Treat all patients with decency

In her column (News Guardian, July 3), MP Mary Glindon driticised the coalition’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund in June 2015.

This is a payment to very disabled people, largely funding their transport to work and social or leisure facilities.

In 2012, the then mayoral candidate, Norma Redfearn, in a publication criticised the coalition’s decision to close down the Remploy facility at Benton.

However, when in government, Labour closed down many Remploy facilities.

Hypocritically, for prime minister Gordon Brown was part of a deputation recently objecting to two Remploy works closing in his area, despite the fact it was he who had closed many.

Let the people of North Tyneside not be fooled by the idea that Labour support disabled people.

Labour abolished incapacity benefit, and there is now a parliamentary inquiry into the Work Capability Assessments (WCA), which have been wrong in a minimum of 38 per cent of all people processed.

The likely error rate, however, is much nearer 50 per cent.

A massive amount of public money has been spent since spring 2008 when WCAs began on the tribunals that sick, ill and disabled people have been forced to go to in an effort to prove that they are not capable of doing remunerative work.

All working readers of this must wake up to the reality that if they become too ill to do enough work to pay all their outgoings, they may still be judged fit to work under the WCA, and be expected to live on, for example, ten hours pay per week.

Incapacity benefit was awarded to people who were judged not fit to do more than 16 hours work per week.

More over, Labour in government from 2000 discriminated against people with a psychiatric condition, learning problems or cerebral palsy from having operations or medical treatments that the Disability Rights Commission (2006) found that “they had a clear clinical need for”.

This discrimination continues to this day. And despite the coalition’s anti-welfare rhetoric, it is keeping tens of thousands of disabled people too ill to work by medical discrimination and medical negligence.

It is conservatively estimated that the bill for medical negligence in the NHS is £20bn.

Is it not time for all three political parties to own up, and pay up, and treat all patients with the human decency that they deserve?

I write as someone who has been kept unnecessarily ill for 13 years.

Raymond J Daggett