Monday, March 29, 2010

Leave medical decisions to clinicians

On Q&A on Sunday morning, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett claimed that the government's plans to work-test sickness beneficiaries would actually be good for sick people:

Bennett has a message for some on the sickness benefit: working can make you well.

"People with low level depression and low level mental illness are often better off in work and it's actually a road to recovery for them it actually helps them get better," she says.

That may very well be the case in some cases. But it's a medical decision, and one which should therefore be made by patients and their clinicians. Imposing a bureaucratized, one-size-fits-all solution by slashing benefits is simply a recipe for disaster. And applying it to the clinically depressed means that we will be counting the cost in suicides.