Feb 1 2013 by Craig Robertson, Kilmarnock Standard
Parliament has heard how a constituent of MP Cathy Jamieson died while waiting for the saga over a work capability assessment (WCA) to be sorted out.
The Kilmarnock and Loudoun member highlighted the man’s case at Westminister while calling for the system of WCAs to be overhauled.
The UK Government has commissioned Atos to assess whether people should continue to receive employment and support benefits.
She explained how his family has suffered “stresses and strains” of going through a third appeal over an assessment after winning a previous two.
The MP said: “I have one example of a gentleman who was brought to my constituency office by a neighbour. He had his third WCA in May 2012 and was zero rated.
“On the previous two occasions he appealed, and his appeals were upheld on the basis that the tribunal decided that he had reduced awareness of everyday hazards, leading to a significant risk of injury to him or others, and was therefore not fit for work.
“That gentleman was brought to my office in August 2012 because he was awaiting his third appeal and was distressed by the process.
“Obviously, we gave him advice.
“On October 8, the neighbour contacted me to say that the gentleman had passed away.
“We have heard a few such examples in the debate but I hope the Minister realises the stresses and strains and the problems caused to family and friends when people are waiting for extended periods for their appeals.”
The MP also raised the issue of another constituent who had been assessed by his GP for mental health issues for seven years but questioned why a nurse carrying out his WCA could do the same in 41 minutes.
She said: “We need a system that is sophisticated enough to deal with those situations but also one that is fair enough to ensure that people who are in the last weeks of their lives are not left in misery while they await tribunals.”