Terry McGarvey knew he wasn't well enough to attend an Atos fit-for-work assessment. But, because he was terrified his benefits would be stopped if he didn't turn up, he went anyway.
Too ill to go on his own, he was taken by his brother, Charlie, but during the medical examination his condition deteriorated even further and had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance.
He died the next day.
He was 48.
His brother said: “He said he felt terrible and didn’t think he could leave the house. But he was worried they’d take his benefits away if he didn’t go. When he went in, he sat down with a young woman who started asking him questions. I pointed out that he needed an ambulance, not a medical.
“They put us into a room next door and lay him on a bed. We waited more than an hour for the ambulance without anyone coming in to even ask how he was.”
What? Just What? This is an office full, one imagines, of medical staff who are paid to make decisions on people’s lives, using their medical knowledge (however scant that may be), and not one of these highly trained staff bothered their lazy arses to come anywhere near him to find out how he was when the ambulance took an HOUR to get there?
Terry had a blood disorder, polycytheamia (having a high concentration of red blood cells in your blood, making the blood thick and less able to circulate through the vessels to the organs). The reduced blood flow can cause complications such as blood clots, bleeding (such as nosebleeds and bruising) and gout. Blood clots are, of course, particularly dangerous as they can put you at risk of a heart attack, pulmonary embolism (blockage in the lungs) or stroke.
So given that the woman who was examining him would have known all this information, and anything else he was suffering from (she would have his paperwork in front of her), and will have been medically qualified (at least to first aid level), I'm rather surprised that the call to the ambulance service said that it was not an emergency. That decision, made in a building full of medically trained people, may well have cost this man his life.
Charlie, from Glasgow, said: “The girl who was supposed to be doing the examination never brought out a stethoscope or anything. They just put him in the room next door and that was the last we saw of her.”
An Atos spokesman said: “We would like to express our condolences to Mr McGarvey and his family. As soon as we were made aware that Mr McGarvey had taken ill, we offered our assistance and called for an ambulance.”
Wow… We’re impressed, but not very.
Perhaps as IDS is in Scotland telling us how pathetic we are, he might like to offer the family his condolences and maybe an explanation for why no one in Atos Offices seems to have enough medical nous to apply a sticking plaster.
Cost cutting, I’ll be bound.
In an urgent memo obtained by Benefits and Work, the DWP have told staff that due to a growing backlog at Atos all current employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants will be left on the benefit, without further medical checks, until another company can be found to do repeat work capability assessments (WCAs). The memo, dated 20 January, goes on to say that this will reduce the number of claimants moving off ESA, but that there are no plans to inform claimants or MPs about the change.
So another plank just fell off IDS's building. Has this man got anything right? How many people have died because of him and his Labour predecessors?