Friday, 27 January 2017

Fitness For Work - 'Cover Up'?

PRIVATE Eye No.1435 reported that the 'opposition parties are calling for an independent inquiry after it emerged that ministers apparently "hid" reports into the deaths of benefit claimants from the independent expert who was reviewing controversial "fitness for work" test.'
It seems that, according to the Eye, that 'seven confidential peer reviews into deaths linked to work capability assessment (WCA) were not passed to Professor Malcolm Harrington as he prepared his final report in 2012.'
It seems that the Professor had 'no recollection of seeing any of the reviews, and he says that 'such damning indictments of the system - if seen - should have triggered a response from me.'  And  'It didn't.'
This all became clear after a Freedom of Information request.  Private Eye reports:  'This is just the latest evidence to emerge implicating ministers in covering up links between WCA flaws and deaths of benefit claimants - particularly those with experience of significant mental distress.'
It seems that the work capability tests have been widely condemned for being too prescriptive, and leading to fatal errors and leaving claimants 'penniless and stressed'.
After the latest 'cover-up', the Eye says:
'Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens all called for an independent inquiry into the "hidden reports" and into the wider issue of deaths directly linked to government welfare reform.'

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