Man dies after Atos deem him fit to work

Posted: July 30, 2012 in Broken Britain

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.

  1. Anonymous says:

    So sad for Stephen Hill & his family. I can fully empathise with with this story as my husband as gone through the same thing for the past 2 yrs plus and he is still appealing his case and getting nowhere with these people. Atos Nurses like all nurses have a duty of care to patients, they should NOT be deeming sick people fit for work on paper, to fit with Government cost cutting exercises. I myself am a nurse. My husband has had two triple heart bypasses and as a consequence of this he has left branch bundle block with supra ventricular ectopic beats. He has Severe Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease with a lung function test and evidence that his lung capacity is that of a 109 yr old but NO WORRIES AGAIN!! ACCORDING TO ATOS HE’S FIT FOR WORK AND RECEIVES NOTHING. When this whole awful appeal is over not only will I continue to provide support to my husband I will be writing to the Nursing & Midwifery Counsel to complain about the competency levels of nurses & will be asking for a whole review of Atos & its governing bodies.
    I would also like to add that I have seen jobs advertised for nurses for Atos for the DWP in the Nursing Times & Nursing Standard the rate of pay is £32,000 per annum. I hope these nurses can sleep at night cause what they are doing its appalling and goes against any reason & justification as why nurses become nurses.

    • Howard Thomas says:

      Having watched the programme I was quite amazed to see the cases of people that ATOS had declared ‘fit for work’ when quite clearly they were not and would never be. The most staggering fact given by the Panorama programme was that between January and August last year the number of people that died PER WEEK that ATOS had declared fit for work was 32. It sounds very much like this whole testing process is flawed and should be changed so that this type of incident does not happen on this massive scale.
      We all know that there are many people ‘on the sick’ that should not be, and if we honest we probably all know one ,but clearly the current testing methods are badly flawed.

  2. […] me it would be cases like that of Stephen Hill who died from a heart attack 39 days after being declared ‘fit for work’ (for the […]

  3. […] me it would be cases like that of Stephen Hill who died from a heart attack 39 days after being declared ‘fit for work’ (for the […]

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