Our ref: DE00000695770
 
Dear Ms Smith,
 
Thank you for your FOI requests of 13 April to the Department of Health. In particular, you submitted the following requests:
 
Please supply copies of any documents that might reflect the NHS concern that the government is effectively killing off disabled and sick people
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2012/apr/06/carers-versus-atos-image-video?commentpage=1#comment-15524118
http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html
 
And
 
The problem is that the government are promoting the view that "work is good for you", even if people e.g.: have autism, severe mental illness, cancer, are severely diabled or sick or in pain, etc as if work is s PANACEA or CURE-ALL, which is of course an extreme perspective, and completely untrue for many people, who are being shoved back to work to their detriment, pain, stress and deep unhappiness.  The gocernment are using "work is good for you" as an excuse fo their draconion and unjust WCA and welfare cuts to the disabled and sick.
What is the NHS view on the government harming and harassing people in this way? Please send copies of any related stored information in any form.
 
The Department is answering both of your above requests in one response as they are both on the same issue, regarding work capability assessments for people claiming Employment Support Allowance.
 
The Department of Health is not aware that it holds information on NHS ‘views’ or ‘concerns’ on work capability assessments for people claiming Employment Support Allowance. 
 
It may help to explain that the NHS is devolved at a local level and NHS trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities have responsibility for managing the health needs of their own local populations and they operate independently and in their own right.  The Department of Health provides overall strategic and policy support to the NHS. 
 
I hope this clarifies the Department’s situation.  If you have concerns about work capability assessments for people claiming Employment Support Allowance, these should be directed to the Department for Work and Pensions www.dwp.gov.uk.
 
I hope this reply is helpful.  If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review.  Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to:
 
Head of the Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health
Room 317
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
London SW1A 2NS
  
Email: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xx.xxx.xxx.xx
 
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision.  Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Department.  The ICO can be contacted at:
 
The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Sarah Walter
Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health
 
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