The life expectancy of people with terminal illnesses has plummeted because they are being denied end-of-life state benefits.
The system is supposed to support people who are expected to live less than six months – but doesn’t.
The Tories demand that doctors provide a note predicting when their patient is likely to die.
But many physicians have been reluctant to make such predictions, or feared their patients’ health could deteriorate more rapidly if they learned they were not expected to survive very long.
The Tory government of the day promised to change the system in 2019, saying it would bring in modifications that would make it easier for people with terminal illnesses to claim their due.
And nothing has happened.
DWP minister Justin Tomlinson has apologised for the delay – which is a fat lot of good for people who could starve to death before their health condition kills them.
He blamed the delay on the Covid-19 crisis – and warned that it is likely to run on for many more months yet.
Let’s just remember what this means:
The image at the top of this article depicts Christine McCluskey, who died in a humiliating way, weighing just three stone, after Tomlinson’s department wrongly ended her benefit claim.
The 61-year-old grandmother had suffered long-term health problems most of her adult life including Crohn’s disease – which left her with a colostomy bag – osteoporosis, arthritis, a stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
This housebound lady had a feeding tube and a painful fistula that leaked through her abdominal wall, she was severely malnourished and was being investigated for a worrying cough at the time the Department for Work and Pensions assessed her for Personal Independence Payment.
The decision: her payments of £117.85 per week were removed and her mobility car was taken away from her.
Weeks later she was diagnosed with terminal cancer but her payments were not restored. She died four months after her benefits were stopped, weighing just three stone.
She was unable to receive fast-track access to PIP that is available for people with terminal illnesses who have less than six months to live, because she was unable to show when she was likely to die.
Recent estimates obtained by Labour MP Jessica Morden have revealed that 7,260 people died as they were waiting for a verdict on their claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or 10 people per day.
Yes, these people were going to die soon anyway.
But the manner of their death tells us whether the United Kingdom under the Conservatives is a civilised country or primitive and barbaric.
And the UK under the Conservatives clearly falls into the latter category: primitive and barbaric.
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