A man suffered from heart failure and died 39 days after being declared fit for work by Atos Healthcare on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Stephen Hill was sent to his first Work Capability Assessment in 2010 when he gave up his job as a sandwich delivery man after being referred for tests on his heart.
His wife Denise, who was with him at the assessment, said: “She checked him out. She did his blood pressure and his heart and said to see a doctor as soon as possible.”
Despite the assessor telling Mr Hill to seek urgent medical advice, he was still found fit for work. In the meantime doctors had diagnosed him with heart failure. He won his appeal but he was ordered to attend another assessment.
But he was again declared fit for work, with the assessor declaring: “Significant disability due to cardiovascular problems seems unlikely.”
Mr Hill died of a heart attack five weeks later.
According to Prof Malcolm Harrington, the government appointed adviser on testing welfare claimants, people deemed too sick or disabled to work are being refused their benefits because the current assessment is inadequate.
He made the comments during an investigation into the system, introduced by the last Labour government, by the BBC’s Panorama programme Disabled or Faking which will be shown on Monday at 8.30pm on BBC Two.