Well, well, well. I have just had it out with my GP! Sounds exciting, well not really. More depressing actually.
For several months he's been claiming to support my pursuit of an Asperger's Diagnosis, coming into contact with that inexplicable Work Psychologist I saw at the start of the year. (It all seems so long ago now...) Now, when confronted with me actually explaining to him - again (though as emphatically as I could) - how ESA and the DWP works, he decides that he didn't and indeed never thought I have Aspergers. Not at all. Could he not have said this earlier.
He seems to think that the diagnosis process is going to do his job for him: that they, if they indeed do believe I have Aspergers, they are going to take the decision to sign me off out of his hands. He clearly doesn't want to do it. He seems to think, bizarrely, that with a positive diagnosis, I could 'appeal', demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the system. I had to explain that I'm not on ESA and can't appeal it without first having to be on it, and that to do so requires not just passing the WCA (which won't happen solely ont he basis of AS), but first getting him to write a sick note. When confronted with this he backs off and doesn't want to know, but offers no solution. So in the end we get nowhere. I point out to him that if he doesn't think I qualify for ESA now, I won't be any different after the test. A test I'm increasingly inclined to think is a waste of time.
I need to speak to the mental health people because again I think he misunderstands their role in all of this. They aren't going to provide him an excuse to sign me off. They won't get involved in that at all and will focus on the diagnosis, which is appropriate; it's not their job to sign people off or make that decision. They are simply there to provide a diagnosis, but he thinks they can provide a credible enough opinion as to whether they think I can work. Given that the prevailing attitude is so pro-work and so anti-scrounger they will affirm that loads of people with AS have jobs and that because I can communicate I can hold down a job.
(I've come to think it's more likely to be ADD, at least - and I've never said that I 100% believe I have AS either.)
That's the first part of the problem: the idea that possessing certain traits, regardless of what problems you do have, means that you can work. The second part is that being able to work means that there are loads of jobs, which is something my GP seems to believe. He was asking me what I do to look for work, what I have applied for as well as whether or not I think I can't work with the belief that saying I do also means that I believe I will never find work. It's impossible to answer these quesiotns; so much is dependent on the current labour market and the attitudes within society. There are not enough jobs for people that do have a decent work history and no health issues. But he doesn't want to hear that anymore than he wants to hear about the day to day issues we all have to face: eg dealing with recruitment agency jobs that don't exist (never mind whether I can do them). Everything is so conditional.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The worst part of this was discovering what the DWP had to say in response to the letter he agreed to write last time. When I saw him before a month or so ago he said, in regard to not being given a fixed time to see people at the JC and having appointments and advisers change every five minutes and the fact they don't help at all (they won't, it's all up to the Work Programme now), that he'd write and tell them that I needed stability. Turns out they wrote back and that he may have inadvertently opened a can of worms.
I don't have the full gist of the letter (will try and get a copy later today due to their pc not working earlier), but it seems, in response, the JC got in touch with the Salvation Army who said that I 'dug my heels in' when they spoke to me and that I wasn't engaging with them. This raises a potential red flag in respect of me fulfilling the JSA: I'm supposed to engage with the help offered (ie the WP). Since I've had no comeback from this as yet I'm conditionally assuming there won't be any - but I'm mindful there's a chance (you never know with these people). They'd have contacted me by now had there been an issue...surely?
This is just patent bullshit and I said as much to the GP, in fact I was pretty assertive for once in dealing with him. This kind of crap is exactly what I have had to put up with all the time: the nature of the relationship simply presumes I'm the gulty party, that I'm not dfoing what I should and that what I say is, at the very least, not taken seriously. Frankly this has to stop and I doubt I will bother seeing him again (not least of all because getting appointments with him is next to imposible, something else he brushed off). This constant use of tactics such as 'you're not engaging with the process' is becoming the norm it seems to me - and it's far too easy for the likes of the Sally Army to make these spurious claims when they are not only in charge of the situation but make no effort to rectify it. Never mind that the service they provide is complete shit, something else I pointed out that again just seemed to fall on deaf ears.
No matter what I say it just comes down to the same thing: I'm the lazy scrounger, I'm the malingerer and that I could work so what's the problem. No matter his ignorance of the reality of the Work Programme, the Jobcentre, the DWP and the process of claiming ESA (which, oddly, he still agrees would be best even though he blindly refuses to engae in the process required to get me on it). The claimant, me, just ends up with no support and no help and is sent on his way to carry on because the likes of my GP just have a blind spot when it comes to the reality of the system and the people on benefits. It's all a simple matter of getting out of bed and making an effort and everything's hunky dorey. It's base ignorance of the worst kind because it promotes indifference and even conflict, when the GP doesn't like what I'm saying but can't back up his belief that I must be making it up. These people are in a position of power and are key to the progress of people in my position (and worse) but they seem to want to remain wilfully ignorant.
More on this as it develops (ie, when I read the full letter from the DWP). If I do lose my benefits because the DWP decide to put a doubt on my claim for not 'engaging' I will be back to have it out with him, again, and he really won't be pleased to see me, of that you can be sure. He may not be directly to blame for the consequence of that letter. He couldn't really have known what would happen - but then that ignorance is the problem!