Thursday, 8 December 2011

You've got cancer and you're sick? Get back to work.

A good friend, who has gone through the gruelling ordeal of cancer treatment, has alerted people (on FB) to the latest really clever proposal by the Department of Work and Pensions in the UK.

Apparently having cancer does not mean you are sick. Oh no.

When I worked in the UK health service, the standard comment among clinicians was that there were three ways to treat cancer - butchery (surgery), burning (radiotherapy), and poisoning (chemotherapy).

Right, but having all those treatments so means that you are capable of going to work, having a back to work interview, and just skipping on with your life.

Hello, incredibly greedy grasping people at DWP and your political leaders. Have you thought about the impact this sort of treatment has on people? Physically? Mentally? And, do you really really think they are going to waltz into that wonderful crappily paid job you are going to offer them (anything to get people off benefit) and be able to give their absolute utmost? Maybe, they might have other things on their mind? Wondering how long they will live perhaps?

I am not a fan of Macmillan but they have organised a petition against this stupid proposal. Link here.

To summarise.

It seems that cancer patients receiving radiotherapy treatment, and those receiving non-intravenous chemotherapy (oral), have not been exempted from work interviews or medical assessments. Hell, what's a bit of radiotherapy? Or poisoning by taking tablets? No side effects from any of that surely?

But cancer patients on intra-venous chemo, ie nasty needles stuck in veins and sucking poisons for hours, were exempt.

Not unreasonably IMNRHO, cancer charities asked the DWP to end this anomaly and treat all cancer patients the same. Because, actually patients on radiotherapy and oral chemo amazingly also suffer side-effects. And possibly they do not feel very well.

Anyways the bright sparks at the DWP seemed to think that the best way to sort this was to take away the exemptions from the intra-venous chemo patients. Gosh! What a very clever way to go!! Total equality for all extremely sick patients.

I have had three good friends die of cancer this year. One of them I was lucky enough to meet before she died, the other two I didn't. The thought of any of them having to go through interviews to go back to work makes me want to poke someone's eyes out. Another friend has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer is not nice. It doesn't discriminate. The treatment is not nice either. It is invasive whether it is surgery, chemo or radiotherapy and there are physical and mental after effects whatever the treatment.

And when all these cancer patients are offered jobs while THEY ARE STILL POORLY - will they get time off with pay for chemo? Cos how many employers will want to pay for that?

I read some shite about the UK on the internet, and this one really, really, leaves me cold. Make sure you don't get cancer if you live in the UK, 'cos you need to be right back to work the day after you have been diagnosed.

After all, you are hardly sick are you? Stop bludging and claiming those benefits to which you are not entitled.

You've only got cancer,


Anne Higgins said...

I went through very aggressive cancer treatment in Jan-March of 2009. The radiation gave me such terrible diahrrhea that I became so dehydrated that I had blurred vision and could not read ( much less drive) until late May.I was very fortunate that I teach at a college where my colleagues took over my classes when I could no longer work. The treatment killed the cancer and I am back teaching again. But I agree that people undergoing cancer treatment - radiation or chemo - should be able to take off work without losing job or benefits.

roughseasinthemed said...

Sounds like you had some good colleagues. If only everyone was so lucky, or, even better, didn't need to rely on other people to help them out. Best of all, even better to hear that you are able to teach again.