Shocking news: it has recently come to light that a man with Asperger syndrome and a number of mental health conditions has died of starvation – that’s right died of starvation in the sixth richest country in the world.
He died four months after most of his benefits were stopped and he was left with just £40 a week to survive on.
How bad does it have to get before someone does something to stop the onslaught of abuse and the violations of human rights here in the UK. The UN is aware of the situation yet continues to do nothing. Increasingly the public are aware of what is happening yet do very little either not giving a dam about the welfare of their fellow humans beings or they still continue sucking up the insane prattle of the Tories warped ideology disseminated by vile right-wing newspapers propagating the government’s Nazi style propaganda against the sick and disabled.
The government here in the UK are in violation of article 25 of the bill of human Rights which states:
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
– yet no action is taken.
Why was this allowed to happen? Why has a person starved to death in a country Cameron described recently as “wealthy”, here is what Cameron said after visiting communities affected by the floods:
“My message to the country today is this. Money is no object in this relief effort, whatever money is needed for it will be spent. We will take whatever steps are necessary”. “we are a wealthy country and we have taken good care of our public finances”.
Yet no money for sick and disabled people cut off without adequate means of support, left to die
Atos Healthcare had assessed Mark Wood, 44 as being fit to work though his GP said otherwise.
At the inquest into Mark’s death his GP Dr Ward told the court:
“He was an extremely vulnerable and fragile individual who was coping with life.
“Something pushed him or affected him in the time before he died and the only thing I can put my finger on is the pressure he felt he was under when his benefits were removed.”
Furthermore Dr Ward testified that he had not been contacted by ATOS or the DWP regarding Nicolas’s medical history. Had they done so he would have said Mr Wood was not fit for work.
Mark’s employment and support allowance ESA and housing benefit were taken away leaving him with just £40 from his Disability Living Allowance DLA. All he had was £40 to pay his rent, heat his home, buy food and clothing and no doubt he had to pay his council tax as so few are exempt now. All of this would have driven a normal person over the edge let alone someone with severe mental illness. Never forget that mental health problems are serious disabilities.
Mark Wood was another victim of the government’s welfare reforms designed to destroy the welfare system and send the country back to darker days long forgotten.
Mark was a vulnerable man who died of malnutrition weighing just 5 stone 8 pounds. He suffered with Asperger’s Syndrome a type of autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias of food, pollution, paint fumes, and social situations. He also had cognitive behavioural problems.
DWP spokesperson has said:
“A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence from the claimant’s GP or medical specialist.”
Considering the above testimony by his GP, the DWP statement is a blatant lie.
Read more about this shocking case: http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11043378.Man_starved_after_benefits_were_cut/?ref=mr
It is highly likely that a good percentage of those declared fit for work are people who suffer with mental health or a neurological disorders such as Autism. Why? Because this group of people are less able to defend their rights, fight their case or appeal. People with mental health problems are often less likely to cope or find the wherewithal to even understand the complex procedure that is required. Moreover many have no one to help them and the system is ambiguous and complex to fathom, even for a person who does not suffer in this way.
If people with chronic and debilitating physical health conditions and disabilities have been declared fit for work, people with mental health issues are even less likely to get though the WCA or cope with the aftermath of being told they are fit for work. Moreover they’re less likely to gain sympathy or support. Not that physically sick and disabled are getting much in the way of support from the British public either and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety present in the lives of physically ill people as a result of all the worry and stress, consequently adding more misery to already difficult lives.
Where is the public outrage, the sense of social justice? Most people are more interested in what is on TV than what is happening to their neighbour who is sitting in a cold house, facing eviction, hunger and destitution. Sadly TV and sports has become the modern “opiate of the masses”. Though it has to be said that many are facing their own battles as a result of austerity measures and the complex lives we all lead. Even so-called ” hardworking people” if they are low paid may find their housing benefits sanctioned if they cannot show they are looking for a higher paid job .Few people have escaped the onslaught of misery during the past few years except the very well paid and the rich.
Atos is working for the DWP; let’s not forget that, Atos does the government’s dirty work albeit willingly for huge amounts of tax free money, they are nonetheless employed by the DWP to carry out Work Capability Assessments. Therefore whoever replaces them will continue the atrocities against vulnerable people.
Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind, said:
“We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Mark Wood.
“Unfortunately this tragic case is not an isolated incident. We hear too often how changes to benefits are negatively impacting vulnerable individuals, who struggle to navigate a complex, and increasingly punitive, system.
“We know the assessment process for those applying for Employment and Support Allowance is very stressful, and too crude to accurately assess the impact a mental health problem has on someone’s ability to work.
“This leads to people not getting the right support and being put under excessive pressure which can make their health worse and push them further from the workplace.
“We urgently need to see a complete overhaul of the system, to ensure nobody else falls through the cracks.”
Shame on the government. Shame on ATOS who for money destroy the lives of vulnerable people. Shame on the Labour government who have barely even spoke out against the abuse of vulnerable people.
Mark was not the first person to die of starvation, an East Grinstead man has also died of starvation as a result of having had his benefits cut.
A terminally ill man from East Grinstead was found dead in his home following a DWP medical assessment by Croydon based medical company ATOS.
The man aged 63 was found dead after ATOS submitted their report to the DWP stating that the 63 year old was fit and able to carry out manual work in which ATOS made recommendations that his benefits should be stopped in November 2012.
Police state that the 63 year old had died of kidney failure and starvation following the assessment.
The government and ATOS needs to be held up to account for crimes against humanity.
Yet who will speak up for the disabled and the chronically sick including the mentally and neurologically ill whose claims for ESA are being rejected by as much as 40% leaving sufferers traumatised, distressed, depressed, suicidal and in poverty. No one it seems speaks out or at least very few with the exception of individual disabled people themselves and groups such as Spartacus and the WOW petition. With few exceptions even charities do not make any real condemnation of the shocking state of affairs concerning what is happening here in the UK. The salvation Army seems to have set aside its Christian values to support the government’s work for nothing workfare scheme which is not only a great injustice to abled bodied people who are unfortunate enough to be unemployed but many sick and disabled people have been forced to take part under threat of losing their benefit, the only income between them and destitution, hunger and homelessness.
The Salvation army are not the only ones, though an excellent charity the National Autistic society did nothing during the run up to the welfare reform bill being passed into law other than negotiate a few clauses with Freud relating to people with autism. Mind even assisted with workfare though has since pulled out of the scheme. There certainly has been no unified serious effort between the charities to end this misery, I wonder if any of them have even contacted the UN.
Most of the right wing gutter press support the draconian scheme of the government to get as many people off benefits and back to work as possible regardless as to whether to not they are fit to do so. Why ? Because the government want to claw back the money lost in the so called financial crisis which whether it exists or not was not the fault of those who are suffering now to pay for it. Though I think the austerity measures supposedly to pay back the deficit are but an excuse to plunge people into poverty and destroy the welfare system.
And what of Labour – other than promise to end the bedroom tax what have Labour done to defend people on welfare? Other than older party members such as Dennis Skinner so called new Labour have barely raised an objection.
I am appalled that Labour have not condemned in any real way the serious attack on benefit claimants. Thousands of people have committed suicide, many live in fear and dread of insecurity and devastating poverty. Lives already marred by illness and disability and by unemployment have suffered further detriment from the Tory government’s welfare reforms and indeed from Labour who introduced some of the changes such as the unfair Work Capability Assessment WCA and a reduction in the amount paid when Employment and Support Allowance ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit. I clearly recall Toney Blair’s “lounging on benefits” comments which some might say launched the drip feed of the negative scrounger propaganda.
It is a sad day when democracy is allowed to die, when an unelected government of millionaires of over privileged sociopaths determines the future of the masses virtually unchallenged in any real sense save for the ineffectual slanging matches in parliament, none of which have remotely addressed the outrage of social injustice perpetrated against the disabled, sick , unemployed and low paid
Action to take
Write to the UN
Why not write to the UN about the shocking treatment of the most vulnerable in our society, the sick and disabled who have seen their lives destroyed as a result of vicious, unfair and unjust welfare reforms which have resulted in many suicides and people dying as consequence of all the extra pressure brought to bear on lives already blighted by disability and ill health.
You might not get a reply but it is still worth writing, the more letters and e-mail received the more someone will take notice. I wrote a long e-mail. I did not receive a reply and did not expect to do so. But do not be deterred, unless we speak out nothing will happen.
You can also write to:
His Excellency Mr Ban Ki Moon
United Nations Secretary-General
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Do not hesitate, yes there are worse things going on in the world but two wrongs so not make a right and human rights violations are violations regardless of degree.
Write a polite letter to your MP and or David Cameron and express your outrage
Mr David Cameron, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Or contact you constituency MP.
Write to trade unions – what are they doing about the benefit sanctions of workers and low pay zero hours – not very much as far as I am aware certainly nothing in support of the sick and disabled who were once workers many of whom were trade union members.
Trades Union Congress
Congress House, Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3LS
Tel: 020 7636 4030
Fax: 020 7636 0632
To email comments or make an enquiry to the TUC, please email email@example.com
The TUC is the primary trade union federation for the United Kingdom.
A list of other trade unions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_trade_unions_in_the_United_Kingdom
Unless we all speak out nothing will change
Here is list of those who do speak out in a meaningful way and where you will find the latest information.
Where’s The Benefit
Dairy of a Benefit Scrounger
Pride’s Purge ~ an irreverent look at UK politics
We are Spartacus
There are more no doubt many more including less prominent blogs and websites, such as blogs like this one with few visitors. In the main though the above provide you with up-to-date information. But every voice counts as does every action we take large or small.
Frankly what is needed is a bit of solidarity a united front of the sick and disabled, workers and sympathisers . Too often people are divided such as begrudging money sent aboard and immigrants. Even if no money is sent abroad and no more immigrants allowed into the UK nothing will change, the government are hell-bent on setting the clock back decades and destroying our welfare system.
Cancer patients ‘forced to work’