Three nurses, all involved in assessing the seriousness of people’s disabilities, have been found to have breached professional ethics – all of which have been made public in quite a short period of time.
Just what is going on? People with disabilities deserve better.
First, a disability benefits assessor with extreme right-wing sympathies was suspended by UK government contractor Capita after she posted disablist, racist comments about social security claimants on her Facebook page.
The posts were spotted by Sarah Goldstein, whose claim for personal independence payment (PIP) had been turned down following an assessment carried out by the qualified nurse.
Goldstein has significant support needs as a result of fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s syndrome, chronic migraines, anxiety and depression, and she was so angry and upset by the “lies” she read in the nurse’s assessment report that she searched online for her social media accounts. She says she was appalled by what she found.
On one occasion, in July 2014, while apparently watching an episode of the Channel 5 reality show ‘Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole’, the unnamed nurse posted a series of comments about a Roma gypsy who used a skateboard as a mobility aid because he lost his legs as a child in Romania.
On social media, the nurse commented: “I’d like to remove his wheels and catapult the scrounger back to whatever shit hole he came from!!!!”
Ms Goldstein’s disability has since been reassessed by a different assessor.
Since then, two other nurses have been found guilty of misconduct while employed as assessors by contractors working for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). They were both struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Heather Margaret MacBean was found guilty of misconduct by being drunk at work on June 27, 2013, although the Disability News Service reports that it is believed that she was drunk at work on other occasions.
A former health visitor and midwife, MacBean could have carried out hundreds of work capability assessments (WCAs), and it is believed that she also conducted disability living allowance (DLA) assessments.
The second nurse, Amelia Victoria Bailey pretended she had conducted personal independence payment (PIP) assessments for the government contractor Atos.
The company and the DWP have since had to review every one of the assessments Bailey carried out between August and November 2014.
You just have to wonder if these three are just the tip of the iceberg. What revelations may be revealed in the future?