A strong injection of competence and efficiency
would stop an enormous waste of public funds
on tangled and superfluous red tape
and safeguard health and lives.
The information here, adds to the details in the petition launched on Christmas Eve. That mentions further solutions, which can be found below, in points (1) to (5) under the ‘CONCLUSIONS & SOLUTIONS’ subheading. On breaches of law see point (5) and the last paragraph under SOLUTIONS TO MALADMINISTRATION REJECTED.
Most criticisms of the change-over to Universal Credit are about difficulties in obtaining and retaining it. Reports often refer to those struggling as a result, with suicidal urges but in mid-December the government said it doesn’t know how many people have, as a consequence, taken their own lives. The focus in this petition is the health threats caused by gross maladministration over free prescriptions, which the government could so easily resolve.
SOLUTIONS TO MALADMINISTRATION REJECTED
So bad is the administration within one part of the now fragmented NHS., the Business Services Authority, that it is persistently and unlawfully, threatening with bills, fines and even court actions, many sick and disabled people, who are genuinely entitled to free prescriptions.
Very obvious and very simple solutions to this bizarre, unlawful and crisis situation were rejected by the NHS on the 21st December. It has refused point blank, to make immediate and necessary changes, to put the NHS on the right side of the law.
The NHS won’t instruct its administrators, to ask the Department for Work & Pensions, the only question which would provide the only information which matters, i.e. whether claimants are entitled to free prescriptions.
The NHS has legal duties to protect physical and mental health and provide information which is accurate, trustworthy and easy to understand, regardless of intellectual abilities and sensory needs. If the government instructs the NHS to comply with the law, this crisis would end with the stroke of a pen.
NO MONEY FOR FOOD
NO MONEY FOR PRESCRIPTIONS
The FP10 prescription form states that patients who are not sure what to do should pay for prescriptions and at the same time, obtain a FP57 to claim a refund. They cannot obtain one after the event.
That statement assumes they are capable at the time, of dealing with the convoluted process and have available funds to pay for prescriptions, mindful of the fact that many claiming Universal Credit, cannot afford to feed themselves and their families and so rely on food banks.
THREATS TO HEALTH AND LIVES
It is not known how many seriously ill people have stopped taking essential medication, just to regain peace of mind, because of bewildering difficulties in fighting off unlawful NHS threats.
As a former medical social worker, John Bradfield stumbled over this issue, when a parent with young children, said they had stopped taking potentially life-saving medication after surgery. They had lost trust in the NHS., because of fears of more unlawful threats. They have to rely on a food bank, so cannot afford to pay for prescriptions and are refusing to claim them for free again.
It is one thing for parents to risk shortening their own lives. It is another to place children at risk of suffering preventable bereavements. Those could cause life-long emotional and relationship harm.
John Bradfield could not believe how difficult it was and how long it took him, to have their bill and fine withdrawn. That says all that needs to be said, about what others who are vulnerable, would be subjected to.
Charities have spoken out but so far, all has fallen on deaf ears within the NHS.
This outrage must also be stopped,
to prevent the NHS being plunged into disrepute.
What qualifications are demanded, to dream up and sustain such Alice In Wonderland chaos?
Has this convoluted farce and harm to health been picked up by Have I Got News For You?
Is there evidence that civil service trade unions moved swiftly to prevent harm to vulnerable individuals, by calling for effective and efficient administration? Did they put forward obvious and simple solutions, at the first opportunity?
Has the government yet to work out, how much public money is being wasted, on tangled and incoherent communications between the NHS and Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) over this issue?
Why is the NHS persistently failing to ask the DWP the right question, i.e. whether the claimant is or is not entitled to free prescriptions, regardless of which benefit they are receiving? Yes, the solution is that simple but it has yet to be grasped.
Do civil servants and politicians not realise the absurdity, of what right now, they are insisting must be done?
CONCLUSIONS & SOLUTIONS
There have long been very obvious and very simple solutions, which any clear-thinking adult with no qualifications or administrative experience could recommend:-
(1) tick any box on the prescription form, strike out the adjacent words and write “Universal Credit”, as long as something that simple and truthful, would not result in a legally invalid fine or legally invalid court action;
(2) ensure the DWP puts Universal Credit payments on one sheet of paper as now but add (a) figures, if any, for earnings or “take home pay” in the same period and (b) state on the one page, whether or not the combined figures prove entitlement to free prescriptions, for the period in question;
(3) require the NHS to confirm with the DWP past entitlements to free prescriptions and make refunds, without requiring claimants to apply for those;
(4) ensure the NHS knows how to write and explain things in ways which are easy to understand, rather than continually rejecting evidence of entitlement, because that evidence lacks “full” details, without saying what is missing and where that can be found;
(5) demonstrate a determination to respect the law, by ensuring NHS civil servants cannot use tangled administration, to persistently subvert full compliance with the law, e.g. the legal duty to protect and promote both physical and mental health and the legal duty which came into force on the 1st August 2016, to provide information which is accurate, balanced, trustworthy and easy to understand, regardless of intellectual and sensory needs.
In short, enforced poverty is a threat to health, to lives, to emotional well-being and to stable relationships which are so vital to the protection of children.
These are some of the organisations asked to publicise the issues:-
British Medical Journal, The Lancet, Pulse (medical website), Royal College GPs., British Medical Association, organisations representing pharmacists, Health Service Journal, Nursing Times, The Patients Association, Community Care, various newspapers, Private Eye, Gingerbread.