Monday 28 November 2011

Social Security: a Person Centred Approach?

It seems to me the government are missing a trick, when looking at getting those in receipt of benefits for sickness and disability back into work they should be thinking in terms of working with the whole person and their situation, not just their work life.

It should be seen more like a health issue (which it is, "occupational health" being such an appropriate term in this context), I have never met anyone who is sick or disabled who doesn't wish they could work, so why can't we actually stop treating "customers" (a grossly misleading term to me when people using the DWP have no choice of provider at all!) as if they are a problem to be managed but people, to be encouraged and helped in order to become all that they can be?

Within Health care and Social care comes case conferences, where the various different "stakeholders" (that is, people with an interest in a person and their well-being) discuss the subject and their needs, plan interventions, with said subject's views being seen as equal.

I'm not saying by any margin that this approach works perfectly currently or that it is without its pitfalls, however I believe that it is seen as the best practice approach in both fields IIRC.

Therefore I propose a shift in Social Security that works with a person centred approach, where you can have case conferences with all stakeholders having a say, GPs, claimants, DWP staff, specialists, occupational therapists etc. all getting together to discuss the amount of work appropriate for a person, the type, quality, etc.

Volunteering should be seen as a viable option for rehabilitation and all these disparate agents should come together to enable long term achievable goals as partners invested in the best outcome for the claimant.

I see absolutely no benefit in getting people off of social security when they will end up back on benefits again and again because they were only found temporary work, or they couldn’t cope with the practicalities of the job, I reckon that it would save money in the long term, improve health outcomes (especially in mental health morbidity) and decrease overall social exclusion if we all worked together for the benefit of all.

I literally have no idea why/how people can have the view that kicking already disadvantaged and ill and disabled people when they are already so down as to have to require help from the state to survive and further disenfranchising them helps anyone, I don’t see that it saves tax payers money. All I can see is that further disabling poor people a new form of serfdom is introduced, cheap, uninformed, uneducated labour. I literally cannot think of another reason.

That makes me sad, but then I think about my proposal and think, well let’s do that then, seems like a good idea to me and what could we possibly have to lose (other than, cheap, uninformed, uneducated labour)?

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