Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who are The Health and Disability Panel and Who are Behind it? Part One

This article was contributed by a supporter of  Waitemata Unite . 
The views and  assessments expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of our branch.

The Health and Disability  Panel  helped set the agenda for the welfare reforms. 

Who are Behind It? 

The Health and Disability Panel's approach  reflects the  largely discredited    "illness is all in your head" "work will set you free"  Bio -Psycho- Social  approach  imported from the UK by  by  Mansel Aylward and Dame Carol Back.
Dame Carol Black 

Mansel Aylward was paid by the convicted fraudulent US insurance company Unum, to lend academic credibility to this fraudulent supposedly "expert" medical viewpoint.

Mansel Aylward

Mansel Aylward's  "Bio-Psycho-  Social" ideology  affects  the views   the Health and Disability Panel; and  WINZ officials such as  Dr David Bratt, WINZ Principal Medical Advisor (with his "work addiction" mantra) and his crew of  regional advisors and   designated doctors.  Ordinary case officers don't stand a chance  against all these supposed 'experts."  So they do what they are told, rather  than  believing  the beneficiary's real doctor.

Dr David Bratt

The  following article  has been sent to us by a supporter. Its  views are those of its author. It  gives some background information as to who the members of this panel are; and an analysis of  the purpose of the panel. Whilst some of the members of the  panel do seem to be genuine representatives of the disabled community, and/or are health professionals sincerely interested in helping people; nevertheless the overall impact of the panel has been to  hurt sick and disabled people with punitive welfare cuts.

Who Are the Members of the Health and Disability Panel?

They are:
Dr David Beaumont, Dr David Chaplow, Dr Ben Gray, Dr Sandra Hicks,  Robyn Hunt,
Dr Bryn Jones,  Helen Locket, Professor kathryn MacPherson, Janice Muller, Geoff Robinson,
Dr Tane Taylor, Charmayne Te Nana Williams and Puti Umaga.

Some revealing details about the Health and Disability Panel members.

Part One:
Dr David Baumont, Dr David Chaplow, Dr Ben Gray,
 Dr Sandra Hicks, Robyn Hunt and Bryn Jones.

Dr David Beaumont

1). Dr David Beaumont – MedicalDirector/CEO at‘Fit for Work Ltd’,‘
Pathways to Work Ltd ’and‘OHS New Zealand Ltd’, also formerly at ATOS ORIGIN HEALTHCARE in the UK (the controversial assessor for the DWP there)
Dr David Beaumont on LinkedIn:
Regional Consultant Occupational Physician at Atos Origin Healthcare.
Websites disclosing Dr Beaumont’s businesses and other involvements: can-be-fraught-with-problems-for-gps
Workers who take sick leave during a period of illness or injury normally see their GP to provide medical certification explaining their absence from work and assuring sick leave.This can create a situation where doctors feel pressured to extend work absences because they feel that this is best for the patient. There can be a negative impact on the relationship between doctor and patient where a patient perceives that the GP is not being supportive by advocating for continuing sick leave.
Dr Beaumont referred to the research indicating that doctors do not see themselves in the role of advocating for a prompt return to work, despite the consistent evidence that helping people back to work is most beneficial for their health in the long term.
Relating this issue to the New Zealand context, Dr Beaumont illustrated the recent health reforms in the United Kingdom:
...doctors there now issue a fit note, detailing the capacities that allow a patient to return to work, while the current New Zealand model certifies ongoing disability – effectively saying that the patient is unfit for any level of work.”

Re Dr Beaumont’s‘career’ and his former employer ATOS Healthcare:
New Zealand: ‘British-style work tests concern’- tests were developed partially work of disability expert Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, 12Jan, 2013:
Work capability assessments decision follows years of criticism, The Guardian, 22 July 2013:
“Disabled benefits claimants test: Atos reports found 'unacceptably poor'”,The Guardian,22July2013:

Dr David Beaumont will certainly have played a senior role on the Health and Disability
Panel, given his background and “expertise” from the UK. As he himself runs his‘Pathways to Work’business, focusing on “integrated rehabilitation”of sick and disabled back into the
workforce, he naturally has  a vested interest in the outsourcing and privatisation of welfare related services!
He has already been advising ACC and the Ministry of Social Development in other capacities, and he  naturally emphasizes the same philosophy about health, disability and the benefits of paid work, as Professor Mansel Aylward does. Being well known to leading MSD staff members and Paula Bennett, he will have been appointed to the Panel with knowledge of all those aspects on mind.

Dr David Chaplow
2). Dr David Chaplow- Forensic Psychiatrist and former Director for Mental Health at the Ministry of Health
Dr Chaplow on LinkedIn:
‘Psychiatrist defends use of electric shock therapy’, Rotorua Daily Post, 18Aug. 2006
“Shock treatment use has plummeted nationally but that's no reason to believe it's a"fringe"method", a leading psychiatrist says."
"Ministry of Health director of mental health Dr David Chaplow said there had been decline in use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) nationally but that did not make the increasing use among Rotorua and Taupo people wrong.
He said the ministry looked at the use of ECT about two years ago and found it was a valuable treatment”.
Involvement of Dr David Chaplow in  Board hearings”, Scoop, 21July 2004
"The Solicitor-General’ s opinion is that the participation of Dr Chaplow in the decision-making process of the  Parole Board was not authorised by the Parole Act 2002 and that offenders should be offered a hearing if they felt aggrieved by Dr Chaplow’ s participation.”

Secret Probe of Hutt Mental Health Services”;Kiwikileaks,01Sept.2011
“Leaked documents show the Health Ministry's mental health director ,David Chaplow, ordered the investigation in June."There are two main areas of concern– the leadership of the mental health services, and a number of clinical issues presenting as `complaints"which may relate to systemic or leadership issues.
‘From the CEO’,
“...networking of mental-health related NGOs by sharing information align work programs "
‘Office of the Director of MentalHealth’AnnualReport2010,
“Combat depression and its consequences”:04April2011: consequences&catid=:general-opinion&Itemid=246
“David Chaplow,head of Mental Health NewZealand,worships with Wellington Central Baptist. He has confidence in the transformative power of the gospel. David identifies four things as basic human needs, and where personal faith and participation in the life of the church meet all of those needs.
– Rodney Macann, National Leader”
Dr David Chaplow will have been appointed to the Panel given his expertise in forensic psychiatry, to advise on mental illness and possibly how he has been making efforts to rehabilitate some of those suffering from it into the community, in some cases with prospects to take up work activities. As former Director of Mental Health he should be well informed about the many issues and failings in the mental health system, and one wonders, how he could agree on the recommendations to Minister Paula Bennett and Cabinet, to push ahead with the proposed welfare reforms, to also push mental health sufferers into paid, open employment.
Dr Chaplow relies on his Baptist faith to heal patients, but  also believes in shock therapy.  One dares to ask: would he use electro shock therapy to heal beneficiaries of "benefit addiction?" Although hopefully this is unlikely, Dr Chaplow is likely to bring conservative values and a strong work ethic very compatible with the  Paula Bennett's intentions.

Dr Ben Gray
3.) Dr Ben Gray - Senior Lecturer, Primary Health Care and General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington
“Ben Gray joined the Department in 2006 as a senior lecturer in General Practice. He is an Otago graduate from the first class at the Wellington Clinical School. He has worked as a GP for the past 25 years first in Waitara Taranaki and most recently at Newtown Union Health Service (NUHS).”
Doctors told to prescribe work ethic”,Stuff.Co,14Aug.2013:
“But health and disability panel member Ben Gray, a GP and senior lecturer at Otago University's Wellington School of Medicine, said there was no doubt that the physical and mental health benefits of working were huge.
"On one level, finding them a job is not our job. But our ability to manage some of the problems that are the barriers to why they can't get jobs are our core business.

"If someone can't get a job because they are stoned all the time, then I should be talking to them about what we can do about their addiction."
International research has shown consequences from being out of work include poorer mental and physical health, increased rates of mortality, and risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections.
It was hoped that more government funding would accompany the shift towards working more closely with the

Welfare now has health warning”,NZ Herald,16 July 2013:
“A former doctor at Wellington's Newtown Union Health Servicewho represented general practitioners on an advisory panel that drew up the new policy, Dr Ben Gray, said he was "pleasantly surprised" and he was happy to sign up to the emphasis on "work is good for health".
“"That is very solid science," he said. "So the main point of the new form is to get away from being a sickness benefit form. It's to be a descriptor of what the barriers to work are."”
More eyes on patient notes’,NZDoctor,09March2011:
(search with Google or so, if link does not lead to story)
“Third parties should have access to patient notes to monitor how GPs fill out"fit notes"for beneficiaries, says a Government working group. "(The Welfare Working Group.)
“NZMA chair and Napier GP Pete Foley holds grave concerns."
“Dr Foley supports the philosophical change behind scrapping all the benefit categories in favour of a single jobseeker payment, but says there will still be a category of people for whom work will never be an option.
Wellington GP and researcher Ben Gray agrees, and points out other groups, such as those being released from prison into the community, have the will to work but employers won't touch them.
Dr Gray has long suggested the benefit categories be changed and is pleased to see this recommendation from the working group. "The current system is completely stupid. The categories are arbitrary," he says.”

Doctor laments Newtown health cuts, The Wellingtonian,, 27 Sept. 2012: health-cuts “Some of Wellington's poorest and neediest people have been hit hardest by health board cuts to general practices,according to one doctor.
The Capital and Coast District Health Board made cuts of $5.6million to its primary health funding in the past two years, an Official Information Act report reveals.
That included a $300,000 cut to Newtown Union Health Service last year and another $274,000 this year, 8 per cent of the service's revenue. Newtown Union doctor Ben Gray delivered a letter to the board on June 8 saying that the cut was out of proportion with the $40 million the board needed to save.”$300k-woes-haunt-newtown- union.aspx
(search per Google or so for article, if link does not connect)

Dr Gray says, without some political direction, the DHB will be under deficit pressure again next year and taking more savings out of primary care.

Dr Gray has repeatedly been quoted in the media as a clear supporter of welfare reforms of the kind now implemented. He appears to also support the Mansel Aylward taught philosophy about the“health benefits of work”.  No surprise then that he was selected to be on the Health and Disability Panel. The  cuts to funding for his practice could have caused him to doubt his support of the reforms, but perhaps  he hopes that by "assisting" beneficiaries into work he might get more funding.

 Dr Sandra Hicks
4). Dr Sandra Hicks – GP(MB.ChB.,Dip.Obst.)andNZMAboardmember
DetailsaboutSandraHicksonLinkedIn- andtheNZMAwebsite:
‘Membership of the National Information Clinical Leadership Group’, IT Health Board

SandraHicks’profile on the website of her practice in Christchurch:
“Sandra Hicks has worked in the community in General Practice for 20 years and before that in Family Planning. Sandra has a special interest in women and children's health. She also does minor surgery such as removing suspicious moles or early skin cancers and is experienced in the insertion of IUD's (intra-uterine contraceptive devices). She is interested in the management of General Practices and the way the computer system functions. Sandra has been involved in the local and national administration of general practice through the College of GP's, the IPA Council and the board of Pegasus and has been on a number of committees which have strengthened the relationship between the hospital and general practice. For the last three years Sandra has been on the Board of the New Zealand Medical Association. She enjoys the longterm relationship with families and individuals that is possible in general practice.”

Pegasus Health Maori Health Workforce Scholarships, Scoop – Health,05Aug.2004:
"“Improving Maori health by supporting the development of the Maori health workforce is a top priority for Pegasus Health”says Pegasus Health Chair, Dr Sandra Hicks.”
Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd, Canterbury, website:
“Pegasus Health was founded in 1992 when a group of Christchurch general practitioners met to see how they could use the‘health reforms’of the time to get a better deal for the local community. The early Pegasus pioneers brought together the majority of Christchurch GPs to form an Independent Practitioner Association (IPA) with a strong clinical education foundation and a focus on reducing wastage on unnecessary laboratory tests and prescriptions.”
“In March 2013 Pegasus Health will amalgamate with Partnership Health Canterbury PHO todeliverPHO services across Canterbury, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.”
Dr Sandra Hicks appears to have been chosen to sit on the ‘Health and DisabilityPanel’ to firstly represent the New Zealand Medical Association(NZMA).She also has expertise in healt information technologysystems. Her involvement with the‘Health Information Governance Expert Advisory Group’ (HIGEAG) will have been considered useful,as the government intends to increase information sharing about sick and disabled beneficiaries between health  providers and MSD.
As she was also board member at ‘Pegasus Health’,who apparently adapted andworked well under former health reforms by an earlier National led government(from1992on),
she will have been assumed to be favourable to the current reforms.

Robyn Hunt
5). Robyn Hunt – CompanyDirector,‘Acc Ease Limited’and DisabilityAdvocate RobynHuntonLinkedIn:
“Current: Co-manager at Disability Clothesline, Owner at AccEase Limited
Board member at New Zealand Guidelines Group, Commissioner at New Zealand Human Rights Commission,
Member at Virtual Group”
Robyn Hunt:
"The disability clothesline project is a way of breaking the silence about violence and abuse, enabling victims to give creative expression to their experiences as they use clothing as a canvas. The disability clothesline project will gather our stories and experience; it will bring the invisible into the light."
“Who we are
The Disability Clothesline is a grassroots disability project run in co-operation with DCAV, the Disability Coalition against Violence. We do not provide disability, family violence or any other services.

The coalition began with DPA and the National Network of Stopping Violence Services, representing disabled people and organisations working to prevent violence. Since then other organisations have joined the informal coalition from both sectors. The project received seed funding by a grant from the Community Assistance Fund.”
“Get involved
We launched this project on November 25, 2009 and we have collected lots of tee shirts, but we are still looking for more.”
“Judges decision leaves disabled with a disturbing message”,‘NZ Catholic’,Oct.2012:
 “Disability Clothesline co-manager Robyn Hunt said disabled people are not burdens, and, with support, can live meaningful and rewarding lives, even with significant impairments.“Negative social values towards disabled people contribute to decisions like Rosie’ s. Disabled people don’ t need to die that way,” Ms Hunt said.
Robyn Hunt’s business:
“AccEase is the New Zealand communications company that makes sure your web site, information, communications and engagement are fully accessible.
We pioneered, more than ten years ago, our unique "real world" testing model. Since then our business has grown to include a wider range of services.”
AccEase, Principal Consultants:
“Robyn Hunt
As an award-winning journalist and communicator she brings extensive experience in those fields to the creation of readable, accessible web content, and accessible information beyond the web. Robyn is acknowledged as one of NewZealand’s leading experts in the field of disability. She has been honoured for her work in the disability community.”
“She is an innovator who has developed and launched a number of successful media and communications projects. Robyn has run her own consulting, writing and training business, working with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Before that she worked in policy and management roles as well as a writer and broadcaster.
Robyn has served eight years as a human rights commissioner with responsibility for disability at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.”
Robyn has a BA(Hons) and a diploma in public sector management.”
PowerPoint presentations –one example

‘DisabilityWorld’, Governance & Legislation; on Robyn Hunt, June– July2000:
Robyn Hunt,Wellington(co-chair):Robyn is the chair of Workbridge board of management and was a disability consultant to the Royal Commission on Social Policy. She has been actively involved with Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) since it began, including terms as regional president and on the national executive.”
Robyn Hunt in ‘Rise’magazine, Ministry for Social Development, March 2009: magazines/rise/rise-issue-6-mar-09-part-1.pdf
“That long hard journey started at birth– Robyn was born with cataracts and is vision impaired. In her case, this means she doesn’t drive, she has difficulty reading some material and she doesn’t play sports that require goodvision.
“With just 18 months left as Human Rights Commissioner, Robyn knows exactly what she wants to achieve by then.“I want to see the monitoring process on its way, and a robust and durable and credible process established for the convention. I want to see more disabled people getting involved in the disability community – including young people.”
One wonders whether Paula Bennett  spotted the  article about Robyn  in ‘Rise’from the March 2009 edition of the MSD magazine ,when inspecting the article right next to it, introducing Ms Bennett herself  as the “new Minister for Social Development”.
Robyn Hunt is a person with accepted and respected expertise in the disability sector, has been active as a writer, commenter, consultant and innovator, she even served on the Human Rights Commission. She also appears to have an entrepreneurial side to her activities, offering consultancy, audit, assessment and testing services, and training. This covers web based and other communication and information systems for the disability sector.
The latter will make her appeal to the Minister and present government, as any business friendly advocate, who also operates her own business, fits in perfectly with the new policy approach of having MSD head towards outsourcing and contracting services in the community, to deliver what they view as necessary.
Robyn will also have been considered“useful” as a  role model for  the disabled and sick with incapacities, especially those who depend on benefits.
She was well known to the Ministry, having worked with the Ministry of Social Development while “Chair” of the “Workbridge Board of Management”many years ago.
I doubt that Robyn Hunt is fully informed about Mansel Aylward and his controversial interpretation o the  "bio-psycho-social  model".

6). Dr Bryn Jones – GP and former board member at‘Health Hawke’s Bay’
– Te Oranga Hawke’s Bay."’s-bay-–-te-oranga-hawke’s-bay-new-board-of-directors- announced/
 NationalAdvisoryCouncil,RNZCGP,‘Te Akoranga a Maui Faculty’
College Maori leader in ministry post, NZ Doctor, 12 June 2013:
(search by Google or else, if link does not work)
“RNZCGP Te Akoranga a Maui chair and National Advisory Council member Bryn Jones has taken a job two days a weekat .. Ministry of Health as an advisor,
and is continuing hiswork as a GP in the accident and medical facility at Hastings Health Centre.”
“Primary Thinking Bryn Jones”, NZ Doctor, 13March 2013:–-bryn-jones.aspx (try Google or other search if link does not work)
“Hastings GP Bryn Jones, of Ngati Kahungunu ,talks to New Zealand Doctor reporter Virginia McMillan."
Dr Jones:“ it's clear to me there's a much greater awareness of social determinants of health, how they impact on our populations, and equity.”

Dr Jones will have been asked to be on the Heath and Disability Panel, for being a GP and hospital doctor on the frontline in primary care in an area with substantive social issues, working with Maori health care and  being a senior administrator for Health Hawker's Bay. As he raised concerns about funding, he is likely to have been one of the less enthusiastic supporters of the welfare reforms as they rolled out. But it's likely he did support them,  hoping for genuine improvements in health and rehabilitation services, that could perhaps bring some better results for some able to return to work, if proper funding would be made available. As a GP he has an interest in working with governments, as  much of their incomes depending on government policies and initiatives.

To Be Continued...
For  further information  about this subject, and  further expression of this viewpoint  please see:


Anonymous said...

This is important stuff, and I am grateful for Unite Waitemata to make this public. There is also more information available via ACC Forum (do not get distracted by some crazy commenters there please) under this link:

There are many disgusting stories to tell, and I suggest all affected do share their experiences, and you can keep your name and some other details private. We need to NAME and SHAME these damned mercinary doctors that work for ACC and WINZ, and one of the top hatchet doctors in Auckland is without any doubt a Doctor David Hoadley from the Avondale Health Centre, who has "assessed" hundreds of cases every year. Having lost some other revenue streams on mental health last year (NZ Doctor reported) he now relies heavily on MSD and WINZ funding, which creates an additional conflict of interest for that man!!!

Anonymous said...

As of recent, Dr Ben Gray (GP and lecturer at Otago Uni in Wellington) has commented back on a comment made by one "Marcus Christian" on "SciBlogs".

The article he had published via "SciBlogs" was rather about 'Advance Care Planning', but as he was known for his role on the Health and Disability Panel that advised Paula Bennett and the government on welfare reforms, he was challenged re that.

It makes for an interesting read, to see, how he has since "qualified" his role, involvement, and stand on the welfare reforms, and how he has admitted, that he knows little (if anything) about one of the leading expert's "findings", that were relied on when preparing the policies and measures to be put into place.

Here is a link to the article and comments underneath it: