‘Abolish this harmful work capability test’ ~ Black Triangle’s Letter Published in The Guardian

Letters to The Guardian

Published Tuesday 3rd July 2012

You report on a clearly very unwell man who had been found fit for work following a work capability assessment (Report, 30 June). He then attempted self-immolation, and our thoughts go out to him and his friends and family. The Department for Work and Pensions asserts that its “internal figures do not suggest a rise in such incidents in recent months”. But there is no official reporting mechanism from either primary or secondary care, social work or the third sector for such events.

Michael Marmot, a world expert in public health epidemiology, last week stated that we are in “a public health emergency … if you look across Europe at unemployment rates, a 1% rise in unemployment in a country is associated with a 0.8% rise in suicides”. According to the Campaign for a Fair Society, 25% of the cuts are falling disproportionately on 3% of the population, namely sick and/or disabled people in receipt of state support. The true figure for self-harm and attempted suicide among benefit claimants may be somewhat higher than the DWP statement would have us believe. Its statement lacks any credibility. The WCA is a harmful process and this is why the BMA has demanded its end with immediate effect. Is it not time that the workforce administering the WCA adopts a similar position?

Dr Stephen Carty Member and medical adviser, Black Triangle Campaign, John McArdle Founding member, Black Triangle Campaign,Linda Burnip, Debbie Jolly and Elinor Lisney Co-founders, Disabled People Against CutsBill Scott Chief executive, Inclusion Scotland,Steven Preece Social Welfare Union, Helen Martin Journalist, Maria RudIan McDougal Senior psychiatric charge nurse Dr D J MacIntyre MRCPsych, Tracy Lazard, Inclusion London

The Guardian

Jane Russell July 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

‘Interesting to see the line The Department for Work and Pensions asserts that its “internal figures do not suggest a rise in such incidents in recent months”, but on this Freedom of Information Request, they are told that no such data is held by the DWP. Trying to hide the truth perhaps?’

See also this FoI Request : 

Comments
  • stella hawker July 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    i think that the rate in suicides going up explains more than any words can !!

  • Jane Russell July 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Interesting to see the line The Department for Work and Pensions asserts that its “internal figures do not suggest a rise in such incidents in recent months”, but on http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/suicide_and_attempted_suicide_du?unfold=1#incoming-149297 when asked this as an Freedom of Information request, they are told that no such data is held by the DWP. Trying to hide the truth perhaps??

  • kasbah July 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    So pleased this has been published in The Guardian. We need all the publicity we can get-yet it seems it is by far mainly The Guardian who will publish on WCA, Workfare, ATOS etc. Hmmm wonder why that is?!

  • Beebs July 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Barbaric, this should be stopped. Internationals news agencies should be contacted, ethical internet radio such as Democracy Now & PRN in the US, Al_Jazeera and more. Its unacceptable….Perhaps, those who are ill, forced to work, should film and broadcast it on all social netowrk, this can’t be allowed to continue.

  • Sue July 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Its bad enough being in chronic pain, without the constant stress of ATOS Assessment, and then waiting 10 months for an appeal to be heard. Brief elation of winning appeal soon dashed by Contribution based ESA ending and benefit cut to £53 pw. Then to top it all being recalled for another ATOS assessment. I am a single parent who has worked for over 40 years prior to my disablility. If it wasn’t for my children I would kill myself because the stress on top of all the pain is too much to bear.

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