Deaths following Atos rulings of "fit for work"

Mr Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

The request was refused by Department for Work and Pensions.

From: Mr Taylor

26 July 2011

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Following the case of Larry Newman who after attending a work
capability assessment was awarded zero points by the Atos staff
member who carried out the medical test despite his degenerative
lung condition which was the cause of his death shortly afterwards.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/j...
The report produced by Atos, following the examination, has been
described as "make-believe" due to its endless inaccuracies and
untruths. I understand an official complaint has been lodged
against the assessor due to the inconsistencies in the report.

I would like to request the number of complaints the DWP and/or
Atos have received in the last three years due to an individual
dying, following Atos finding the individual fit for work, due to a
medical condition existing at the time of the examination.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Taylor

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

26 July 2011

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

23 August 2011


Attachment FoI 2187 23.08.11.pdf
17K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Taylor

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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From: Mr Taylor

23 August 2011

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

The cost of my request should not be measured in money, rather in
human life.

I know which is more important to me.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Taylor

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

23 August 2011

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct.

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

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Mr Taylor left an annotation (23 August 2011)

Quote-marks The cost of my request should not be measured in money, rather in human life.

I know which is more important to me.

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Adolph Healthscare left an annotation (23 August 2011)

Quote-marks ATOS HEALTHCARE OR DISABILITY DENIAL FACTORIES:

RESEARCH SUMMARY

PLEASE READ AND CIRCULATE AS WIDE AS YOU CAN

The full detailed research report is very long and identifies a great deal of information as yet unknown to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Whilst the report includes evidence from my own experience, which is atypical in any research, this was necessary and, happily, professionals have accepted this as a very significant contribution to the detailed evidence within the report. First responses to the report have been very +ve. Indeed, this research was originally undertaken as a private initiative to identify evidence of the unacceptable clinical practice by Atos Healthcare medical staff. As a retired health professional, and having established serious cause for concern, I am obliged to reveal my findings to others. It is sincerely hoped that the very disturbing evidence identified within the report will not now be summarily dismissed, because my own unacceptable experience has been included as part of the evidence, and as recently implied by the Clerk to the DWP Select Committee.

This summary is to permit the reader the ability to identify the most serious evidence without the need to access the entire report. Readers are reminded that the full DWP Contract with the private contractor Atos Origin Medical Services/Atos Healthcare is 500 pages long in its entirety. Few people have accessed the Contract, which is why breaches in Contract are widespread, easily identified and ongoing and chronically sick and genuinely disabled people are suffering trauma as the result of this oversight by DWP staff.

Nine months intensive research into the activities of Atos Healthcare has revealed the company involved with the DWP and other government departments at the highest level. Atos founded COHPA, the Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association. At their 2009 AGM and conference the following people were in attendance:

Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health & Work, HWWB
Professor Mansel Aylward, Director Unum CPDR & former DWP Chief Medical Advisor
Greame Henderson, Head of Health & Work DH
Dr Bill Gunnyeon, DWP Chief Medical Advisor
Cynthia Atwell, Chair RCN Public Health Forum RCN
Dr Steve Boorman, Director Corporate Responsibility Royal Mail
Dr John Osman, Chief Medical Advisor HSE

Successive DWP Chief Medical Advisers are obliged to form a working association with the company, and ATOS Healthcare acknowledge their liaison with government departments with various public awards. To reciprocate, the DWP has recently announced a new award for the company. (June 2010).
HISTORY:

American firm known as UNUM PROVIDENT (US) are one of the biggest occupational health insurance companies in the world. They have been involved with the DWP since 1994.
In 2002/03 an American class action lawsuit in California identified UNUM PROVIDENT (US) as running “disability denial factories” and the Judge fined them $31.7 million. The company were ordered to re-investigate 300,000 other refused claims; something the company has still failed to complete 7 years later.(as of 2011)
In 2005 American Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi declared: “Unum Provident is an outlaw company. It is a company that for years has operated in an illegal fashion.”
UNUM PROVIDENT (UK), now known simply as UNUM Insurance, fund psychosocial disability research at CardiffUniversity. Prof Mansel Aylward is the head of research at the Unum Centre at Cardiff University and he was the DWP Chief Medical Adviser who in 1994 recommended this medical evaluation system to the government to reform government care costs for DLA etc. Prof Mansel was instrumental in the methods to be used, imported from America using identical methods as Unum Provident. Unum Provident is banned from 15 States in theUSA and 6 countries worldwide, so one wonders why this diabolical company are advisers to theUK government on welfare reforms? Atos Healthcare have employed the same methods as Unum Provident, hence the vast and growing numbers of chronically sick and genuinely disabled people being betrayed by this system of medical ‘evaluation’ which, in fact, is a seriously compromised 25 minute basic computer questionnaire, with no allowances for the vast differences within the same identified health condition.
ATOS ORIGIN is the parent company of Atos Healthcare, originating fromSouth Americaand a dominant force in the computer market worldwide. Unsurprisingly, ATOS ORIGIN was awarded the lucrative government contract for IT facilities for the 2012 Olympic Games.

ATOS HEALTHCARE:

DANGEROUS CONTRACT: This dangerous DWP Contract offers the medical opinion of the AH Disability Analyst as a PRIORITY, which the DWP Decision Makers accept verbatim, so all additional specialist medical opinion of Consultants, offered by the patient/claimant, is totally overlooked. Six weeks training as a Disability Analyst does not an expert make – contrary to claims by Atos Healthcare management. By definition, a Consultant is an expert in his field of medicine and it is dangerous nonsense to accept a junior doctor’s limited clinical experience over the opinion of a clinical expert. The excuse used is that the Disability Analyst is “trained in disability” and is not making a diagnosis. Consequently, desperately ill people are now being declared fit for work because they are physically capable of collecting a pen from the floor! Patients, welfare advisors and MPs all presume that specialist medical opinion by a Consultant will be accepted because they are unfamiliar with the details of the Contract. The previous DWP Select Committee have commented about this in their last report, which has also been totally ignored by the DWP, together with ignoring all evidence offered by 10 successive annual reports by the President of the Appeal Tribunals, HH Judge Robert Martin.
Medically unqualified Decision Makers, who are administrators with basic skills, now decide the fate of all applicants depending on the conclusions of either a seriously flawed computer tick test and/or Disability Analysts who all have limited clinical experience. Hence AH can claim that they are not responsible for the awarding of government care benefits. Their evaluation system causes a crisis for the many victims of this systematic government medical tyranny, and AH escapes all responsibility whilst Ministers confidently offer unstinting support. It’s no wonder that AH is so confident, with an income of £100 million per year from the DWP. The level of unnecessary distress caused to the victims of this tyranny cannot be quantified but is significant and, clinically, totally unjustified and unacceptable.
Without supervision Atos Healthcare staff breach the DWP Contract frequently.
The Contract requires specialist medical opinion for several conditions, including all confirmed cases of terminal cancer and muskulo-skeletal disorders etc. This is routinely ignored by AH with devastating consequences, whilst the UKgovernment offer total support for this private company. www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatos.html refers. (Website designer is terminal with brain tumour.)
AH doctors do not have access to a patient’s detailed medical history at interview with the patient, as confirmed by AH, so one needs to question why so much detailed medical evidence is requested; which will be totally ignored?
Bogus medical reports by AH staff also written about profoundly disabled children. (Main report)
AH doctors are referred to as Disability Analysts, and the company claim that they do not have the same responsibility as a doctor who is responsible for diagnosing and treating patients. The GMC insist that all doctors have a duty of care for anyone they examine for any reason – the company disagree.
The Government has ignored successive annual government reports by HH Judge Robert Martin, as President of the Appeal Tribunals, identifying serious concerns with the medical reports from this contractor. Judge Martin reported concern at overwhelming evidence that DWP Decision Makers consistently refuse to believe the claimants. Tribunal Chairs express constant concerns that medical reports from AH “did not coincide with reality” yet these reported concerns are repeatedly ignored by the DWP.
Patients are not acknowledged and are referred to as “customers”, which is deeply offensive, as the DWP is this company’s customer and not the patients/claimants who rapidly become victims of this system. Claimants on Unemployment Benefit may be customers, patients in receipt of sickness and/or disability benefits, or a War Pension that IS NOT a benefit, are quite clearly patients and/or claimants but not “customers”.
ATOS HEALTHCARE is totally unaccountable for all medical examinations. All usual patient safety networks in place for NHS and private healthcare do not apply and, according to the General Medical Council(GMC) and the Healthcare Commission, Atos Healthcare, as a company, “…have total immunity from all medical regulation.”
NO CLINICAL SUPERVISION: Everyone, from the Prime Minister down to the lowest administrator, has been convinced that this evaluation system with this private contractor is closely monitored and audited, so the general public are constantly reassured. In reality, the only monitoring is by basic administrators who invite an opinion from the company, which they then forward to the enquirer. There is no clinical supervision whatsoever and no monitoring. The Correspondence Manager simply repeats verbatim anything advised by the company, and dismisses any concerns re clinical accuracy, as he is totally unqualified to investigate. The Decision Makers simply repeat anything advised by AH staff. This isn’t supervision it’s adoration, and anything reported by this private company will be accepted by the DWP totally and without challenge. This complete lack of any independent clinical supervision of this company’s medical practice is a dangerous precedent and unknown in any other clinical situation.
Company employed doctors, both past and present, have expressed concern that most patient health/fitness is assessed using a computer tick test questionnaire, which takes almost all of the 25 minute allocated time with a ‘customer’ and there is no time for any clinical examination. QED countless thousands of genuine sick and disabled claimants are being refused care benefits and/or increases in War Pensions based on an identified seriously flawed evaluation system.
NO REDRESS: Any victim will find no useful redress whatsoever if they attempt to complain. They are advised to make a private complaint to the GMC regarding the named doctor who examined them. When already so ill and/or disabled, this is an unreasonable request and there is evidence to demonstrate that company staff refuse to offer their names to any claimant who has the temerity to request it at interview. Well-documented evidence has confirmed that many claimants have been prevented from recording the medical assessment, or taking notes during the interview with an AH staff member. This is sinister yet the DWP are happy to support any company requirement. (GMC will not consider any complaint against ATOS doctor unless the case has been to Appeal.)
REPORT FORM ALTERATION: The previous DWP medical report forms contained a question to permit the investigating doctor to confirm his clinical findings, to identify the %age disability of the patient at examination and to confirm that his findings were in agreement with the medical opinion of the patient’s GP. The system worked very well for any patients having a detailed medical examination. The report form has now been changed to prevent any doctor from offering a clinical opinion as to the %age disability demonstrated following examination of the patient, as confirmed by the visiting Consultant, on behalf of the Appeal Tribunal, who carried out a clinical evaluation of myself. A medically unqualified administrator, usually following the opinion of a junior doctor who has failed to carry out any clinical examination, now decides the % age disability of the patient. They simply supervise a flawed computer tick test for the majority of claimants. This is why this medical evaluation system is so very dangerous. No doubt this clinically unacceptable system has saved money, as countless numbers of genuine claimants are refused the help they are entitled to expect and no clinician would have approved this system in its present format. The doctors and representatives of disability organisations, consulted before this system was operational, and whom Ministers constantly refer to in their defence of this medical tyranny, are now all challenging the practice and validity of this dangerous and seriously flawed medical evaluation system. (See comments in detailed main report.)
All applicants for state disability benefit, and now also War Pensions, are presumed to be bogus. Guilty until proven innocent is the psychology now employed by Atos Healthcare, with encouragement and full approval from the DWP. I received a letter from a Correspondence Manager from the DWP, covering 6 pages of A4 text, all insisting the virtues of the company and ignoring any evidence to the contrary. He is simply quoting verbatim comments from the company. He is totally unqualified to do anything else. (Full text in main report.)
Following a request for more information, a Contract Manager provided copies of emails between the Medical Directors of both AH and SPVA – who supervise War Pensions and are presumed to be concerned with the welfare of disabled veterans. Emails confirm overwhelming SPVA support for the MD of Atos Healthcare, and all letters written to me were first forwarded to the MD at AH for his prior approval before being sent to me – in the hope that the SPVA were not causing any problems for the company! The SPVA MD demonstrates loyalty for the private contractor and not the veterans but, in his defence, he claimed that AH were unwilling to investigate my concerns without his intervention. I had been in correspondence with AH for 9 months before the SPVA were informed, despite the Contract requiring AH to advise the authority of any complaint within 5 days. They didn’t and, really, why should they? Without supervision this private contractor can do anything and that doesn’t necessarily include abiding by the Contract, not least because most people are totally unfamiliar with the details of the DWP Contract with AH.
The Contract requires AH to respond to all enquiries within 2 days but they don’t, AH are required to advise the Authority of any patient/claimant complaint within 5 days but they don’t, the Contract prevents terminally ill patients from attending DWP Pathway meetings, so why are they forced to attend against DWP threats of the removal of benefit if they refuse, and why do AH ignore the Contract requirement that provides a Specialist medical opinion for all cases of terminal cancer, musculo-skeletal disorders etc? AH breach the Contract at will because there is no clinical supervision, no monitoring, no one to prevent this happening and no-one to care.
Dr Bill Gunnyeon, the new DWP Chief Medical Advisor, together with Dr Steve Boorman for Royal Mail and Cynthia Atwell for the RCN were all distinguished guests of Atos Healthcare at an the COHPA AGM in Sept 2009. There is a mutual appreciation society going on between government departments and Atos Healthcare at the highest level, and AH demonstrates that they are untouchable, as confirmed by all research evidence.
To date, the GMC have failed to successfully investigate any doctor from AH usually because “people become discouraged because a GMC investigation can take up to three years to complete”. Hence, the government’s claims that vulnerable people will be protected are a total nonsense.
MD of Atos Healthcare refuses to personally respond to any correspondence because the GMC will investigate anything in writing – as confirmed in emails to MD at SPVA. The MD’s opinion is routinely forwarded via the National Customer Relations Manager.

CONCLUSIONS

All patients/claimants are in a no win situation. The DWP actively dismiss all complaints against AH.

Atos Healthcare is successfully running disability denial factories in theUK, funded by the DWP, and identical to those used inAmericaby UNUM Insurance. There is nothing in place to stop them and all evidence that challenges AH medical reports or conclusions will be resisted. Patients/claimants have no protection. There are countless numbers of distressing stories available of genuine patients being traumatised following a visit to these government funded medical assessment centres, where no actual medical evaluation will be undertaken other than a seriously flawed computerised tick test.

The permitted activities of this private contractor are dangerous and, without medical supervision, the chronically sick and disabled people of this nation remain in jeopardy. It’s not enough that these victims endure such shocking treatment by this contractor but they are also placed under intolerable additional pressure, with the constant threat that their financial support will be removed, without warning, because the DWP want to save cash and the sick and disabled people of this country make very easy targets. The very detailed research report has been used by Professor Harrington, at his request, as evidence for his independent enquiry to be published in December.

22nd August 2010

POST SCRIPT:

Since this research was completed additional information has been brought to my attention. In a letter to a dying man, the manager of the DWP CMMS department has confirmed in writing that the DWP never have audited/monitored the contract between the DWP and Atos Healthcare, contrary to the claims of successive Ministers, who constantly reassure the House and the British public. In her letter to Mr B, Hilary Brierley confirmed that: “…the Department has not exercised its contractual right to access for purposes of auditing Atos Healthcare’s compliance with its contractual obligations.” Someone, somewhere should explain to this woman the difference between a contractual right and a contractual obligation when dealing with a £100million government contract.

The only monitoring undertaken by the DWP and Atos Healthcare is to check the paperwork and the targets. There is no clinical evaluation of these medical reports or the doctors producing them.

QED: It has now been confirmed that this government contract with

Atos Origin Medical Services has never been monitored/audited by the DWP.

In loving memory of Eileen Nearne – a WW11 hero betrayed by her country.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1313618... refers

22nd September 2010

POST SCRIPT (2): THE HARRINGTON REPORT

An Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment, headed by Professor Malcolm Harrington, was published on 23rd November 2010 and used my main research report as a contribution to the evidence for the review. The Professor confirmed unacceptable and limited activity by the Decision Makers, who fail to consider all presented medical evidence, and confirm anything presented by an Atos Healthcare assessment. This is in breach of the contract as exposed in this full research report, originally completed in June 2010. Decision Makers are not qualified to do anything else.

www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-review-2010.pdf

POST SCRIPT (3): UNUM PROVIDENT

In a feature article by Jonathan Rutherford, it is confirmed that the former DWP Chief Medical Advisor, Professor Mansel Aylward, was known to Unum as far back as 1994 and is now the Director of the Unum Centre at CardiffUniversity, funded by Unum Insurance. www.lwbooks.co.uk/journals/articles/ruth...

‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’.

Edmund Burk

Mo Stewart

War Pensioner (WRAF)

Retired health professional Final edit 11th August 2011

Detailed references can be found in main report at: www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.h...

UNUM PROVIDENT now trading as UNUM Insurance. UNUM Insurance are banned from 15 States inUSAand 6 countries worldwide, so why is this dangerous company used by DWP as consultants for welfare reform in theUK??

Atos Healthcare’s parent company is ATOS ORIGIN who benefit from several lucrative government contracts…..including the IT contract for the 2012 Olympic Games.

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P. Wilkinson left an annotation (24 August 2011)

Quote-marks Quote "I would advise you that Atos Healthcare provide the relevant reports for DWP Decision Makers (DM) but play no part in the actual decision making process."

This is untrue as I have been told by DWP on several occasions that DWP are "led" by the Atos HCP when making a decision. I received a scoresheet which apparently was for DWP eyes and not mine, which clearly shows that a decision maker did not score my sheet as his section was blank, but the HCP put her scores in. When atos overturned a decision to fail me, I asked DWP why they did not confirm why my decision was overturned they said that as Atos had made the decision to overturn my complaint/appeal, they were the ones responsible to notify me.

On the subject of trying to obtain info on the deaths related to Atos/DWP the DWP are (for obvious reasons) reluctant to give out this information, but by implying that it would exceed the costs because it would take longer than the 3day/£600 allowed, are we to conclude that the list of deaths is very long, which is why it would take longer to process.

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From: Mr Taylor

27 August 2011

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

In your response you stated that Under section 12 of the Freedom of
Information Act the Department is not obliged to comply with my
request because you estimate that the cost of complying would
exceed the appropriate limit of £600.

As authorities have a duty to advise and assist people who make FOI
requests would you please therefore advise on how I could refine my
request in order that it would not exceed the appropriate limit of
£600.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Taylor

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

27 August 2011

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct.

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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Gill Thorburn left an annotation ( 7 September 2011)

Quote-marks I also have received the response that producing information in a specific case would exceed the cost limit. In my example I wished to know the volume of mail that the DWP had received in connection with Atos, ESA or WCA. I similarly concluded that this must mean it was a phenomenal amount. So we have our answer, one way or another, don't we? Shame we couldn't get the statistics to prove it though.

Gill

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

29 March 2012

Dear Mr Taylor,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 30th August 2011 by DWP Adelphi and forwarded for me to respond to in my role as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Medical Services Contracts Correspondence Team Internal Reviewing Officer.
You asked:-

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

In your response you stated that Under section 12 of the Freedom of
Information Act the Department is not obliged to comply with my
request because you estimate that the cost of complying would
exceed the appropriate limit of £600.

As authorities have a duty to advise and assist people who make FOI
requests would you please therefore advise on how I could refine my
request in order that it would not exceed the appropriate limit of
£600.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Taylor

Firstly, may I take this opportunity to apologise for the delay in responding to your request for an Internal review. It is clear that you have not received a response to your request within the statutory timescales.

In your original request dated 26th July 2011 (reference FOI 2287-2187), you requested the number of complaints the DWP and/or Atos have received in the last three years due to an individual dying, following Atos finding the individual fit for work, due to a medical condition existing at the time of the examination.

Correspondence received in DWP and/or Atos is generally triaged by theme, for example 'WCA/Medical Assessment'. I can advise that DWP and Atos do not keep detailed statistics in the format you have requested.

To comply with your request, the Department would have to identify cases where death had been notified. As Atos Healthcare provide the relevant reports for DWP Decision Makers (DM) but play no part in the actual decision making process, DWP would then have to establish benefit entitlement. DWP would have to ascertain if Atos had carried out a medical assessment and finally that the medical condition was present at the time of the assessment. This would have to be done on a case by case basis, as databases do not exist to cross reference this information electronically. Therefore, due to the complex nature of your request, it could not be narrowed or refined to bring it under the cost threshold.

The cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit of £600. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and this represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½ working days in determining whether the Department holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the Department is not obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing your request further.

I am satisfied that the original response dated 23 August 2011 (reference FOI 2287-2187) was correct and that all the information that DWP are able to supply to you has been supplied.

If you remain dissatisfied you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk

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Mo Stewart left an annotation (11 May 2012)

Quote-marks Thanks for including my research reports on your website and well done for persuing answers from the DWP.

More detailed evidence is available on my website at:
www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.h...

Mo Stewart
Disabled veteran (WRAF)
Retired healthcare professional

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c fellows left an annotation (30 October 2013)

Quote-marks this treatment of the most vulnerable in our society is so sick and beyond the pale of what's excepted in a civilised society.
All this from a so-called democratic country that's forced the poor into slavery (or have benefits removed) and forced the disabled to sign on or starve - even though the PM admits the WCA needs amending. It's incredible that the UK Govt dictate to the rest of the world how to live and yet they need to get their own house in order first!!!!!!

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