZZ) BOOTHMAN-BURRELL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANNA DYZEL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER GRIFFITHS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
TIMOTHY (TIM) HANBURY-WEBBER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NICHOLAS G HASSAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BRUCE LINTERN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
LUCIA MITCHELL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STUART MOLOGNE, GENERAL REGISTER
FIONA JANE MORRIS, GENERAL REGISTER
IAIN RUSSELL, GENERAL REGISTER
MARTIN SMITH, GENERAL REGISTER
GREVILLE WOOD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
KATHLEEN BAKKE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GEIR BJORNHOLDT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SIMON DAVID BRISTOW, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SHANE CROSS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GRAHAM FENTON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
IAN MARK HOFFER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STUART D NORRIE, GENERAL REGISTER
SUZANNE PHILLIPS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
IAN CHRISTOPHER SMIT, GENERAL REGISTER
JONATHAN SPRAGUE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANTHONY (TONY) STEELE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER GEORGE H SUMMERS, GENERAL REGISTER
ALISTAIR D WHITTON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CECIL WILLIAMS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SOUTHERN REGION (SOUTH ISLAND):
DAVID ALLEN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PAUL BENNETT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NEIL BUNGARD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JOANNE CANNON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
THERESA P COCKS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JAMES (JIM) COLLINS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DIANA ALISON COOK, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SARAH CREEGAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARK CURTIS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STEPHEN J DAWSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ROGER DEACON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RONALD LEON DITTRICH, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER FETTES, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
LINDSAY (ROSS) FIELDES, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NICHOLAS (NICK) GIBLIN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
WILLIAM GROVE, GENERAL REGISTER
PATRICIA (PAT) HASTILOW, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ROBERT STANLEY HEPBURN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARIUS HILL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MURRAY JUDGE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
COLEEN LEWIS, GENERAL REGISTER
TABITHA LUECKER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
EMMA MACCALLUM, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANDREW IAN MCLEOD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARY MCSHERRY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BRYAN MOORE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANTHONY (TONY) MORRIS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
WAYNE MORRIS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BRENDAN PAULEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JONATHON (JON) SCOTT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BRUCE SMALL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
NICHOLAS TERPSTRA, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARTYN IAN WILLIAMSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CHRISTINE WILLIAMSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANDREW WILSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID E BALDWIN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ESTHER BGANYA, PSYCHIATRY
JOHN CANTILLON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JAMES (JIM) CORBETT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANDREW (ANDY) CORSER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANNE FARNELL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SAMIR HEBLE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
TREVOR HURLOW, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MURTAZA K (MUZU) KHANBHAI, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANTHONY ROSS MARSHALL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID MCLEAN, GENERAL REGISTER
JOHN MOORE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MANJUR MORSHED, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SUJATHA GRACE PAUL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
HAROLD EDWIN PFEFFER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BRUCE RONALD PHILLIPS, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SATYA PRAKASH, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
GAIL RICCITELLI, PSYCHIATRY
MANMOHAN SINGH, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DAVID TALBOT, SURGEON
MICHELLE TODD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANTHONY (CAMPBELL) WHITE, INTERNAL MEDICINE
LYN WHITE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
KENNETH YOUNG, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARY BALLANTYNE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RICHARD BALLANTYNE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ROSS DOUGLAS BLAIR, SURGEON
FARINA BRADY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SHRI CHAND, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JOHN COLLIER, PSYCHIATRY
M K RANJITH COORAY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SANDRA FLOOKS, GENERAL REGISTER
MOHAMED HARIS FUARD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
SUE GENNER, GENERAL REGISTRY
SUZANNE GREAVES, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PETER HARRISON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
KERRY HENNESSY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
THOMAS FRASER HODGSON, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
STEPHEN (STEVE) JOE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MICHAEL KAHAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ZIYAD (ZIG) KHOURI, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
AMRIT LAD, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
REETA LOCHAN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MICHAEL J MILLER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
CHRISTOPHER (CHRIS) MILNE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ANDREW MINETT, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
DANIEL J (DANNY) NEAVE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
JANE O’DWYER, PSYCHIATRY
ASIT PAREKH, GENERAL REGISTER
DEEPANI PERERA, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
ALFRED PINFOLD, GENERAL REGISTER
NAVIN RAJAN, GENERAL REGISTER
RAJINDER K SAINI, GENERAL REGISTER
LYUTSIYA S (LUCY) SLOOTSKY, GENERAL REGISTER
CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL SMILEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
BARBARA LESLEY TOPPING, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
MARK VAUGHAN, GENERAL REGISTER
BARRIE LEWIS WINN, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
WELLINGTON AND HUTT REGION:
GUY JENNER, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
RANATUNGA A KALUPAHANA, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PATRICIA NEAL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
PENELOPE (PENNY) ROWLEY, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
IAN ST GEORGE, GENERAL PRACTITIONER
Explanations and further comments
The above listed doctors (almost exclusively GPs, that is ‘general practitioners’), are ALL the selected ones that WINZ uses (and has used) as so-called “designated doctors”, who have been trained, are “consulted” and overseen by the Ministry of Social Development’s Principal Health Advisor Dr David Bratt, and his name should raise concern anyway!
These doctors are used to get “second opinions” on sick or disabled beneficiaries, and their recommendations are usually relied on by the Regional Health and Disability Advisors, who then pass the same recommendations on to case managers, who in virtually all cases then base their decisions to grant benefits, or to not do so, on those recommendations received.
The designated doctors listed were in August 2012 the current ones in use, and they are most likely still the same ones, as there are not that many changes in the ones WiNZ uses over the years. The regions listed correspond with administrative areas that MSD and WINZ use, hence some may actually be in geographical areas that are covered by administrations for other purposes.
Please bear in mind that some of these “designated doctors” are used more frequently than others, yes, anecdotal information says that some are true “hatchet doctors”, as they appear to deliver the recommendations that WINZ and MSD prefer, similar to the way ACC uses some “preferred” assessors, although they will of course never admit this!
So persons should approach these doctors with great caution, and well prepared, and go only with trusted support persons (willing to be witnesses) for any examinations to be conducted by them.
Again, read the advice at the very top of this post, and also take note of all other information offered here, as it includes the current provisions under the newly reformed, stringent and draconian welfare regime, we can thank Paula Bennett, John Key, Bill English and their selected “advisors” for!
For some further information also check the website of the Medical Council for registration details and so forth!
Please find attached the detailed Designated Doctor list in a PDF file, downloadable for registered members and readers. It contains a little more in details:
F). Some further sundry information and advice on “welfare reforms” and WINZ
THOSE WHO ARE FACING A WINZ DESIGNATED DOCTOR EXAMINATION AND/OR OTHER ASSESSMENTS FOR WORK ABILITY, OR WHO MAY HAVE HAD TROUBLED EXPERIENCES WITH WINZ, SHOULD ALSO HAVE A READ OF THE FOLLOWING TOPICS, AS THEY SHED A LOT MORE LIGHT ON WHAT HAS BEEN – AND STILL IS – BEHIND THIS “AGENDA” THAT SO MANY SICK AND DISABLED ARE INCREASINGLY BEING CONFRONTED WITH:
Let us not forget what the “designated doctors” and now also contracted private “assessors” that WINZ use are all about, and what is behind it all. The following topics and comment threads reveal much more on welfare changes. Yet more information can also be found by searching for “Dr David Bratt” and “Professor Mansel Aylward” by ‘Google’, ‘Bing’ or else on the internet:
Links to other sources of information:
‘DESIGNATED DOCTORS – used by WORK AND INCOME, some also used by ACC: THE TRUTH ABOUT THEM!’
‘MEDICAL AND WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS – BASED ON THE CONTROVERSIAL BIO PSYCHO-SOCIAL MODEL – AIMED AT DIS-ENTITLING AFFECTED FROM WELFARE BENEFITS AND ACCIDENT COMPENSATION: THE AYLWARD – UNUM LINK’:
WELFARE REFORMS – THE HEALTH AND DISABILITY PANEL AND ITS HAND PICKED MEMBERS:
WORK ABILITY ASSESSMENTS DONE FOR WORK AND INCOME – A REVEALING FACT STUDY (various posts, here just 2 links):
ADDENDUM FROM 10 OCTOBER 2014: FURTHER INFORMATION OF INTEREST IN THIS MATTER, FROM SARAH WILSON’S ‘WRITEHANDED’ BLOG:
It is good to see some discussion and debate on what is and has been going on at Work and Income since the last major, draconian “reforms”, and even what has been part of the “culture” at WINZ – and even the earlier Department of Social Welfare, well before them, albeit in a more moderate form.
Sarah Wilson has repeatedly raised some good, valid questions and points re the challenges she and other faced, when dealing with WINZ and their staff. She has written some posts on this on her blog called ‘Writehanded’, which can be found via this link:
Sarah is a feminist, and that is her right to be, even if some may disagree with “isms” that various people choose to follow, adopt or associate themselves with. In a recent discussion commenters such as “Muzz” and “Marc” covered some interesting topics and relevant details in their comments under this one of Sarah’s posts. It is called “All eyes on you”, describing the surveillance and security measures now in place, after the shootings in Ashburton, Canterbury:
It is worth a read, as it shines yet more light on what we are confronted with, and what some possible steps there are, to defend our rights and interests, especially when wrong, potentially very biased recommendations and decisions were made, by case managers, Regional Health and Disability Advisors, and by designated doctors and the new, supposedly “independent”, separately contracted “work ability assessors”.
TIME PERMITTING, I WILL ADD SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO MAKE REQUESTS FOR REVIEW OF DECISION, APPEALS AGAINST DECISIONS BASED ON MEDICAL ASSESSMENT RECOMMENDATIONS AND HOW TO PREPARE FOR MEDICAL BOARD REVIEWS AND SO IN THE COMING WEEKS. SO WATCH THIS SPACE, BUT I ADMIT, IT MAY TAKE A LITTLE WHILE TO PREPARE ALL THAT, WHILE I AM ALSO DEALING WITH SOME OTHER IMPORTANT MATTERS.