Police in Scotland are assessing whether to launch a criminal investigation into two former DWP ministers’ handling of so-called disability fit-to-work tests.
Disabled activist John McArdle of the Black Triangle campaign lodged a complaint with police in March against Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling, according to the Disability News Service news agency.
He told police in Edinburgh that the two ministers had ignored a coronor’s concerns about the safety of the tests, which are used to judge whether a disabled person receives benefits.
1/16 above pic: “One case where the claimant’s wife went into premature labour and had to go to hospital. This caused the claimant to miss an appointment. No leeway given” see more shocking pics: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/iain-duncan-smith-police-assessing-possible-investigation-into-dwp-ministers-over-fit-to-work-tests-a7020471.html#gallery
- A spokesperson for Police Scotland told the Disability News Service: “Police in Edinburgh received a report of misconduct in public office on 23 March 2016.
“The individual who made the complaint has been spoken to and we are awaiting further information to assess this matter and establish what actions are required.”
SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has reportedly written to the chief constable of Police Scotland asking to be kept informed of any investigation.
Campaigners have long accused the DWP’s fit-to-work tests of causing deaths and have pointed to a number of suicides that took place in light of sanctions.The Department for Work and Pensions said it would not comment on a police matter.
“It is important we make sure that people are receiving the right support, and they are not simply written off to a life on benefits,” a spokesperson said.
“The Work Capability Assessment has been improved dramatically since 2008 following a number of reviews, including five independent ones.”
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Staff were not “aware of their responsibilities” in passing on concerns about vulnerable children and adults who might be suffering abuse.
Also, the report said the practice was “unable to identify patients experiencing poor mental health or those with dementia”.
Under ‘special measures’ the CQC will conduct a follow up inspection in six months. If no improvement is made the commission can cancel the surgery’s registration.
Ruth Rankine, chief inspector of general practice, said: “During our inspection we saw that staff were caring and treated patients with compassion, dignity and respect. However, we also found that care and treatment was not always delivered in line with best practice.
“We have found significant areas of concern, which is why we are placing the practice into special measures – so opening the way for the practice to receive support from NHS England among others.”
Surveys showed the practice was in line with national averages for patient satisfaction.
However working age patients expressed dissatisfaction about inflexibility in its appointment system.
Other issues identified by the CQC were a lack of “timely” action to identify abnormal results after investigations, a shortfall in infection control procedures and a failure to show staff were approved to give vaccines.
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