Snellens is a Snellens chart. For such a familiar object, it is strange that so few people could name it. It makes me think of fighting lying doctors.

I had already got a doctor sacked for completing his disability assessment form in a manner untruthful and prejudicial to benefit claimants, my clients. Then I noticed another problem with these reports.

The Snellens chart is a precise tool, for a precise assessment of particular sight problem. However, to use it properly, it needs to be set up correctly, at the correct distance and angle from the subject, in good light. The EMP form requires the doctor to answer whether a claimant’s sight with both eyes together is better or worse than 6/60, that is, that he can see better at six feet than a person with good sight would see at sixty feet. Usually, this is checked by counting fingers. The doctor need merely be sure that sight is better than, say 12/60, as 6/60 is particularly poor and most claimants do not have particularly poor sight.

So it was unlikely he was using a Snellens chart, and particularly unlikely that he was doing so correctly. Again, I got several claimants to agree that they did not remember the sight test chart. They might not remember such a detail, and might give the answer they thought I wanted, or be hostile to the doctor who found them fit and not want to say anything in his favour. But I asked, “You know the sight test chart, big letter at the top, row of tiny letters at the bottom? Did Dr P use that when he came to examine you?” All said no. I do not think all my clients were lying or mistaken.

Possibly one might spot malingerers more easily with a chart than with counting fingers. I do not know how that would work; if you do, please enlighten me.

So I am reasonably convinced Dr P was lying, and that his lie here, the false statement that he used a Snellens test, rendered the rest of his report doubtful. But when I took this argument to the tribunal, the panel told me how wicked it was of me to impugn the integrity of a professional man. I burst into tears in the tribunal waiting room, became depressed again, and shortly after stopped doing appeals. Instead I went round people’s houses completing claim forms, a less onerous task, though with better results in terms of money gained for hours spent.

That was 2003. Why dig it out now, have a wee cry, feel the anger and resentment again? Because at the time it was yet more proof of my inability to achieve anything, and also my uselessness and weakness for feeling that anger and resentment, and now I can see it as evidence of my integrity, commitment to the truth, cleverness in creating an argument and care for the clients. If it was a failure, it was against strong opposition and heavy odds.

I am not listening to the inner critic about it any more. My feelings were a good, feeling response, and I can at last acknowledge and accept them. My actions showed integrity, creativity and bravery.

4 thoughts on “Snellens

  1. Yes, Clare, that is about right. Also, it might be that the professional and personal risk you took in putting out the argument was terrifying, and you hated them for humiliating you, when you were putting forward a perfectly reasonable and cogent argument.

    In fact, it is they who had no right whatever to make those allegations against you, let alone make them public. You had every right to make the allegations you did, based on your knowledge of the facts, circumstances, your knowledge of your clients and your responsibility to them to make a case for them as best you could. No professional is above the law, as you know full well, and so do they.

    The best that can be said for them, is that they were outfaced by your arguments and reacted before they thought about it. Always a bad sign.

    You are a clever cookie: You know all this already, but acting without the protection of legal status, such as lawyers have, was always going to be risky. The most you can be accused of, is naivete, or perhaps undue faith in the justice of the system, which is run by individuals who see nothing wrong in a bit of moral indignation when deciding cases. It was naive of you to think that you might be commended, thanked, even though you were in the right. But that is only because the system is imperfect. Layering is often a process of abrupt or gradual disillusionment. Which is why so many leave, and do their own thing. 😉

    Bless you, always.


    • I thought I might be believed, and that a tribunal should seek the truth rather than follow its prejudice. Some did.

      One tribunal chairman gave far too great credence to what the claimant said. Another challenged it more like a Stalinist prosecutor, rather than a British one. Guess which got sacked.


  2. BRAVO! You are expressing the feelings of “knowing your souls calling.” It is your purpose here, take it out to the world share it you have nothing to loose.
    🙂 xo jacqui


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