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Benefits cuts blamed for sonís fatal seizure

Reporter: Lobby Correspondent
Date online: 14 September 2012

THE Government is being blamed over the death of a 29-year-old Oldham epileptic who suffered a massive seizure his family says was caused by the stress of having his disability benefits cut.

Colin Traynor suffered grand mal epilepsy from the age of 14 months and despite medication the condition was never controlled, Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher told the Commons.

Mr Traynor was assessed as fit for work in the Government’s overhaul of the benefits system, but died less than four months later.

The Labour MP called for the medical assessments of a person’s ability to work, carried out by Atos, to be suspended.

Mr Meacher said: “There are some particularly disturbing aspects of Colin’s treatment at the hands of Atos Healthcare and the Department for Work and Pensions that deserve official attention and reform.”

MPs were told how in 2008 Mr Traynor was deemed “unemployable”, though he had wanted to work for nine years.

In August 2011 he attended an Atos health assessment and was told his incapacity benefit was to be cut by £70 a week, which caused him great stress, Mr Meacher related. He was told an appeal could take nine months and nothing more could be done in the meantime.

“From December 2011 to April, Colin’s health deteriorated, his seizures increased due to the stress and he also lost a lot of weight,” said Mr Meacher.

“On April 3 the stress and anxiety resulted in a massive seizure and it took his life.”

Tragically, after his death Colin’s mother contacted the Department of Work and Pensions and was told the decision had been overturned; her son should never have been assessed.

Mr Meacher said: “if the appeal had been resolved more quickly he would almost certainly be alive today.”

He called for the points-based assessment to be scrapped, a new system introduced which separates people who are clearly too ill to work, and a speeding up of the appeals process.

He also called for the Atos contract to be suspended until a more “sensitive” assessment can be put in place.

Newly-appointed work minister Mark Hoban said executives will meet Mr Meacher and Mr Traynor’s family to discuss the case later this month.

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This isn't about whether or not disability benefits should be tightened up. This is about the gung-ho and slap-happy way the re-assessments are being carried out.

That ATOS needs sacking & the Con-Dems need taking out of power, how can they do this to the most vulnerable in our society!! whilst they wine & dine & claim expenses for bath plugs, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Make no mistake about it, the Government, the Department of Work and Pensions, and ATOS Healthcare all have blood on their hands.

A while ago I wrote a piece about the Tories being akin to Hitlers Nazis in their hatred of the disabled. Another poster supporting the Tories dissagreed, saying that no genuine disabled person would be adversly affected and that the vulnerable would be protected.
Well I'd like to ask him how he feels now because I think it's as plain as the nose on your face that Cameron has decided that the disabled are an expensive inconvenience the country would be better off without.

No one likes any criticism of those who are in receipt of disabled benefits and, this tragic case apart there are a small minority who are blatant malingerers but far more who have been on this benefit for years and could easily do some sort of work. It isn't a popular view I know but nevertheless its a view that needs to be aired.

Flake, I remember your comment. Comparing Conservatives to Hitler's Nazis is wrongheaded and plain insulting. This is clearly a tragic case. You have no idea what you are talking about. I work in the social housing field and deal with the vulnerable every single day. I know of cases where people have been assessed as fit to work when they were not. I have seen them cry, comforted them and then given them advice about how to appeal. Ask my customers whether I care about them. Grow up Flake!


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