YESTERDAY we wrote about the need for compassion within the health sector. Regrettably today we have two more stories where it seems authortities have lost sight of what they exist to do.
The death of Mark Wood after his benefits were cut to £40 a week was shocking when it was revealed at his inquest.
Now we report that the Department of Work and Pensions has admitted that the decision to remove several of this vulnerable man’s benefits was wrong.
Given that Mr Wood starved to death, it is now increasingly reasonable to say this decision must have contributed to his death.
That is absolutely outrageous.
The firm the Government employed, ATOS, to carry out assessments for those on benefits has long been criticised, yet with Mr Wood we see the terrible consequences of when the system goes wrong.
Thankfully ATOS’ services have been terminated but surely it is the system that failed and it has seemingly cost the life of a vulnerable man who needed the care of the state.
There will be those who try to make political capital out of this tragedy but that can only be justified to a point.
No-one can reasonably believe individual Tory ministers and their coalition partners would be so indifferent to Mr Wood’s death because of political idealogy, but the Government must review how the DWP is operating to ensure others are not cut adrift from society and left to wither and die.
Today we also report that Oxford Health – the NHS Trust so lax it allowed a prisoner serving life to wander out of Littlemore Hospital and catch the Eurostar to Brussels – was so zealous it went and removed the walking frame from a disabled boy just because he was moving to another area of the country.
It was in no way as serious as the fate that befell Mr Wood, but it is yet another demonstration of a state organisation out of touch with its purpose to treat and help ailing and vulnerable people.
Too many of these organisations just see the pound signs and not the people.
That is not the Big Society, Mr Cameron.