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The Scottish National Party has called for an urgent review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) after it emerged that UK Government ministers failed to pass on official legal warnings about the suicide of Stephen Carré, who was subjected to the assessment and took his own life in 2010.

A new investigation has revealed that Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith failed to pass on a coroner’s legal letter about the case – which warned that the WCA process put the lives of thousands of people with mental health conditions at risk – to Prof Malcolm Harrington, who was appointed by the UK Government to review Work Capability Assessments in June 2010.

The findings of the investigation are the latest in a series of revelations about the devastating impact of the Work Capability Assessment. It follows the news that a coroner found the suicide of another man, Michael O’Sullivan, was directly linked to being found fit to work – a case which was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions in October by the SNP’s Westminster Leader, Angus Robertson MP.

Commenting Natalie McGarry MP, the SNP’s spokesperson on Disabilities, said;

“The UK Government’s Work Capability Assessment process is both cruel and deeply flawed. Following the latest revelations an urgent review is now needed to assess the devastating impact of the process, and to seek answers as to why Iain Duncan Smith failed to pass on official legal warnings that the process is putting the lives of thousands of people with mental health conditions at risk.

West Dunbartonshire SNP MP Martin Docherty added,

“We have long known that people with disabilities and long-term sickness have had extremely difficult and distressing experiences of the Work Capability Assessment system.

“If Prof Harrington’s review had at the time been able to highlight Stephen Carré’s tragic case, and the Coroner’s official warnings that thousands more vulnerable people were being put at risk, maybe the UK Government would have been able to use this knowledge and cases such as that of Michael O’Sullivan could have been avoided.”

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