CALLS for the Government to improve work capability assessments have been made – after a man declared ‘fit to work’ died a month later.
Stephen Hill, 53, of Duckmanton, died in December of a heart attack.
The dad-of-two had suffered heart problems for around two years and was awaiting major heart surgery but following a ten-minute medical examination on November 17 he was deemed well enough to work.
Mr Hill’s brother Anthony, 52, said: “I think the worry put so much pressure on him.
“He knew he didn’t have any energy and was getting out of breath easily but because he had been told by a medical expert he was well he thought he should be all right.
“He said to me he couldn’t wait to have the operation and get things sorted as he wanted to get back to work.”
The assessment was carried out by Atos – which is responsible for carrying out the Government’s drive to assess people claiming incapacity benefit.
But Mr Hill’s family – and Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins – are now calling for Atos’ ‘tick box’ system to be overhauled.
Mr Perkins said: “Whilst we all acknowledge that there needs to be reform of the welfare system, the cost of failing to properly identify genuine claimants when they are not fit for work is wrong and the consequences can be disastrous.
“I am calling on the Government to improve the WCA from the ‘tick box’ exercise it is now so that more families aren’t put through the anguish and loss that Mr Hill’s family are experiencing.”
Mr Hill added: “For people that are really ill, like Stephen was, the system is wrong. We want to see it changed so a report from a GP and specialist should be good enough.
“Stephen should have been enjoying time with his grandchildren. For this to happen was just terrible.”