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A coroner has issued a Prevention of Future Deaths (PFD) report after the DWP forced a severely ill claimant to leave hospital to make a claim, rather than allowing him to do so electronically. The claimant, who was very vulnerable to infection, subsequently died.

Terence Talbot, who had Bipolar Affective Disorder, was being detained under the Mental Health Act when he had a rare reaction to the medication he was being prescribed.

This left him very vulnerable to infection.

However, the DWP refused to let Mr Talbot make a claim for benefits electronically, instead insisting he had to make the claim in person.

In her report, the Coroner says that health professionals had never experienced such an ill patient being forced to make a claim in person before:

“I heard from all the doctors and a senior nurse in this case who have a considerable experience across a range of specialties and across several different NHS Trusts that they have never experienced nor heard of a case where a severely ill inpatient was required by the Department of Work & Pensions to leave hospital to attend its offices in person to make a claim for welfare benefits.

“Terence Talbot was suffering with a mental disorder and an exceptionally rare and complex disease with a risk of death and suffering severe exfoliative dermatitis that rendered him very vulnerable to infection.”

The secretary of state for Work and Pensions has until 28 January to say how the DWP will make sure that nothing like this happens again.

You can read the full story on the Disability News Service website and download a copy of the Prevention of Future Deaths report from the Judiciary website.

Comments  

+1 #3 tintack 2022-01-12 22:32
Quoting David Millar:
I was in hospital following major surgery. A man in the same ward who in the same position had to leave the hospital for a few hours to attend the DWP office or risk sanction. The poor bloke was in obvious pain. He tried to explain his situation by phone. DWP weren't interested. Turn up or lose benefits.


They really ought to be prosecuted for this sort of thing. Ideally a patient's consultant should give them a rocket over the phone, tell them that the patient is not fit to leave hospital and insist on being given the name of the person at the DWP insisting otherwise (after all, I doubt many consultants would be too thrilled at the prospect of their patients being subjected to potentially serious and completely unnecessary harm). Unfortunately that's not always possible.

Of course, any doctor in the NHS making such an appalling decision would almost certainly be struck off for gross negligence, but here we are again - the DWP above the law, as usual.
+1 #2 David Millar 2022-01-12 20:48
I was in hospital following major surgery. A man in the same ward who in the same position had to leave the hospital for a few hours to attend the DWP office or risk sanction. The poor bloke was in obvious pain. He tried to explain his situation by phone. DWP weren't interested. Turn up or lose benefits.
+1 #1 tintack 2022-01-12 18:19
[sarcasm]I'm sure whoever was responsible for this appalling decision will find themselves in the dock shortly. It definitely won't be allowed to pass without consequences. Oh no. [/sarcasm]

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