1 June 2011
Dr James Bolton, Deputy Director, Health Work and Well-being Directorate, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) held a meeting yesterday, inviting organisations who represent those with fluctuating conditions to comment on the draft assessment criteria for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
The meeting was attended by Action for M.E. Policy Officer Tris Rodriguez and representatives from Scope and Parkinsons UK.
Tris made the following points:
1. The introduction of PIP in place of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is causing great anxiety for people with M.E. who rely on this additional income designed to counter the additional costs associated with disability.
2. Action for M.E. welcome the commitment to assess fluctuating conditions over a period of 12 months, but would like to see greater understanding of 'fluctuation' in the document eg. understanding of sustainability and 'pay back.'
3. Quality of life factors, such as social engagement and leisure activities, did not seem to be considered in the assessment.
4. Medication and treatment should not be limited to that prescribed because there is no standardised treatment that works for all people with M.E. Complementary therapies and supplements are relied upon by many people with M.E. who already miss out because the NHS cannot provide for them.
5. Cooking assessments should be measured against a “labour intensive cooked meal made from fresh ingredients” as it was for DLA because nutrition is integral to symptom management for most people with M.E.
The DWP is inviting organisations to submit comments on the criteria by 6 June. The Department will then begin testing the assessments. Ther will be a further opportunity to comment on 1 August following completion of the testing. Action for M.E. will respond at both stages of the consultation.