Wednesday, 18 November 2015

590 Deaths Linked To ESA Plus Will Online PIP Claim Form Be Compulsory?

In this edition, newly published research into ESA claimant suicides and the discovery of another coroner’s ‘prevention of future death report’ offer final proof that the DWP does not care whether its policies are killing many hundreds of claimants.

It only cares that it can still get away with denying it.

We also have news of the testing of a cost-cutting, online PIP claim form and details of our updated guide to successfully challenging PIP medical reports.


Just yesterday, respected academics from Oxford and Liverpool universities published an article in an international, peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Their research shows that the reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants for ESA is linked to an additional 590 suicides in England.

It is also implicated in an additional 279,000 people developing mental health conditions and 725,000 more antidepressant prescriptions being issued.

The relationship between the use of the work capability assessment (WCA) and the rise in deaths was clear and the researchers were at pains to rule out other causes.

Any responsible body, even if they were doubtful of the findings, would have responded with concern and given an undertaking to look closely into the matter.

The DWP, however, instantly dismissed the research out-of-hand.

They know that they are the only people who could provide the data to prove beyond any possible doubt that the WCA is a killer. And they are never going to do that.

Instead, just as the tobacco companies argued for so many years that no causal link between smoking and cancer had been proved, the DWP argue that suicide is complex and you can’t definitively prove that the WCA causes any deaths.

And so the entirely avoidable deaths will continue.


And there’s more proof of the DWP’s callous disregard for claimants’ lives. Once again, it is campaigning journalist John Pring who has brought it to light.

In 2010, a coroner sent a ‘prevention of future deaths’ letter to the DWP in relation to a claimant with a mental health condition who had committed suicide after scoring zero points at his WCA. The claimant, Stephen Carre, had a community psychiatric nurse and a psychiatrist but they were never contacted by the DWP.

On receiving such a letter from the coroner, the law requires the recipient to respond within 56 days saying what they are going to do to prevent future deaths.

It now seems that the DWP simply wrote acknowledging receipt of the letter and then did absolutely nothing more, in flagrant breach of the la50 ways to challenge a PIP medical report coverw.

Not only that, they also withheld the fact of the coroner’s letter from Professor Harrington, the independent reviewer of the WCA. If the matter had been brought to his attention, it might have prevented the DWP from pushing ahead with the mass reassessment of all incapacity benefit claimants using the WCA.

And almost 600 people might not have taken their own lives.

18 November 2015 newsletter

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