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 Cuts, Bill Scott Chief executive, Inclusion Scotland,Steven Preece Social Welfare Union, Helen Martin Journalist, Maria Rud, Ian McDougal Senior psychiatric charge nurse Dr D J MacIntyre MRCPsych, Tracy Lazard, Inclusion London
‘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 :