Now we know of THREE people who died because of DWP ‘fit for work’ decisions

The latest death due to a “fit for work” decision may also be among the earliest.

Coroner Tom Osbourne blamed the death of Stephen Carré on a decision by the Department for Work and Pensions that the bipolar Employment and Support Allowance claimant, who was clinically depressed, was fit for work following a work capability assessment.

He joins Michael O’Sullivan and Julia Kelly, both of whose suicides were blamed on the result of work capability assessments by their respective coroners, as the weight of evidence mounts up against the process.

Recently, This Blog demonstrated that deaths of ESA claimants began to decrease after the DWP suspended repeat assessments of ESA claimants in January 2014.

Stephen Carré took his own life in 2010 after he lost an appeal against the finding that he was fit to return to work. He was clinically depressed and had been diagnosed as bipolar.

At the inquest into his death the coroner ruled that the decision that he was “fit for work” had been the trigger for his suicide.

The coroner made his concerns about the system known to the Department of Work and Pensions in March 2010 by issuing what was then known as a Rule 43, a rare and significant intervention.

“I feel the decision by the department NOT to seek medical advice from the claimant’s own GP or psychiatrist if they are suffering a mental illness should be reviewed,” Coroner Tom Osbourne wrote.

His office told ITV News they have never received a “substantive” reply from the DWP to their 2010 letter.

Professor Malcolm Harrington, who led the first three of the Government’s five Independent Reviews into the WCA from 2010 to 2012, says if he had known about the case, he would have raised the alarm about the vulnerability of mental health claimants in the system earlier and more vehemently in the first of his three reviews.

The DWP’s response beggars belief:

A DWP spokesman said: “Suicide is a tragic and complex issue and there are often many reasons why someone takes their life, so to link it to one event is misleading.

Oh, really?

How soon they forget. In this instance, they have forgotten the case of Stephanie Bottrill, who left a note clearly and emphatically blaming the government for her suicide. She was a victim of the Bedroom Tax, another Conservative Party Pogrom against the poor.

Here’s an extract from the note:


Does that seem misleading to you?

There’s more:

“Since this inquest took place under the previous Government we have made significant improvements to the Work Capability Assessment, including improving the process for people with mental health conditions.

How unfortunate for the Conservative-run Department for Work and Pensions that the best improvement to the work capability assessment – in terms of the number of deaths it has caused – appears to have been its suspension!
Source: Government welfare advisor did not know about 2010 suicide ‘triggered by work assessment’ – ITV News

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


7 thoughts on “Now we know of THREE people who died because of DWP ‘fit for work’ decisions

  1. AndyH

    The dam is slowly bursting. The fact assessments had to be suspended is a credit to all the hard work and doggedness shown by activists – you have all saved lives.

  2. Linda Cooksey

    My brother Tim Salter committed suicide on 25th September 2013, the coroner reports stated “Mr Salter was found dead in his home on 25th September 2013. He had hanged himself. He had problems with his mental health and was partially sighted. A major factor in his death was that his state benefits had been greatly reduced leaving him almost destitute and with threatened repossession of his home”.

    Tim had just over £50 in money and no food in the house when I found him on that Wednesday lunchtime!

    I am still awaiting a final report from The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman .
    Linda Cooksey

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’ve written an article about this. The DWP has a duty of care for its benefit claimants – whether it admits the fact or not. Pressure must be maintained on this organisation over its ill-treatment of people who are in genuine need.

  3. toocomplex4justice

    I feel sick, I think i’ll return my passport and declare myself to be non British while retaining my right to live here while I chose or until a government that abides by UN agreements and protects its citizens takes over. A few men are slaughtering our vulnerable relatives and still walk free. Why have they not been arrested? Martial law would be more desirable and less violent so why do our armies not protect us and throw these despots out?

  4. Barry Davies

    The Work capacity assessment is not fit for the purpose of assessing anyone for capacity for work, but it was never intended to. A real assessment would be able to say what type of work and for how many hours for how many days a person is capable of working, this just make a bland statement you can work and should not get any help.

Comments are closed.