Sheila Holt, a claimant with severe bipolar disorder, died last week after many months in a coma. Sheila had been wrongly been forced to prepare for work and hospitalised as a result. Her father has warned that there are “hundreds like her”.
Sheila Holt became unwell and was sectioned in December 2013 after being placed in the work-related activity group of employment and support allowance and then being threatened with loss of benefits if she did not take part in ‘intensive job-focused activity’.
Following her admission to a psychiatric hospital Sheila had a heart attack and fell into a coma.
The threatening letters continued even after Sheila was in a coma, however, and the issue was raised by her MP in February 2014.
At the time , Mike Penning, minister for disabled people, apologised in the House of Commons, saying:
"It's about time politicians did stand up and apologise when things went wrong. It clearly has gone wrong and the family have every right to be aggrieved and I hope she makes a full recovery, as much as she can."
Sadly, a recovery proved impossible and Sheila died last week without recovering consciousness, as a result of oxygen starvation to the brain experienced at the time of her heart attack.
Her father, Ken, told the Daily Mirror
“There’s no more bipolar episodes for her to suffer any more. But it’s not just her.
“There are hundreds like her. People are dying because they are being hounded.
“It’s got to stop here.”