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Disability News Service has uncovered another case in which a coroner issued a ‘Risk of future death’ warning to the DWP after ruling that a fit for work decision was the trigger for a claimant’s suicide. It appears that the DWP never troubled to respond to the warning, which was issued in 2010, in spite of a statutory duty to do so.

Stephen Carre, 41, took his own life in January 2010 after being found capable of work following an Atos work capability assessment (WCA).

Stephen was a former civil servant and telecommunications consultant. He suddenly stopped working in 2007 and lived off his savings for two years before claiming benefits. By this time he had become reclusive and struggled with anxiety and depression.

However, an Atos assessor found that he scored zero points under the WCA and that there was no risk involved in finding him capable of work. The assessor did not actually complete the medical report until eight days after seeing Stephen. No attempt was made to contact Stephen’s GP, community psychiatric nurse or psychiatrist.

Stephen appealed the decision, but took his own life within days of a reconsideration decision that confirmed he was fit for work.

At the inquest, Stephen’s GP and psychiatrist both confirmed that they had not been contacted by Atos or the DWP and that if they had been they would have provided a report.

Shockingly, the DWP did not inform the tribunals service of Stephen’s death, so an oral hearing went ahead at which Stephen’s father attended with his son’s ashes.

The tribunal held that the assessor’s report was ‘ a suspect document’ and found in favour of Stephen.

In spite of the coroner issuing a risk of future death warning, however, the DWP only ever issued a holding response and never a proper reply with a timetable for action as they are legally required to do.

The DWP also  chose not to pass on the Coroner’s report to Professor Harrington who was carrying out independent reviews of the WCA at that time.

And the Coalition government, which took office just after the coroner’s report was issued, chose to go ahead with the mass transfer of incapacity benefit claimants to ESA, in spite of the Coroner’s concerns.

You can read the following stories on this issue on the DNS website:

WCA death scandal: ‘DWP and Atos killed my son’

WCA death scandal: Grayling ordered assessment roll-out, despite coroner’s warning

WCA death scandal: Ministers ‘failed to pass 2010 suicide report to Harrington’


#10 David Telford 2015-11-22 07:11
I am totally appalled at the conduct of the DWP in this case. Surely legal advice should be sought by this poor man's family regarding corporate manslaughter. They obviously had a duty of care and failed to meet it. As a direct result of this,a man died. As someone said before, utter bastards.
#9 tintack 2015-11-18 18:45
Quoting Donna Pasquill:
Ironically a hca told me during a wca that my arthritis was a side effect of my ant depressants, how can they make diagnosis and find you fit for work? .

They can't make a diagnosis, not least because the DWP's supposed justification for the WCA includes the claim that the WCA is a functional test, not a diagnostic one. That justification is nonsense of course, but you'd think they'd at least be able to stick to their own drivel, however absurd they know it to be.
#8 Donna Pasquill 2015-11-18 17:15
Ironically a hca told me during a wca that my arthritis was a side effect of my ant depressants, how can they make diagnosis and find you fit for work? The system is geared to wiping out benefits completely, at the end of the day if the government hands out money to benefit claimants it's less for them for expenses and huge banquets and meals for the boys discussing how to rid the country of poor people.
#7 westerby1 2015-11-16 18:43
Atos "do you have a garden?" Me "yes",medical report "you do gardening" ..enough said!
+2 #6 Paul Richards 2015-11-13 11:35
Hi all,
This link is very interesting (courtesy of someone on the Johnny Void website). The DWP may just have admitted 'culpability' somehow? It is marked 'OFFICIAL SENSITIVE' - not officially a 'classified' document as such, but is pretty close to it!

+4 #5 angela 2015-11-13 09:39
You will never get this goverment to admit to anything apart from they think they are doing a great job
+2 #4 Eli48 2015-11-12 18:46
[quote name="tintack
How many of those cases revealed something similar to the cases of Michael O'Sullivan and Stephen Carre?

Sadly, thousands, I suspect.
+4 #3 Bill24chev 2015-11-12 17:43
I hope that the Father made a formal complaint to the ATOS HCP,s relevant professional body. But then again the Coronado should have adjourned and instructed that a the Secretary of State( or their representative) and the ATOS HCP attend to give evidence as to why they made their flawed decisions.
+8 #2 tintack 2015-11-12 01:01
And of course, as in the case of Michael O'Sullivan, no-one will be held to account over this. By the way, don't you just love this bit:

Atos refused to respond to requests for a comment.
Sheer moral cowardice. You utter, utter bastards.
+6 #1 tintack 2015-11-12 00:55
So that's now a minimum of two cases of wrong fit for work decisions causing claimant deaths, both of which IDS must have known about when he engaged in his pompous outrage during the election campaign, deriding such allegations as scurrilous.

I think we can also now see why the DWP won't release the findings of its 49 internal reviews into claimant deaths. How many of those cases revealed something similar to the cases of Michael O'Sullivan and Stephen Carre?

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