Benefit Busters C4: Catch up on episodes 1 and 2 on 4oD

Update: Information good at 8.30pm  Monday, 7 September

Episode 2 now re-available to watch on 4oD at:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/4od#2935220

 

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“They run your life, so you don’t have to” courtesy Gordon’s Good Idea

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Update:  Benefit Busters: Episode 2, which screened on Thursday, 27 August, had been scheduled for repeat on Monday, 31 August.  The repeat appears to have been pulled.  It is reported that Episode 2 was briefly available online but that, too, has since disappeared. 

There is no information about the change in scheduling or the removal of Episode 2 on the C4 or 4oD sites. So if you missed Thursday’s broadcast, as I did, please be aware that only Episode 1 is currently available to watch online via 4oD and that only two very brief clips from Episode 2 are now available.

Commentary here and here on WordPress New Deals Scandal site. Here and here on Indus Delta site.

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Benefit Busters Channel 4

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters

Benefit Busters

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/episode-guide/series-1

Series Summary

In 2009, Britain will pay out more in benefits than it raises in income tax. Welfare and pension payments cost more than education, health or defence.

Now, as the government attempts to revolutionise the welfare system – controversially rewarding private companies according to their ability to coax people off benefits and into jobs – this documentary series follows the people on both sides of this new welfare state.

 

Series | Episode 1 | Benefit Busters  [48 mins]

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1

Thursday 20 August  9PM Channel 4

Hayley Taylor’s job is to persuade single mothers on benefits to go back to work.

The company she works for, A4E, which is helping to tackle the Government’s target of getting 70 per cent of lone parents into paid work by 2010, is the largest welfare reform company in the world [1].

A4E is run by multimillionaire entrepreneur Emma Harrison, who believes her business is ‘improving people’s lives by getting them into work.’

Until recently, the 700,000 lone parents receiving benefit didn’t have to look for work until their youngest child was 16. Soon, they must either work, or be looking for work, once their youngest child is seven.

At Doncaster A4E, Hayley runs a course called Elevate that aims to give lone parents the skills and confidence to enter the workplace and convince them they’ll be better off doing so. Cameras follow her group of ten single mothers during their intensive six-week course to prepare them for work.

Watch again on 4oD at:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/4od#2932683

 

Series 1 | Episode 2 | Benefit Busters [60mins]

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/episode-guide/series-1/episode-2

Thursday 27 August  9PM Channel 4

Unemployment is rife in Hull, but for one company business is booming: A4E has won the lucrative contract to help get the long-term unemployed back to work. Mark Pilkington is an ex-soldier who hasn’t worked for 10 years. He welcomes help and within a fortnight he finds a job. But the joy of receiving his first pay cheque is short-lived; after just four weeks a business downturn results in Mark being laid off.

Facing a return to A4E and potentially a four-week wait to restart his benefit payments, Mark begins to wonder if there is more security in a life on benefits.

It appears to be a shockingly common perception amongst the clients at A4E, who are at the mercy of an increasingly casual labour market.

Watch again on 4oD at: 

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/4od#2935220

Two brief clips at:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/episode-guide/series-1/episode-2

 

Episode 3

Series 1 | Episode 3 | Benefit Busters

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/episode-guide/series-1/episode-3

Thursday 03 September  9PM Channel 4
Sunday 06 September 3.20AM Channel 4

One of the government’s targets is to shift one million people off long-term sickness benefits and get them back to work.

In Oldham, the charity Shaw Trust  has won the contract to implement this policy [2].

Sherrie Jepson, a former car saleswoman, has the job of selling the idea of employment to people who were previously considered too sick to work.

Keiron Tandy fell from a third-floor balcony while celebrating his 18th birthday in Turkey. He has metal pins in his back and has restricted mobility.

His family doctor had confirmed him as ‘unfit for work’ but under the new system he’s examined by an independent medical examiner employed by a private health care company, which will determine whether he is fit enough to return to work. Meanwhile, Sherrie starts to try to convince Keiron that he could work if a suitable job that allowed for his condition could be found.

Watch again on 4oD at:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/4od#2934042

[1] See previous posting:

Elephant in the Room Series Three: Channel 4: Benefit Busters, A4e and the Sykes brothers: http://wp.me/p5foE-1RY

The CISSD Project (Conceptual Issues in Somatoform and Similar Disorders), co-ordinated by Dr Richard Sykes, PhD, between 2003 and 2007, and administered by UK patient organisation, Action for M.E., was funded by The Hugh and Ruby Sykes Charitable Trust to the tune of £62,750. Dr Richard Sykes and Sir Hugh Sykes are brothers. Sir Hugh Sykes is a non executive director of A4e (Action for Employment) – the largest European provider of Welfare to Work programmes.

Sir Hugh Sykes has authored pamphlets for the right-wing think-tank “Politeia”: http://www.politeia.co.uk/about/default.asp

[2] See: 10 August Third Sector Online report on Shaw Trust:

“Shaw Trust accounts show crippling cost of DWP contracts: Charity blames Pathways to Work programme for huge deficit”

also see: Shaw Trust Press Release, 20 August :

“Shaw Trust Stars in Channel 4 Documentary ‘Benefit Busters’”

Scots MSPs join fight to save DLA and AA plus Pathways crumbling (Benefits and Work)

Scots MSPs join fight to save DLA and AA plus Pathways crumbling (Benefits and Work)

Update from Steve Donnison | 27 August 2009

Firstly, we want to make it absolutely clear that AA and DLA are not going to be abolished on 13 November, because some people seem to have got that impression.

We’re asking you to make your voice heard before the green paper consultation period ends on 13 November because, if you don’t, it makes it much more likely that disability benefits will be handed over to local authorities at some time in the future. But any changes are unlikely to happen for years.

In just three weeks an astonishing 21,770 people have signed up to the campaign. You have made disability charities very aware of the need to challenge the proposals in the green paper. Many, including the Disability Benefits Consortium, have now issued statements saying that they will be opposing any moves to end disability benefits. MPs have begun replying to queries from you about what their position is on the issue of abolishing any disability benefits. We’ve also heard from lots of people who have submitted comments to the green paper consultation at:

http://careandsupport.direct.gov.uk/greenpaper/execsum/

The latest news is that members of the Scottish Parliament have tabled a motion calling for the retention of AA and DLA. Hopes that ministers may have had of quietly slipping in proposals to abolish any disability benefits are now in tatters.

Congratulations on achieving so much, so quickly.

In this edition there’s also news of the increasingly disastrous problems faced by charities involved in government back to work schemes. Some are losing millions, some are pulling out altogether and others are fighting amongst themselves about how big a share of the government’s cash they should get.

All in all, it’s beginning to look like the voluntary sector may be regretting getting quite so close to the DWP.

TRAINING
The first of our open training days in Bristol for the autumn/winter are now available to be booked. We’re running an ESA and mental health/learning difficulties training day on Tuesday 27 October and a DLA/AA claims training day on Thursday 26 November. More details and booking forms from this link:

www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/training/open-training/

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

MSPs join fight to save AA and DLA
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/latest-news/1103-msps-join-fight-to-save-aa-and-dla
Members of the Scottish Parliament have joined the fight to save attendance allowance and disability living allowance by putting down a motion calling for AA to be protected.

Shaw Trust loses millions on Pathways
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/latest-news/1100-shaw-trust-loses-millions-on-pathways
Shaw Trust, the only major voluntary sector Pathways to Work provider, lost almost £3 million in the last financial year due to its involvement in the DWP programme.

Charities outraged by DWP funded offers
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/latest-news/1102-charities-outraged-by-dwp-funded-offers
Charities have been outraged by the ‘insulting’ payments they have been offered by other charities as an inducement to take on volunteers under a DWP funded programme.

Major charities ditch Pathways contracts
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/latest-news/1101-major-charities-ditch-pathways-contracts
Two major charities have ended their role as sub-contractors on the Pathways to Work programme because they were no longer financially viable.

Beware weasel words
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/latest-news/1098-beware-weasel-words
Here at Benefits and Work we’ve been discussing how politicians may respond to letters from their constituents about the green paper proposals to cut disability benefits.

Stop press: charities left reeling by your response
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/latest-news/1097-stop-press-charities-left-reeling-by-your-response
17,000 sick and disabled campaigners have managed in just a few days to send shock waves throughout the voluntary sector.

MEMBERS ONLY
Not yet a member?
Find out how to join Benefits and Work and get instant access to all our downloadable claims and appeals guides, DWP materials, members news items and more.
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/join-us

Decision Makers Exchanges available
www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/component/content/article/904/869-decision-makers-exchangeDecision
Makers Exchanges from April to June 2009 are now available in the members’ area.

MRC publishes Minutes of 1st “CFS/ME Expert Panel” meeting

The names of the members of the MRC CFS/ME Expert Group, the Panel’s Terms of Reference, the Agenda and Minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2008 and other information has finally been published on the MRC’s website.

The list of members’ and the Panel’s Terms of Reference were previously obtained under FOIA and published here on ME agenda.

The Agenda and Minutes of the meeting on 15 December can be downloaded here or opened in PDF format here:

PDF: Minutes CFS/ME Expert Group Meeting 15 December 2008

Document Library
CFS/ME Expert Group meeting – 15 December 2008
Issued: 15 Dec 2008
Primary audience: Researchers
Document Summary

Agenda and minutes from the 1st meeting held on 15 December 2008

 

The list of members can be opened in PDF format here:

PDF: CFS/ME Expert group membership

Term of Reference can be opened in PDF format here:

PDF: Finalised Terms of Reference for CFS/ME expert group

or go to MRC site for full article and files:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis 

( http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Ourresearch/ResearchFocus/CFSME/index.htm )

Chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a complex and debilitating condition with a diverse range of symptoms. Profound physical and/or mental fatigue is the most well-known, while others include pain, disturbed sleep patterns and gastrointestinal problems. Each patient experiences their own personal combination of symptoms.

Research Strategy
MRC CFS/ME Expert Group
Terms of reference
Previous MRC activities
Current MRC-funded research projects
How does the MRC decide which research proposals to fund?

Research Strategy
CFS/ME is currently a highlighted area, and is an area that is of high priority for the MRC. In 2008 the MRC set up a new group to consider how the MRC might encourage new high-quality research into CFS/ME and partnerships between researchers already working on CFS/ME and those in associated areas This work follows on from the Research Advisory Group set up in 2003 and the joint workshop held with Action for ME in 2006.

MRC CFS/ME Expert Group
The Group is chaired by Professor Stephen Holgate, chair of the MRC Population and Systems Medicine Board and brings together leading experts in the CFS/ME, from associated fields that may be involved in the underlying mechanisms of CFS/ME and from the charity sector:

Professor Stephen Holgate – University of Southampton – Chairman

Professor Jill Belch – University of Dundee

Dr Esther Crawley – University of Bristol

Professor Philip Cowen – University of Oxford

Professor Malcolm Jackson – University of Liverpool

Dr Jonathan Kerr – St George’s University of London

Professor Ian Kimber – University of Manchester

Professor Hugh Perry – University of Southampton

Dr Derek Pheby – National CFS/ME Observatory

Professor Anthony Pinching – Peninsula Medical School

Dr Charles Shepherd – ME Association

Sir Peter Spencer – Action for ME

Professor Peter White – Bart’s and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry

The aim of the Group is to look at new ways of encouraging new research in the CFS/ME field not only by looking at new technologies but also at associated areas that could help inform on the diverse range of symptoms and possible underlying causes of CFS/ME.

The terms of reference of the Group can be found below.

Terms of reference

1. To consider and review the status of current research in CFS/ME.

2. To consider the underlying mechanisms and sub-phenotypes of CFS/ME.

3. To identify research opportunities incorporating new technologies and conjoint areas and encourage new research towards understanding the basis of CFS/ME.

4. To produce a framework for conducting high quality CFS/ME research in the future.

5. To work to achieve clear lines of communication and synergy between all stakeholders with an interest in this area.

Notes of the Expert Group meetings can be found following the links below:

1st Meeting of the CFS/ME Expert Group – 15th December 2008
2nd Meeting of the CFS/ME Expert Group – 30th March 2009 (to follow)

Click here to read full MRC information 

Interstitial cystitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Margaret Williams 26.08.09

http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/Interstitial_cystitis_and_Chronic_Fatigue_Syndrome.htm

http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/Interstitial_cystitis_and_Chronic_Fatigue_Syndrome.pdf

Interstitial cystitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Margaret Williams

26 August 2009

That there is a concerted campaign by members of the Wessely School to re-classify as a single somatoform disorder various disparate syndromes whose aetiology remains undetermined cannot be disputed.

It is worth noting that the British Medical Journal recently carried a well-structured Clinical Review of interstitial cystitis, a condition associated with gross bladder wall changes, and painful bladder syndrome, which exhibits the same symptoms but lacks gross cystoscopic findings (Serge Marinkovic et al; BMJ 8th August 2009:339:337-342). The authors stated that patients with IC are 100 times more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome and are 30 times more likely to have systemic lupus erythematosus, and that other associated chronic illnesses include fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. The authors provided a compelling but unconfirmed theory – based on evidence that the authors say represents the majority opinion of researchers actively involved in the field – of likely autoimmune causation:

“The pathological features of bladder epithelial damage and related blood vessel transitions in the absence of infection have been recognised for more than 100 years… One theory is that increased permeability of the protective glycosaminoglycan lining of the bladder epithelium causes potassium (and) toxins to leak into the mucosal interstitium, activating mast cells and generating an autoimmune response. Mast cells produce immune reactive chemicals, which in turn cause generalised bladder inflammation and bladder mucosal damage through the presence of tachykinins and cytokines. These further mediate the release of histamine, tumour necrosis factor, chymase, tryptase, and prostaglandins. Finally, inflammatory agents sensitise bladder neurones, producing pelvic and bladder pain…..Some patients have exacerbations of their symptoms after ingesting certain food or dinks….Urothelial cell cultures express abnormal gene variants. When urothelial biopsies…were subjected to stretch…they released significantly higher concentrations of ATP than control biopsies, suggesting that ATP plays an important role in this syndrome. An investigation of cultured bladder urothelial cells…showed that such cells had higher than normal concentrations of ATP, which decreases the ability of the bladder wall to conduct potassium ions…which again indicates that impaired potassium conduction is involved in the pathophysiology of interstitial cystitis”.

Professor Simon Wessely, champion of cognitive behavioural therapy and proponent of the psychosocial model of ME/CFS, seems to reject outright any autoimmune or allergic component:

“The article…details associations with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and, strikingly, a 100-fold increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome – all of which have good evidence for the role, at least in part, of psychological factors in the their aetiology or maintenance…It is highly possible that psychological factors have an aetiological contribution to conditions such as painful bladder syndrome. Such disorders, where physical pathology cannot fully account for symptoms, are known as ‘medically unexplained’ or ‘functional’ (somatic) syndromes…It has been proposed (citing his own Lancet paper 1999:354:936-939) that they may be the same underlying disorder manifesting itself in different bodily systems…Dr Marinkovic, however, despite drawing out the evidence for such a description, seems to resist the inference, making no mention of psychological factors even as possible contributors to the aetiology…The experience of other functional somatic syndromes…is that a biopsychosocial approach is the foundation of successful cognitive behavioural therapy. This…surely deserves a place in any review (of) painful bladder syndrome”.

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/339/jul31_2/b2707#218935

People must decide for themselves whether or not, based on the evidence, Dr Marinkovic did “draw out the evidence” that IC is a functional somatic disorder, and which of the two theories is the more convincing.

——————–

Related items:

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/339/jul31_2/b2707  

Published 31 July 2009, doi:10.1136/bmj.b2707
Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2707

Clinical Review
The management of interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome in women

Serge P Marinkovic, female reconstructive surgeon and women’s medicine specialist1, Robert Moldwin, associate professor of urology2, Lisa M Gillen, urology research associate3, Stuart L Stanton, professor emeritus of urogynecology and reconstructive surgery4

1 St Francis Hospital, 5255 Stop 11 Road, Indianapolis, IN 46259, USA, 2 The Arthur Smith Institute for Urology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, 450 Lakeville Road, Suite M41, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA, 3 Division of Urology, Southern Illinois School of Medicine, Springfield, IL 62794, 4 St George’s Hospital, Tooting, London SW17 0QT

Read all BMJ Rapid Responses to this Clinical Review:

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/339/jul31_2/b2707#218312

 

UroToday.com

Developmental Influences On Medically Unexplained Symptoms

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/147575.php

25 Apr 2009

UroToday.com – Medically unexplained (functional) symptoms (MUS) are described as ‘physical symptoms that prompt the sufferer to seek healthcare but remain unexplained after an appropriate evaluation. They may affect as many as one third of people seeking medical care. In a provocative article, Tony Buffington of Columbus, Ohio suggests that BPS/IC and feline interstitial cystitis may be manifestations of MUS, and categorizing these conditions in that way may explain many findings that have been difficult to account for. In essence, he advances the migration  from an organ specific disease to a pain syndrome one step further.

Read full article

Save DLA and AA: time to have your say (Benefits and Work)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

“We run your life, so you don’t have to” courtesy Gordon’s Good Idea

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See also:

Save DLA & AA: the second task (Benefits and Work)

Update on 100 days to save DLA and AA from the axe (Benefits and Work Campaign)

Save DLA and AA: time to have your say (Benefits and Work)

Latest update from Steve Donnison

25 August 2009

This week we’re asking you to take the argument to the government by posting your opinions on their official green paper website. By doing this you will be contributing to the consultation process and your views – according to the government – will be taken into account when they begin work on drawing up the white paper due out next year.

We think it’s vital that you do contribute because, otherwise, you’ll be leaving it to others to speak on your behalf and they may not say quite what you want to say or with quite the passion that you might want to say it.

We also think it’s important that the green paper website reflects what sick and disabled claimants actually do think, rather than what anyone else would like to claim you think.

There are lots of places on the Big Care Debate website where you can have your say. All comments are moderated, so if you say anything especially rude or potentially defamatory it’s unlikely to be published

We suggest you either use the Executive Summary page here:

http://careandsupport.direct.gov.uk/greenpaper/execsum/

or the Having Your say page here:

http://careandsupport.direct.gov.uk/greenpaper/execsum/having-your-say/

You are asked to give your name and email address. Your name will be published on the site but your email address won’t. If you want more details about the confidentiality policy for this consultation you can find them on the Having your say page, under the sub-heading ‘Confidentiality of information’.

As usual, we’re not going to tell people what to write. There are lots of contributions from claimants on the green paper website already, so you can see what others have written. You may also be able to copy and paste things you’ve written to your MP or disability organisations into the feedback box, if appropriate.

The issue we’ve been campaigning about is the proposal to hand disability benefits over to local authorities. But there are lots of other issues in the green paper you may also wish to comment on. For example, there is the fact that the government have ruled out using taxes to pay for care (Option 5 of the funding options) before the ‘Big debate’ has even begun. Lots of people think general taxation is the right way to pay for care and that it’s wrong to take this option off the table before people have even been consulted.

THE CAMPAIGN SO FAR

A huge amount has been achieved in an astonishingly short space of time.

Information about the threat to disability benefits has been published on many hundreds of websites, forums and blogs.

Over 21,000 people have signed up to the campaign.

All the major disability charities, and the vast majority of the smaller ones are now very aware of this issue. This, for example, comes from the Arthritis Care website:

“A large number of people with arthritis have expressed concern to us about Government proposals to remove Attendance Allowance (AA) benefits, as part of a wider review of social care services.

Both AA and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) offer nationally-set, non-means tested benefits which are often vitally important to help keep people with arthritis active, independent and in work wherever possible.

Arthritis Care is opposed to any attempts to remove or subsume such benefits into mainstream social care services.”

The full statement is available here:

http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/campaigns/currentissues/socialcarereform

There’s also unlikely to be an MP in the UK who hasn’t heard from constituents about this issue. Replies have begun trickling in from them already. For example, labour MP David Drew has emailed a constituent to say:

“Like you I have serious misgivings about interfering with DLA and Attendance
Allowance and particularly the introduction of means testing.”

Remember, if you’re not a member of Benefits and Work and so can’t post on our forum, you can post replies from MP or anyone else at the newly established welfare watch website at:

http://welfarewatch.myfineforum.org/index.php

So . . . disability organisations informed . . . MPs quizzed . . . if we can now get a thousand or more responses on the green paper website, then all the major avenues for consultation will have been covered.

There are other things happening too.

In Cornwall today, for example, there’s a public petition signing going on at Lemon Quay in Truro from 12.00 – 3.30pm. The event is being covered by Radio Cornwall. More details of this and other possible petition signing days from:

http://www.politicalcripple.com/d/

We’ve also no doubt that someone will get a petition put on the No 10 website as soon as it opens for business on 7 September.

And we’ve heard from people who came across the campaign from letters and articles in their local paper, so there’s no doubt that it’s worth the effort of contacting your local media. Well done to everyone who’s managed to get coverage so far, do keep it up.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

For the present, we won’t be sending out any more emails asking you to do things simply because you’ve achieved in a few weeks more than we expected to achieve in months. But we do think it’s vital that disability charities actually seek members views and actively campaign on this issue. So keep the pressure up and let us know if you think they’re not being proactive enough.

We’ll do our best to keep you informed by email of any developments between now and November 13th, when the consultation ends. We’ll then delete this mailing list – we won’t hold on to your details. But you’ll still be very welcome to sign up to our free monthly newsletter if you haven’t already, so that you can keep yourself informed about what’s happening.

Meanwhile, please do visit the green paper website and let them hear, loud and clear, what you think.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Please feel free to forward or publish this email.

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666

(c) 2009 Steve Donnison. All rights reserved.

The Elephant in the Room Series Three: Action for M.E. stuffs the elephant back into the cupboard

elephant3

Image | belgianchocolate | Creative Commons

Keywords

APA    DSM    DSM-IV    DSM-V    WHO    ICD    ICD-10    ICD-11    American Psychiatric Association    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders    World Health Organization    Classifications    DSM Revision Process    DSM-V Task Force    DSM-V Somatic Distress Disorders Work Group    Somatic Symptom Disorders Work Group    DSM-ICD Harmonization Coordination Group    International Advisory Group    Revision of ICD Mental and Behavioural Disorders    Global Scientific Partnership Coordination Group    ICD Update and Revision Platform    WHO Collaborating Centre    CISSD Project    MUPSS Project    Somatoform    Somatisation    Somatization    Functional Somatic Syndromes    FSS    MUS    Myalgic encephalomyelitis    ME    Chronic fatigue syndrome    CFS    Fibromyalgia    FM    IBS    CS    CI    GWS

The Elephant in the Room Series Three:

Action for M.E. stuffs the elephant back into the cupboard

WordPress Shortlink for this posting: http://wp.me/p5foE-1TO

————

The Conceptual Issues in Somatoform and Similar Disorders (CISSD) Project ran from 2003 and was wrapped up by autumn 2007. But the Project’s principal administrator, Action for M.E., has only just this week published an article around the Project.

Were it not for the fact that I and a small number of others have been agitating for information on the CISSD Project since early 2007, it is likely that Action for M.E. would have published nothing at all.

“Classification conundrum” is published on pages 16 and 17 of the August 2009 issue of Action for M.E.’s membership magazine, InterAction (Issue 69).

Note that although the Project had been initiated by Dr Richard Sykes PhD, Dr Sykes does not appear to have contributed to this article, which is authored by Dr Derek Pheby. In fact, Dr Sykes and his role as instigator and co-ordinator of the Project is not mentioned at all. Nor is the Project’s funder – the charitable Trust run by Dr Sykes’ brother, Sir Hugh Sykes, a non-executive director of A4e, the largest European provider of Welfare to Work programmes.

A considerable portion of this article’s second page is given over to an image of a man, most aptly holding up a large question mark. There have been a very large number of questions about the nature and implications of the CISSD Project, the most obvious one being: why has Action for M.E. sought to keep the lid on it for so long?

Action for M.E. could have used this space to expand on the nature of the Project and list the names of those involved in it.

But I guess there is no easy way of broaching that the Project was chaired by psychiatrists, Professors Michael Sharpe and Kurt Kroenke; or that the workgroup comprised a couple of dozen international researchers and clinicians from the field of liaison psychiatry and psychosomatics and that not a single researcher outside this field was a member of the workgroup; or that the sole patient rep on board just happens to have co-authored books on CFS with the Project’s UK Chair, Michael Sharpe; or that none of our other national ME patient organisations were consulted; or that as stakeholders, we were kept in the dark about this Project for six years; or that the workgroup included influential, international researchers like Francis Creed, Kurt Kroenke, Arthur Barsky, Charles Engel, James Levenson, Javier Escobar, Per Fink, Peter Henningsen, Wolfgang Hiller, Bernd Löwe, Richard Mayou, Winfried Rief et al… several of whom now sit on the DSM-V Somatic Symptoms Disorders Work Group and the DSM Task Force, at the very core of the APA’s DSM revision process.

Easier by far to pad out this apologia piece with a stock photo…

Action for M.E. could usefully have linked to the review paper published by Project leads, Sharpe, Kroenke and Sykes, in July 2007, that resulted out of the CISSD workshops, but hasn’t done so; it could have linked to the CISSD Project “summary report” published on the ME Association’s website, in association with Dr Sykes, in June; it could have published a link to a copy of the CISSD “Final report” it received from Dr Sykes, in December 2007, which contains material omitted from the “summary report” as provided to the ME Association – but it has not published this document, either.

For links to these documents and an unauthorised version of the December 2007 “Final report” see:

The Elephant in the Room Series Two: Status of the CISSD Project unscrambled: http://wp.me/p5foE-1GL

Appended is the article published in InterAction, yesterday, which represents all that Action for M.E. does want you to know.

Before it stuffs this Project back into the cupboard, I call on Action for M.E. to publish a copy of the December 2007 “Final report” by Dr Richard Sykes on its website, prefaced with an erratum note addressing the errors of coding within “Appendix B” of the document and also addressing Dr Sykes’ misconception that “Chronic fatigue syndrome” does not appear in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems: 10th Revision Version for 2006, Volume 3, the Alphabetical Index:

( Indexed on page 528, top right hand column: http://www.scribd.com/doc/7350978/ICD10-2006-Alphabetical-Index-Volume-3 )

Once again, I call on the ME Association to publish a commentary and analysis of the CISSD Project, because to date, the MEA has made no comment whatsoever on the Project, itself, nor around the revision and “harmonization” processes towards DSM-V and ICD-11 that the CISSD Project was set up to inform.  The ME Association has yet to publish a copy of the “summary report” provided by Dr Sykes in its own magazine, ME Essential.

In June, an Editorial: The proposed diagnosis of somatic symptom disorders in DSM-V to replace somatoform disorders in DSM-IV – a preliminary report: Francis Creed and Joel Dimsdale was published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, for which Francis Creed is co-editor.

Neither Action for M.E., the ME Association, Dr Sykes or Dr Derek Pheby has published commentary on the most recent proposals of the DSM-V Somatic Symptoms Disorders Work Group, as set out in this Editorial and in a very brief report on the APA’s DSM-V webpages:

JPsychRes: http://www.jpsychores.com/article/S0022-3999(09)00088-9/fulltext
April ’09 report of the DSM-V Somatic Symptoms Disorder Work Group: http://tinyurl.com/DSMSDDWGApril09

I also call on the ME Association to approach Dr Sykes to set out the nature, aims and objectives of the “London Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms and Syndromes (MUPSS) Project” for which he receives a research award of £27,000 per year through the Institute of Psychiatry for a new project that is once again being funded by the Hugh and Ruby Sykes Charitable Trust.

For information on the DSM-V and ICD-11 revision processes, and on the CISSD Project see: http://meagenda.wordpress.com/dsm-v-directory/

“Classification conundrum” by Dr Derek Pheby, InterAction 69, Action for M.E. membership magazine, August 2009, pp 16 and 17:

We are at a moment in time when the underlying pathology of M.E. is on the point of elucidation at last, writes Dr Derek Pheby. It is becoming apparent that the syndrome we know as M.E. consists of several different phenotypes, each with its own distinctive pathological basis…

These should in due course be recognised as individual disease entities, a process that would be helped by the identification of specific biomarkers. This will be a major historical change. It should bring to an end the long running concern about the nature of M.E. and what sort of illness it should be regarded as being. In particular, it will end the argument that has been a serious concern of many people with M.E., that many doctors and others have regarded the illness as primarily psychiatric and that this is reflected in the main classification systems by which diseases are recorded.

Much concern has centred around so-called ‘somatoform disorders,’ as people with M.E. have frequently been assigned to this category and its position in the main statistical classification in current use, which is the International Classification of Diseases (10th. revision) (ICD-10).

‘Somatoform disorders’ are located in the ‘Mental and behavioural disorders’ chapter of ICD-10. They are also a category within a specifically psychiatric classification, widely used by psychiatrists, entitled the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (4th edition) (DSM-IV).

Both ICD-10 and DSM-IV are statistical classifications. They are simply tools that doctors and researchers need if they are to examine trends in the occurrence of disease and assess the effectiveness of treatments and other interventions designed to reduce the occurrence of disease or mitigate its impact.

There is a paradox though, in that medical research looks forward into a future in which medical knowledge is increasing all the time, while medical terminology, including classification systems, essentially looks backwards to a time when medical knowledge was less advanced than it is today.

Thus ICD-10, which was introduced into the UK in 1994, was the product of thinking that mostly took place in the 1980s. It is therefore now a quarter of a century old, so it is not surprising if it is now beginning to look somewhat frayed around the edges.

Indeed in two areas it was already out of date when it was introduced into the UK, having already been supplanted by new classifications developed as a result of new scientific knowledge acquired since ICD-10 was first developed. These two areas were brain tumours and lymphomas and the new classifications were the Kleihuis histological classification of neurological tumours and the REAL (Revised European American Lymphoma) classification.

CISSD

ICD-10 and DSM-IV will both soon be replaced by lCD-11 and DSM-V respectively. One input into the development of ICD-11 has come from a project entitled Conceptual Issues in Somatoform and Similar Disorders (CISSD). This was an international project, coordinated from Westcare.

When Action for M.E. merged with Westcare a few years ago, it found itself the residual legatee of this project. This caused unease among some people with M.E. who concluded, mistakenly, that the charity had committed itself to a party line which treats M.E. as a somatoform and hence essentially as a psychiatric condition. This is not the view of Action for M.E., which supports the World Health Organisation’s classification of M.E. as a neurological condition.

The CISSD project did not resolve the key question of whether the category of somatoform disorders should be retained in the classifications of mental disorders or not. However, it did recommend that if the category were to be retained, the diagnosis should not be made solely on the basis of the patient manifesting ‘medically unexplained’ symptoms but should require that the patient manifest ‘positive psychological criteria’ as well.

The authors also recommended that the subcategory in DSM-IV of ‘undifferentiated somatoform disorder’ – which is a pigeon hole into which it has not been uncommon for people with M.E. to be pushed – should be abolished.

These two changes should be beneficial to people with M.E. That benefit is likely to be marginal though, because it is not unknown for ‘positive psychological criteria’ to be wrongly attributed to people with M.E., in a process of post hoc rationalisation, in order to justify an inappropriate diagnostic label.

What is really needed to resolve this diagnostic problem is not a change in classifications but an increase both in scientific knowledge so that there is no longer any doubt as to how M.E. should be classified and in the respect in which people with M.E. are held and in the quality of health care they receive. There would be a few problems if all doctors and other health professionals deployed the same level of clinical knowledge and skill that the best do already.

Knowledge gap

Realistically, our knowledge of the various phenotypes within the M.E. umbrella is not yet adequate for this to be reflected in the revised classification. It remains to be seen also whether the CISSD recommendations are acted upon or not. However, one thing that is very clear is that ICD-11, on the day it is promulgated, will like ICD-10 already be  in part out of date and will become increasingly so over the decade or so that it will be in use.

Much of the difficulty arises from the concept of ‘medically unexplained’ symptoms. There is nothing innate about this. What may be medically unexplained to one generation of doctors may be perfectly capable of explanation to  the next, given the onward march of science.

It is entirely wrong to assign a person to a category of psychiatric illness because his or her symptoms are medically unexplained. Such a label points more to a deficiency in doctors because of their inability to explain symptoms, than in the patient. Indeed to assign someone to the wrong category on the basis of a false understanding of the nature of the illness and its context is an example of a well-known phenomenon which psychologists term ‘fundamental attribution error.’

Freud’s legacy

This tendency to regard people as having a primary psychiatric diagnosis when they are physically ill is probably a consequence of the baleful influence of Sigmund Freud on 20th century medicine.

Sarah Vaughan, a GP from Bristol, writing recently in the British Medical Journal, refers to Freud’s: “…most damaging legacy – namely, the widespread belief that all symptoms that elude diagnosis are psychosomatic in origin. This assumption has caused untold frustration and distress to patients who, on top of having illnesses that elude medical diagnosis, have to face being misdiagnosed as having psychological illness despite their protestations to the contrary.

“With the benefit of modern medical knowledge, Freud’s patients can be seen to have been relating histories that point clearly towards physical illnesses that weren’t known or diagnosable at the time.”

She concludes: “All too often, the medical profession ignores one of the most important lessons to be learned from Freud’s story – that, if we are unable to explain a patient’s symptoms, the reason may not be that the symptoms are psychosomatic but simply that our knowledge is imperfect.” (The dark side of Freud’s legacy (letter). BMJ 2009; 338: b1606).

Eventually, ICD-11 will be replaced by ICD-12, which in turn will rapidly become out of date.

CISSD is not a devious plot to “psychiatrise” M.E. Rather it should be seen as an honest attempt to rationalise an issue which has only arisen because medical knowledge is incomplete and which, at the end of the day, is no substitute for detailed scientific research to unravel the fundamental basis of this illness.

Dr Pheby is Project Coordinator for the National CFS/M.E. Observatory. He was formerly Chair of the Project Assurance Team at the NHS Centre for Coding and Classification. Read his report of the IACFS conference on p 12.

InterAction 69 August 2009

http://www.afme.org.uk

Cinder Bridge song about ME to air on 19 August

Cinder Bridge song about ME to air on 19 August

 Everybody knows about me

Cover artwork by Rachel Groves http://rachelcreative.wordpress.com reproduced with kind permission of Susan Wenger

 

Susan Wenger, one half of Tucson band Cinder Bridge, writes:

“The song ‘Everybody Knows About Me’ paints a picture of what it’s like to live with undiagnosed ME.

I often perform  this as part of Tucson band Cinder Bridge to get the word out about why we should take this disease seriously. So far it has been well received — it’s a message song, but it doesn’t come across like a public service announcement.

On Wednesday, August 19, Cinder Bridge will be interviewed on Live at 5, a radio show on Tucson’s 91.3 KXCI. We will perform “Everybody Knows About Me,” most likely as the second of three songs.

The broadcast will happen sometime between 5 and 6 p.m. MST.  (Same as Pacific Daylight Time.  If you’re on the East Coast, tune in at 8 p.m.)

Listeners outside the Tucson area can hear us streaming online: go to

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kxci/ppr/index.shtml

and click the appropriate “play” button.”

Susan blogs more info on the broadcast here: http://cinderbridge.blogspot.com/ and you can follow Susan on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/cinderkeys

Save DLA and AA: the second task (Benefits and Work)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

“We run your life, so you don’t have to” courtesy Gordon’s Good Idea

————-

Latest update from Steve Donnison, Benefits and Work

18 August 2009

Save DLA & AA: the second task (Benefits and Work)

It’s been an extraordinary fortnight since this campaign began. So, apologies for the long email, but we want to get everyone caught up.

AA & DLA WON’T END ON 13 NOVEMBER

Firstly, we want to make it absolutely clear that AA and DLA are not going to be abolished on 13 November, because some people seem to have got that impression.

We’re asking you to make your voice heard before the green paper consultation period ends on 13 November because, if you don’t, it makes it much more likely that disability benefits will be handed over to local authorities at some time in the future.

EMAILING DISABILITY ORGANISATIONS

Over 19,000 people have now signed up to the campaign and last week disability charities were deluged with emails after we asked campaigners to contact them and ask what they are doing about this issue. So much so that after a few days we had to ask you to stop sending emails, as they were simply being met with standard responses and were very unlikely to even be being read.

But you got the message across in astonishing numbers and with extraordinary speed and effectiveness. It is very unlikely that there is a disability charity in the UK that is not highly aware of this issue and also aware that their members are watching how they deal with it. You can read more about this at:

www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/latest-news/1097-stop-press-charities-left-reeling-by-your-response  

We think it would be excellent if as many disability charities as possible were monitored over the coming months to check the degree to which they publicise this issue, consult with their members and respond to the green paper. It’s not something we have the resources to do here. But we’re hoping that groups of claimants with an interest in a particular charity might get together to do this.

The Carer Watch website below has made a forum available for anyone involved in this campaign to use for free, you don’t have to be a Benefits and Work member. You might want to try to meet up there with people with an interest in the same organisation.

CONTACT YOUR MP

This week we’re asking you to contact your MP and/or regional assembly member and ask them what they are going to do about this issue.

Once again, we’re not going to provide a standard letter because we think that will be taken a great deal less seriously than your personal opinions. But some of the things you might want to include are:

Tell your MP that you are concerned about proposals in the green paper to hand disability benefits over to local authorities.

Would the proposals make you less independent or affect your quality of life?

Ask them to ask the secretary of state for work and pensions to provide a precise list of which benefits may be affected now or at some time in the future. You might also want to ask for an explanation of why such unclear terms were used in the green paper when people’s future is at stake and they are supposedly being consulted with.

If your MP isn’t Labour, ask them what their party’s policy on this matter is.

Whatever party they belong to, ask them if they are prepared to give an assurance that they personally will vote against any plan to transfer funding from attendance allowance or disability living allowance to local authority control.

Would you vote for another party if you thought they would be less likely to cut your benefits? If so, tell your representative. – they may be interested to hear that.

You can write to your MP at their constituency office or at the House of Commons (though it may take longer to get a reply from there as MPs are on holiday at the moment) or use Write to Them which is also useful just for identifying who your representatives are:

www.writetothem.com/

WHERE TO SHARE YOUR REPLIES: CARER WATCH

Rather like the disability charities last week, we were completely overwhelmed by your emails. There’s no possibility of us being able to answer them all. However, if you’re a member, you can post information in our discussion forum at:

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/forum?func=showcat&catid=13

Whether you’re a member of Benefits and Work or not, you can also post in the Carer Watch forum below.

Although set up by carers, Carer Watch is being used by sick and disabled claimants as well. We’ve heard a lot from Carer Watch in recent weeks about the work they’ve done to try to get carers organisations to be more assertive in relation to benefits and to consult more with members and we’ve been very impressed, particularly as they are an entirely unfunded group.

They’ve set up a special forum for this campaign, you have to register to post, but it has the huge advantage that it’s entirely free:

www.carerwatchdotcom.myfineforum.org/about748.html

We’ve also written a brief article about the kind of responses you’re likely to receive from your MP:

www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/latest-news/1098-beware-weasel-words

AND FINALLY . . .

Congratulations on what you’ve achieved so far. The campaign has grown so quickly and spread awareness of this issue so widely that we’ve dropped our original plan to send out an email with a new task each week. The idea of chipping away bit-by-bit at different disability agencies that we originally had no longer seems to make sense. But there will be more emails over the coming weeks – we have at least one more major task after this one – and we’ll be keeping people informed after that.

What would be really excellent now is if the realisation that there are many thousand of claimants out there who are able to get together and act for a common purpose could be translated into something longer lasting. There’s no point in a private sector company like ours trying to spearhead this – we are far too open to the accusation that we are only in it for the money.

Is it time for someone to revive the idea of a Claimant’s Union?

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Please feel free to forward or publish this email.

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666

(c) 2009 Steve Donnison. All rights reserved.

Times Letters: British intervention in healthcare debate in the US and our NHS

In response to the report “David Cameron turns on MEP Daniel Hannan for anti-NHS tour in America” Times Online, 14 August,  H Patten has a letter published today in the print and online editions:

Times Letters

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article6798223.ece

The Times
August 17, 2009

‘Untruths’ about NHS system of healthcare
British intervention in the healthcare debate in the US and our NHS

Sir, The quarter of a million sufferers of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) in this country, who can access no effective NHS treatment for their physical illness, might agree with Mr Hannan in that they would not wish their NHS “care” on anybody.

ME has been classified as a physical, neurological illness (alongside MS and Parkinson’s) by the World Health Organisation since 1969. Instead of receiving biomedical treatment, ME sufferers are mixed up with sufferers of other fatigue-causing conditions, including mental ones, under the meaningless umbrella term “chronic fatigue syndrome”. In the UK no other neurological illness is treated solely by psychological interventions.

All UK taxpayers’ research and treatment millions have gone to the psychiatric profession that insist, against all scientific evidence, that it is an “abnormal illness belief”. No funding has ever been allotted to developing a diagnostic test. The parliamentary Gibson report recommended that these psychiatrists be investigated for a possible conflict of interest in also working for large insurance companies. This has never been done. Is healthcare here also, in President Obama’s words, “working better for the insurance companies” than for ME sufferers?

H. Patten

Frome, Somerset

The Elephant in the Room Series Three: Channel 4: Benefit Busters; A4e and the Sykes brothers

elephant3

Image | belgianchocolate | Creative Commons

Keywords

APA    DSM    DSM-IV    DSM-V    WHO    ICD    ICD-10    ICD-11    American Psychiatric Association    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders    World Health Organization    Classifications    DSM Revision Process    DSM-V Task Force    DSM-V Somatic Distress Disorders Work Group    Somatic Symptom Disorders Work Group    DSM-ICD Harmonization Coordination Group    International Advisory Group    Revision of ICD Mental and Behavioural Disorders    Global Scientific Partnership Coordination Group    ICD Update and Revision Platform    WHO Collaborating Centre    CISSD Project    MUPSS Project    Somatoform    Somatisation    Somatization    Functional Somatic Syndromes    FSS    MUS    Myalgic encephalomyelitis    ME    Chronic fatigue syndrome    CFS    Fibromyalgia    FM    IBS    CS    CI    GWS

The Elephant in the Room Series Three:

Channel 4: Benefit Busters, A4e and the Sykes brothers

WordPress Shortlink for this posting: http://wp.me/p5foE-1RY 

The CISSD Project (Conceptual Issues in Somatoform and Similar Disorders), co-ordinated by Dr Richard Sykes, PhD, between 2003 and 2007, and administered by UK patient organisation, Action for M.E., was funded by The Hugh and Ruby Sykes Charitable Trust to the tune of £62,750.

The recommendations of the CISSD Project and papers that resulted out of its workshops have fed into the revision processes towards DSM-V and ICD-11.

Dr Sykes is currently engaged in the London Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms and Syndromes (MUPSS) Project for which he receives a research award from the Institute of Psychiatry for £27,000 per year.

This award is also funded by a grant from The Hugh and Ruby Sykes Charitable Trust.

We are still waiting for the ME Association and for Action for M.E. to provide analyses of the CISSD Project and commentary on the DSM and ICD revision processes.

I call upon both organisations to report on the nature and purpose of the MUPSS Project, too, for it is not yet known how the MUPSS Project is being carried out, who is involved in it or who its stakeholders are, but Dr Sykes is reported as having said that the Project has relevance to “all conditions characterised by medically unexplained symptoms, not just CFS/ME”.

Virtually nothing is known at present other than that the Project relates to what Dr Sykes perceives as “medically unexplained symptoms (MUS)” and that he includes within this category, “CFS/ME”.

Dr Richard Sykes and Sir Hugh Sykes are brothers.

Sir Hugh Sykes is a non executive director of A4e (Action for Employment) – the largest European provider of Welfare to Work programmes.

For links for information on A4e see:  The WHO Somatisation Project: The Elephant in the Room Part Six

Sir Hugh has authored pamphlets for the right-wing think-tank “Politeia”, see:

http://www.politeia.co.uk/about/default.asp

“Politeia, a forum for social and economic thinking, opened in November 1995 as a focus for thinking on social and economic policy. Its aim is to encourage reflection, discussion and debate about the place of the state in the daily lives of men and women across the range of issues which affect them, from employment and tax to education, health and pensions.”

Current areas for work include:

Tax and benefits: a fairer framework for incentives;
The potential consequences of the Euro or other European measures for British social and economic policy, employment, taxation and trade;
International comparisons of educational standards;
Policies for high employment: the role of the state, the employer and the employee;
Covering for lost income: health, long term care, pensions and unemployment Welfare reform, pensions, benefits and taxation;
Constitutional change and stability;
Policing in the UK”

Sir Hugh is the author of

“Working for Benefit”
Hugh Sykes
£5.00

Although it continues to fall, unemployment remains a serious problem both economically and socially. Does it not make better sense, asks Hugh Sykes, to pay people to work than, as the present benefits system does, to remain idle? The workfare scheme he proposes here would achieve a reduction of at least 200,000 in unemployment over three years. Developing from and extending the government’s own schemes, it is – unlike other schemes suggested by left and right – both straightforward and detailed enough to be put into practice immediately. It gives incentives to employers to create, and to the unemployed to take, real productive jobs, whilst also providing opportunity to work where such jobs are not available. NERA, the leading experts on the economies of workfare, have provided technical advice and data for the scheme.”

and

“Welfare to Work – The New Deal: Maximising the Benefits”
Hugh Sykes
£5.00

The New Deal – the government’s welfare to work scheme – aims to increase employment in the long term by helping some of the unemployed to become more employable, thereby increasing the pool of effective labour and so facilitating sustainable economic expansion. Sir Hugh Sykes, until recently Chairman of the Sheffield Development Corporation, welcomes the scheme and its aims. But, he argues, there are serious problems in implementing the scheme which should be urgently addressed. The fact that the scheme does not aim to create new jobs in the short term will cause widespread disappointment, unless the public is given a better understanding of the scheme’s aims. Sir Hugh also contends that the scheme should aim at short-term job creation – something which will be possible if it can be flexibly implemented in the regions, rather than rigidly run from the centre, and if it takes proper account of regional and local priorities.”

 

Later this month, Channel 4 begins a series called “Benefit Busters”:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters

Benefit Busters

Series Summary

In 2009, Britain will pay out more in benefits than it raises in income tax. Welfare and pension payments cost more than education, health or defence.

Now, as the government attempts to revolutionise the welfare system – controversially rewarding private companies according to their ability to coax people off benefits and into jobs – this documentary series follows the people on both sides of this new welfare state.

Watch again on:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefit-busters/4od

Series | Episode 1 | Benefit Busters  [48 mins]

Hayley Taylor’s job is to persuade single mothers on benefits to go back to work.

The company she works for, A4E, which is helping to tackle the Government’s target of getting 70 per cent of lone parents into paid work by 2010, is the largest welfare reform company in the world.

A4E is run by multimillionaire entrepreneur Emma Harrison, who believes her business is ‘improving people’s lives by getting them into work.’

Until recently, the 700,000 lone parents receiving benefit didn’t have to look for work until their youngest child was 16. Soon, they must either work, or be looking for work, once their youngest child is seven.

At Doncaster A4E, Hayley runs a course called Elevate that aims to give lone parents the skills and confidence to enter the workplace and convince them they’ll be better off doing so. Cameras follow her group of ten single mothers during their intensive six-week course to prepare them for work.

Next Episode: Thu 20 Aug, 9PM on Channel 4, Monday 24 August 4AM Channel 4

 

Series 1 | Episode 2 | Benefit Busters

Unemployment is rife in Hull, but for one company business is booming: A4E has won the lucrative contract to help get the long-term unemployed back to work. Mark Pilkington is an ex-soldier who hasn’t worked for 10 years. He welcomes help and within a fortnight he finds a job. But the joy of receiving his first pay cheque is short-lived; after just four weeks a business downturn results in Mark being laid off.

Facing a return to A4E and potentially a four-week wait to restart his benefit payments, Mark begins to wonder if there is more security in a life on benefits.

It appears to be a shockingly common perception amongst the clients at A4E, who are at the mercy of an increasingly casual labour market.

Date Time Channel
Thursday 27 August 9PM Channel 4

 

Series 1 | Episode 3 | Benefit Busters

One of the government’s targets is to shift one million people off long-term sickness benefits and get them back to work.

In Oldham, the charity Shaw Trust* has won the contract to implement this policy.

Sherrie Jepson, a former car saleswoman, has the job of selling the idea of employment to people who were previously considered too sick to work.

Keiron Tandy fell from a third-floor balcony while celebrating his 18th birthday in Turkey. He has metal pins in his back and has restricted mobility.

His family doctor had confirmed him as ‘unfit for work’ but under the new system he’s examined by an independent medical examiner employed by a private health care company, which will determine whether he is fit enough to return to work. Meanwhile, Sherrie starts to try to convince Keiron that he could work if a suitable job that allowed for his condition could be found.

*The Shaw Trust

 

Shaw Trust accounts show crippling cost of DWP contracts

By John Plummer | Third Sector Online |10 August 2009

Charity blames Pathways to Work programme for huge deficit

The Shaw Trust made a £2.8m loss in 2008/09 compared with a surplus of £7.4m the previous year, according to its annual report.

The charity, which is the largest voluntary sector provider of employment services for disabled people, blamed the loss on the huge start-up costs involved in delivering Pathways to Work programmes on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

“The DWP funding structure is making it more difficult for charities to deliver services,” said Catherine A’Bear, chief officer for corporate affairs at the trust.

“We are one of the few charities still in the business of providing services for disabled people under DWP contracts, and when you see how heavily we have had to invest in it you can see why.”

She said the start-up costs involved in setting up services and recruiting staff for Pathways to Work were so high that private companies were increasingly the only ones that could afford to bid. “The voluntary sector is seen as a sub-contractor,” said A’Bear.

The trust’s annual income increased by £8.48m to £81.39m during the same period, of which £45.8m came from the DWP. But this was offset by rising costs. Wages and salaries rose from £37m to £43m.

John Briffitt, chairman of the trust, says in the annual report: “There’s no denying that the Shaw Trust’s financial performance, like that of many other organisations in our field, has been adversely affected by the challenging economic environment.”

He said “past prudence” had built up sufficient cash resources to help it cope.

The 2008/09 financial year was a turbulent one for the trust, with chief executive Ian Charlesworth put on gardening leave pending dismissal in July 2008. The annual accounts say he resigned on 12 December.

——————————

For information on the development of DSM-V which is to be harmonised for congruency with ICD-11, and on the CISSD Project, see:

http://meagenda.wordpress.com/dsm-v-directory/

Compiled by Suzy Chapman
http://meagenda.wordpress.com

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