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Capita pays compensation to family of woman who died after benefits cut


Capita pays compensation to family of woman who died after benefits cut

A government contractor Capita has paid out “substantial” compensation following the death of a young mother who took an overdose after her disability benefits were removed.

Philippa Day, 27, a single mother from Nottingham who had longstanding mental health issues, died in hospital in October 2019, two months after taking an overdose. She had endured months of stress and anxiety after a long struggle with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Capita to reinstate her benefits.

An inquest into her death identified 28 instances where “systemic errors” by both the DWP and its contractor had led to failures in the handling of Day’s claim. These failures were a “stressor” in her decision to take the overdose, the coroner ruled, although he was unable to conclude she had intended to take her own life.

In May, Day’s family issued a compensation claim for negligence to both the DWP and Capita. The latter subsequently agreed to settle out of court. The sum was not disclosed but is understood to be in line with what the family was asking for. The family said the money would be used to provide for Day’s son’s future.

Imogen Day, Philippa’s sister, said: “Our family has always maintained that my sister’s treatment by Capita, on behalf of the DWP, directly impacted her mental state and in the end is the reason for her death. Capita’s wall of bureaucracy, with no consideration for Philippa’s mental state, exacerbated her despair at her debt and poverty. She was met with cold, uncaring call operators who would not listen to her cries for help.”

She added: “This settlement will in some measure provide for Philippa’s family and a materially stable upbringing for Philippa’s son, but he has lost his mother, and there is nothing Capita can do to put right the wrong that contributed to Philippa’s death.”

It is believed to be the first time an agent of the DWP has settled a legal claim brought as a result of their errors. Capita, which administers disability benefits under contract to DWP, has also agreed to meet the family to discuss ways to improve its interactions with benefits claimants.

A Capita spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the mistakes we made in processing Philippa’s personal independence payment (PIP) claim and the additional stress this caused her. In partnership with the DWP, we have considered and reviewed the coroner’s report and we are implementing all the recommendations that are relevant to us.

“Following this incident, we have strengthened our processes and we are working to continuously improve and deliver a professional, efficient and kind service for every PIP applicant we assess.”

The family’s lawyer, Merry Varney of solicitors Leigh Day, welcomed the settlement: “Capita has shown acceptance of their failures and a willingness to ensure their mistakes are not repeated. However, there remain too many examples of the DWP, which controls the financial circumstances of the majority of people too sick to work, acting inhumanely to those receiving benefits and a continued resistance by the DWP to transparent investigations into benefit-related deaths.”

A DWP spokesperson said in statement: “Our condolences remain with the Day family. We cannot comment on active legal proceedings.” It is not clear to which legal proceedings they refer to as Leigh Day has confirmed Capita’s settlement means no further legal action is outstanding regarding the Philippa Day case.

The DWP was issued by the coroner with a prevention of future deaths notice at the inquest requiring it to set out how it would improve its services. In its formal response in April it said it recognised “the need to treat everyone with empathy and care; especially those with mental health conditions”.

It said it had introduced specialist mental health and behaviour and relationships training for all new staff handling disability benefits. It added it was “determined to learn from this deeply tragic case”.

Day was described by her family as an intelligent, beautiful and “effervescent” woman who loved her young son and had ambitions to train as a nurse. She had endured mental illness and type 1 diabetes since childhood. She had a record of self-harm and suicide attempts and had several stays in psychiatric care.

Her life became increasingly stressful and chaotic after her benefits were reduced from £228 a week to just £60 as a result of a botched benefits application. Her distressed state was captured in a recording of a phone call to a benefits official in June 2019, played at the inquest, in which she pleaded for help.

In tears, Day had told the official: “I’ve been waiting for six months now. I’m literally starving, I can’t survive for much longer.” She added: “[I’m in] £5,000 debt. Nothing to eat. I’ve lost all my [benefit] premiums … I cannot survive … without any money. I need something to live for.”

After her benefits were finally reinstated, Day – who was agoraphobic – became increasingly terrified and anxious as DWP officials insisted she be retested at a face-to-face meeting at a benefits assessment centre or face losing her benefits. Her sister told the inquest this was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

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AIDS Agency Chief Says 1 Out Of 100 Persons Positive In Kaduna

The Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA), Dr Isa Baka has said a survey had revealed that one out of 100 people is positive to the AIDS disease in the state.

Baka disclosed this speaking shortly after a walk in commemoration of the World AIDS Day, on Thursday in Kaduna.

The theme of the year’s’ World AIDS Day is “Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment and Prevention Services’’.

He said the present statistics was a remarkable development against previous survey which gave 11 of every 100 people in the state.

Baka added that the AIDS prevalence in Kaduna, which is at 1.1, being a survey carried out by the state government itself, was later done at the national level, where that of Kaduna was confirmed as very accurate.

“At the national level, the prevalence of the virus (AIDS) was at 1.4 (four people out of 100 test positive), while that of Kaduna is confirmed to be 1.1, was in determination of the state government and KADSACA’s efforts to ensure minimal prevalence of the virus,” he said.

He said as part of efforts to continue reducing the prevalence of AIDS in the state, government initiated programmes across the 23 LGAs.

He said one of the UNICEF anchored programmes, which is the ‘Adolescent and Youths Living With HIV and AIDS’ programme, was present and effective in at least, 18 LGAs and 24 sites in the state.

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Malawi Commences Large Scale Malaria Vaccination- First In The World

Malawi has commenced large-scale vaccination of children against malaria.

This is the first large-scale malaria vaccination campaign since the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine in October 2021.

The endorsement followed a two-year vaccination programme, which involved more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Recommended for children from five months of age to around 18 months, the vaccine  has an efficacy of 39 percent.

The first phase of the vaccination in Malawi is expected to cover 11 of the country’s 28 districts.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the WHO in Malawi said the expansion of access to the malaria vaccine will enable more children at risk of malaria to benefit from an additional prevention tool.

“Malawi has expanded access to the first malaria vaccine! The expansion of the RTS,S Malaria vaccine, into the 11 districts that participated in the malaria vaccine implementation program (MVIP) has been launched today. The vaccine offers a glimmer hope for Malawi,” WHO wrote.

Michael Kayange, Malawi’s national malaria control programme manager, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that although the vaccine has low efficacy, “in malaria control, there is no single intervention that does it all”.

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Nigeria Yet To Attain 70% Covid-19 Vaccination Coverage- NPHCDA

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that Nigeria is yet to achieve 70 percent coverage for COVID-19 vaccination.

Faisal Shuaib, executive director of NPHCDA, said on Tuesday that as of November 25, a total of 56,790,371 eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated while 12,492,646 are partially vaccinated in 36 states and the FCT.

“We are 21.6 million eligible persons away from reaching its target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of its eligible population by December 2022,” he said.

“But 62 percent of the country’s eligible population is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The country has fully vaccinated half of the total population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“We have also fully vaccinated an additional over 25 percent of its eligible population, in the last 110 days of SCALES 3.0 implementation.”

The executive director said 13.2 percent of fully vaccinated persons in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose for additional protection against the virus.

He commended the COVID-19 strategy group for achieving 50 percent vaccination coverage in the country and promised that the momentum would be sustained.

Shuaib said he has also directed the team to intensify efforts toward the attainment of herd immunity.

“Until this is achieved, the strategy group will continue to develop strategies that will help the country achieve health security,” he said.

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