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The coalition government’s controversial Work Programme, dubbed ‘workfare’ by opponents, has been slammed by a leading charity for worsening the health of unemployed people with mental health problems.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveal how less than 8% of sick and disabled people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) find work through the Work Programme.

Mental health charity MIND said the figures provide “further evidence that the overwhelming majority of people with disabilities and mental health problems are not being helped by the Government’s flagship back-to-work support scheme”.

Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind, added: “A recent report from Mind found that people with mental health problems are less likely to be supported into employment through the Work Programme than those with other health conditions and are more likely to have their benefits sanctioned”.

The survey also revealed how the “Work Programme was actually making their health worse, and as a result they had needed more support from health services and felt further from work than previously”.

According to the survey 83% of people who lost their jobs due to mental health problems got worse while on the government’s flagship back to work scheme.

The survey also revealed how 76% felt less able to work, while nearly one in four (24%) were hospitalised or sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of MIND, said: “If someone is depressed and out of work a CV course won’t help.”

Tom Pollard added: “Mind is calling for everyone with a mental health problem who is receiving mainstream support through this scheme to be placed onto a new scheme and offered more personalised, specialist support which acknowledges and addresses the challenges people face in getting and keeping a job.”


  1. People forced on to the Work program are obliged by Law to inform the so called Employer they have a Mental health condition and of any medication they are taking which could effect Health and safety laws within a work place and of their own GPs recommendation of refraining from work.
    If the person through health condition or the taking of medication puts themselves or other employees or members of the public at risk then the company owner and not the company insurer who will be footing the bills for any claims of compensation. by ether the disabled person or another employee or member of the Public as they agreed to breach health and safety when taking the person on for paid work or unpaid work. The Law is clear and disabled people who have an accident in the work place directly due to their health condition can obtain legal services from any no win no fee solicitor as long as they make it clear at the beginning they could cause accidents in the work place due to condition or medication. The DWP are placing disabled people into work placements against the advice of GP’s knowing full well it goes against all health and safety laws in 90% of cases. As many disabled people do not know their rights in regards to health and safety in the work place.
    An employer who has been informed that a disabled employee could pose a risk in the work place takes all liability on themselves up to and including involuntary manslaughter charges where a person is killed in the work place by some one who breaches health and safety due to disability or on medication which bars from employment due to side effects. All disabled should seek legal advice on health and safety and use of medication in the work place. whether its paid work or unpaid work.

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