Government hides information on death of Michael O’Sullivan

The government is refusing to release information that would reveal which ministers and civil servants decided how to respond to the death of a man who killed himself as a direct result of being found “fit for work”.

Disability News Service (DNS) revealed last month that a coroner had demanded government action after an inquest into the death of Michael O’Sullivan, from north London.

The coroner, Mary Hassell, wrote what is known as a prevention of future deaths (PFD) report, and sent it to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), because she said there was “a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken”.

O’Sullivan had severe mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and agoraphobia, and expressed suicidal thoughts in his ESA application, but medical evidence from three mental health professionals was ignored in the benefits assessment process.

It is believed to be the first and only time a coroner has used a PFD report to draw attention to flaws in the discredited work capability assessment (WCA) system, and the only time a coroner has directly blamed that system for a death.

In its response to Hassell’s report, DWP said it planned to issue a reminder to staff about guidance on such cases, but appeared to make no further suggestions for how to prevent further deaths.

Source: Government hides information on death of Michael O’Sullivan

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5 thoughts on “Government hides information on death of Michael O’Sullivan

  1. Dez

    It would not be unreasonable, the coroner having made this statement, that a prosecution should not be persued including an in depth investigation by the police into just how the system condemned this innocent to death. People and system that allow this to happen should be made totally accountable for their incorrect decisions and be made publically accountable. If a private company has been negligent for their handling and decision making they should be accountable for their negligence and sued by the family. His will not have been the only case it’s just for once they have not got away with their actions because the coroner has for once done their job…..god this government cannot sink much lower…………but they will of course.

  2. mrmarcpc

    There should be a petition created for people to sign the make the government reveal the information about Michael’s death and not brush it under the carpet like they want to!

  3. Dez

    And now the Chief Coroner is apparently dragging his feet siding with the Government in not issuing advice to all the Coroners in the UK to get some focus in this particular dark area. Shame on him……

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