Government department’s “no information” claim is just a feeble cover-up

A government department responsible for disability benefits has effectively admitted that vital documents were not shown to an expert hired to conduct a review. The papers link its controversial ‘fitness to work’ test with deaths of benefit claimants.

The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claims it has no information about whether the reviewer was shown copies of peer reviews and two prevention of death reports. Of course, if they had been given to the reviewer, the action would have been noted.

no informationIts “The information is not held” response to a Freedom of Information request, I contend, is an admission of guilt. Those of us who have personal experience of the DWP simply won’t be convinced that it is telling the truth. We see it for what it is, a feeble attempt at a cover-up.

Actions are always recorded but any lack of action isn’t – as there is nothing to note. Therefore, ‘no information’ means the documents were NOT shown to the reviewer. And that is unforgiveable.

The FOI request was submitted by the Disability News Service. Its full story can be read here.

* * * * *

Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

* * * * *

Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor, so cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Zinbryta risks outweigh benefits, European report

Multiple sclerosis treatment Zinbryta was withdrawn in March and now a review by the European Medicines Agency has found its risks outweigh its benefits.

The review confirms the drug’s association with the risk of developing severe and potentially fatal immune reactions in the brain, liver and other organs. It was carried out by to the European Medicines Agency‘s (EMA)’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC).

zinbrytaIn March, when I reported that the drug had been withdrawn, I questioned the due diligence of the approval process.

EMA says that 12 cases of inflammatory brain disorders worldwide were potentially related to the medication’s use. Further, encephalitis and meningoencephalitis, or inflammation of the membranes enveloping the brain and spinal cord, resulted in three deaths.

Zinbryta is no longer available through European pharmacies and hospitals but the EMA recommends healthcare professionals to monitor patients who were treated with Zinbryta.

The EMA says: “Patients could be at risk from the start of treatment and for several months after stopping treatment, and it is not possible to predict which patients will be affected. The PRAC therefore confirmed its previous conclusions that risks of Zinbryta outweigh its benefits for patients with multiple sclerosis.”

Biogen and Abbie are working closely with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the withdrawal of Zinbryta in the US, according to Zinbryta’s website.

Anyone who takes Zinbryta is advised to contact their healthcare professionals and discuss a new treatment strategy.

* * * * *

Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

* * * * *

Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor, so cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Shocking: Neurological misdiagnosis fears prompt patient reviews

People living with multiple sclerosis, and other neurological conditions, are among thousands of patients being recalled for case reviews. They were all treated by consultant neurologist Dr Michael Watt and the reviews have been triggered by fears of possible misdiagnosis.

I am shocked and horrified that the reviews are necessary but delighted that the powers that be are taking action. At least they are not letting the fears and concerns to be swept under the carpet.

The reviews involve more than 2,500 patients treated in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, UK.   They were all diagnosed with neurological conditions that, as well as MS, include Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease.

It is the biggest patient recall in Northern Ireland’s history. 

Those concerns arose from an independent review of patient notes by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Royal College of Physicians. Health bosses have not been ruled out that the investigation could, at some point. cover people who have died under his care. Besides working for the trust, Dr Watt also practised at two private health clinics.

Other doctors raised concerns

reviews

Dr Mark Mitchelson.

Chair of Belfast Trust’s neurology division, Dr Mark Mitchelson said: “I fully understand this will cause significant anxiety to many patients and their families and for that we are truly sorry. Other doctors raised concerns with the Trust regarding the care and treatment provided by Dr Michael Watt to a small number of patients.”

The hospital is setting up additional clinics, and is aiming to see all recalled patients within 12 weeks. Belfast Trust says it has contacted every patient it wants to review.

Anyone who may be worried and is seeking further support may call an advice line. The freephone telephone number is: 0800 980 1100 and lines will be open 9am – 9pm during the week and 9am – 5pm at weekends.

* * * * *

Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

* * * * *

Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.