Woman has heart attack DURING job centre meeting but too scared to leave as feared losing benefits

A grandmother suffered a heart attack during a job centre employment meeting and was too scared to get up and leave, for fear of losing her benefits echoing the film I, Daniel Blake.

In the Ken Loach film, the lead suffers a similar situation, but this woman had an attack DURING an appointment, but was ignored by the interviewer.

Grandmother Salena Hannah, 50 was attending the Job Centre is Salisbury on 2nd May at 1pm.

She explained: “I had been suffering with chest pains for about two weeks and took a couple of sprays of GTN spray, to help with my angina, before I walked in to meet my interviewer.

“My job is under 16 hours, at a chip shop, so I am forced to attend regular meetings, or my benefits might be stopped.

“I was feeling some really bad pains in my chest and I told her at least two or three times that I was in agony, but she just kept ignoring me.

“I was prescribed the drug about five years ago, but rarely use it.

“I said I needed to go to the NHS walk-in centre immediately, but it fell on deaf ears. I was living in fear of being sanctioned and just felt trapped. I didn’t think I could leave or I would have my benefits stopped.”

“I was sweating profusely and must have looked very ill. I was with my grandson, and he looked concerned, but she didn’t.

“Eventually after 40 minutes she told me the interview was over and I went straight to the walk in centre in town and they immediately called an ambulance and I was taken to Salisbury district hospital.

“They did some blood tests and told me I had suffered a heart attack, my first ever, and they inserted two stents into my artieries. I was kept in hospital for three days.

“Eventually they let me out and within an hour of being at home, the pains returned and I went back to the hospital, this time they inserted three stents, and kept me in for a further few days.

“I got home on the 11th and i’m slowly getting better, but am still very short of breath and weak.

“I have been signed off for a month and I am now on ESA rather than JSA.

“However, the way I was treated in that interview was a total disgrace, I was so worried about losing my benefits that I didn’t just get up and leave to go to hospital. I just sat there having a heart attack.”

Peter Tatchell, Human rights campaigner said: “This is another part of the outrageous draconian and abusive way in which the benefit system is being enforced.

“It shows a total lack of compassion and it’s very clear that benefit staff are under set huge pressure to get results, regardless of the suffering inflicted upon the claimants.”

Dr. Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, said:

“It’s disgusting to see how some of the most vulnerable people in society are treated. What’s even worse is that these people are doing everything that’s asked of them. They’re going out to work everyday, or desperately searching for work, trying to look after themselves and their family, and yet they’re treated with contempt.

“Our social security system is being slowly eroded, and further cuts will see the poorest families hit even harder. How bad do we want it to get for the poorest before our humanity kicks in?

“We need a compassionate, and supportive system that helps to lift people out of poverty, not one that watches on as they suffer needlessly.”

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said:”When you hear stories like this, you have to wonder if all compassion has been completely ripped from our system by continued austerity and cuts to front line services.

“We’re talking about people’s actual lives here, their health, their families, not numbers on a spreadsheets or theoretical targets.

“It’s heartbreaking, and what’s so frustrating is that it doesn’t need to be this way.

“More Westminster politicians should try and navigate this system – most people don’t want to be on the dole but this Government refuses to invest to create good jobs that pay a decent wage. “

The DWP said: “We would always encourage claimants who suddenly fall ill to seek medical attention, or to speak to a member of staff for assistance.”


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4.5 million UK children are living in poverty

Real life Daniel Blake says Tories trying to kill him after Job Centre visit heart attack and disability benefits slashed to just £20 a week

3/4 of DWP Threats To Cut Benefits Are Wrong


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6 Responses

  1. Philmo

    The final para, DWP response is appalling and typical of uncaring customer facing departments these days. They answer with generalisations instead of pointing a specific way forward for the case in question, ie the member of staff should have facilitated communication with NHS and put on an empathetic discrimination course to improve her skills. It is very clear that the DWP member did not respond appropriately.

    1. Jerry

      Who I WANT to see as Prime Minister & who I think WILL be Prime Minister are 2 different things. Although Theresa May’s days are definitely numbered I doubt they will give in to a General Election any sooner than they can possibly get away with – at least not while the Polls show a certain loss. They know the Electorate has a very short memory. Promises of Austerity being over & throwing a few bones here & there, along with a bit of flag waving by raising faux outrage at the Russians for an incident that may or may not have happened, along with smears against Corbyn for being Anti-Semite, because of his criticism of Israel (despite all the work he has done & consistently voting for pro-Jewish causes – unlike the Tories), along with the Blairites continuing to rally support for the Tories from within the Labour Party itself I think there’s a good chance that the Tories may well still be in this time next year, and I believe the most realistic candidate to replace her is going to be Rees-Mogg. He is a total lunatic Facist Extremist, but he does at least have far more credibility than any of the other runners.

  2. ,Bridget Doman

    Looking back at some of the stories I have read over the past few years, similar to this has happened before – for example, an interview being suspended half way through due to the person suffering a heart attack who is then sanctioned. You couldn’t make it up, and this attitude towards claimants in difficult situations is nothing new.

  3. Norma

    We often hear about ‘trickle down’ effects and this is one example where indifference and callousness ‘trickle down’ right from the top layers of this government. ‘Whistle blowers’ who have worked for the system and told of the pressures staff work under to ensure needy people are deprived of benefits … or else. That for the sake of a job people can be persuaded to against their better natures, thereby doubling the criminal intent.

  4. Jemma A Hamilton-White

    I fell badly the night before my PIP assessment the ambulance anted to take me to hospital, even sent a doctor to me to convince me as they knew I had a concussion and they suspected a brain bleed. I couldn’t go though as I knew I had to attend the PIP interview the next day. I could easily have died.

  5. Vincent Clark

    We support the corporations who are allowed to pay low wages that need topping up with benefits, yet they are neither forced to pay more wages or even tax to cover it. They would still make a profit and have to employ these people on a decent wage. They get away with it because we all know the politicians either have a vested interest in these companies, or their associates do and they also get promised lucrative careers when they finally leave office, getting paid a fortune to chair a board a few times a year.

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