Dorset family man whose leg was obliterated by heavy machinery in outcry against cut off of his disability benefit

Published in The Western Gazette – West Dorset, Thursday, July 26, 2012

A SELF-EMPLOYED lorry driver from Crewkerne whose leg was obliterated by heavy machinery claims his disability benefit has been cut off before he is able to go back to work.

FAMILY APPEAL: Ashley Rousell of Crewkerne who badly injured his leg is appealing against a decision to stop his Employment Support Allowance. He is pictured with his wife, Claire and children Jamie, 10, Rae, 2 and Anthony, 3. Picture by Jennie Banks.

Ashley Rousell, 36, of Lang Road watched as the bone in his left leg was forced out through his skin when he was hit from behind by a 360 excavator vehicle.

He has been claiming employment and support allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) since the incident at Mosterton in October.
 
Mr Rousell recently underwent a medical assessment which has deemed him fit to return to work and therefore ineligible for further benefits. 
 
But he is appealing the decision because he still cannot drive a lorry and does not think he will be any use in an office job.
 
He said: “I was driving a lorry and tipping some mud out of the back. I got out of the lorry to help direct another driver reversing and suddenly felt an almighty bang in the back of my leg.
 
“My foot was at a right angle to my leg and two bones had been pushed through the front. I sustained fractures to my tibia and fibula and had to have my leg manipulated back into place.

“I had to have a seven-and-a-half hour operation where they put a surgical nail down through my leg and pin it in with screws.

“I am still on crutches and in constant pain which I have to take tablets for.”

Mr Rousell has sought the advice of his MP David Laws on the matter. He also said his GP believes he should appeal the DWP assessment.

Mr Rousell said if the appeal is unsuccessful he will try to find work in another field, but he does not know how much use he can be.

He said: “I pay taxes and when I need some help I come up against a brick wall. I’m not a lazy person and I hate being off work, but now I need help I’m getting treated badly.

“All I want to do is be given enough time to recover and start driving again. I paid £2,500 to get all the licences I needed and it is my livelihood. I am unable to drive a lorry until my leg is better because the clutch is too heavy.

“I’m not trained for any other sort of work. I’m not sure if any employer would be too thrilled about taking on someone who has to leave for physiotherapy appointments or who can’t stay sat down for more than an hour.

“I’ve got three kids and a wife to support and need the help right now.”

A spokesman from the Department for Work and Pensions said Mr Rousell would not have to change jobs permanently and could find a work programme which would allow him to keep medical appointments.

The spokesman said: “We are reforming the welfare system to ensure no one is left trapped on benefits. If someone can no longer do the job they used to do, the Work Capability Assessment looks at what other kinds of work they may be able to do.

“People who are too sick or disabled will receive our unconditional support and those who are able to work will get the help they need to find a new job. Anyone who disagrees with their assessment can appeal and present further evidence.”

This is Somerset

Comments
  • kasbah July 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Another merciless decision and another example of doublepseak: in fact they are reforming the welfare system to ensure that everyone is trapped in poverty without benefits.

    They make me sick. I sincerely hope you win your appeal Mr. Rousell.

  • Sharon root July 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Don’t let them kick the fight out of you! you’ll never recover fully if you let them get to you .
    its hardly surprising we all end up on anti depressants even strong people cant cope with the barrage of crap from the DWP

  • jeffery davies July 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    A spokesman from the Department for Work and Pensions said Mr Rousell would not have to change jobs permanently and could find a work programme which would allow him to keep medical appointments. whoppie he can work for free with one of their bosses firms who award themselves vast amount of money like 8.6million and the mockery of it goes on and on dwp minister should be put up against a wall and shot for his wanton act of treating the sick and disabled by this firm atos who each day drive more to their deaths jeff3

  • PennyL July 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    This decision is likely to delay his recovery and re-training. If he has been assessed as fit for work he will not be eligible for the “work-related activities” group for people needing up to a year of the help the DWP say he needs. It is also likely that the Job Centre will say they cannot help him. I hope he wins his appeal and gets the right sort of help when he is physically ready.
    Many strong painkillers are labelled “do not drive or operate machinery” does the assessment process take account of this ?

  • Elaine Tilby July 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I like how they say a placement can be found to fit around his needs – what a load of codswallop…………when I finally got pushed over my tipping point 6 years ago, I tried to return, but things just got worse and ther is now no going back ………… I was told to change a hospital consultants appointment because the consultant was running late ……… when I went back after first meltdown, my GPs were contacting me weekly because my employer had promised I would only have to go back part time but didnt change my hours so one tuesday, when the GP I normally had a phone consult was off, the receptionist phoned me and said that I needed to pop in for 10 mins for some checks before my next lot of scrips and to make sure I was coping ……….. my employer tried to make me change this so I told the other GP, the head GP at the surgery and he wrote a very nasty letter back to my employers re disability and illness and employers responsibilities ………… I was moved within the week and my hours were reduced.

    At that time, the new manager had also just been long term sick so she was quite good, but then another manager was appointed and, despite it being in my cantract that I was there to cover tills (frontline bank staff) and nothing more, she got me to trick people to fill in their details saying it was for a competition when in fact they were cold calling about mortgages – needless to say this went against everything I believed in and made me even more unstable.

    I also have physical probs (which are now much worse) that they were made aware of and this same boss ordered me to move a coin trolly whose freewheel catch had caught (she told me – with a substantial visible scoliosis and limblength differentia to “put my back in to it”), and then the following week, after I refused point blank she told me on friday that I was to work on the saturday and come in first thing on the Monday, despite the agreement that because my illness was so exhausting and debilitiating (and it is much more so now), I was to be notified well in advance of saturday working and to be given a clear 2 day break if I had done 5 days before and been ordered to do the saturday.

    On the monday I was so unwell I couldnt stop crying, shaking, trembling and falling over with exhaustion and my whole body ached ………. I was told to just get on with it when I actually tripped (this was long before I needed to use crutches) and struggled to get up, got met with a loud tutt…………….I went back to my surgery tuesday morning with a self induced friction burn as an emergency and they were absolutely horrified – I was immediately signed off for 3 months, but never went back because I was pushed over a non returnable edge and over the years have just got steadilly worse – we now know that my very long standing depressive symptoms were actually part of bipolar disorder which now is very rapid cycling and mixed state, and both my physical and mental health have deteriorated wildly since then.

    There are many others like me who no one in their right mind would employ for insurance reasons or any other reason because I now have to live day to day and any day that I manage to do anything, the effort knocks me back for three days at least where I cannot get up, I suffer disorientating dizzy spell etc (both meds induced and the illnesses) and I am getting worse, along with other problems I am now under a consultant at a hospital for.

    This madness has to stop – my heart goes out to man in the article – I can only imagine the amount of pain he must be in and the serious fallout of the pain and the meds used to help cope with it, never mind the possibly years of physio he will have to endure.

  • DAVID A SHAW July 28, 2012 at 6:16 am

    The very reason ATOS and the DWP as well as this right wing neo-fascist government must be brought to book through the court case. All three must be stopped in their track as they have lost site of their reason for existence. Because of this the first must be kicked out of the country, the second must be reformed so that they are ‘ fit for purpose’ and not just the lapdog of the government , and lastly the people behind all this must be removed from office. We must NEVER elect a Tory government in this country again.

  • Humanity2012 July 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Cruel Vicious Evil and Symbolic of Tory Millionaire Tyranny UK

    How much more Suffering does there have to be before People Wake Up

    Forget the Olympics Social Justice is more Important

    I Agree there must NEVER be a Tory Regime in Office again

    One wishes the ” Official Opposition ” was an Opposition Not just a Dummy Show

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