Sunday, 23 February 2014

HIV/Aids UK 2014: Hardship

Thousands of people with HIV have been left struggling in poverty by the Government's welfare reforms – with some unable to afford the basic food they need to fight their condition.

The situation is now so critical that in some cases doctors are having to prescribe food supplements to ensure that patients' medication works, The Independent on Sunday has learned.

A national hardship fund for people with HIV/Aids, run by the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), registered a 63 per cent increase last year in those needing emergency help because their benefits had been stopped.

HIV experts described the situation as "truly alarming", saying it was "nothing short of a disgrace" that seriously ill patients in modern Britain were having their treatments compromised by hunger. HIV medication can be less effective if taken without food.

Changes to sickness benefits introduced by the coalition – alongside other welfare reforms such as the so-called bedroom tax – have left many HIV patients significantly worse off.

Stringent criteria for employment support allowance, assessed by the now notorious Atos Healthcare, means that many have been moved off sickness benefits altogether. The replacement of the disability living allowance with the personal independence payment is also affecting growing numbers...

Independent On Sunday.

This is in the IoS, so might be hyped up for the usual reasons.
Doesn't help that the only personal account they highlight is a woman complaining that she can't afford to shop at Waitrose anymore.
But it fits my narrow agenda, so... whatever. 

Persistent death threats against staff who decide whether sick and disabled people are eligible for benefits have forced the private company employing them to seek an early exit from a £500m government contract.
With opposition Labour MPs also stepping up criticism, Atos Healthcare said the political environment had become untenable and that it was no longer fair to employees to leave them vulnerable to attack...

As this article goes on to say, ATOS's real problem is that they were exposed as corporate crooks, officially declared incompetent, and driven by callous targets for striking claimants off. 

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