Birmingham dad dies of heart condition after being ruled ‘fit for work’

Paul Turner and the letter informing him he was considered fit to work


By Anuji Varma, Birmingham Mail, 4th July 2012

A BIRMINGHAM dad died from a serious heart condition – weeks after Government assessors stopped his benefits and ruled he was fit for work.

Paul Turner, 52, from Erdington, was ordered to find a job in February following a medical review with doctors.

But he died on April 2 from ischaemic heart disease – caused, his family claim, by the stress of losing his benefits.

The dad-of-one was medically retired from his job as a stores manager for West Midlands Travel in 2000 after he suffered a heart attack. He later had to undergo a double bypass because of the condition.

Mr Turner, who also had angina, was claiming around £400 per month incapacity benefit until he was called in for a review at the Midlands Disability Benefits Centre in Five Ways in January.

Three weeks later he received a letter stating he was not entitled to the new Employment and Support Allowance, the controversial new payment that has replaced Incapacity Benefit.

On April 2 Mr Turner flew to France for a short family holiday with his wife and teenage son. Later that evening he suffered heart failure and died.

His death certificate recorded the cause as ischaemic heart disease, a condition which also cost the lives of his father and grandfather.

Mr Turner’s widow was too upset to speak about the case, but she is continuing his appeal to prove he was unfit for work.

But his devastated mum Sheila, 76, said: “We believe the claim he was fit to work brought on his death. He was very upset and worried that he would fail any medical given to him by a potential employer.

“He also thought the officials believed he was a fraud who should not have been claiming this benefit in the first place.

“But Paul was a very proud man. He was entitled to claim more through the system, but he didn’t.”

During the medical assessment Mr Turner’s family claim he did not undergo any physical tests, which could have picked up problems with his heart.

Mum-of-three Sheila added: “The observations of the healthcare professional were based on dialogue as the only two tests performed involved Paul either sitting in a chair or kneeling on a chair.

“They just asked questions about how long he could sit for, and looked at his back and hips.

“When Paul was told of the decision he was distraught. He didn’t know how he would explain the 12-year gap of not working to any employers. And he was worried about what people would think.”

Last night, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our sympathy goes out to Mr Turner’s family during what is obviously a very difficult time.

‘‘The work capability assessment is just that – an assessment of what, if any, work a person could undertake.

‘‘Jobcentre Plus decision makers look at all available information, including any medical evidence, to support their claim.”

The Birmingham Mail


7 thoughts on “Birmingham dad dies of heart condition after being ruled ‘fit for work’

  1. kasbah says:

    Another avoidable tragedy. How many more? My heart goes out to his family and may he rest in peace. how about a protest outside the ATOS centre that carried out his spurious “assessment”?

  2. Sue says:

    RIP Paul, my thoughts go out to your family. It is clear that the stress caused by the ATOS asssessment was to blame. Are there any solicitors out there who could take on cases such as this with a view to bring a manslaughter charge against ATOS and the DWP?

  3. sue mccafferty says:

    I agree with Sue above; surely there must be some lawyers who specialise in disability case law or human rights law who are prepared to formulate a case or even a class action against the Dwp and/or Atos? There was a guy on the news, Mike Charles who works for a law firm in Cardiff..anyone got any ideas? The time has surely come for a serious challenge to all this before more people die.

  4. jeffrey davies (@jeffrey33333) says:

    just like him i find myself back in hospital with my blackouts again promised they would be stopped with pacemaker fitted 3mnths down the line find myself back in four 2and a bit days having machine paced once again but do i blackout again as now im in wrag with no dla stopped bad news friday it looks like reason im fit for work who do these morran s talk to so thats esa cut to 32.20p and no dla whult emmas 8.6millions reasons to still screw the system where do the sick go the funeral pyre do we form ques and look happy as this is whot happen in britain today kick us and we bleed also just like you jeff3

  5. Humanity2012 says:

    Heartbreaking News and all because of a Tory Tyrant Tosser Millionaire Plastic
    Puppet Regime

    It is the Millionaire Politicians who are the Scroungers

    The Way to Scrap this Bureaucratic Poppycock is by the Abolition of the Current
    Political System and the Divide and Rule Circus of Political Parties

    We Live in an Effective Dictatorship called a ” Parliamentary Democracy ” and
    People Need to Bloody Wake Up and Protest Not Alcoholise every Friday and
    Saturday Night

    No More Disabled People Dying because of the Vicious Policies of an Millionaire
    Scum Dictatorship Get the Tories Out Now

  6. Humanity2012 says:

    The UK is to Quote a Soviet Dissident a Sick Society

    Disabled and Poor People are Harrassed by a Millionaire Scum Regime too Alien
    for Planet Mars and whilst the Disabled and Poor Suffer Mindless and Moralless
    Boneheads go out and Get Drunk every Friday and Saturday Night when they ahould
    be Demonstrating DAILY for Redistribution of Wealth from Rich to Poor in Defence
    of the Poor and Vulnerable and For the Arrogant Abysmal ConDemazi Scum to
    Leave Office

    There Bloody Well is Money to Provide for Welfare for those who Need It it is
    Just Wasted upon Nuclear Weapons the ” Royal ” Family’s Life of Privilege and Luxury
    Politician Scum in Westminster the Brussels Gravytrain of the EU and the Diabolical
    War in Afghanistan as well as upon Rubbish like the ” Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations ”

    I am Sick of In Justice of Oppression and Misery in the UK and Want to See Real
    Change for the Better Not one Arrogant Politicians taking another Arrogant Politician’s

    For Things to Get Better they have to Stop Getting Worse every Day because too
    Many People Fiddle whilst Rome Burns

    It will Only be a Worse Diabolical State if the Present Political Cuckooland Situation
    Carries On Forever

    We Need a Constitution that Provides for the Protection of the Poor and Vulnerable
    Now and that is More Important than Alcohol TV Football and Immoral Tabloids

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