Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Suicides Linked to DWP Work Assessments.

with 42 comments


Almost 600 Suicides Could Be Related To DWP Work Assessments, Claims New Research

This was  announced in September:

More than 2,650 people died within six weeks of being found “fit for work”, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed.

Figures released today show that between December 2011 to February 2014, 2,650 people died after being told they should find work following a “Work Capability Assessment”.

Huffington Post

Now the same Post announces this,

Almost 600 “additional” suicides could be related to the Government’s Work Capability Assessments, according to research published today.

A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health claims the areas of England with the greatest use of the assessments has also seen the sharpest rise in reported suicides, mental health issues, and antidepressant prescribing.

The report says the assessments may be having “serious adverse consequences for mental health” and even suggested doctors involved in the process could face “ethical issues” in continuing with the tests.

You can read the report, free access,

This is the DWP reaction.

The Department for Work and Pensions, which operates the policy, described the report as “wholly misleading” and pointed out even the authors recognised no conclusions can be drawn about the assessments and the suicide rates.
The Post says,

The report, which was led by Dr Benjamin Barr from the Department of Public Health and Policy, from the University of Liverpool, reads: “Our study provides evidence that the policy in England of reassessing the eligibility of [disability] benefit recipients using the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) may have unintended but serious consequences for population mental health, and there is a danger that these adverse effects outweigh any benefits that may or may not arise from moving people off disability benefits.

“Although the explicit aim of welfare reform in the UK is to reduce ‘dependency,’ it is likely that targeting the people living in the most vulnerable conditions with policies that are harmful to health, will further marginalise already excluded groups, reducing, rather than increasing, their independence.”

The report claims that after taking into account the socio-economic background of different parts of the country, as well as long-term trends in mental health, a total of 590 additional suicides could be related to the assessments between 2010 and 2013.

There were also an additional 279,000 extra cases of mental ill health and 725,000 more prescriptions for antidepressants.
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said there were concerns people with mental illness undertaking the assessments may feel “threatened and afraid.”

She said: “An assessment is made as a snap judgement by someone who does not know the claimant’s history, with little knowledge of the fluctuating nature of many mental illnesses. Nor do they realise how long-term and debilitating some conditions can be.

“The pressure imposed by being told you are ‘fit for work’ and no longer eligible for benefits can reinforce feelings of despair, in some cases leading to people taking their own lives.”

The Guardian adds,

Tom Pollard, the policy and campaigns manager at the mental health charity Mind, said: “This worrying study shines a light on the damaging impact the work capability assessments can have on people’s mental health. We’ve long been calling on the government to overhaul their current fit-to-work tests.

“We know that people with mental health problems often find these assessments hugely stressful and, since they don’t accurately assess the extent to which a mental health problem can affect someone’s ability to work, many individuals get the wrong outcome. This could mean they are required to look for work before they are ready, or have to go through a lengthy and stressful appeals process to challenge the decision, all of which can impact further on their mental health.

“This research provides further evidence that this process can be seriously harmful, yet thousands of unwell individuals still have to endure it every week.”

Anita Bellows, of campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said: “It comes as no surprise for DPAC and confirms anecdotal evidence that we have been receiving on a daily basis of people being placed under intolerable stress, misery and hardship by the work capability assessment.

“With people hounded by the Department for Work and Pensions and subjected to endless reassessments, people consistently tell us that their conditions are worsened by this inhuman regime, especially people with mental health issues, while those with physical impairments also find their conditions worsen due to the intolerable stress.

“We have repeatedly called for the scrapping of the WCA, and the results of this survey make this even more urgent. Too many lives have already been damaged or lost.”

And the DWP?


A DWP spokesman said: “This report is wholly misleading, and the authors themselves caution that no conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.

“In addition, it is concerning that they provide no evidence that the people with mental health problems highlighted in the report even underwent a work capability assessment.”

 But the Independent leads with..

Iain Duncan Smith’s tougher fit-to-work tests ‘coincide with 590 additional suicides’

Academic researchers also find 279,000 cases of mental ill health and 725,000 more prescriptions for antidepressants.


Written by Andrew Coates

November 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm

42 Responses

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  1. “The findings of this study are consistent with several others suggesting a link between the austerity and welfare reform measures on peoples’ mental health,” “The findings are reinforced by accounts of clinicians, of people with lived experience of mental health problems and of many disability groups of the adverse effects of the recent welfare benefit changes and the system of assessments for out of work and disability benefits.

    “It brings into question the wisdom of current spending and welfare reform policies and their effects on health and wellbeing, particularly for vulnerable groups.”

    So much for the so called helping the vulnerable.


    November 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm

  2. Women’s state pension age increases have left thousands in poverty: financial futures.

    Women’s state pension age was moved to age 60 in 1940, and it remained in place 70 years, only starting to move upwards towards age 65 in 2010.


    Amount by law one has to live on – which law would that be? & what of a pension now being named a benefit?



    November 17, 2015 at 1:55 pm

  3. I hope someone has forwarded this to the UN for inclusion in their report.


    November 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    • The Parliamentary committee is not going to be happy at the numbers, especially if DWP knew of this years ago – which I strongly suspect.


      November 17, 2015 at 1:57 pm

  4. It won`t be until there is a suicide on Tax Credits that will cause shook & outcry. Double standards.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    November 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm

  5. Yep the Daily Mail of the Telegraph would take an interest then – which they wouldn’t do for people to far outside their preferred demographics.

    I don’t suppose some papers like the Sun would ever be anything but a cheerleader for the dumbest of populist welfare policies.

    Sebastian Colt (@Red_Rescue)

    November 17, 2015 at 5:34 pm

  6. DWP are hoping to get away with it with “no conclusion” and “no evidence” because of the obvious, which is why they have yet to be held accountable for it.


    November 17, 2015 at 6:52 pm

  7. Wales – Westminster can no longer be trusted with providing the full social protection that our families need.

    A respected Welsh think tank has called for a stock-take of how the benefits system actually works in Wales before powers are devolved.

    The foundation has started its own work on the subject, saying that its own early analysis suggests there is a mismatch between the current system and people’s needs.



    November 17, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    • Nor can Westminster be trusted with anything else.


      November 18, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      • Or rather – can they be trusted with anything.


        November 18, 2015 at 7:42 pm

  8. communication between DWP and minsters.

    From: Disabled people against Cuts, 19 October 2015

    The DWP have been quoted as saying ‘“We strongly reject the allegations made by DPAC” in reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons ongoing inquiry process into grave and systematic violations and the retrogression of disabled peoples’ rights in the UK .

    This quote has now appeared in a number of media . It suggests a breach in confidentially re submitted documentation and key issues raised by Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC) through an external government body.

    As a result we are requesting: Any communications between the DWP and ministers that mention DPAC
    between Jan and Oct 2015.



    November 17, 2015 at 10:56 pm


      This issue is totally disgusting Enigma. All facts arising from UN Inspector led investigations into the grave and systematic abuse of disabled peoples rights are supposed to be hidden until the inquiry releases it’s findings.
      This is no ordinary breach of trust, this is an indication of desperation from those in power to try and mitigate their crimes prior to the outcome being released for public consumption.
      I have also submitted reams of evidence, what they are attempting to do is to circumvent protocol by trying to tamper with evidence.
      If this was a trial the government would be held in contempt for trying to frustrate proceedings, rather like intimidating witnesses.
      They are really afraid of the outcome. Even top judges of appeals like MARK ROWLAND and DAVID WILLIAMS have been issued directives to ignore Equality and Human Rights Law in an effort to bolster the treasury coffers by stealing bonafide payments to the disabled.
      British Judiciary have been instructed to completely ignore the fundamental rights of it’s patrons hoping that a British Bill of Rights would eventually succeed it………………
      Nevertheless, the Uk goverment ratified it’s agreement to the Human Rights Charter in 2009, hence the values laid down under the act, we are still party to.
      In another hammer blow to Cameron’s kill at will agenda, the cabinet office ordered an enquiry by an outside body to investigate issues of mental health in the UK.
      They are now in receipt of damning evidence that the deaths of thousands of persons with mental health problems have rocketed.
      You do not have to be a nasa rocket physicist to put two and two together to tie the DWP campaign of hate with many of the deaths.
      Rather than face facts, the government attempt to bury at ever opportunity using stooges like CHRISTOPHER GRAHAM, the FOI commissioner to act as a sanitizer to cover up foul play.
      We are on the advent of another stream of suicides, the likes of what have never been experienced in a supposedly market leadership.
      Osborne;s threats to welfare will signal his own demise, the obituary columns laden with his victims from poor struggling backgrounds and those carrying the burdens of disability.
      You can only paint yourself into a corner before eventually stepping into the paint…


      November 18, 2015 at 2:28 pm

  9. The DWP has made it abundantly clear that Conservative Government ministers have deliberately chosen not to record medical information such as the cause of a claimant’s death – and in any case (again by deliberate choice), no effort has been made to keep track of claimants whose benefit claim has been halted.



    November 18, 2015 at 7:58 am

  10. Mental health.

    Proper investment in mental health services can have dramatic effects. North East London NHS foundation trust is piloting a new service for patients with major mental health problems that involves consistent and concerted engagement with the patient’s wider family or network, combined with significantly lower rates of medication. It is a model pioneered in Finland, where all healthcare staff receive training in family therapy and related psychological skills. It is increasingly being used in Scandinavia, Germany and several states in America. The results are striking. More than 70% of patients with a first episode of psychosis treated through the open dialogue approach return to work or study and in-patient hospitalisation rates are much lower.



    November 18, 2015 at 9:24 am

  11. Excerpt from Mike Sivier’s piece on WCA suicides (mentioned by “enigma”, above):

    “Ministers had believed they had eliminated any way of relating their flawed, tick-box assessment…with the deaths or suicides of claimants. Now they have discovered that they were mistaken”.

    “Again we come back to the issue of freedom of information. All the way down the line, the facts about the effects of these tests have been deliberately hidden from the public by a government that is happy to remove our privacy and tell us, “If you’ve nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”

    What is the Conservative Government afraid we’ll discover?

    Perhaps now is the time to demand a full inquiry into the practical results of the work capability assessment regime…

    An inquiry to be followed by criminal prosecutions”.
    I wonder if any case of murder or corporate manslaughter will ever reach the courts?


    November 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

  12. Food bank use in Scotland has increased to record levels, with more than 60,000 referrals over a six-month period, according to a charity.



    November 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm

  13. Tony Cox is in court today 18th, what will be the outcome.


    November 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    • Not guilty but given a £200 fine for not giving his name and address.


      November 19, 2015 at 3:01 pm

  14. The changing face of policing in Britain today – and this one is female:


    November 18, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    • Is she being paid less than that of men. she is wearing a lot more than I did as canon fodder.


      November 18, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    • This county is a total and utter disgrace.They have completely brought it upon themselves the way they have destroyed society and constantly lied and undermined rights.

      Looking back on all of this, the excellent documentary by Thames Television Death on the Rock an example of professional journalism built on background witness statements,explosives experts testimony and detective work,putting aside the people and their motives what emerges is a picture of a state that’s unaccountable and totally out of control.The witness who gave a statement to what happened was termed a prostitute by the media.This is a dark era

      Since this programme aired no broadcaster has ever gone up against the state in any shape or form to expose the truth of crimes of the state.With reason.its worth a look today put aside feelings and picture emerges of what at the time caused shock and attempted cover up.And what people are up against today.And the type of people who will stop at nothing.



      November 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm


        But don’t forget the Royal Marine sergeant who is currently in prison for shooting a Taliban fighter.

        And don’t forget the current investigation for the Bloody Sunday controversy 40+ years ago.

        And remember “breaker” Morant further back – he didn’t escape the firing squad.


        November 18, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      • You will always have scapegoats and cover-ups though, in the confusion and aftermath of warfare.


        November 18, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      • Don’t forget the stink caused by the programme WORLD IN ACTION. Death Of A Princess. That was the start of things going wrong


        November 19, 2015 at 9:38 am

  15. http://z2k.org/2015/11/stories-from-the-jobcentre/

    The same stories seem to come up again and again, as I often say Jobcentre do not assist the unemployed into employment they went from doing pretty much nothing other than being a bit patronising to then actually doing all they can to assist the claimants ‘off benefits’ and if they get a job or not as a result of this “assistance” is something they see and none of their concern so long as the Manager meet their ‘Targets’ (sorry). “Expectations”.

    Jobcentre Plus as an organisation is more interested in it’s off flow targets than it is in people.

    Sebastian Colt (@Red_Rescue)

    November 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm

  16. America’s ‘welfare state’ is shameful: the UK shouldn’t follow our lead



    November 19, 2015 at 7:05 am

    • A 42 day wait, until UC’s first payment starts, some people think food banks won’t get busier, the local JC is also getting busier, with new claimants going onto UC,


      November 19, 2015 at 11:45 am

  17. Jobs for the girl*: McVile gets taxpayer-funded job courtesy of Tory crony.



    November 19, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    • Former Tory minister Esther McVey has landed a £530-a-day, taxpayer funded job, just six months after being booted out as an MP .She’s been appointed Chair of the British Transport Police Authority (BTPA) by her former colleague Transport Minister Patrick McLaughlin. ………………………………


      November 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm

  18. UK foodbank use still at record levels as hunger remains major concern for low income families.

    Between April and September 2015, Trussell Trust foodbanks across the UK gave 506,369 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis compared to 492,641 in the same period last year. 185,218 of the three day supplies went to children. On average, people needed 1.7 foodbank referrals in this six month period, leading us to estimate that approximately 298,000 people are likely to have been unique users.*

    Benefit delays and changes remain the biggest cause of foodbank use accounting for 43 percent of total referrals (29 percent benefit delay; 14 percent benefit changes), a slight reduction on last year’s 44 percent. Low income has risen slightly as a referral cause from 21 percent to 22 percent.



    November 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm

  19. You’ve been asked to have your say on the NHS. You just don’t know about it.

    Jeremy Hunt has been uncharacteristically quiet about the public consultation on the health service. There are four days left to respond.

    The government is apparently very keen to hear our views on the proposed NHS mandate. But you’d better be quick; you have until 23 November to comment. And if you’re wondering how you missed such an important opportunity to comment on the future of the NHS, you’re not alone. Critics say the Department of Health has deliberately kept it quiet, with little publicity and only a month for the public to comment since the launch in October.



    November 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    • “If you can’t pay, go away”


      November 20, 2015 at 7:31 pm

  20. You have the right to be accompanied to interviews at the Jobcentre and all DWP offices.

    2 pages



    November 20, 2015 at 7:40 pm

  21. personal injury insurance and routine checks while on CWP.



    November 21, 2015 at 11:31 am

  22. Criminal courts charge backlash shows just how rubbish Chris Grayling was as Justice Secretary.

    The Committee gives the sad example of woman who pleaded guilty to stealing Mars Bars worth 75p:

    She said she stole the item because she ‘had not eaten in days’ after her benefits were sanctioned. She was fined £73, ordered to pay a £150 criminal courts charge, £85 costs, a £20 victim surcharge and 75p compensation.



    November 21, 2015 at 3:32 pm

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