Mum, 27, took fatal overdose after litany of 28 failings in DWP benefit claim, I don’t call it failings I call it culpable manslaughter! Time and time again we saw death after death and the DWP refused to act or denied that there was a problem, whilst we saw death after death because of the DWP’s negligence. Sadly, I have written/reblogged many articles about DWP deaths and they never fail to upset me, mainly because my own husband truthfully admits he’d have been one of “collateral damage” if I hadn’t have fought tooth and nail for him
- A ‘secret’ DWP claimant deaths inquiry was just blown open
- At least 69 suicides linked to DWP’s handling of benefit claims
- DWP should not be marking its own homework over claimants’ deaths, says MP
- Cover-up’: DWP destroyed reports into people who killed themselves after benefits were stopped
- DWP DEATHS: MP makes emotional plea for action
- MP fights back tears as she reads list of 24 DWP benefit deaths in the Commons
- DWP criticised for ‘incredible secrecy’ over deaths of benefit claimants
- Tearful MP breaks down as she reveals shameful list of 24 benefit claimant deaths
- Charity sparks anger over DWP deaths inquiry
- A DWP deaths scandal was buried under the budget
- Charities demand probe into ‘avoidable’ benefits deaths
- DWP refuses to release two coroners reports
- DWP’s silence over drug misuse death of PIP claimant, despite coroner’s letter
- Rethink sparks anger over deaths inquiry petition, after snubbing Justice for Jodey
- Disabled man dies after speaking out about his benefits being cut
- A welfare system devoid of humanity
- DWP gives private companies £630m for more disability benefit tests
- Surge in complaints about ‘flawed’ disability benefit assessments
- Family of Nottingham man who starved to death launch legal action against government
- Errol Graham: DWP ‘misled coroner over safeguarding review’
- Judge me fairly…
Apart from the more famous cases, like
Tory “welfare reforms” are estimated to have killed a quarter of a million people in the last decade and don’t tell me the Tories didn’t know what they were doing, just as some thought Covid 19 was an excellent opportunity get rid of elderly bedblockers
- Coronavirus could be ‘quite useful’ in killing off NHS bed blockers, says ex official
- THIS THING SHOULD WORK FOR ATOS
- Coronavirus has deepened prejudice against older people
Philippa Day, who suffered from agoraphobia and anxiety, was found collapsed in bed in August 2019 – next to a letter warning her she must attend a face-to-face appointment. A 27-year-old mum took a fatal overdose after a litany of 28 “failings” over her disability benefit claim, an inquest has ruled.
A coroner issued a damning verdict today on the actions of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after the death of Philippa Day, known as Pip, from Nottingham. Assistant Coroner Gordon Clow issued a rare Prevention of Future Deaths report against the DWP and Capita, which it pays to run disability benefit assessments.
Outlining 28 “problems” with the way Pip’s claim was handled, the coroner said: “Given the sheer number of problems in the handling of Philippa’s claim, I am unable to conclude that each of these was attributable to individual human errors.” Issues caused by the problems in handling her benefit claim were “the predominant factor, and the only acute factor, which led to her decision to take an overdose,” the coroner added.
Capita apologised to the family for the “mistakes made” in processing her claim. The DWP said it will “carefully consider” the findings of the coroner. CAPITA SHOULD BE FACING MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES WITH THE DWP!!!!
Pip’s sister Imogen said tonight: “We believe that Pip’s treatment by the DWP had a direct impact on her mental state and in the end is the reason for her death. “She was in despair because of the depths to which she had sunk. “She could see no way out of the debt and the poverty in which she was living. “Pip’s poor mental health meant she was not able to handle the battle with the DWP for the reinstatement of her benefits. “The stress of the conflict with the DWP made her even more ill.”
Pip’s family say her weekly money was cut from £228 a week to just £60 in 2019 as she battled to switch from old-style DLA to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a lengthy back-and-forth with the DWP and Capita. That June she told the DWP she was £5,000 in debt, the coroner said, telling them in a phone call: “I cannot survive, like physically survive, for another eight weeks, six weeks, four weeks whatever, without any money.” Pip, who the inquest heard had a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation, said the situation was “a hole I cannot get out of. It has affected my identity, I have not had a haircut in over a year”.
The inquest heard Capita asked Pip to attend a face-to-face appointment in June 2019 to be assessed for PIP. That was despite “a number of medical reports stating that this was not safe and appropriate” due to her mental health, which included agoraphobia and anxiety.
Pip was found collapsed in bed in August that year – next to a DWP letter warning her she must attend a face-to-face appointment – and taken to hospital.
Two weeks later, Capita determined it could determine her case without an assessment and in September 2019 she was awarded PIP after all, the coroner said. But by then she was in a coma from which she did not recover, the coroner said. Just over a month later she died of a brain injury.
The inquest heard that a “distressing and factually inaccurate letter was sent to Philippa” before her death, advising her that if she failed to attend the appointment “without good reason”, her claim would “likely” be refused.
The coroner said: “It is significant she had the letter by her side at the time she took her overdose.”
Reaching his conclusion, the coroner added, according to Nottingham Live: “The administration of Philippa Day’s benefits claim was characterised by multiple errors. “As a result of errors made, Philippa Day’s income from benefits more than halved for a period of several months, causing her severe financial hardship.
“A decision was made in June 2019 to require her to attend an assessment at a centre. “The distress caused by the administration of her welfare benefits claim left her suffering acute distress and exacerbated many of her other chronic stresses.
“Were it not for these problems it is unlikely Philippa Day would’ve taken an overdose on August 7 or 8 2019.”
Mr Clow said he had been “made aware” of changes which will be made at the DWP and Capita. The inquest heard that both organisations had completed internal reviews.
Areas of concern for the coroner:
- Mental health training did not form part of the mandatory training of call handlers before they are required to handle such calls
- Record keeping at the DWP
- Additional support markers for vulnerable claimants – already ‘clear evidence’ of improvement
- The institutional working assumption the DWP documents which are not on file are missing because the claimant failed to send them in
- The wording of the reminder letter – the DWP agreed to review this
- The training provided to disability assessors by Capita – Capita said it is committed to creating online training including emotionally unstable personality disorder
The coroner concluded that Pip took her own life, but was not satisfied that it was “more likely than not” that she had intended her own death.
In a narrative verdict, he said she “could see no way forward” and faced a “dreadful catch-22 situation” by being asked to attend a face-to-face appointment.
The coroner will issue a Prevention of Future Deaths Report directed to the DWP and Capita requiring them to consider and address the following areas:
- The need for training of mental health training for call handlers (previous training for personality disorder was ‘limited to a fact sheet’)
- Ensuring correspondence is accurate and does not create unnecessary distress
- Change in the assessment process including pausing the process when there is a need for a review
- More record keeping at the DWP
Leigh Day solicitor Merry Varney, who represented the family, said the case left “no doubt that the DWP and Capita through its flawed handling of Pip’s disability benefits claim materially contributed to the death of a much loved mum, sister and daughter.
She said: “My clients hope the changes the DWP and Capita have committed to make are done so promptly and thoroughly to protect other families.”
Fazilet Hadi of Disability Rights UK said: “An independent Inquiry into benefit-related deaths is long overdue. YOU THINK!!!
“Philippa’s story is heartbreaking and reveals gross incompetence by the DWP and Capita.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “This is a deeply tragic case. Our sincere condolences are with Miss Day’s family and we will carefully consider the Coroner’s findings.”
A Capita spokesperson said: “We extend our sincere condolences to Philippa Day’s family over her tragic death. We would like to apologise to them for the mistakes made in processing her claim and the additional stress which was caused to Philippa.
“We have strengthened our processes over the last 18 months and are committed to continuously working to deliver a high-quality, empathetic service for every claimant. STRENGTHENED OUR PROCESS!!! AT WHAT COST!!!! OVER 250,000 LIVES!!!!!!!
“In partnership with the DWP, we will act upon the coroner’s findings and make further improvements to our processes.” TOO LATE FOR PHILIPPA DAY & THOUSANDS OF OTHERS!!!
The Samaritans are there to listen if you have been affected by this story or have any other concerns. Call 116 123 for free day or night.