Ten months. 10,600 people dead. In an article in Big Issue in March, “Atos, Death and Welfare Cuts” , Adam Forrest explores the impact of the Atos’ workplace assessments on the disabled. There are stories of people who are classified as fit to work and have their benefits revoked, only to die months later. Worse, many of them, some of whom have their stories highlighted in the article, suffered immense distress at the assessment process and the withdrawal of their benefits.
“I’m not blaming Atos for her death. She died because of a collapsed lung and blood clots after a medical procedure. But I pitied the way Linda was made to feel and I still feel very, very frustrated at the way she was treated.”
The numbers are stark:
“Government statistics indicate that between January 2011 and November 2011, 10,600 sick and disabled people died within six weeks of their benefit claim ending. Such was the furore about this figure, the DWP has stopped using Atos data to count the number of deaths.”
I’m glad that Atos is being made to feel the heat but they are just contractors. The blame lies squarely at the feet of IDS and the DWP, who have set the policy. I don’t understand how he has been allowed to remain in post while Universal Credit is a disaster, his IT system is an expensive mess and things like these assessments and bedroom tax are causing distress for so many vulnerable people, many of them disabled.
A society should be judged on how we treat those in most need. The fact that we (through our government) are squeezing those in need till the pips squeak while proferring tax cuts for those who are better off just beggars belief. Caitlin Moran tweeted the article earlier, followed by a series of tweets that basically sums this up for me: