Press Release: 590 suicides related to Work Capability Assessments

Press Release: 7th December 2015

Local MP questions DWP on report that 590 suicides related to Work Capability Assessments

Tommy Sheppard, SNP MP for Edinburgh East, has today (Monday) questioned the Department of Work and Pensions over a report which links 590 suicides and Work Capability Assessments. The study, which related to England and was published last month, was undertaken jointly by the universities of Oxford and Liverpool and concluded that “the programme of reassessing people on disability benefits using the Work Capability Assessment was independently associated with an increase in suicides, self-reported mental health problems and Antidepressant prescribing.”

In DWP Questions, Tommy Sheppard asked Priti Patel, Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions), “When will her department stop hiding behind excuses and give us the information we need to assess the impact of the claimant system on suicide rates."   

Mr Sheppard commented afterwards “These figures are astonishing in the extreme. It is heart-wrenching to think that a system which should be supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society could actually be contributing to someone deciding to end their own life.

The SNP have now asked for the Government to provide data relating to deaths following work capability assessments on a number of occasions. Tommy said “This issue is not going away, we will continue to ask and raise these horrific cases until we receive the answers we need to prevent future tragedies”

Read the full report here.