The company ATOS Healthcare – which is contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions to carry out medical assessments for welfare claimants – is gagging its doctors from speaking out by using the draconian Official Secrets Act, Liberal Conspiracy can reveal today.
A doctor, who currently works with the company and chose to stay anonymous, told us there was “no justification” to sign this kind of document.
He sent us documents that proved ATOS Healthcare forced doctors to sign the OSA, putting a blanket ban on whistle blowing.
He said it was a direct violation of General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice guide.
ATOS Healthcare has come under increasing fire in the last few years for forcing disabled welfare claimants into ludicrous and difficult medical assessments.
The chair of the Work and Pensions select committee, Dame Anne Begg MP, criticised the company last July, saying: “There have been failings in the service Atos Healthcare has provided, which has often fallen short of what claimants can rightly expect.”
He said the demand for doctors to sign the OSA was recent and he hadn’t been asked to do so when he previously worked at the company.
In an interview, he estimated that the form was introduced late last year, after the company faced a barrage of criticism online.
Our source told us:
There is no scientific or medical basis for these assessments. But that is entirely a different matter.
There is no justification for a healthcare practitioner assessing a person suffering from back pain or depression to sign this kind of document.
Atos Healthcare is owned by Atos Origin, a French company. It has also been criticised for running tests in assesssment centres that do not have disabled access, even though a significant proportion of their visitors are disabled.