More data needed

January 11th, 2013 at 7:22 am by David Farrar

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff reports:

Disability services group CCS says it has “grave concerns” about plans to introduce work ability assessments, influenced by controversial tests conducted in Britain.

From July, the invalid’s benefit, paid to about 85,000 New Zealanders, will be replaced by the supported living payment, as part of wide-ranging welfare changes.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has said this would mean little change, although in a speech to health professionals late last year she signalled a new assessment regime which “echoes” the British process.

Measuring the extent to which disabled can work, the British tests have prompted a debate in the British Parliament, as well as protests targeting the Paralympics where Atos, the private company doing the tests, was a sponsor.

CCS Disability Action chief executive David Matthews cited research showing the British Government had spent £42.2 million (NZ$80.5m) on appeals against the tests, about 40 per cent of which overturned Atos’ findings.

CCS may have a point, but the data they cite doesn’t make it.

The cost of appeals by itself means little. The UK has a population around 40 times larger than us.

The 40% being over-turned on appeal means little also, unless we know how many appealed. If only 1% of those classified appeal, then a 40% success rate would be lower than what I’d expect. If 75% of those classified are appealing, then a 40% success rate would suggest a wider problem.

14 Responses to “More data needed”

  1. Mobile Michael (985 comments) says:

    I used to volunteer with some intellectually disabled people who worked at a sheltered workshop. While there were those there who were profoundly disabled there were those who were capable of doing work – while they couldn’t be brain surgeons they would be capable of work like labouring, cleaning, delivering mail, etc. While they would not be any better off economically, it would boost their self esteem and allow them to be less isolated from the community.

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  2. redqueen (1,781 comments) says:

    I get 13.33x our population (60m / 4.5m). Still a valid point, but the UK doesn’t have 180 million people (even if it sometimes feels like that in London).

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  3. Dean Papa (788 comments) says:

    UK popn ~ 60 million

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  4. Graeme Edgeler (3,241 comments) says:

    The UK has a population around 40 times larger than us.

    This is an obesity statistic, right DPF?

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  5. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    People on invalids benefits already do part time work..The number of hours they are able to do is determined by their GP. I don’t know the details but I imagine that in many cases it is about 12 to 15 hours per week. Does anyone have the facts on this? Also how many on the invalids benefit have psychiatric illnesses?
    I thought in earlier publicity about these changes that Bennet was trying to mislead the public in to thinking that this ability to work part time was not already in existence.

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  6. Data (22 comments) says:

    Since re-assessment of incapacity benefits claimants began in 2010, 41% fit-for-work decisions have been appealed and 38% of these have found in favour of the claimant. Further, it has been shown that claimants who have representation from rights organisations stand a much bigger chance of being awarded ESA after appeal than those who do not. Source: A Parliament report

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  7. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    Excellent, because of course there are vast numbers of jobs available, so vitally important that we impose the stress of a regular interrogation by WINZ even on those considered invalids (including those with intellectual diabilities and psychiatric illnesses).

    Clearly, the ANZ hasn’t a clue what it’s on about:

    The ANZ New Zealand Job Advertisement series, which sums newspaper and internet ads, fell 0.8 percent in November (sa), following a 0.9 percent fall in October.

    Our “composite” total, which weights newspaper ads more heavily to give a better (inverse) indicator for the unemployment rate […] has eased to a two year low and continues to suggest an unemployment rate of around 7 percent over the next 6 months […]

    Newspaper advertising dropped to a new alltime low in Wellington, while Auckland was the second-lowest on record. Canterbury, on the other hand, posted a 12 percent monthly gain (albeit off a 9.4 percent fall in October), taking the series to an 8-month high. Internet advertising was weaker across the board in the main centres, hitting a 10 month low in Auckland and four month lows in Wellington and Canterbury.

    The cupboard of available jobs is pretty much full, but rather than look at how to increase its capacity we’ll just keep trying to stuff more people in it, then imply they’re filthy bludgers when they fail to get a job. Good planning from our “most effective Maori Minister”.

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  8. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Good on you Rex ..many psych patients are on high doses of anti psychotic medications..These are what is keeping them in the community but they are not ”work ready” on these meds..In fact they would be a danger to themselves and others in many work places.
    What is wrong with the current system of the GP being the main person to decide on work capacity? Surely the GP knows the person well. Some GPs are not keen on having psych patients on their books so don’t take on these patients..The ones who do , care or at least have an interest in this difficult area.
    How much is the UK system going to cost? How much was the consultant paid who thought up this rather unoriginal idea?
    Somehow it is reminiscent of the assessing done on Canterbury’s elderly where foreigners of various descriptions assessed elderly people over the phone..Of course the minority , assertive ones got their doctors on their case..but the majority humble , gentle , rather frightened elderly just ” took their medicine ” figuratively. They felt bullied.

    ”ttook thier medicine”…Some people could not even understand the sassers withir unfamiliar accents.

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  9. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    deletion need obviously…

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  10. HC (186 comments) says:

    To really understand what is behind of all these “reforms” and the intended outsourcing for “work capacity assessments”, which has already been tried for a number of years in the UK, the following is a MUST READ:

    It is clear, where Bennett comes from, who influenced her, and also what stakeholders and players started all this “new approach” years ago in the UK. Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor for MSD and WiNZ, loves to refer to the selected “experts” in all his one sided presentations to GPs and designated doctors he has trained.

    At least ACC never went as far as “training” their assessors or doctors like that, but then again, they have their particular, questionable way of assessing someone again and again, until a recommendation is made, which they like and prefer.

    Appalling stuff all this is. I just wonder, whether David will allow this to be raised here.

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  11. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Thanks HC

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  12. HC (186 comments) says:

    joana: The present Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill is drafted poorly and full of flaws. The reforms, as they are proposed in law so far, will be too draconian, will not work and not be enforceable anyway, as there are many questions of law that are disputed.

    Bennett has been very poorly advised. The whole Social Security Act needs a total rewrite, and not another patch up and endless amendments, surely not ones in conflict with law and not based on medical and scientific advice.

    Apart from the Law Society, the Legislation Advisory Committee, plus endless submitters of other backgrounds, have expressed immense concerns and disagreement.

    So the Social Services Committee needs to sit down and do some deep thinking, before writing a report back.

    Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor for MSD and WINZ also needs to go. To compare benefit dependence with drug dependence, to quote biased medical “experts”, and to distort facts, that is not a good showing for a person in such a senior role. Training “designated doctors”, who are supposed to be independent, is not on under natural justice.

    To really get somewhere, it is absolutely necessary, to base any decisions, assessments and work capacity recommendations, primarily on what the client’s own doctor recommends. Specialist reports may be needed, but not so independent designated doctors, or even outsourced ones, like in the UK, that will be a recipe for disaster. The affected and their supporters need to be involved, not lectured and sanctioned. It must be more inclusive, what needs to happen.

    And it is total madness, to transfer 58 thousand sickness beneficiaries, most of whom also have permanent conditions affecting ability to work (physical and psychiatric), onto the jobseeker support allowance, that is not going to work at all. It will cause endless problems, help nobody and cause immense stress and other health issues on those affected. That measure surely must be abandoned and replaced by more pro-creative, fairer and medically based steps to re-integrate those that may be possible to return to some form of work.

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  13. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Thanks very much HC
    I agree re Dr Bratt.. He has been an abortion supervisory consultant so will have earned huge money at this job which is not really a job. He has been a GP , a director/owner of so many other companies..He will now be into the tax payer for a huge salary. He is now unleashing his expertise on some of the most vulnerable in society. Work may cover all possibilities for him but it is a very narrow view. It is also so boring and tedious just copying good old Britain.
    I once recall hearing Winston Peters saying that what ever he thought of then , the Labour party people had a lot of ideas being teachers and the like I suppose..but National just seems to copy others..this will be really unfair and disastrous but Bratt will be promoted and go to his grave secure in his beliefs. This will be a step up from some of his abortion industry colleagues who have committed suicide.

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  14. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Dr Bratt has a conflict of interest..He has assisted in the demise of babies who would have grown up to be on the benefits he wishes to slash. He has already shown his stance.

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