ATOS, the hated French firm responsible for denying benefits to more disabled and incapacitated people than you can shake a stick at, have done it again. This time they’ve come up with a money-saving scheme that looks set to save the Department of Work & Pensions a veritable fortune without having to deny the health needs of claimants.
Previous attempts to victimise seriously ill and disabled Britons involved declaring them fit for work so that they could be denied benefits. The basic idea was that once these unfortunate former taxpayers had starved to death the government would save a few quid looking after them – money that would be better spent elsewhere. After all – relieving hard-pressed multi-millionaires of their financial responsibilities to the welfare state is far more important than keeping their less fortunate compatriots alive to leech off the wealthy.
Recently it has become clear that ATOS’ original approach of denying medical evidence and just ignoring the hardship of claimants has been more bother than it was worth. Thousands of claimants have appealed against their judgements and the subsequent exposure of ATOS’ cynical cruelty has been damaging not only to the French firm of venture capitalists but to the beleaguered UK government as well. So ATOS has come up with another, less obvious suggestion and the government has been grateful enough for their inspiration to pay them handsomely. ATOS executive Pierre Le Chat has been paid an undisclosed 6 figure sum for the idea which the government claims will save billions of pounds for the independent health providers now profiteering in the newly privatised NHS.
Instead of merely pretending that people are healthy ATOS suggests that the mode of treatment changes. A classic example of this is the newly recommended treatment for cardiac patients. Previously such people have been treated with a range of drugs and exercise-based physiotherapies, none of which come cheap. And yet, as Le Chat pointed out in familiarly superficial style, they all do essentially the same thing. They are all intended to lower blood pressure.
Lowering blood pressure isn’t particularly hard to do. Exercise works. So does stroking and cuddling pets. So the solution is easy – at least so far as the Dept of Work and Pensions is concerned.
From tomorrow, new cardiac patients will not be prescribed medication at all. Instead they are to be given a kitten to stroke. The kitten will be provided free on the NHS although it will be the responsibility of the individual patient and their family to feed it and pay any associated veterinary bills. It is expected that patients will have their kittens sterilised as soon as they are old enough but should this not happen and more kittens are produced they can be returned to the NHS for redistribution to other workshy malingerers.
Obviously some patients will need more than just a new pet cat to resolve their physical health needs. Monsieur Le chat wasn’t available to comment on provision for these people but junior health minister, Kitty Laville, perhaps in a bid to rise above her hitherto obscurity has been prepared to comment. In a truly stunning illustration of her government’s callous stupidity this inept Lib Dem turncoat, a latter day version of Judas Iscariot, told the BBC:
“When there’s no money for health care some people will die. That’s a shame but at least it’ll be the undeserving poor that leave us. That will save precious resources for those who are prepared to work for a living.”
Oh well. So long as the nice Tory and Lib Dem voters stay around to vote for their right wing heroes next time who cares? I mean really, who cares? Do you?
Laville was equally unsympathetic when asked about cardiac sufferers who also experience pet allergies, itself a major contributor to elevated blood pressure. In the now familiar style of this callous, divisive government she replied:
“All medical interventions have side effects. We have to accept that not everyone will respond to treatment. However the new regime won’t start until after the bank holiday.”