Parcel deliverer with diabetes fined for day off for doctor visit sadly dies

Jack Woodfield
Mon, 05 Feb 2018
Parcel deliverer with diabetes fined for day off for doctor visit sadly dies
A courier driver with diabetes who was fined by his employers for taking time off for a hospital appointment has died.

The widow of Don Lane, from Dorset, says her late husband feared taking time off to get care for his condition because of £150 penalties imposed by delivery firm DPD if he did not manage to get his round covered.

Don, who was 53, was fined for taking a day off to see a doctor and also missed appointments with specialists because of the pressure imposed by the company, it has been reported by The Guardian.

Ruth Lane, has criticised DPD for failing to honour its "duty of care". In a statement, DPD said it was "profoundly sorry" about the charges handed out.

Last summer Don collapsed twice at the wheel of his work vehicle, with one of the episodes resulting in a diabetic coma, and then was fined in July because he attended an appointment about his diabetic retinopathy. He disputed this charge saying that he had informed the company months before.

Don also collapsed in September and then December as he worked through the busy Christmas period.

Don, who had worked for DPD for 19 years, sadly died on 4 January at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. As well as Ruth, he has left behind a 22-year-old son.

Speaking to The Guardian, Ruth said: "There was a constant threat of a fine. They had to deliver the parcels to tight slots and the pressure to get them done was huge. He was putting the company before his own health. He wasn't able to do his parcels first and make the hospital appointments, so he would cancel on the day.

"He collapsed in January 2017 and they knew that because they collected his van. It was after that Don cancelled three appointments. DPD had a duty of care to make sure he got to those appointments, but they failed in it."

DPD said it was "profoundly sorry" about the charge given in July but claimed there had been "confusion" about the incident.

DPD said it had monitored Don's health in 2017 and that his route "was convenient for his hospital appointments".

The company added: "In relation to Don's poor health at the end of December 2016 and into January 2017, we refute the claim that he was under pressure and threatened with a £150 charge."

The company added that drivers "do not have to provide the service personally, and drivers have the option of providing a substitute driver in the event of sickness. Don was aware of the need to provide a substitute."

Editor’s note: Employers have a requirement to make reasonable adjustments for diabetes appointments under the Equality Act 2010, and an employer should not put you in a situation either where you are disadvantaged because of your diabetes or your health is affected as a result.

Picture: The Guardian
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