The Independent London Newspaper
18th August 2017

Man ruled 'fit for work' dies from heart attack on way home from Jobcentre

    Lawrence Bond

    Published: 18 January, 2017
    By WILLIAM McLENNAN

    A MAN collapsed and died in the street after being ruled “fit to work” and forced to sign on. 

    Lawrence Bond, 56, suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after leaving Kentish Town Jobcentre on Thursday. His sister, Iris Green, said that he was in obvious “physical distress” when he arrived at the offices in Kentish Town Road, adding that staff are faced with an “awful dilemma”. 

    “I do feel really sorry for the people who dealt with him,” said Ms Green. “They face an awful dilemma of being the people responsible for ­collecting signatures for people signing on as fit for work, even when they can see people are very sick.”

    Mr Bond suffered from prolonged health problems, including difficulty with mobility and breathing, associated with being heavily overweight. But his incapacity benefit, now known as Employment and Support Allowance, was cut following a second “work capability assessment”, which was carried out by American private firm Maximus in July. 

    A subsequent appeal was turned down and Mr Bond was awaiting the outcome of a second appeal at the time of his death, his sister said. 

    Ms Green, said: “I realise that the reception staff have no clinical knowledge or responsibility for doing it, but the rules need to be changed so that they have the right and discretion when they see a human being turning up in physical distress to flag the situation up and ask for urgent re-assessment.”

    Mr Bond, who lived in Gillies Street, went to visit a friend in Highgate after leaving the Jobcentre and was boarding the 214 bus in Highgate Road when he collapsed. Paramedics battled to revive him in the street, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

    His sister said: “I think he suffered from anxiety all his life, but held down regular jobs and was never out of work from the age of 16 when he trained as a car mechanic, then did computer studies and went to companies fixing computers, photocopiers, cash tills – so he had his van which he felt safe in – but, of course, his diet was shocking so he put on weight.

    “He lost his last long-term job two years ago and by then his weight and unfitness made him unemployable.”

    Ms Green said his health deteriorated while he was unemployed, adding: “His anxiety was getting worse as he could not pay bills and was afraid to leave home to go to the shops. Two referrals his GP had made for mental health services had been lost and he said he felt annoyed about that.”

    “He functioned very well when he had a job, and money, and a van and functioned as a productive tax-paying member of society, but he was frustrated that, although he was an intelligent person, he could not seem to get his needs met.

    “The main thing is that they have the means to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We have such a tick-box society. If we can change that, then people can flag things up and really help someone.”

    A spokeswoman for the London Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 4.57pm on Thursday, 12 January, to reports of an incident at Highgate Road.

    “We sent an ambulance crew, three single responders in cars and an advanced paramedic to the scene. The first of our medics arrived at the scene in under seven minutes.

    “Sadly, despite the best efforts of our crews, a patient died at the scene.”

    A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “The local Jobcentre had been supporting Mr Bond and our sympathies are with his family at this difficult time.

    “ESA decisions are made following a thorough assessment and after considering all of the evidence, including that provided by a claimant’s doctor or other medical professionals. Anyone who disagrees with a decision can ask for it to be reconsidered, and if they still disagree they can appeal.”

     

    Comments

    they killed my friend.

    who is this company

    MR BOND DEATH

    I am somewhat mystified how a person can be deemed eligible for benefits through being obese. This seems to be a convenient excuse for countless claimants these days. They're then given a free scooter to further reduce their chances of losing any weight, which they put to good use carting them to the nearest takeaway several times a day.

    Dave - Gospel Oak

    Mr Bond's death

    Dave - judge not lest ye be judged. Obesity is an illness, as is alcoholism, bi-polar, MS etc. Of course there are degrees of incapacity. We don't know the half of it. Give Lawrence the respect he deserves in his passing.

    Clearly something is wrong here

    Clearly something is wrong here. It's well established now that the WCA is deeply problematic and deemed by many as unfit for purpose.  Yes, it was introduced by Labour but let's not forget this was to solve a problem created by the Tories; notably a dramatic increase in the number of people they placed on the sick between 1979 and 1997 (the numbers almost trebled), we've had a residual problem ever since and no government has ever successfully resolved it.  The Tories recklessly rolled out assessments at a rate which they simply could not handle and whereby backlogs of people awaiting assessment 'exploded' to over 760,00 claimants with in excess of 1.1 million appeals against ESA decisions being lodged at HMCTS Tribunals. The Tories answer was to block the appeal process and pretend the problem didn't exist by keeping it out of the media.  A costly mistake as ESA annual budgets rocketed from early projected cost of £10bn a year to nearer £15bn, an utterly chaotic regime rolled out by the most incompetent Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, none other than IDS.  People are now winning formal appeals at Tribunals at a rate of 58% and have been doing so for some time.  It clearly demonstrates a serious problem in the decision - making process.  People should stop this pretence at being experts over something they know so little about and stop being swayed by grossly inaccurate media reports once telling us how 75% of the long term sick were 'skivers' when the latest DWP WCA outcome figures confirm (over the last 2 years) that an average of 93% qualify once appeal results are taken in to account.  What happened to this poor man should be the subject of a proper independent investigation which looks into everything and comes to some firm conclusions as to what actually happened.  The final point is the abysmal success this government has had in getting people on the sick back to work, a mere handful when compared with over 6 million WCA's, the vast majority being conducted with a vengeance since 2010.  The harm caused, undoubtedly, leads to people self - harming or worse still taking their lives and it is utterly irresponsible for the government not to stop and take a look at what is going horribly wrong here.  My thoughts are with the family of the man who died in these tragic circumstances.

    Nick Dilworth

    WCAs for ESA

    I've been deemed unfit to work I started having severe kidneyoain 1998 was deemed unfit as the amount pain killers I take and the complete unpredictability of my kidneypain inwas thoroughly investigated by renal expert at guys hospital London and professor of anaaesthesiology head pain control guys London as my condition is inoperable my only choice was pain control as without it collapse and vomit. So level pain control I've maintained past 18yrs. Since then I had a stroke in 2011 and in 2012 had 7/8 admissions collapsing severe abdo pain it took ages to diagnose all my problems. But led to numerous endoscopies ercps ultrasound scans ct MRI scans biopsies. Scopes both ends then two operations at present ihave the original severe kidneypain two hernias, post op complications to gallbladder removal leading vomitting of bile, repeated stomach ulcers and bowel polyps, High bp, severe osteoarthritis knees fingers, spine, both knees lock and I can't use stairs as fallen, I'm waiting to see kidney cons. Gastric surgeon, pain consultant as got broken ribs he wants do deep pain injection into my right broken rib dwp ignored everything my experts at guys said over ruling their opinion yet dwp aren't medically trained and now again was out in WRAG with all my medical conditions I'm on two sorts morphine past 18yrs and 20 tabs a day pain regime. I shud be in ESA support catergory I waited over one year. Been hounded constantly by dwp I can't help fact I've got so many conditions mainly severe renal pain so unpredictable I never be able work guys surgeon stated now since 2012 I've have all other probs it ridiculous I was placed in WRAG even the work station said undont have to attend as having So admissions due bleeding kidneys. And gall and kidneystones pain, vomitting and yet suddenly after 18yrs git letter dwp stating ure fit to work was forced to go jobcentre inhad take xtra morphine to get to jobcentre and felt I going to collapse I emailed my MP he rang dwp and my ESA restarted but once again in WRAG. Clearly shub be in support. I'm so much in pain exhausted all time as never sleep thru nite due renal pain. And still waiting after one year i can understand people are dying becos I've some days felt so ill, I thought I'm going collapse and not get to phone Worst thing is dwp overruling guys experts with years of experience their opinion ignored that truly shocking and be against law. And human rights issue as I never get an peace from Pain suffering and dwp constant there. Def making pain far worse

    DWP

    If people are found unfit for work by their GP's or other medical professional in the first place, why do they have to ask for a decision to be reconsidered or for an appeal?

    PIP - disgusting system!

    I had my higher lever of DLA mobility allowance removed after being reassessed for PIP.
    I had been awarded my DLA in 1999 following a serious road accident which affected my ability to walk.
    Since then amongst other problems I have had stomach and spinal cancer which made matters far worse, the latter causing my spine to crumble and twist such that I am now 3.5 inches shorter than I was 8 years ago. I need sticks to walk and cannot walk more than 50 yards without a break.
    I am on 24/7 analgesic pain relief by transdermal patches.
    My mobility is getting worse by the month due to spreading arthritis and peripheral neuropathy due to the cancer treatments and now, diabetes.
    Having lost my mobility from PIP I applied for reassessment, jumped through all the metaphorical loops but still didn't get it re-established since, according to the courts tribunal service, everything the DLA did was within the word of the law.
    Basically since the government make the laws nothing they do seems to be able to break the law.
    I now no longer drive since I have lost the money which allowed me to do so. If I'd have had a motability car it would have been siezed and taken back with no time leeway.
    Luckily I hit retirement age in 2 months so they can whistle for me attending any more disability kangaroo courts with half-arsed medical healthcare 'professionals' who don't even know how to spell most the words required to describe the causes of my disability.

    These assessments are not medically based.

    I attended a work & pensions select committee hearing on Monday 9th June 2014, and the three main witnesses were the senior vice president of ATOS along with the clinical director of ATOS health care and Head of communications & customer relations ATOS health care.

    In answer to a question from an MP on the select committee the senior vice president of ATOS said " they (ATOS) didn't know why so many assessments were overturned at appeal tribunal in the claimants favour as they (ATOS) had applied 'Legislation Correctly' during the assessments of claimants.

    So there you have it from the horses mouth, these assessments are NOT medically based. They are based on Legislation...

    DWP are killers

    The DWP are sanctioning people left right and centre causing stress hunger and homelessness. Since when has being unemployed been a crime. Too much media making out everyone on benefits are living the life of riley. I myself a facing a sanction. I am a female of 50 applying for any job I feel I am able to do. The jobcentre advisor has told me apply for any job such as cleaning reception etc. Last time he saw me he decided I applied for a job I wasnt qualified for and has told me next time I go he will check I havent applied for the wrong jobs or my case will be sent to a decision maker. The WRONG job? I left that office in a state of high anxiety. I felt sick was shaking terrified to apply for anything in case its wrong. A man of 58 was sanctioned that morning for a similar misdemeanour. I have had to look around my town searching for help in case I am sanctioned as how will I survive? Not everyone has family or friends that can help them. I am not a criminal. I have not stilen or hurt anyone. So why are people being treat in this fashion. Its high time it was stopped. They expect people to work and pay into the system yet its difficult to use the system when you most need it without being caused stress and anxiety.

    Trust

    give the decision too the patients own doctor who know there own patients, instead of a outside body of people who are obviously trying to get has many people off benefits because no doubt there are incentives for them . A doctor isn't going to lie for a patient . Trust in patients own GP for goodness sake they proffesioal medical people who sign a oath when qualified . Disgraceful poor man

    Ms Greens comments are very

    Ms Greens comments are very dignified and sensible

    Ms Greens comments are very

    Ms Greens comments are very dignified and sensible

    Overstretched gp services

    I too have been made unemployed through ill health , my gp, surgery no longer see patients , they prefer phone calls . so when i needed their support , they could not help , in fact i dont think they would know who i am face to face ! So my esa was stopped and i went to appeal and lost , so at present i am a 63yr old woman living on my savings , i am sure the government hope i die before i reach my state pension , even though i paid national insurance for 47 yrs ! This story is tragic but all to common .

    What can you expect when a

    What can you expect when a company gets paid according to the number of people it rejects. The pressure is put on Job Centre staff to keep to quotas otherwise they can be dismissed for not doing their job properly.

    One way to fight back is for the staff to take strike action stating they should not be expected to put people's well-being and lives at risk.

    Not sure if people are aware but the people doing the examination and asking health questions are not even medically trained. As the article said, it's all about box ticking.

    What have we become? All of us are one bad illness away from being in this very situation.

    ESA medical assessments

    Having been through a similar set of circumstances myself, I can, without hesitation say that those carrying out ESA medical assessments are prone to lying. In my case they manufactured responses, falsely represented/embellished responses and even added elements that had not been discussed. I was shocked when I was provided with a copy of the medical report they had produced.

    When I raised my concerns by way of an initial appeal, the DWP advised that the person carrying out the assessment was medically trained and had full knowledge of the Equality Act in relation to disabilities, after months of no benefits I had to take my case to court for a final appeal. As you can imagine, when presenting my case to a doctor and legal representative, people who are professionally trained, I was successful.

    The current system as it stands, is a means of trying to force people off ESA as this government largely believes that anyone claiming it is a burdensome, waste of spac

    Dla esa and pip. I think all these medicals should be scrapped

    In my opinoi6these medicals should be scrapped for the disabled. If they were on dla then they should automatically be switched over to esa or pip. These so called medicals that ridicul the disabled are causing more physical and mental strain. That carnt help towards there well being. Most of the people who have had these so called medicals are having to appeal against there decision. It's a joke just a month eye scam to kick people off disability the government aren't interested in anyone's illness they just want to save money and cut disability. If anyone needs a cut in pay it's the government. Vote to scrap these ridiculous medicals.

    Nobody knows when the hour will come...

    My Dad was a GP. He told me "I never tell a patient he is healthy. I can never be sure he will not keel over and die as he walks out of the room."

    But well done to all the amateur medics commenting here, who know the WCA was wrong. Clever you.

    Negativity....

    Your comment is not necessary. No one is makong comments implying they have medical knowledge, the fact is the people carrying out WCAs are not qualified to do so and are actually employed to find people fit when they are not. The opposite of what your father said.
    As you seem to be speaking as an amateur medic yourself, why the need to put other people down?

    Negativity....

    Your comment is not necessary. No one is makong comments implying they have medical knowledge, the fact is the people carrying out WCAs are not qualified to do so and are actually employed to find people fit when they are not. The opposite of what your father said.
    As you seem to be speaking as an amateur medic yourself, why the need to put other people down?

    WCA

    I hope your dad showed more compassion. The WCA has been criticised by health professionals as it is designed to fail people. Fail quotas and fairness don't go together. If the WCA followed your father's comment, no-one would be found fit for work.

    Nobody knows when the hour will come...

    My Dad was a GP. He told me "I never tell a patient he is healthy. I can never be sure he will not keel over and die as he walks out of the room."

    But well done to all the amateur medics commenting here, who know the WCA was wrong. Clever you.

    I'm so sorry for this man.

    I'm so sorry for this man. Men and Women who should have had their pensions at 60 and who have worked all their lives are now waiting up to 66 yrs before they can get their pensions. Many suffer poor health and having to attend the job centre as well for capability assessments and found fit to work or lose their benefits ESA.
    They have to attend job clubs with 16 yr olds or face sanctions. My friend is having chemotherapy and still being forced to look for work and hasn't got the energy to attend. That's why I've joined WASPI 'women against pension injustice 'group who are now taking a legal case against the government.
    Please check your pension age as you might be surprised as women are not being told of the age increase.
    This poor man's pension pot will pay for those who refuse to work !
    My condolences to this family but sadly it's happening elsewhere.

    Thorough assessment my a##e!!

    I am in a similar position as this gentleman. I went for a WCA a few weeks ago and told them that along with my original condition for which I'd been receiving ESA, I had just been for an angiography which has revealed that I required a triple cardiac bypass surgery with three narrowed heart arteries and the added complication of an aneurysm in one of them. A life threatening condition in anyone's book. Guess what.... I was found fit for work and expected to apply for jobs and attend interviews up to 90mins travelling distance away.

    How can he appeal if he's

    How can he appeal if he's dead, DWP?

    What about looking into

    What about looking into prosecuting the people who deemed this poor soul fit for work. See if there's grounds to perhaps charge the govt with corporate murder or manslaughter. The pressure group black triangle gave the police a dossier of those who had died shortly after being deemed fit for work. Also the UN investigated the Tory regimes welfare reforms and condemned it as being a systemic attack on Human Rights of disabled people. Not saying you will get anywhere but the more people who know of this it will give them less places to hide.

    DWP

    They can see people struggling. They just want people off their job seekers allowance statistics any which way. He may have had health problems but from experience you can bet your bottom dollar he was stressed out even more by the constant threats of sanctions they dish out,That will no doubt have contributed to his demise.

    ESA Deaths

    My heart goes out to his family and friends, we have to have a better way of assessing fitness to work, no help in this situation but there are better ways. I have worked on benefits cases since 1996 and never (Well rarely) lost an Incapacity Benefit appeal and often got people another disability benefit too (Showing the right are doesn't know what the left is doing.

    Life Choices caused his death, not capability assessment

    It is clear from the article that his own Life Choices caused his death, not the capability assessment - the assessment was 6 months before his heart attack

    what do you know?

    I Knew Lawrence from a teenager and he was always prone to being on the heavy side, some people are more susceptible to weight gain than others, how dare you pass judgements about someone you've never met. Besides even if it was a lifestyle choice does that mean we shouldn't help and just let people die? His heart gave out but he was a kind caring.Think about what you are saying and look at you're own heart it sounds hard.

    eating disorders are an

    eating disorders are an illness. This man was a dear friend of mine , he did try.Things went downhil for him the last two years .He needed more help. I feel very sad reaing this

    eating disorders are an

    eating disorders are an illness. This man was a dear friend of mine , he did try. He needed more help. I feel very sad reaing this

    In moment s of stess and

    In moment s of stess and anxiety people tend to retreat from the world and often either stop eating or eat more . So I can only assume you have never been in the position of struggling to pay rent bills and have your money reduced or cut?
    Stress can bring on all kinds of physical illnesses including heart attacks even strokes .
    Before you jump to ' fat ism conclusions I'd walk a mile in someone else s shoes .

    Own Life Choices ??

    You're being presumptuous. Arriving at such a judgement based on your own disregard for inconvenient facts is called "pre- judgement," also called "prejudice."
    Do you really want to appear this way ?
    Before you presumptively judge me, for this comment, re-read the article with an open mind and you'll see that you have ignored issues which far from lead to the conclusion you originally arrived at.

    No it does not.

    Read again :

    Mr Bond suffered from prolonged health problems, including difficulty with mobility and breathing, associated with being heavily overweight. But his incapacity benefit, now known as Employment and Support Allowance, was cut following a second “work capability assessment”, which was carried out by American private firm Maximus in July.

    including difficulty with mobility and breathing, associated with being heavily overweight.

    It was the "prolonged health problems" that caused his death as pointed out his weight gain was after his loss of employment.
    The DWP ARE to blame as they are in hundreds of other cases, dont blame the individual blame the cost cutting expense guzzling bunch that are running this country.

    Anxiety limits choice

    “His anxiety was getting worse as he could not pay bills and was afraid to leave home to go to the shops. Two referrals his GP had made for mental health services had been lost and he said he felt annoyed about that.”

    Poor diet due to anxiety is another reasonable assumption. Well done for reading ✅

    Thoughts go to family and friends

    So very sad, but what you say is true, DWP or the government cannot be blamed for this poor mans condition

    Insensitive

    Are you totally devoid of intelligence and compassion? Nobody said that the WCA caused his heart attack. What it does show is that the WCA is a farce and he shouldn't have been found "fit-for-work" As for your crass, insensitive "lifestyle choices" remark. I will remind you have something Jesus said. "Judge not lest ye be judged" and "He who is without sin cast the first stone." Think on that and in the meantime try and acquire some humanity and compassion.

    Insensitive

    Total agreement. Whatever the root physical cause of his ill health, he clearly was not fit for work. It is a sad day when there is no compassion left in society

    Above

    Absolutely right.

    Above

    Absolutely right.

    Life choices!

    Perhaps you do not mean to be judgemental and unkind but if you read the article, you surely will understand that this poor man had problems. He could function quite well when he had a job but became anxious and insecure when he was not in work. He had had two mental health referrals from his doctor, which somehow became lost.
    Do you really think he made life choices. When you're in a difficult and stressful position, you cannot always think of eating what is best for you or exercising. He needed help not judgement. He probably ate badly because he was anxious and needed help. This attitude of it being the victim's fault because of the choices he made is exactly the divisive attitude that successive governments have been promoting. While we're busy criticising and judging each other, we forget the poverty and low living standards that they have created for the 98% of the population that don't fall into the mega-wealthy category.
    We need to have a change of heart and start to share wealth more equally and to realise that caring for each other and making each other's lives better will lead to a socially just, happier and healthier society.
    My sympathy goes to his family and friends.

    A spokesman for the

    A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “The local Jobcentre had been supporting (YES THEY SAID SUPPORTING)

    Mr Bond and our sympathies

    (SYMPATHIES ARE REDUNDANT WHEN SOMEONE IS DEAD... SYMPATHY AND EMPATHY AND SOME DIGNITY NO DOUBT WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY WELCOME BY THIS GENTLEMAN AND HIS FAMILY WHEN HE STILL HAD A CHANGE TO LIVE)

    are with his family at this difficult time.

    Supporting

    This means something totally different to the sanction centre, as it's usually "support" via threats, bullying and belittling people and blaming them for being unemployed

    I DanielBlake

    This is so disgusting when will solicitors start to fight for the injustice in this country, so someone should be held accountable for these decisions. He oviously was unwell , watched I Daniel Blake the guy collapsed and died at his assessment , so very sad makes me wanna swear, this government are so utterly disgusting what they doing to sick , disabled people in society. Hope karma come soon and people should be being sued for making lies and false statements about people. Never have I seen so much immoral stuff in my life and I am nearly 50 years old. We need change and the ones at the job centre could lose there jobs too if they close them down to save money. They have caused so much division against people working and ones who are unemployed. We all need to come together no one knows what the future holds for any of us

    Man dies after signing on

    Look at that stupid standard reply from the dwp. Totally insensitive. If I were that family I'd sue Maximus the dwp and gov. The health assessors and dwp have become really crooked under the tories in order to get people on lowest amount of money.

    Look at that stupid standard

    Look at that stupid standard reply from the dwp. Totally insensitive. If I were that family I'd sue Maximus the dwp and gov. The health assessors and dwp have become really crooked under the tories in order to get people on lowest amount of money.

    Ian Duncan-Smith is responsible!

    “ESA decisions are made following a thorough assessment and after considering all of the evidence, including that provided by a claimant’s doctor or other medical professionals. Anyone who disagrees with a decision can ask for it to be reconsidered, and if they still disagree they can appeal.”

    How can he appeal the decision?!... HE IS DEAD! If the assessment was so thorough, how come he died of a heart attack on the day he was deemed fit for work. Clearly he was not fit. WAS HE, YOU STUPID BUNCH OF GOVERNING TERRORISTS?!

    Mr Ian Duncan-Smith and the Tory government have their hands soaked in the blood of thousands of victims.

    IDS or GB

    Which government introduced ESA? Labour
    Which government introduced the WCA? Labour
    Which government contracted out the WCA to Atos? Labour

    Labour AssistHimToDie

    Twice assisting to die has been thrown out wonder will they try again they only want people to Labour for them.

    IDS or GB

    Which government introduced ESA? Labour
    Which government introduced the WCA? Labour
    Which government contracted out the WCA to Atos? Labour

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