Intended for healthcare professionals


UK government criticised over “confusing” fitness to work mortality figures

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 03 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4677
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

The UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been accused by a leading academic of creating “confusion” with their response to freedom of information requests for data on deaths among people declared fit for work.

The data released show that 2380 people claiming sickness benefits died within weeks of being judged “fit for work” by work capability assessments in a period of a little over two years.

Ben Goldacre, senior clinical research fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, said that the people requesting information had wanted the department to shed light on whether sickness benefit claimants died after being found fit for work. But the department had issued raw numbers without denominators or age standardised mortality rates, …

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