Another person has been found to have committed suicide after their benefits were cut after an Atos Work Capability Assessment.
The unnamed woman in her fifties had been suffering from long-term mental and physical health problems. According to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWC), the unnamed woman was not sent a self-assessment questionnaire and no evidence was sought from her psychiatrist or family doctor.
At the hour-long Work Capability Assessment conducted in 2011, the assessor concluded that there was no evidence to show that she had “a significant disability of mental health function” and received zero points.
The woman received the news on the 9th December 2011 and took a fatal overdose on New Year’s Eve that year.
The case was brought to the attention of the MWC who conducted an extensive investigation. They stated that it raised “numerous concerning issues about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Atos process.”
Dr Donald Lyons, Chief Executive of MWC, told the BBC “This lady had a lot to look forward to. She was getting married. She was being treated. She was undertaking voluntary work. She had a good social network.
“There wasn’t anything else which we could identify that would lead us to believe that there was any other factor in her life that resulted in her decision to end her life.”
George Kappler, the MWC’s chief social work officer and chair of the investigation, said: “Ms DE should have been supported as a vulnerable claimant. We found a lack of sensitivity to individual circumstances.
“We thought the assessment process was flawed and needs to change in order to be fair to individuals with mental health problems.
“We feel that these issues would apply to whichever service provider is doing the assessments so the DWP need to be aware of this when the contract with Atos ends.”
The DWP responded to the watchdog’s concerns, saying that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) was developed “in consultation with medical and other experts, including representative groups”.
The department said a series of reports had found “that overall the WCA works as intended and is a valid assessment relative to independent experts’ opinion about individuals’ fitness for work that can support decisions about who should be paid ESA (Employment and Support Allowance)”.
Of course, this is the usual denial of responsibility that we have seen in every case where the Work Capability Assessment process has been criticised. The government will not admit that they have introduced the draconian measure for their own self-interest and don’t give a damn if people die as a result.
Iain Duncan Smith and his cronies are only interested in statistics so they can beat their own chests and tell each other how good they are for saving money. They have no interest in the consequences of their actions whatsoever.
In any civilised society, deaths resulting from the incompetence of Iain Duncan Smith and his cronies would be considered manslaughter at the very least. If a company were responsible for the deaths of vulnerable people they would be charged with corporate manslaughter in the blink of an eye – especially if it happened over and over again and did nothing to prevent further deaths.
But not the government.
No doubt they have ensured that the likelihood of Iain Duncan Smith, or any others responsible for the deaths of vulnerable people as a result of their negligence is very slim indeed.
They are non-human slime/scum/ whatever appropriate word you find, and should be held accountable in the strongest way possible.
Original source: The Independent
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