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DWP ignored research that linked WCA with 590 suicides, MPs are told.

What: MPs on the Commons work and pensions select committee are told how DWP ignored research, published in 2015, which showed that the WCA was linked with 590 suicides in just three years. Professor Ben Barr, from the University of Liverpool, and other public health experts, had shown in the study that, for every 10,000 incapacity benefit claimants who were reassessed in England between 2010 and 2013, there were an additional six suicides, 2,700 cases of self-reported mental health problems, and an increase of more than 7,000 in the number of anti-depressants prescribed. But he tells the committee that, after the high-profile study was published, DWP made no attempt to contact the research team. He and his colleagues had recommended in the study that DWP should start to monitor the WCA’s ‘adverse outcomes’, but the department failed to contact them to discuss that recommendation and the wider study.

Why significant: DWP’s failure is just the latest evidence of how DWP has ignored and covered-up warnings about the safety of its disability benefits assessment system.


Work and Pensions Committee Wednesday 22 June 2022
‘First, do no harm’: are disability assessments associated with adverse trends in mental health? A longitudinal ecological study