Coroner’s ‘ground-breaking’ verdict: Suicide was ‘triggered’ by ‘fit for work’ test

A coroner has demanded that the government takes action to prevent future deaths of disability benefit claimants, after concluding in a “ground-breaking” inquest verdict that a disabled man killed himself as a direct result of being found “fit for work”.

It is believed to be the first time that a coroner has blamed the work capability assessment (WCA) process for directly causing the death of a claimant.

Disabled activists believe it could prove a huge breakthrough in the fight against the government’s welfare reforms, and the battle to scrap the loathed fitness-for-work test and replace it with a more humane and less dangerous assessment.

Source: Coroner’s ‘ground-breaking’ verdict: Suicide was ‘triggered’ by ‘fit for work’ test

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20 Thoughts to “Coroner’s ‘ground-breaking’ verdict: Suicide was ‘triggered’ by ‘fit for work’ test”

  1. John.

    Not a good career move, I expect she’ll shortly be found “unfit for work”

  2. dez chandler

    Really good to think there are still some “good guys” out there really looking after the folk they serve rather than towing the party line. Maybe there was a suicide note written that made it totally clear why this poor soul took his own life. RIP

  3. AndyH

    Everyone, email this to your member of parliament – this should be on the front page of newspapers, not Jeremy Corbyn remaining silent during the national anthemn.

  4. If this is found to be the case,the tories and their barbarism must be held to account for their wilful indifference to the suffering and death of already vulnerable people that their much-objected to and commented on policy has caused.

    1. Pete Cresswell

      I have said all along, that this government should be tried the same as war criminals.

  5. Neilth

    Huge congratulations to the Coroner it takes real courage to take on this vindictive truly nasty government

  6. Shaun

    I suspect, particularly when you also factor in the 50 magistrates who resigned over cuts to tribunal budgets and the leader of the barristers’ professional body for the south-west making a strong and definite verbal assault against this government, that the legal profession are in the process of moving towards open rebellion. Now the judiciary are one of the three pillars of modern societies. They do not make laws, nor enforce them, but administer the legislature’s will.
    However, in the English legal system there is a considerable degree of interpretation available to members of the judiciary. Consequently, they are not a group that most governments could (they tend to stand above politics) or would want to force into any form of concerted opposition, but hubris is often the failing that grounds tyrannical and over mighty regimes. Anyway, its a nice scenario to wish for.
    Shaunt

  7. Again and again and again I repeat what I know from personal experience is that:- There is only one priority for people with mental health problems and this is being understood and helped by those whom they can trust and relate, otherwise intervention can have disastrous results and be extremely dangerous and detrimental to them.

    Thank goodness the Coroner has shown this dreadful situation up in its true light and let us hope that this vindictive selfish government will pay attention and put the DWP in proper order but, frankly, I don’t think it is capable of considering or caring about people’s suffering and its priority is simply to make the rich even richer. Again and again and again I repeat what I know from personal experience is that:- There is only one priority for people with mental health problems and this is being understood and helped by those whom they can trust and relate, other intervention can have disastrous results and be extremely dangerous and detrimental to them.

    To me the DWP smacks of Nazism.

  8. The coroner for North Staffordshire here made a similar statement a few years ago, making front page news on the Evening Sentinel. He also voiced his concerns about the increasing number of suicides in the area that were connected to welfare reform.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Would you have a link to that story, by any lucky circumstance?

      1. Someone kindly sent me this Mike, but the original article was more detailed I think. It doesn’t out rightly state welfare reforms as being the cause. That said, there have been other articles too concerning the suicides off the town’s multi storey car park, with benefit problems being one of the reasons:

        http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Recession-blamed-suicide-rise-Staffordshire-Stoke/story-16504810-detail/story.html

        http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Second-fatal-fall-Newcastle-multi-storey-car-park/story-21070674-detail/story.html

        This search brings up quite a few railway deaths:

        https://search.f-secure.com/search?query=Sentinel+Suicides+on+railway+in+Staffordshire&fs_uo=provider

        http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Help-reduce-rail-suicides-North-Staffordshire-s/story-19676993-detail/story.html

        Might do a blog on it myself; I’m quite shocked at how many have died here!

      1. Mike Sivier

        The coroner doesn’t specifically blame the work capability assessment for the increase in suicides, which is what we’re after. The input of Citizens Advice is important, though.

  9. bryn

    I hope the message is getting through. I dread every letter that comes through my door, knowing full well I am due for a new assessment, and that the way it is set up will see me having to appeal because I will score zero points on their score card. Which is ridiculous it was the job centre that told me to go back and see my Dr and request yet another load of sick notes leading to this latest ESA status, I’ve got worse not better. Yet going by their tick sheet I am fit for work. Then when I fill out their huge form that comes after loads of stressful phone calls etc, I am back on ESA, None of which helps my condition in fact it just makes things a whole lot worse. Hassling sick people is not helping anyone.

  10. Malcolm

    The DWP have just scrapped my ESA despite my GP confirming I am currently unfit for work – I cannot claim JSA as I am still employed by the Civil Service but on nil pay, Another statistic for IDS!!!!!

  11. David robinson

    With this and the U.N. looking into the D.W.P. things are starting to look interesting at last!

  12. Dawn

    Atos Healthcare haven’t been fit for purpose in these assessments right from the start. I had to take them to tribunal because the moronic assessor (doctor) didn’t even assess me for the right medical condition. Her report was a work of fiction and it couldn’t even be recognised as relating to me. This was back in 2009 when there were something like 33,000 appeals going on and I’ve since heard there are many more than that now. It’s about time that Atos were sent packing and someone else brought in to do the job properly and abide by the contract with the DWP coz’ that sure ain’t happening now and never has been.

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