Opportunity to make your voice heard on ME
If you are a constituent of Bedford and Kempston who suffers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), your views and experience could help shape significant changes with the current Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit assessment and interview processes.
I was pleased to speak recently at a debate in the House of Commons about the urgent need to fund and support research to find more appropriate treatment for sufferers of ME. Some 250,000 people suffer from ME, with 25% of individuals house or bed-bound, yet the only treatments available on the NHS treatments available on the NHS, have been shown to be ineffective, and can even worsen their condition.
There are also significant concerns that those with ME are being discriminated against as a result of a lack of fair access to the benefits to which sufferers may be entitled. I and my colleagues in the Labour Party continue to put pressure on the government at every opportunity as their hostile policies toward people living with disabilities and illness when they make benefit claims must be reformed. Medical evidence is largely overlooked or given little weight within the DWP’s assessment processes, which include interviews and physical assessments.
Many individuals within the ME community have voiced concerns about health assessors who carry out these assessments for benefits displaying an insufficient understanding of ME and not properly applying the assessment criteria. These factors, combined with tests which often leave a patient exhausted for weeks afterwards, mean that we assessments must become more accessible and accurate for those with ME.
A recent meeting with senior SNP MPs and representatives from the DWP has resulted in a request to all MPs to submit case studies from constituents with ME who have encountered these or any other issues whilst making a claim and being assessed for benefits.
If you have ME and have previously made a claim for benefits, attended an assessment or interview, or are attempting to do so currently, and would be happy to me to share your experiences, please contact my office by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01234 346525.
Your personal details do not have to be shared as you can remain anonymous, but your experience could help shape more considered, accurate, appropriate and humane benefit assessment processes.