Profoundly disabled man ‘writes own death certificate’ in protest at treatment by benefits officials
A SEVERELY disabled man has “written his own death certificate” after stopping his medication in a protest against government red tape.
Frank Campbell suffers from chronic lung disease but claims officials have him “jumping through hoops” to receive his benefits.
The 55-year-old has been urged by his family and GP to abandon his protest but he maintains it is the only way to fight the bureaucrats. Mr Campbell, from Rosyth, Fife, suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is the fifth-biggest killer in the world, claiming the lives of 250 sufferers every hour.
The railway engineer was diagnosed with the illness in 1988 but managed to stay in his job until 2005. It was only last year he decided he would try to get help as he was told he was not eligible for a carer, but since then has been bombarded with forms and procedures.
He said: “I received a document on Friday from the Job Centre saying that I had to fill out more bloody forms in order to get help with money.
“I then went to the Job Centre in Dunfermline on Monday, which was a real struggle for me, and said that it was getting out of hand with the number of forms and if it continued then I’d stop taking my medication.
“The advisor said, ‘No, you can’t do that’ but nothing was resolved – so on Monday night I stopped my treatment.”
The only thing Mr Campbell still uses is his oxygen tank, which he is hooked up to for 16 hours a day.
The treatment he has given up is a steroid inhaler and an assortment of medicines which help get oxygen into his blood- stream.
He said: “I’ve basically written my own death certificate. It means in a few weeks, maybe a month, I’ll struggle with breathing, be in pain and end up in hospital – then things just get worse.
“I’m not scared. I’m on borrowed time as it is. I was told by a consultant when I first got diagnosed that I would die when I was 52.
“And now it seems better than putting up with all this rubbish from the Job Centre. They should accept people with a long-term illness have got a long-term illness and shouldn’t be made to prove it again and again.”
He added: “You’re only getting a couple of months between each form. They make you feel like you’re jumping through hoops with all the different stages you have to go through to continue getting benefits.”
Mr Campbell lives with his elderly mother Mary. Inverkeithing MSP Helen Eadie, who recently hosted an event at Holyrood that highlighted the struggles of genuine benefit cases, said: “Mr Campbell is being put in an intolerable position and the authorities should think again.
“It is worth pointing out that of those turned down for Employment Support Allowance, as many as 60 per cent win their appeals which shows that they system is just not working,” added Ms Eadie.
The Department for Work and Pensions said it was following “reassessment” procedures.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East