Even now, the DWP is pushing sickness benefit claimants toward early graves

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

Doesn’t this say everything you need to know about our homicidal Tory government?

At the same time as a major film is released, criticising the Department for Work and Pensions over its treatment of the sick and disabled, the DWP alters its guidance to make it easier to threaten their lives.

It concerns ESA regulations 29 and 35. Many people have relied on these regulations to save them from potentially life-threatening demands by the DWP. Now, it seems, the rules have been watered down.

Meanwhile, Iain Duncan Smith is telling anybody who will listen that I, Daniel Blake is nothing but a work of fiction and the DWP actually wants what is best for people with long-term illnesses.

Someone should ask him why he thinks an early grave is the best thing for these people.

A leading psychiatrist who helped the government draft guidance that protected mental health service-users who were threatened with forced work has refused to criticise major changes to the guidelines that have risked the lives of thousands of benefit claimants.

Disability News Service (DNS) reported last month that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had secretly made major changes that watered-down guidance given to “fitness for work” benefits assessors, and then “lied” about what it had done.

Ministers appear to have decided that it was worth risking the loss of some lives in order to cut benefits spending and force more disabled people into their discredited back-to-work programmes.

The guidance explains how assessors should translate employment and support allowance (ESA) regulations 29 and 35, which concern whether decisions to find someone fit for work or able to carry out work-related activity would cause a substantial risk of harm to an ESA claimant.

A DWP response to a freedom of information request, obtained by DNS this week, shows that new guidance was sent out to healthcare assessors working for the discredited US outsourcing giant Maximus in early December last year.

The month after the new guidance was sent out, the proportion of claimants placed in the support group of ESA – and therefore not forced to take part in work-related activity – began to fall sharply.

For claims completed in December 2015, 56 per cent were placed in the support group; the following month that fell to 48 per cent, and then to 33 per cent in February, and 33 per cent again in March.

The previous version of the guidance, published as DWP’s Work Capability Assessment Handbook in February 2015, included six indicators of “substantial risk”, which were marked “D” for “definitive” – including someone who was currently sectioned, who had active thoughts of suicide, or had had a documented episode of self-harm requiring medical attention in the last 12 months – to show that that person should be placed in the ESA support group.

But the latest edition of the guidance says only that such indicators “might” give rise to a substantial risk in “exceptional circumstances”.

Source: Professors’ silence after DWP waters down their guidance on preventing WCA suicides

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7 thoughts on “Even now, the DWP is pushing sickness benefit claimants toward early graves

  1. jeffrey davies

    all part of the aktion t4 plans it doesnt matter no ones much is listening to the news of the great cull only those affected by it they talk about it in those rooms at the house of ill repute while dwp takes away benefits from those poor souls yes atkion t4 rolling along without much of a ado shamefully jeff3

  2. jeffrey davies

    yet we know its all about culling the stock no matter whot they talk talk talk about it in the siderooms while those poor old souls they attack through benefit denial dies how quaint hay yet we attack their highly trained hcp their unions yet on it goes and complaining to the nurses union youl find atos ther under the guise of kpmg oh dear they all helping but the nurses union will say that kpmg doesnt get involved in nurses complaints yet here is a piece taking off a website This structure in which the Cooperative provides support services only to the member firms is similar to other professional services networks. The member firms provide the services to client. The purpose is to limit the liability of each independent member.[ the liability hmmm yes we become the liability it seems to all jeff3

  3. Brian

    These examples of ‘fiddling’ the figures by adjusting the boundaries of the acceptable are the very manipulations that constitute a corrupt system. Blame in this case lies at the very top. Theresa May, knows whats going on, the book now stops with her, and secondly her lieutenants, she is aware and therefore complicit. Trying to cover their arse’s with company style camouflage will fail. The Government is the final legal entity responsible for these deaths.

  4. Jessie

    As commented below the DNS article, the ‘leading psychiatrist’, Prof Peter White, is head of the discredited PACE trial that claimed that ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) sufferers only needed a mixture of GET (graded exercise therapy) and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to recover.

    This has caused great harm to many with ME, as well as putting up a barrier to any proper medical research in this country into this serious physical condition, which has therefore largely being dismissed as a psychological problem. Consequently, in a clinical setting, someone telling the nurse or doctor that they have ME can most usually expect to get a look of ‘malingerer’.

    Read the comments below the recent Guardian article of Prof Peter White to get a fuller picture :

    … “He doesn’t mention that earlier this month, under court order, he was forced to release his raw data. Analysis of this data shows that chances of being helped by the treatments he is promoting (GET and CBT) are, at best, 10%, and chances of recovery are practically zero…”


    The other ‘leading psychiatrist’, Prof Keith Hawton, has co-authored articles with Simon Wessley, who tells ME sufferers that their mind is misinterpreting what they feel and making it into an illness. It was because of these sort of sicknesses that Unum started deciding they were ‘in the mind’, so that they could deny insurance pay-outs to them.

    Our government of the day, under the right-wing Blair, liked these notions so well that they were introduced here as the biopsychophysiological model, which underlied the introduction of the benefit-removing WCA, where all barriers to employment are caused by the mental attitude of the claimant, who can be better encouraged to improve those attitudes and into work (rarely, for long-term illnesses, in reality available to them) by removing their income.

    These so-called experts, White and Hawton, are actually leaders of Disability Denial, and so it is hardly surprising they have contributed to the watering down of any protections within the WCA.

    Prof Keith Hawton, most ironically, is director of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Suicide Research. Apparently research focused upon and contributing towards more ways of increasing suicide amongst the more vulnerable part of our population.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Very interesting.
      I thought it was Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, though.
      And it’s the Biopsychosocial model, as long-term readers of This Blog will be aware.
      Notwithstanding those two typos, this is very worthwhile information.

Comments are closed.