Journal of IiMER Volume 13 Issue 1 Invest in ME Research Disability and Human Rights ME is not alone in being an easy target for the DWP to unleash its draconian and ideologically driven policy assault on disabled people. Yet no other disease has had funding from the DWP given to a research team to prove that simplistic therapies could be used to make patients better – or at least avoid them using funds from the public purse. The PACE Trial had DWP funding included in the £5 million that was wasted to prove that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) were beneficial for “treating” ME. The tale is rich in irony as it was due, predominantly, to the work of patients that the PACE trial was found to be flawed and totally unusable. The DWP were actually found to have a target of 80% to refuse mandatory reconsideration requests as a Key Performance indicator. Both government contractors have previously been found to have bungled disability tests. Invest in ME Research were long ago told by an ex-member of the DWP fraud team that the actual fraudulent element from benefits was less than 3% and the official government figures for fraud now are far less. The Press Association revealed in 2017 that Atos and Capita were set to be paid more than £700 million for their five-year contracts One is left to wonder if these external profit centres are really required, especially when so many appeals against denial of benefits are eventually won. What of the effect on society? The whole benefits system for disabled people – including ME patients – is in disarray and produces an anxiety-ridden exercise which may further exacerbate a patient's condition. Universal Credit rollout has turned into an exercise in incompetence. And some charities cannot complain as they take money from the government and are under contract not to criticise. ME patients know well what it feels like to be at the sharp end of DWP coercion. The current benefits system means that ME patients are likely to be judged by a third-party subcontractor who is totally clueless when it comes to knowing anything about the disease or its effects. Of course, the DWP keep making the point that they judge on disability not on condition. Yet how can a patient be judged fairly when the person judging them has no idea of the illness and how it affects the person attending the benefits review, either then or days after the interview? The corporate parasites that DWP subcontracts to do the deeds presumably do not have to care about the effects on patients – they just carry out their instructions. Perhaps the DWP (which is effectively the government of the day) and the ministers who decide DWP policies feel cleaner, less soiled this way - yet continually forget that they are servants of the public. In a recent article, “Britain’s most senior tribunal judge says most of the benefits cases that reach court are based on bad decisions where the Department for Work and Pensions has no case at all. Sir Ernest Ryder, senior president of tribunals, also said the quality of evidence provided by the DWP is so poor it would be “wholly inadmissible” in any other court.” And the effects were expertly captured by this tweet from a doctor - Invest in ME Research (Charity Nr. 1153730) investinme.org Page 33 of 52

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