Linda Wootton who had a double heart and lung transplant and died nine days after DWP-Atos stopped her benefits had typed her appeal on an iPad “crying her eyes out” as she lay in hospital bed

Mirror

 By  26 May 2013 00:01 

She was told her employment and support allowance was being stopped as she lay dying in a hospital bed

Dying transplant patient: Linda
Dying transplant patient: Linda
John Alevroyiannis

A double heart and lung transplant patient died just NINE DAYS after the Government stopped her benefits and ordered her to go back to work.

Linda Wootton, 49, was on 10 prescription drugs a day, suffering high blood pressure, renal failure and regular blackouts.

Yet Atos – the private firm carrying out the Government’s controversial work capability assessments – ruled she was fit enough to find a job after she was interviewed.

Cost-cutting officials sent Linda a letter telling her that her £108.05 a week employment and support allowance was being stopped as she lay dying in a hospital bed.

Her husband Peter said:

“I sat there and listened to my wife drown in her own body fluids. It took half an hour for her to die – and that’s a woman who’s ‘fit for work’. The last months of her life were a misery because she worried about her benefits, feeling useless, like a scrounger.

“But there was no way in a million years she could work.”

The Coalition hired Atos to carry out the assessments as part of the welfare cuts. The firm processed almost 20,000 incapacity benefit claimants a week last year… but a third of the people who appealed against its decisions were successful.

Linda also appealed but was rejected despite her history.

She had her first heart and lung transplant in 1985 and ­returned to her council office job. But her body began to reject her new organs and she had another transplant at Harefield Hospital, Middlesex, in 1989.

There were complications and she was given 80 pints of blood in 31 hours of surgery. Afterwards, Linda was never fit enough to go back to work and claimed benefits. Refrigeration engineer Peter, 50, said:

“She would be listless, falling asleep, feeling faint… she had no stamina.”

She collapsed regularly and was in and out of the Harefield specialist heart and lung centre.

Then, three months ago, her employment support allowance was withdrawn under the Govern­ment’s cuts. New rules meant she would have to prove she was ill to Atos assessors.

Peter said Linda found the process humiliating. The assessments, which have also seen some terminal cancer patients denied benefits, have been blasted as arduous and degrading.

Linda’s was at a test centre in Southend, eight miles from her home in Rayleigh, Essex, on January 3.

“She couldn’t even drive herself because she kept feeling faint,”

said Peter, who was not allowed in to support her.

Linda spent just 20 minutes answering questions before the assessor ended the interview. 

She was judged fit for work and her benefit was stopped on February 13. Peter said Linda typed her appeal on an iPad “crying her eyes out” as she lay in hospital chronically ill with a chest infection.

But the Department for Work and Pensions rejected it – and wrote to her on April 16 as she lay dying.  The letter said:

“We have decided that you are not entitled to Employment and Support Allowance because you have been found to be capable of work following your recent Work Capability Assessment.”

Linda was told she would have to “score” at least 15 points from the assessment but her results were nil.

The Atos criteria for ability to work included “You can understand simple messages from a stranger” and “You can use a computer keyboard or mouse and a pen or a pencil with at least one hand.”

On April 22 Peter was called to Harefield.

“I was told Linda’s condition was unsurvivable and she would be dead within two or three weeks,”

he said.

“On April 24 they put her on palliative care. I sat all night with her and her breathing changed next morning.”

Linda died 30 minutes later. More than 100 mourners attended her funeral earlier this month.

While the Atos assessment failed to pinpoint any of Linda’s health issues, her death certificate listed lung and heart problems, hypertension and chronic renal failure as causes.

Peter cannot grieve properly because he is so angry at how Whitehall bureaucrats ruined his wife’s precious last days. He said:

“She paid her tax and national insurance – then she is treated like this. It’s disgusting.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our sympathy goes out to Mrs Wootton’s family.  A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all supporting medical evidence.”

The Daily Mirror

Comments
  • steve davies May 28, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Sadly this very tragic story is not an isolated case but how much longer will this disgusting treatment of sick , disabled and terminally ill continue ?
    I am still very concerned that the opposition party , Labour, is not presenting any form of alternative but are actually “singing from the same hymn sheet ” and promise more benefit cuts.

  • JUDITH ROBINSON May 28, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Doesn’t this shambles just go to show that ATOS assessors or the DWP are not fit to preside over medical evidence or the state of health of a sick person. This is by no means an isolated incident leaving genuine people all over the country worried about how they will survive. This Government make me sick to the stomach, they know this assessment does not work but continue to churn out excuse after excuse and the Labour Government who support this rubbish are no better! The family of this poor woman must be devastated. I hope there is a solicitor out there willing to take this case on against the Government because I’ve no doubt ATOS and the DWP were a contributory factor in making this ladys last days more stressful and miserable than they already were. When will these idiots realise that if a DOCTOR (not some charlatan who hasn’t got a clue) states that someone is unfit for work…that is EXACTLY what they are unfit for work. Unfortunately these biggots evidently think they know better despite the BMA voicing their concerns over and over again!

  • miss carole frost May 28, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Iam utterly disgusted the way the DWP and ATOS treat this poor woman whom was so ill as being assessed as FIT to return to work after life saving surgery.. this government have no morals as to a persons health or disability and illnesses i too suffer disabilities and life threatening illnesses ..this government via iain duncan smith should be all sacked they are not FIT for purpose..they have ripped the heart out of the people we cannot let them destroy the whole of humanity in this country we must all fight to get them out and hold them all to account for the countless deaths they have caused in the last three years of government .

  • wunnell May 28, 2013 at 10:44 am

    they (Atos, DWP, Ian detestable Smith, CSA… etc) are just doing what these “people” always do – go for the weakest/easiest targets… CSA only went after absent fathers whose details they had … DWP and Smith are only going after sick people and “benefit claimants” (0.7% of which are fraudulent according to DWPs own figures) rather than going after the £BILLIONS that the country is being defrauded of in tax from millionaires and corporations. The DWP saves more in underpayments than it actually pays out in fraudulent claims!

  • Laz May 28, 2013 at 11:13 am

    This yet again proves the medical assessment has no bearing on an individuals physical or mental ability to get employment ,hold down a job or be able to function in employment even if they were offered full time employment .This is now even clearer that the tests have been contrived in order to achieve economic targets set purely on a political agenda . Linda Wootton is one of many victims of Murder induced by the cruel & unrealistic pressures placed on her both physically and physiologically ,The evidence speaks for it`s self .This Government is guilty of Cruelty & Democide which is the domestic partner of the better known ethnic cleansing known to all as Genocide . This is a Crime against Humanity under International Law & just part of changes designed to de-humanise ,persecute native groups and in some cases criminalise sections of the public placing the remainder in fear & tight control .The courts of Human Rights must be made aware of this and the Police & Prosecution services must be informed of the Governments Crimes so action can be taken to stop the escalation toward a totalitarian Fascist establishment . It is clear these actions having been approved so easily and ignored despite the ever increasing numbers of victims , are being forced into being by Extremists working their agenda & the highest levels in the land are also a part of these actions .My sincerest condolences to Peter on the loss of his lovely wife Linda . Please people ,see what is really happening and act by bombarding your MP`s & the Police and Prosecution service for action to be taken , tests must stop and those responsible placed on trial for their crimes.

  • Gbarbm May 28, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I have just posted this link on my facebook page; the more people that are made aware of the inhumanity of the ConDems then the less likely they are to get into power at the next election.
    This poor lady and her husband, there is no doubt that human rights were breached…are there no lawyers would would take this on pro bono?

  • Boadacia! May 28, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Not that it will help her and her remaining family, but we can all hope they are sued and shown very publicly to be the most disgusting creatures human-nature can produce!

    This ‘Big Society’ is obviously only for the young and healthy, so there should be a few million very worried about their futures, as they age and become a burden on the state, no matter what one pays in all one’s life, and accepts the lying assurances!

  • Meirion jenkins May 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    This proves the atos assessors,need an assessment ,are they capable or even if they are members of the human race ,i am truly disgusted but aint suprised

  • PAULA May 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    IF YOU GET CALLED IN FOR AN ATOS DEATH SENTENCE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE, YOU MAY AS WELL DO THE SAME TO THEM!

  • Glynn Morgan May 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Enough is Enough its time for The disabled to get tough or in this case the surviving relatives,
    Atos and The DWP are both guilty .
    The names of the “SO CALLED” Health care professional and indeed Decision Maker(s) should be sought by Lindas family and they should be prosecuted along with The Secretary of State

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate May 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Am I The Only One Who Has Not Filled In Or Sent Back the ESA [Default] Claim Form?

    A Unpresidented View Then.

    Defualt ESA Form like trying to get out of a Mobile Contract.

    Try again DWP you are breaking the Data Protection Act, Also I want To Speak To Your DPO [Data Protection Officer] not your little workers.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate May 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    DWP 26th April 2013 – Update To Their Rules Offically – Ministers: IDS, Mark Hoban, De-knigthed Lord Fraud [Lord Freud], Esther McVey MP.

    Don`t deny the updated info you have put on you Gov.UK infomation site.

    In the context of what that means & results [not insults at the ATOS fake medicals] The Word Is Bogus.

    Policy:
    Simplifying the welfare system and making sure work pays !!!

    Supporting detail:

    Improving the Work Capability Assessment

    Anyone claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will have a Work Capability Assessment to assess their capability for work.

    Between October 2010 and spring 2014 anyone receiving Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Income Support paid on the grounds of illness or disability will also have a Work Capability Assessment and move to ESA or other benefits more appropriate to their circumstances.

    The assessment:
    •was developed in consultation with medical and other experts alongside specialist disability groups
    •looks at an individual’s physical and mental capabilities and concentrates on the functional effects of an individual’s condition rather than the condition itself
    •looks at an individual’s ability to work, taking into account the modern workplace and developments in healthcare
    •is based on evidence which shows that work can benefit individuals with health conditions and disabilities and may even help recovery

    & Then Loads of Legal rubbish of 1,400 pages.

    Prognosis: –

    1. •was developed in consultation with medical and other experts alongside specialist disability groups.

    A. False Claim. The medical word you use has no meaning like ATOS`s Medicals. There is no mention of medical Doctors, Medical Staff – Just Like being Clinical, Clinical as a word have no medical qualification back up. Also the disability groups got conned into signing up & then being left in the cold legally because they signed up & are under contract by the DWP.

    •looks at an individual’s physical and mental capabilities and concentrates on the functional effects of an individual’s condition rather than the condition itself.

    Healthcare means you look at physical & mental Health & the way the DWP have put it is that we treat people as individual`[s] like treat idividuals individually to get away from the real matter in back handers. So another false claim – Rather than the condition itself – means we are no liable for your health just money. = A Very bad statement DWP on behalf of ATOS.

    I Also notice while compiling the post here that they don`t use Full Stops At The End Of The Rules & Sentences. Just One Full Stop Will be Fine ………& So On.

    •looks at an individual’s ability to work, taking into account the modern workplace and developments in healthcare

    False Claim. The Modern Workplace has no meaning. Meaning the word itself has no meaning. THE MODERN WORKPLACE a meaningless word. Developments in healthcare does not mean Medical As the DWP manipulates what the word medical means. The BMC have outlawed ATOS medical meaning, meaning they have no medical knowledge just how to manipulate the word medical legally. So another statement not fit for purpose. Next.

    •is based on evidence which shows that work can benefit individuals with health conditions and disabilities and may even help recovery

    False Clain. The DWP are Breaking The Data Protection Act by keeping the false info as truths. The untruths in evidence “CAN” the word would can is a maybe not a fact. MAY yes the month is May like May it really be May, becuse it maybe not be may. NO it`s May 28th 2013.

    I am only putting up the link to prove what the new updated rules are at the DWP – ATOS Death Camps.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/simplifying-the-welfare-system-and-making-sure-work-pays/supporting-pages/improving-the-work-capability-assessment

    What will it take – A death of a disabled person at one of the ATOS medical assassins. Lack Of Care & Responability DWP YES DWP you are the ones liable [Lie Able] to disable ATOS.

    The Offical Wording & Forms Are breaking the DPO & it is the DWP`s Data Protection Officer who is paying £300 an Hour on Lawyer Fees with the tax payers money to cover their backs in Corporate Manslaughter.

    The Government is not fit for purpose = Call A General Election Im media at lately Straight Away media. Now.

    Laws are their to be upheld. The law is made of of logic, otherwise it would be a farse like the DWP`s F** Arse of a leader IDS is now Sacked. That don`t Look Good Does It THINK TANK IDEAS meeting !!

    When it comes down to it they [The Genocide Denial Factories Tories Fact Tories Factories] are very very lazy people that make mistakes time & time again. In fact they [the Genocide Denial Factory] live on mistakes.

    The Onus is on the burden of proof [The Disabled].

  • Qashie James May 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    My heart goes out to Linda’s husband & family. This unelected Government should now be charged with murder and IDS / ATOS Directors / assessors should be placed under arrest asap?

    Peter both you & Linda paid in to the system through your working lives, but the heartless DWP / ATOS should now be made accountable for Linda’s death and no buts.

  • David Moynagh May 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Why do the people of this country let this government away with causing untold misery and suicides amongst our sick and disabled. We are no better than the population of nazi germany who denied knowledge of the concentration camps and the horrors within them. We must do something quickly to stop this genocide in our own country.

  • duncan a. smith May 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    so the DWP reckon that “A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all supporting medical evidence.”? Utter codswallop! A couple of years ago I had to undergo an assessment and included reports from my psychologist and GP stating that there was NO WAY that I was fit for work due to having been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome (the diagnosis was also included). The result? Fit for work and no points. Isn’t it funny then that my appeals took one look and immediately overturned it? Maybe it’s because they DO NOT take medical evidence into consideration?

  • linda May 29, 2013 at 12:20 am

    disgusting unethical people

  • Annos May 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    “Unemployed Texans will now have to pass drug screening to get benefits”

    http://now.msn.com/texas-oks-drug-tests-for-unemployment-benefits-but-not-welfare

  • ephemerol9 May 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    To duncan a smith – nice to see another Asperger shame about the circumstances – CAB in Fakenham is very helpful and knowledgeable re aspergers/autism but don’t know where you live.On mental health resistance network is activist list(ask them for details) some aspergers/otherwise helpful people there who can give real existing sources of help not just generic out of date stuff.forums like aspies for freedom/aspergernauts run by and for auties,you probably knowthat most/all funded orgs are useless aT BEST.aspies die(or top themselves) too because of whats happening,unfortunately not new as I was ignored/hd no one read diagnosis/GP report etc 13 years ago.lucky someone liked me enough to fight it out with various orgs that lied repeatedly,friend of mine wasn’t so lucky two years or so ago, all the best ephemerol9 PS is there any way of prosecuting so called disability orgs as well as DWP/Govt/Atos etc if deaths/suicides are caused by deliberate actions inc.misinformation?

  • Sue May 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Just how “thorough” do you think that assessment was? She would have had a lot of supporting medical evidence. I call for the assessing doctor to be hauled up before the General Medical Council to explain himself/herself with a view to being STRUCK OFF when the evidence is heard.

    • Andy Pandy June 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      I agree whole heartedly with you. Any doctor who could assess this poor lady and find her fit for work is a very dangerous individual and should be suspended from practicing medicine with immediate effect so the the GMC can look into this case and protect others from this charlatan.
      Said doctor should be named to allow all potential patients the choice of a consultation with this obviously uncaring and ignorant person.

  • Sue May 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Sounds like gross incompetence and willful negligence to me. The doctor can’t by any stretch of the imagination be found fit to practice. S/he is endangering patients and must not be allowed to practice as a doctor, with immediate effect.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS May 30, 2013 at 9:58 am

    A REPLY FROM DWP FROM A RECENT FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST ASKING WHAT BODIES RECOGNISE AN ATOS HCPs QUALIFICATIONS TO DO EXAMINATIONS ON CLAIMANTS…..

    Dear Mr Reynolds,
    Freedom of Information Act – Request for Information
    Our Reference: FoI 2207

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 13 May 2013.

    You asked:

    Recently i asked which organisations recognised the ATOS HCP Qualifications, in your reply you
    sent this: The Registered Nurse New Entrant Academy is recognised and has received
    accreditation from the University of Derby. Please highlight all the organisations who recognise it,
    apart from Derby University, who issued it in the first place? Please let me know if you need more
    time to collate the list…………..
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.

    Atos HCP is not a recognised qualification. It should be noted that health care professionals who
    work for Atos are qualified and registered with their respective medical bodies.

    Yours sincerely

    Business Management Team
    Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)
    Reply

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate June 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    “Atos are qualified and registered with their respective medical bodies.”

    Still not answered the question of who are “their respective medical bodies” ?

  • vivienne fletcher June 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I had my triple bypass last July and have been gradually improving but taking 6 tablets per day and suffering from diabetes type 2. I scored 0 points with the group who don’t give ATOS. I am 61years and 5 months and still suffering from numb and tingly fingers constantly, plus tiredness on an intermittent basis. How do I appeal?

  • You must be logged in to comment. Log in
%d bloggers like this: