The Huffington Post UK | Posted: 31/08/2012 15:16 Updated: 31/08/2012 15:21
A woman who had her benefits cut after it was it was judged she was fit to work has died.
Cecilia Burns, who was suffering from cancer, began an appeal against the assessment by government contractor Atos in February.
Her benefits were returned just a few weeks go. She died on Monday, reported the BBC.
The death of Ms Burns came on the last day of a week long protest by disability and anti-cuts campaigners outside Atos’ offices and the Department of Work and Pensions, both in London.
The protesters blockaded the doors of the DWP, demonstrating over the IT giant’s sponsorship of the Paralympic Games while accusing the government of hypocrisy. Many campaigners are claiming the DWP and Atos now have “blood on their hands.”
Disability activists claim their clampdown on disability benefits is simply a money-saving exercise by the Department of Work and Pensions, who have contracted Atos to conduct “work capability assessments”.
According to The Independent, more than 40 medical practitioners working for the company have been reported to regulators the General Medical Council.
Disability activists delivered a coffin to Atos’ London headquarters on Wednesday. They claim docking the benefits of those who need them most has driven many disability sufferers into poverty, depression and even suicide.
Ms Burns from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland told the BBC in March that she had her benefits cut to £30 a week despite still receiving treatment for cancer. Her course of treatment was set to end in December.
She described the medical test as a “joke” and said she was disgusted by her experiences. She told the BBC she felt “that I don’t count, I don’t matter”.
In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph Atos said: “We do not make decisions on people’s benefit entitlement or on welfare policy but we will continue to make sure that the service that we provide is as highly professional and compassionate as it can be.
“We do this through a constant programme of training and education for our staff, a rigorous recruitment process for healthcare professionals and through continual work with the government, disability rights groups, healthcare professionals and those going through the process on the ground.”
2 thoughts on “Cecilia Burns Dead: Benefits Campaigner, Who Appealed Against ‘Fit To Work’ Report By Atos, Dies ~ Huffington Post”
There appears to be a D-notice on the matter of protests against Atos and the DWP. The government are so cowardly they hide behind a French company and a media blackout in order to get ‘their evil way’. Cameron, Grayling, Duncan Smith and Miller are the disengenious names that are continuing the oppression of disabled people from where Labour left off. It is a campaign with a bigger agenda – to remove the welfare state from existence. In much the same way the NHS is being dismantled the government are using the economic situation for their own ends. It translates that disabled people, the unemployed, the poor, council house tenants etc have caused the crisis and therefore need to be punished. Meanwhile the rich get tax breaks and the banks still get bonuses. After all the rich need incentives to work – the poor need a kicking!!
I loathe these people with a vengence. They are despicable people with selfish agendas. They are the ones with a sense of entitlement – the believe they were born to inherit OUR WEALTH. f it means they have to muder disabled people under the guise of offering help – they will. This is WAR
These despicable politicians have no idea what life is like living on benefits. I’d like them to live my life for a few months to determine for themselves whether or not I am fit for work. Instead I am summoned to have an assessment in spite of having an indefinite award of DLA and despite my GP being absolutely sure that i am simply not fit for work. I may be able to do something on the day of an assessment but to have to do that all day 5 or 6 days a week is ridiculous.
We must fight on or die that’s the only choice we have here!!!