IDS may have been responsible for around 80 deaths a month, according to todays news

(17 Posts)
GlitteringGrass Fri 28-Aug-15 00:55:49

Does the dissmivness of DWP regarding this shocking news indicate that any attempt to dissociate the Torys from Nasty are futile? Surely a neutral or cynical of all parties person (such as I) would have at the very least call them the Callous Party, for both the policy, the outcome, the attempts at obsification and the effort to downplay the relevance of these statistics?

Isitmebut Fri 28-Aug-15 11:14:09

A Conservative Party political stereotype for years as they always have to clean up Labour's mess, BUT it appears, over a period of two years, 2,380 people died within 14 days of being taken off Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because they were declared 'fit to work' by a controversial assessment process.

Personally I can't understand why this 14-day link, unless it was suicide.

The 'government downplay' you refer to goes as follows; A DWP spokesman said: "The mortality rate for people who have died while claiming an out-of-work benefit has fallen over a 10-year period. This is in line with the mortality rate for the general working-age population."

Which does sound a bit 'sterile', but lets look at why the Labour stereotypical name is 'incompetent', as this was another department handed over to the Conservative coalition in 2010, that after 13-years of problems building up, was not 'fit for purpose' and needed urgent reforms - whether we were importing labour to cover open UK jobs, Labour left a UK £153 billion annual government overspend, or not.

”900,000 choose to come off sickness benefit ahead of tests”

”Nearly 900,000 people who were on incapacity benefit dropped their claim to the payments rather than undergo a tough medical test, latest government figures show.”
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9963012/900000-choose-to-come-off-sickness-benefit-ahead-of-tests.html

”The 878,300 who decided not to have an official assessment of whether they were fit for work was more than a third of the total number of people claiming sickness-related benefits.”

”The statistics also revealed that some claimants cited conditions such as “blisters”, “sprains and strains” and “acne” as preventing them from having a job.”

”More than 46,120 people claimed incapacity benefit because of “behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol” while 29,130 claimants cited drug use.”

”Ministers will hit back in the row over welfare this week by publishing a raft of figures which they say show that tough measures - or the threat of them - are already “changing behaviour” by seeing people drop their claims.”

^”These include the figures on incapacity benefit. As well as the 878,300 who chose to drop their claims, another 837,000 who did take the a medical test were found to be fit to work immediately, while a further 367,300 were judged able to some level of work.

”Only 232,000 (one in eight of those tested) were classified by doctors to be too ill to do any sort of job.”

While no numbers excuse, I wonder if any of those that died were in the higher risk group, as no one can predict when anyone is going to die from bad health, especially substance abuse.

TheSpectator Fri 28-Aug-15 12:02:03

Who can say how many would have died anyway.

It's absurd to blame the DWP for every death and even more absurd to place the blame on IDS who obviously did not personally make the decision to remove benefits from each individual.

HermioneWeasley Fri 28-Aug-15 12:07:05

I don't think we can have a view unless we understand normal mortality rates among this particular demographic.

blaeberry Fri 28-Aug-15 12:11:44

I think you have this completely the wrong way round. The problem is that 80 people a month who are at deaths door are found fit to work. Not that being found fit to work caused their deaths. Of course, people die unexpectedly every day so it is fair enough to designate a good proportion of these as fit. The real question is is the assessment process good enough to identify people who are too poorly to work?

blaeberry Fri 28-Aug-15 12:16:05

Just to clarify - when I said fair enough to designate a good proportion as fit I mean that fact they died within two weeks doesn't by itself make them unfit to work.

blaeberry Fri 28-Aug-15 12:17:24

Or rather the fact they died didn't by itself make the original decision wrong. When they are dead they are obviously unfit to work!

Alfieisnoisy Fri 28-Aug-15 12:24:18

A friend of mine works for ATOS (or whoever has taken over). The problem is that the decisions are made by non medically qualified "decision makers" with access only to the questionnaire that the nurses complete. My friend says the computer questionnaire gives several options for answers and it's hard to go off this.
She gets round it by sending in extra notes and says sometimes she can swing it for the client.

The fact the decision maker has no medical qualification is what's disgraceful.

My friend was found "fit for work", three weeks later she was found dead at home (aged 47) from her underlying heart condition. But make no mistake she was deemed "fit for work".

I doubt very much that when the propaganda people are leaking their "look at all these scroungers who are actually fit for work" numbers to the media, they take the time to say "ooh we got that one wrong, better take that one off the numbers".

So yes my friend was "fit for work", at least until she died hmmangry

Isitmebut Fri 28-Aug-15 12:26:42

blaeberry .... re your following;
"The real question is is the assessment process good enough to identify people who are too poorly to work?"

I fully agree, as IF government contributed to the mortality rate, this is where any blame will be found, especially if indeed any contracted idjuts hadn't worked out that if close to passing on, they were unfit to work.

Gunpowderplot Fri 28-Aug-15 12:30:54

ATOS clearly had an agenda - to reduce the number of people on sickness benefits as much as they could remotely justify. It would be interesting to see a leak of the business terms agreed with ATOS - I bet that they got paid more the more people they took off sickness benefits.

AbeSaidYes Fri 28-Aug-15 13:19:23

"Personally I can't understand why this 14-day link, unless it was suicide."

suicide doesn't have to be the link, a valid link would be that these people were just so ill that despite being declared fit-to-work they were actually at death's door/dying

blaeberry Fri 28-Aug-15 13:37:23

But as someone up thread said, without knowing normal mortality rates you can't really draw any conclusions. It is possible that this figure is lower than the normal population death rate. (Have no idea if it is).

Isitmebut Fri 28-Aug-15 14:12:20

”More than 46,120 people claimed incapacity benefit because of “behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol” while 29,130 claimants cited drug use.”

Potentially a self induced but unexpected binge, for some, might be considered suicide - and that is speaking through a family experience - where there is little self control by those suffering and every day is a little adventure for those around, where an ambulance might be called any evening.

But I know for a fact, that many outside the family who met that family member during the day, wouldn't be aware of the problem - even when there were small clues - as considered fully functional.

A person trying very hard to hide their substance problem doesn't need to be out of their trolley when meeting doctors etc, in fact can be quite devious when hiding it.

blacksunday Sun 30-Aug-15 20:04:30

Spectator-

>It's absurd to blame the DWP for every death and even more absurd to place the blame on IDS who obviously did not personally make the decision to remove benefits from each individual.

IDS doesn't have to personally make any decisions. He is in charge of welfare reforms, and he has made political decisions to withdraw support en masse in some cases, and has placed pressure on the DWP to meet sanction targets.

This is the opposite of what the DWP is supposed to do, which is to help people get back in to work. IDS' goal is different, it's to reduce the social security bill by withdrawing as many people receive benefits as possible - regardless of how many people are killed.

blacksunday Sun 30-Aug-15 20:06:28

United Nations to probe Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms for 'grave violations' of human rights

A charity chief has been told a top UN investigator will sweep into Britain after the Tories slashed disability benefits by £30 a week

---

The United Nations will probe whether Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms are committing 'grave violations' of human rights, a prominent charity chief has said.

Officials from the UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities could soon sweep into Britain after the Tory axeman announced a wave of measures, including slashing disability benefits by £30 a week.

Thousands of people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are having their weekly payment cut from £102.15 to £73.10, the same as jobseekers' allowance, if they're told they can look for 'work-related activity'.

That prompted an outcry from charities, which resurged this week when it emerged 2,380 ESA claimants died soon after being declared fit for work.

Now the policy director at Inclusion Scotland, a registered charity that brings together disability groups north of the border, says he has been contacted by the UN about a forthcoming investigation.

Bill Scott says he's been told Catalina Aguilar, the UN's Special Rapponteur on disabled rights, will pay a visit to Britain as part of the probe and has invited charities including his to take part.

Costa Rican investigator Ms Aguilar's job is to investigate countries 'in the case of reliable evidence of grave and systematic violations' of human rights.

Mr Scott told Scotland's Sunday Herald: "The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate... and want to meet with us when they come, sometime in the next few months."

He added: "There are a lot of individuals who are affected by three, four, five - sometimes six or seven different benefit cuts.

Cont'd

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/united-nations-probe-iain-duncan-6350394

blacksunday Sun 30-Aug-15 20:17:22

> suicide doesn't have to be the link, a valid link would be that these people were just so ill that despite being declared fit-to-work they were actually at death's door/dying

And, indeed, 40% of ESA appeals are successfully - often too late, but pointing to the fact that the test itself is highly flawed.

blacksunday Sun 30-Aug-15 20:19:43

Hermione-

>I don't think we can have a view unless we understand normal mortality rates among this particular demographic.

A brief statistical look at the DWPs figures:

Known number of deaths while claiming incapacity benefits nears 100,000

The Department for Work and Pensions has admitted defeat in its attempt to hide the number of people who have died while claiming incapacity benefits since November 2011 – and has announced that the number who died between January that year and February 2014 is a shocking 91,740.

This represents an increase to an average of 99 deaths per day or 692 per week, between the start of December 2011 and the end of February 2014 – compared with 32 deaths per day/222 per week between January and November 2011.

The DWP has strenuously asserted that “any causal effect between benefits and mortality cannot be assumed from these statistics”.

It is correct to make this point.

The DWP has also claimed that “these isolated figures provide limited scope for analysis and nothing can be gained from this publication that would allow the reader to form any judgement as to the effects or impacts of the Work Capability Assessment”.

However, the increase in the frequency of these deaths is enough to raise questions about the way the incapacity benefit system is being run – questions that demand full, frank and immediate answers.

For example, the work-related activity group is composed entirely of people who are expected to recover from their illnesses and be well enough to return to work within a year. In that group, there should be no deaths at all – barring accidents. Why have nearly 10,000 people lost their lives after being assigned there?

Deaths in the support group and the assessment phase are more problematic because they involve people who do have serious illnesses, many of whom may be expected to die while claiming. But are these deaths being hastened artificially by the DWP’s treatment of them?

A statistical release published today (August 27) in response to my Freedom of Information request dating back to May 28, 2014, states that the total number of deaths involving claimants of Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance and Severe Disablement Allowance – between the start of December 2011 and the end of February 2014 is 81,140, including 50,580 (ESA claimants) and 30,560 (IB/SDA claimants). All figures are rounded up to the nearest 10.

Add this to the 10,600 deaths that were already known between January and November 2011 and you have 91,740.

Information for ESA claimants shows:

7,540 deaths while claims were being assessed, bringing the known total to 9,740.
7,200 deaths in the work-related activity group, bringing the known total to 8,500.
32,530 deaths in the support group, bringing the known total to 39,630.
And 3,320 deaths in which the claimant was not in receipt of any benefit payment and is therefore marked as “unknown”.

The total number of claimants who flowed off ESA, IB or SDA whose date of death was at the same time and of those the number with a WCA decision of “fit for work”, between December 2011 to February 2014 was 2,650 (2,380 ESA, 270 IB/SDA).

And the total number of individuals who flowed off ESA, IB or SDA whose date of death was at the same time with a completed appeal following a WCA decision of “fit for work”, Great Britain: December 2011 to February 2014 was 1,360 (1,340 ESA, 20 IB/SDA).

The new numbers suggest the average number of deaths per day between January 2011 and February 2014 was around 79.5 – 556 per week.

This compares with an average between January and November 2011 of around 32 per day – 222 per week.

This Writer has not yet examined the DWP’s accompanying statistical release – providing the fudged Age-Standardised Mortality Rates between 2003 and 2014. The information in this one states that mortality dropped from 1,111 deaths per 100,000 (across all three benefits) to 1,032.

But claims for Incapacity Benefit (ESA didn’t exist at the time) were at an all-time high in 2003 – of nearly three million throughout the year. The numbers claiming this kind of benefit have both fallen and risen since then.

So what are we to conclude?

Firstly, the figures released today demand more considered, in-depth study than can be managed by This Writer within an hour or so of their release.

Second, that the DWP should drop its appeal against publishing them (for obvious reasons).

Third, that the Age-Standardised Mortality Rates give a false picture of the number of deaths – as predicted on this blog.

Finally, that serious questions must now be asked about the way incapacity benefits are being administered by the Department for Work and Pensions under Iain Duncan Smith.

voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/08/27/known-number-of-deaths-while-claiming-incapacity-benefits-nears-100000/

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