Category Archives: Inquest

Jodey Whiting had an incurable condition. Why did the DWP try to force her into a benefit reassessment?

Death by DWP: Jodey Whiting.

This is a good question – triggered in This Writer’s mind by a reference to a different case.

Please read the following Twitter thread, which was prompted by a tweet referring to the death of DWP benefit claimant Philippa Day:

Yes, why does the DWP force people with incurable or terminal conditions to prove that they still have a lifelong disability or are still dying?

Reading those words, I thought about Jodey Whiting. She had a number of disabilities, including scoliosis which – as far as I can tell – is an incurable condition that requires constant treatment for the length of the sufferer’s life. If untreated, it could be life-threatening.

So it was pointless to demand that she attend a work capability assessment, because it was impossible for her condition to have improved. It could only worsen.

There is an argument that a WCA could take place to ascertain whether a claimant’s payments should increase – but that cannot be used as justification in Ms Whiting’s case because her benefits were stopped.

The DWP’s Green Paper on Disability, released in July this year (2021), acknowledges that it is pointless to keep reassessing people with lifelong and/or terminal conditions and proposes the creation of a Severe Disability Group (SDG). People put in this group would not have to face reassessment.

If the DWP is admitting that it is unreasonable for people with lifelong conditions to face constant reassessment now, then it would also be unreasonable to suggest that they should have faced constant reassessment in February 2017, when Ms Whiting took her own life.

Strangely, this does not seem to have been considered by the High Court when it rejected an appeal for a second inquest into Ms Whiting’s death, last month (October).

I wonder why the court did not consider that the absence of necessity for the assessment that led to Ms Whiting’s benefits being cut was a material consideration in her case.

There’s now a second appeal for another inquest. Perhaps the point could be made this time around?

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Fresh application lodged for second Jodey Whiting inquest. What does the DWP have to hide?

Death by DWP: Jodey Whiting.

A second application has been lodged for permission to appeal against a decision not to allow a second inquest into the death of Jodey Whiting.

Mother Joy Dove has made the application after an earlier attempt was refused by the High Court on October 11.

The High Court had previously found that new evidence that had been discovered since the first inquest did not require a fresh inquest to be held in the interests of justice.

Ms Whiting died in February 2017 after the DWP withdrew her benefits for not attending a Work Capability Assessment.

At the time of the assessment, she was housebound with pneumonia after having been in hospital, and had found out that she had a cyst on the brain.

The permission to appeal application is brought on the grounds the High Court was wrong in that finding, and that it was also wrong to find that Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, the right to life, was not engaged by the circumstances of Ms Whiting’s death.

Ms Dove said:

“It seems to me that there were obvious failings in the way the DWP treated Jodey, which were proved and documented by the Independent Case Examiner, and it is ridiculous that this has not been fully and publicly investigated.

“How can lessons be learned, and future tragedies prevented, if no one examines this properly?”

Merry Varney, of law firm Leigh Day added:

“The possible link between the DWP making repeated errors in the handling of Jodey’s welfare benefits claim shortly before her death, which left her without income, housing benefit and council tax benefit, and her death has never been publicly investigated.

“Having obtained the Attorney-General’s permission to apply to the High Court for a second inquest, it is disappointing the High Court rejected our client’s application on all grounds and we hope the Court of Appeal will allow her the opportunity to overturn this decision.”

Ms Whiting took her own life on February 21, 2017, after being told that her Employment and Support Allowance payments would stop, along with associated Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit payments, because she had not attended a work capability assessment.

Ms Varney, commenting on the case earlier, had said: “Jodey had requested a home visit for the WCA as she rarely left the house because of her severely poor health. She suffered multiple physical and mental health difficulties, took 23 tablets a day and was entirely dependent on welfare benefits.

“She had made in clear in her request for a home WCA that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

“After Jodey’s death, an inquest was held three months later, 24 May, 2017, which lasted less than an hour. The coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP and their acts or omissions in Jodey’s death. Jodey’s family were unrepresented and were unaware that they may have been entitled to publicly funded legal representation.

“After the inquest a report by an Independent Case Examiner concluded that the DWP had made multiple significant errors in how it treated Jodey. Some of the failings had not been known to Jodey’s family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of Jodey’s benefits.

“The opinion of an independent Consultant psychiatrist, sought by Jodey’s family, confirmed that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on Jodey’s mental state at the time she took her own life.

“Joy argues that the manner in which Jodey was treated by the DWP, and in particular the withdrawal of her ESA, caused or materially contributed to her death and that, had this not occurred, Jodey’s death would not have occurred when it did.”

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Inquest hears nursing home resident died ‘dehydrated and malnourished’

Inquest: Dorothea Hale.

This not only raises questions about social care in the UK, but also about the deaths of others for whom the authorities have a duty of care.

Dorothea Hale, it is alleged, suffered neglect at a Welsh nursing home where she had been admitted after suffering two strokes that left her entirely paralysed down one side of her body.

In a stay of around four months, she developed dehydration, malnourishment and pressure sores before being transferred to hospital due to fast-declining health, where she died, aged 75.

The inquest is ongoing so we have yet to hear the coroner’s verdict on the cause of her death.

It featured in Operation Jasmine, a police investigation into the neglect of elderly residents at several care homes in south Wales.

That inquiry lasted nearly a decade and cost £11.6 million, with detectives examining 63 deaths potentially caused or abetted by inadequate healthcare treatment.

The suggestion of failures in social care indicate that reform is desperately needed – and has indeed been promised by successive Tory governments for many years, although we have yet to hear a single policy proposal.

Here’s my question:

If 63 deaths in social care can lead to a lengthy – and costly – inquiry, why do 150 deaths in the benefit system not merit the same treatment?

Source: Welsh nursing home resident ‘died after becoming dehydrated and malnourished’ | The Independent

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What will the DWP do if a coroner says this mum died because her benefits were cut?

Inquest: did Philippa Day take her own life in despair after benefit assessment provider Capita cut her benefits and demanded that she attend an assessment centre – which was impossible due to her disability?

We’ve been here before, I think. As I recall, coroners tend to back away from criticising the Department for Work and Pensions when disabled benefit claimants die.

But – again, as I recall – questions have been asked about the validity of such inquests after claims were made that some of the relevant evidence was omitted.

This time, it seems very thorough preparations are being made to prevent this from happening; several pre-inquest reviews have been held to discuss the case of Philippa Day.

The mother, from Mapperley, Nottingham, is believed to have taken her own life after a long struggle to have her benefits restored.

When her Disability Living Allowance was converted to the new Personal Independence Payment in January 2019, the government slashed the amount she received from £228 per week to £60.

The most recent pre-inquest hearing centred on discussions between Ms Day, the DWP and private assessment provider company Capita before her death, and the decisions about her benefits that followed.

It seems Capita had demanded that she must attend an assessment centre in person – an impossibility due to her ill-health.

Ms Day was admitted to hospital in August last year – in a coma, according to her family. She never revived and died in October 2019, aged just 27.

The full inquest is due to take place in January.

Let’s hope it makes more sense than some others we have heard recently.

Source: Coroner to examine death of Mapperley mum who died after her benefits were cut – Nottinghamshire Live

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