Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Black Triangle campaign group, I have some rather startlingly good news!
The BMA - that bastion of conservatism (small c) have voted at their annual conference to demand an immediate end to Work Capability Assessments (WCAs). WCAs are the "fit for work" assessment used to determine eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance. (ESA)
WCAs have been found "unfit for purpose" by every major study into them. Recently the Chief Executive of Mind stood down from the Government's WCA advisory panel, unconvinced the Government had any real interest in changing the assessments. Currently 40% of cases go to appeal and 40% of appeal decisions are overturned.
The BMA vote follows votes by GPs in Scotland and England to also demand the immediate withdrawal of WCAs.
It is astonishing that this isn't bigger news today. Without the support of doctors - who say that WCAs are harmful to their patients - the Government faces it's first serious challenge in implementing its welfare reform agenda.
Yet again, we must report our own news, so could I ask that anyone reading this, or reading the Black Triangle page share them everywhere you can? Facebook, Twitter, email, blog it; we must make sure that this story gets the attention it deserves.
It is a landmark in the campaign to see an end to ESA and WCAs or at the very least a total re-design of the system to make it serve the sick and disabled people it currently punishes.
At this point in time, almost every major charity, every campaign group, the CAB, the Liberal Democrat Party and now the BMA, representing doctors, oppose WCAs in their current form. All have called for major improvements to the process of assessing whether someone is able to work or not. Now doctorsw demand that they be withdrawn altogether until they can be made safe for their patients.
I would remind Liberal Democrats that it is their party's policy to oppose the one year time limit on ESA and to make WCAs fit for purpose.
Finally an enormous "thank you" to doctors up and down Britain for standing up with us, your patients. For seeing what is just and what is not, for speaking out when so many are staying silent. To see our evidence when so many choose to look away