Labour MP Debbie Abrahams has asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate the possible cover-up by the DWP of documents relating to the deaths of claimants, Disability News Service (DNS) has revealed.
John Pring at DNS has been waging a campaign for years to expose previously secret ‘peer reviews’ into the deaths of claimants. He has also uncovered and highlighted coroners letters to the DWP warning of concern over some deaths.
DNS has for some time tried to discover whether the DWP passed on information about the reviews and coroners letters to Dr Paul Litchfield, who carried out independent reviews into the work capability assessment (WCA).
The DWP have now finally admitted that no such documents were given to Litchfield, even though it is clear they would have been extremely relevant to his work.
The DWP’s only excuse is that Litchfield did not ask for them. But given that the documents were secret and he had no knowledge of their existence, this does seem a rather flimsy excuse.
Abrahams has written to the chief executive of the EHRC expressing her concern that the information was not passed on to Litchfield.
Abrahams also questioned the lack of any official scrutiny into the way claimants are treated by the DWP and its agents, writing:
“As you will be aware, there are a large number of social security claimants who have died after being found fit for work or having their PIP [personal independence payment] refused or reduced.”
Abrahams has asked for an investigation into deaths related both to PIP and WCA assessments.