ATOS HEALTHCARE OR DISABILITY DENIAL FACTORIES:
By Mo Stewart
PLEASE READ AND CIRCULATE AS WIDE AS YOU CAN
The full detailed research report is very long and identifies a great deal of information as yet unknown to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Whilst the report includes evidence from my own experience, which is atypical in any research, this was necessary and, happily, professionals have accepted this as a very significant contribution to the detailed evidence within the report. First responses to the report have been very +ve. Indeed, this research was originally undertaken as a private initiative to identify evidence of the unacceptable clinical practice by Atos Healthcare medical staff. As a retired health professional, and having established serious cause for concern, I am obliged to reveal my findings to others. It is sincerely hoped that the very disturbing evidence identified within the report will not now be summarily dismissed, because my own unacceptable experience has been included as part of the evidence, and as recently implied by the Clerk to the DWP Select Committee.
This summary is to permit the reader the ability to identify the most serious evidence without the need to access the entire report. Readers are reminded that the full DWP Contract with the private contractor Atos Origin Medical Services/Atos Healthcare is 500 pages long in its entirety. Few people have accessed the Contract, which is why breaches in Contract are widespread, easily identified and ongoing and chronically sick and genuinely disabled people are suffering trauma as the result of this oversight by DWP staff.
Nine months intensive research into the activities of Atos Healthcare has revealed the company involved with the DWP and other government departments at the highest level. Atos founded COHPA, the Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association. At their 2009 AGM and conference the following people were in attendance:
- Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health & Work, HWWB
- Professor Mansel Aylward, Director Unum CPDR & former DWP Chief Medical Advisor
- Greame Henderson, Head of Health & Work DH
- Dr Bill Gunnyeon, DWP Chief Medical Advisor
- Cynthia Atwell, Chair RCN Public Health Forum RCN
- Dr Steve Boorman, Director Corporate Responsibility Royal Mail
- Dr John Osman, Chief Medical Advisor HSE
Successive DWP Chief Medical Advisers are obliged to form a working association with the company, and ATOS Healthcare acknowledge their liaison with government departments with various public awards. To reciprocate, the DWP has recently announced a new award for the company. (June 2010).
- American firm known as UNUM PROVIDENT (US) are one of the biggest occupational health insurance companies in the world. They have been involved with the DWP since 1994.
- In 2002/03 an American class action lawsuit in California identified UNUM PROVIDENT (US) as running “disability denial factories” and the Judge fined them $31.7 million. The company were ordered to re-investigate 300,000 other refused claims; something the company has still failed to complete 7 years later.(as of 2011)
- In 2005 American Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi declared: “Unum Provident is an outlaw company. It is a company that for years has operated in an illegal fashion.”
- UNUM PROVIDENT (UK), now known simply as UNUM Insurance, fund psychosocial disability research at CardiffUniversity. Prof Mansel Aylward is the head of research at the Unum Centre at Cardiff University and he was the DWP Chief Medical Adviser who in 1994 recommended this medical evaluation system to the government to reform government care costs for DLA etc. Prof Mansel was instrumental in the methods to be used, imported from America using identical methods as Unum Provident. Unum Provident is banned from 15 States in theUSA and 6 countries worldwide, so one wonders why this diabolical company are advisers to theUK government on welfare reforms? Atos Healthcare have employed the same methods as Unum Provident, hence the vast and growing numbers of chronically sick and genuinely disabled people being betrayed by this system of medical ‘evaluation’ which, in fact, is a seriously compromised 25 minute basic computer questionnaire, with no allowances for the vast differences within the same identified health condition.
- ATOS ORIGIN is the parent company of Atos Healthcare, originating fromSouth Americaand a dominant force in the computer market worldwide. Unsurprisingly, ATOS ORIGIN was awarded the lucrative government contract for IT facilities for the 2012 Olympic Games.
- DANGEROUS CONTRACT: This dangerous DWP Contract offers the medical opinion of the AH Disability Analyst as a PRIORITY, which the DWP Decision Makers accept verbatim, so all additional specialist medical opinion of Consultants, offered by the patient/claimant, is totally overlooked. Six weeks training as a Disability Analyst does not an expert make – contrary to claims by Atos Healthcare management. By definition, a Consultant is an expert in his field of medicine and it is dangerous nonsense to accept a junior doctor’s limited clinical experience over the opinion of a clinical expert. The excuse used is that the Disability Analyst is “trained in disability” and is not making a diagnosis. Consequently, desperately ill people are now being declared fit for work because they are physically capable of collecting a pen from the floor! Patients, welfare advisors and MPs all presume that specialist medical opinion by a Consultant will be accepted because they are unfamiliar with the details of the Contract. The previous DWP Select Committee have commented about this in their last report, which has also been totally ignored by the DWP, together with ignoring all evidence offered by 10 successive annual reports by the President of the Appeal Tribunals, HH Judge Robert Martin.
- Medically unqualified Decision Makers, who are administrators with basic skills, now decide the fate of all applicants depending on the conclusions of either a seriously flawed computer tick test and/or Disability Analysts who all have limited clinical experience. Hence AH can claim that they are not responsible for the awarding of government care benefits. Their evaluation system causes a crisis for the many victims of this systematic government medical tyranny, and AH escapes all responsibility whilst Ministers confidently offer unstinting support. It’s no wonder that AH is so confident, with an income of £100 million per year from the DWP. The level of unnecessary distress caused to the victims of this tyranny cannot be quantified but is significant and, clinically, totally unjustified and unacceptable.
- Without supervision Atos Healthcare staff breach the DWP Contract frequently.
- The Contract requires specialist medical opinion for several conditions, including all confirmed cases of terminal cancer and muskulo-skeletal disorders etc. This is routinely ignored by AH with devastating consequences, whilst the UKgovernment offer total support for this private company. www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatos.html refers. (Website designer is terminal with brain tumour.)
- AH doctors do not have access to a patient’s detailed medical history at interview with the patient, as confirmed by AH, so one needs to question why so much detailed medical evidence is requested; which will be totally ignored?
- Bogus medical reports by AH staff also written about profoundly disabled children. (Main report)
- AH doctors are referred to as Disability Analysts, and the company claim that they do not have the same responsibility as a doctor who is responsible for diagnosing and treating patients. The GMC insist that all doctors have a duty of care for anyone they examine for any reason – the company disagree.
- The Government has ignored successive annual government reports by HH Judge Robert Martin, as President of the Appeal Tribunals, identifying serious concerns with the medical reports from this contractor. Judge Martin reported concern at overwhelming evidence that DWP Decision Makers consistently refuse to believe the claimants. Tribunal Chairs express constant concerns that medical reports from AH “did not coincide with reality” yet these reported concerns are repeatedly ignored by the DWP.
- Patients are not acknowledged and are referred to as “customers”, which is deeply offensive, as the DWP is this company’s customer and not the patients/claimants who rapidly become victims of this system. Claimants on Unemployment Benefit may be customers, patients in receipt of sickness and/or disability benefits, or a War Pension that IS NOT a benefit, are quite clearly patients and/or claimants but not “customers”.
- ATOS HEALTHCARE is totally unaccountable for all medical examinations. All usual patient safety networks in place for NHS and private healthcare do not apply and, according to the General Medical Council(GMC) and the Healthcare Commission, Atos Healthcare, as a company, “…have total immunity from all medical regulation.”
- NO CLINICAL SUPERVISION: Everyone, from the Prime Minister down to the lowest administrator, has been convinced that this evaluation system with this private contractor is closely monitored and audited, so the general public are constantly reassured. In reality, the only monitoring is by basic administrators who invite an opinion from the company, which they then forward to the enquirer. There is no clinical supervision whatsoever and no monitoring. The Correspondence Manager simply repeats verbatim anything advised by the company, and dismisses any concerns re clinical accuracy, as he is totally unqualified to investigate. The Decision Makers simply repeat anything advised by AH staff. This isn’t supervision it’s adoration, and anything reported by this private company will be accepted by the DWP totally and without challenge. This complete lack of any independent clinical supervision of this company’s medical practice is a dangerous precedent and unknown in any other clinical situation.
- Company employed doctors, both past and present, have expressed concern that most patient health/fitness is assessed using a computer tick test questionnaire, which takes almost all of the 25 minute allocated time with a ‘customer’ and there is no time for any clinical examination. QED countless thousands of genuine sick and disabled claimants are being refused care benefits and/or increases in War Pensions based on an identified seriously flawed evaluation system.
- NO REDRESS: Any victim will find no useful redress whatsoever if they attempt to complain. They are advised to make a private complaint to the GMC regarding the named doctor who examined them. When already so ill and/or disabled, this is an unreasonable request and there is evidence to demonstrate that company staff refuse to offer their names to any claimant who has the temerity to request it at interview. Well-documented evidence has confirmed that many claimants have been prevented from recording the medical assessment, or taking notes during the interview with an AH staff member. This is sinister yet the DWP are happy to support any company requirement. (GMC will not consider any complaint against ATOS doctor unless the case has been to Appeal.)
- REPORT FORM ALTERATION: The previous DWP medical report forms contained a question to permit the investigating doctor to confirm his clinical findings, to identify the %age disability of the patient at examination and to confirm that his findings were in agreement with the medical opinion of the patient’s GP. The system worked very well for any patients having a detailed medical examination. The report form has now been changed to prevent any doctor from offering a clinical opinion as to the %age disability demonstrated following examination of the patient, as confirmed by the visiting Consultant, on behalf of the Appeal Tribunal, who carried out a clinical evaluation of myself. A medically unqualified administrator, usually following the opinion of a junior doctor who has failed to carry out any clinical examination, now decides the % age disability of the patient. They simply supervise a flawed computer tick test for the majority of claimants. This is why this medical evaluation system is so very dangerous. No doubt this clinically unacceptable system has saved money, as countless numbers of genuine claimants are refused the help they are entitled to expect and no clinician would have approved this system in its present format. The doctors and representatives of disability organisations, consulted before this system was operational, and whom Ministers constantly refer to in their defence of this medical tyranny, are now all challenging the practice and validity of this dangerous and seriously flawed medical evaluation system. (See comments in detailed main report.)
- All applicants for state disability benefit, and now also War Pensions, are presumed to be bogus. Guilty until proven innocent is the psychology now employed by Atos Healthcare, with encouragement and full approval from the DWP. I received a letter from a Correspondence Manager from the DWP, covering 6 pages of A4 text, all insisting the virtues of the company and ignoring any evidence to the contrary. He is simply quoting verbatim comments from the company. He is totally unqualified to do anything else. (Full text in main report.)
- Following a request for more information, a Contract Manager provided copies of emails between the Medical Directors of both AH and SPVA – who supervise War Pensions and are presumed to be concerned with the welfare of disabled veterans. Emails confirm overwhelming SPVA support for the MD of Atos Healthcare, and all letters written to me were first forwarded to the MD at AH for his prior approval before being sent to me – in the hope that the SPVA were not causing any problems for the company! The SPVA MD demonstrates loyalty for the private contractor and not the veterans but, in his defence, he claimed that AH were unwilling to investigate my concerns without his intervention. I had been in correspondence with AH for 9 months before the SPVA were informed, despite the Contract requiring AH to advise the authority of any complaint within 5 days. They didn’t and, really, why should they? Without supervision this private contractor can do anything and that doesn’t necessarily include abiding by the Contract, not least because most people are totally unfamiliar with the details of the DWP Contract with AH.
- The Contract requires AH to respond to all enquiries within 2 days but they don’t, AH are required to advise the Authority of any patient/claimant complaint within 5 days but they don’t, the Contract prevents terminally ill patients from attending DWP Pathway meetings, so why are they forced to attend against DWP threats of the removal of benefit if they refuse, and why do AH ignore the Contract requirement that provides a Specialist medical opinion for all cases of terminal cancer, musculo-skeletal disorders etc? AH breach the Contract at will because there is no clinical supervision, no monitoring, no one to prevent this happening and no-one to care.
- Dr Bill Gunnyeon, the new DWP Chief Medical Advisor, together with Dr Steve Boorman for Royal Mail and Cynthia Atwell for the RCN were all distinguished guests of Atos Healthcare at an the COHPA AGM in Sept 2009. There is a mutual appreciation society going on between government departments and Atos Healthcare at the highest level, and AH demonstrates that they are untouchable, as confirmed by all research evidence.
- To date, the GMC have failed to successfully investigate any doctor from AH usually because “people become discouraged because a GMC investigation can take up to three years to complete”. Hence, the government’s claims that vulnerable people will be protected are a total nonsense.
- MD of Atos Healthcare refuses to personally respond to any correspondence because the GMC will investigate anything in writing – as confirmed in emails to MD at SPVA. The MD’s opinion is routinely forwarded via the National Customer Relations Manager.
All patients/claimants are in a no win situation. The DWP actively dismiss all complaints against AH.
Atos Healthcare is successfully running disability denial factories in theUK, funded by the DWP, and identical to those used inAmericaby UNUM Insurance. There is nothing in place to stop them and all evidence that challenges AH medical reports or conclusions will be resisted. Patients/claimants have no protection. There are countless numbers of distressing stories available of genuine patients being traumatised following a visit to these government funded medical assessment centres, where no actual medical evaluation will be undertaken other than a seriously flawed computerised tick test.
The permitted activities of this private contractor are dangerous and, without medical supervision, the chronically sick and disabled people of this nation remain in jeopardy. It’s not enough that these victims endure such shocking treatment by this contractor but they are also placed under intolerable additional pressure, with the constant threat that their financial support will be removed, without warning, because the DWP want to save cash and the sick and disabled people of this country make very easy targets. The very detailed research report has been used by Professor Harrington, at his request, as evidence for his independent enquiry to be published in December.
22nd August 2010
Since this research was completed additional information has been brought to my attention. In a letter to a dying man, the manager of the DWP CMMS department has confirmed in writing that the DWP never have audited/monitored the contract between the DWP and Atos Healthcare, contrary to the claims of successive Ministers, who constantly reassure the House and the British public. In her letter to Mr B, Hilary Brierley confirmed that: “…the Department has not exercised its contractual right to access for purposes of auditing Atos Healthcare’s compliance with its contractual obligations.” Someone, somewhere should explain to this woman the difference between a contractual right and a contractual obligation when dealing with a £100million government contract.
The only monitoring undertaken by the DWP and Atos Healthcare is to check the paperwork and the targets. There is no clinical evaluation of these medical reports or the doctors producing them.
QED: It has now been confirmed that this government contract with
Atos Origin Medical Services has never been monitored/audited by the DWP.
In loving memory of Eileen Nearne – a WW11 hero betrayed by her country.
22nd September 2010
POST SCRIPT (2): THE HARRINGTON REPORT
An Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment, headed by Professor Malcolm Harrington, was published on 23rd November 2010 and used my main research report as a contribution to the evidence for the review. The Professor confirmed unacceptable and limited activity by the Decision Makers, who fail to consider all presented medical evidence, and confirm anything presented by an Atos Healthcare assessment. This is in breach of the contract as exposed in this full research report, originally completed in June 2010. Decision Makers are not qualified to do anything else.
POST SCRIPT (3): UNUM PROVIDENT
In a feature article by Jonathan Rutherford, it is confirmed that the former DWP Chief Medical Advisor, Professor Mansel Aylward, was known to Unum as far back as 1994 and is now the Director of the Unum Centre at CardiffUniversity, funded by Unum Insurance. www.lwbooks.co.uk/journals/articles/rutherford07.html
‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’.
War Pensioner (WRAF)
Retired health professional Final edit 11th August 2011
Detailed references can be found in main report at: www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html
UNUM PROVIDENT now trading as UNUM Insurance. UNUM Insurance are banned from 15 States in the USA and 6 countries worldwide, so why is this dangerous company used by DWP as consultants for welfare reform in theUK??
Atos Healthcare’s parent company is ATOS ORIGIN who benefit from several lucrative government contracts…..including the IT contract for the 2012 Olympic Games.
RESEARCH CAVEAT: It is believed that Unum Insurance, or their predecessor or subsidiary companies, are no longer banned from operating in the US. This is since the company agreed to financial settlements with the DoH of all states, and since the company agreed to pay significant compensation.
It is not known whether Unum Insurance, or their predecessor or subsidiary companies, in particular Unum Provident Insurance, has agreed liability. Unum Insurance are still processing compensation claims years later.
There is anecdotal evidence that the processing of some of the claims are taking a very long time but, to date, there is no evidence to confirm that there is a Unum policy to delay compensation payments.
Given that the reputation of an Unum predecessor or subsidiary company was tainted by the involvement, including the “a priori” company name of “the Unum Provident Insurance”, it is reasonable to suppose that the change of name to “Unum Insurance” is an attempt to distance the current Unum operations from the past. It is believed that Unum feel that they are now in a position to be able to deny past culpability. Unum claim, in the US, that they have changed procedures.
It is believed Unum are funding large marketing campaigns in their target markets. Some believe that Unum are using their influence to censor and shut down websites which continue to publish past activities of Unum and its predecessor or subsidiary companies. A number of these websites have been set up by the dying, the sick, the disabled and their carers. I leave it to you and history to judge how much the attitude of Unum has changed.
All wish that Unum has truly changed. Unum could demonstrate this if they seek dialogue with their distractors and ask the website publisher to amend any published statements that they disagree with. Unfortunately Unum appears, to many, to be attempting to rewrite history and is attempting to cleanse the knowledge of a discreditable past.
The reasons for the removal of a BBC transcript (republished here dwpatosveterans.html#unumbbc), from 2007, which identified Unum Provident Insurance as a discredited corporate insurance giant, are, at this time, unknown.
(as of 25th August 2011)
100 thoughts on “IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ AND CIRCULATE”
read & circulated… :/
Posted link on my wall. I’m not in the least bit surprised by the findings in that report. Unfortunately the majority will only sit up and take notice of the wrongdoings at Atos when they are on the receiving end of their appalling treatment.
The fact that targets preceded even the first assessment, and that actual savings were already the criterion for meeting targets and a subsequent completion of contract by ATOS in order for the to be paid by the DWP. Any assessment was a mere formality, rhetorical in fact. Because they are target driven and not needs led, as stated clinical outcomes were irrelevant, but merely required process to de-register any disabled person. It amount to “cruel and inhumane treatment/torture under the UN convention and ECHR’s human rights legislation (in some cases the denial of the basic right to life) where fatalities/suffering can be directly linked to ATOS behaviour/outcomes/processes. This is far from a done deal, it should be dealt with by litigators by human rights groups, as the legal framework utilised is both vague and complex, which is a deliberate ploy to cause appeal after appeal that will drag on for years.
Really do not know what to say to this!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is it OK for me to copy this post in it’s entirety and put it on my blog for my readers to see it also, If not I understand? Brilliant report…..
Yes certainly – we need to all help each other because no-one else will.
Good luck. Mo
Just a quick note to ask you to read the research caveat just added to the end of the research summary, confirming that UNUM have bought themselves out of trouble again and, officially, they are no longer banned in America – will let you know about the other countries.
Unum paid $millions to remove all evidence of past wrong doing from the Internet, but they haven’t managed to buy everyone…. Will be sending out info from the Yale Law School offering a detailed insight into the “Unum Provident Scandal” and I have a request into the New York Times archives for access to their reports, so I’ll get the confirmation… Can’t let them win.
Stunning piece of work you have done here, I will definitely need to read it all again later in the day as it’s now 2.00 in the morning and I am totally wiped out, very much appreciate your help as I myself am going through the ESA process, I have had ME for 17 years now and for the most part i’m stuck in my bed.
Sorry I have to go now totally drained
@Jayne Linney, don’t be shocked, talk to people about the report you read. Change will only come when people are made aware of what is going on and act to stop the actions of Atos.
Posted as a link on my Facebook profile and have urged everyone to read and spread the word. I am absolutely gobsmacked (though perhaps not that surprised) that there’s been no auditing or monitoring of the contract. I’ll also be posting a link on my LiveJournal and printing/posting copies to my MP and to Mr. Duncan Smith himself. I can testify to the appalling treatment and I am fighting them with every drop of energy I have (which isn’t a huge quantity due to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue) because they need to be fought.
Me too,I’m exactly in the same boat,I am a Fibromite with CFS as well. We dont have a lot of fight but like you I am doing my best.I appealed the ATOS decision and won,and also complained and took it to the top tier and won !! We can beat them if we all do our little bit !!
im very happy for you gabby, hope i have the same luck with my appeal !
Yep, no problems Atos Victims Group, go ahead with that being the reason I’ve asked people to share it.
Then why not try and get the word MEDICAL taken out of the wording on the front of the ESA85. Why should they be able to claim they are making a report of medical opinion if they have immunity from medical regulations? IMO opinion only those not doing medical services should not have to answer charges about medical negligence, and the front of the ESA85 clearly states that they are making medical decisions/opinions
I know! I have repeatedly used the term ‘medical’ sarcastically in single quotes throughout my appeal submission. I know I need to back off a bit before I send it!
Terminator,can we all send this repot to ALL OF THE SO CALLED CABINET,every MP who sits in the house of commens and of course that *****G
dim wit Ian Smith he failed as there party leader and by god he has failed everyone who has attended these so called humans at atos (tos is very apt for these)
I’d like to put this report on my Blog as well, if that’s ok. Excellent stuff, and might I add, I really appreciate all the hard research that has gone into this report. This, and the info it links to are just what I have been searching for!
Hi guys – pleased you have found my research helpful. However, please be warned, as sending out info to IDS will never get past the civil servants who protect all gvt Ministers, especially Secretaries of State, so please don’t waste your time with Cabinet Office members. If you are happy to print off my research summary, then I do suggest that you do make a copy of it to your individual MPs. They have a duty to offer you help and support and can’t ignore you.
Take care. Mo
sending to own MP does seem to work best, as you say they have an obligation to follow up
have linked onto my facebook page, really good to see it written out like that, i have had personal dealings with atos and at the moment know some people who are getting so much more ill then they already are because of the worry and stress atos cause them. they have blood on there hands – def has been people end their lives because of what atos and other parts of the benefit system have put them thru, thaks xxx
Nice to get some thanks – it doesn’t often happen. I have been disturbed at the way my research reports have been handled during distribution, not least by the removal of my identity from the title of the reports. This is unacceptable, totally unprofessional and a number of other websites have my reports all over them, some have actually altered the title without agreement and this is also unacceptable.
MOST able bodied people do NOT bother themselves with the niceties with references to disabled groups etc, and that includes all the able bodied professionals who are in welfare. That is why the title of my report: Welfare Refrom – Redress for the Disabled was used as the title – it had a point as we are rarely refered to as ‘disabled people’ and the reports were aimed at the able bodied professionals – and I do not appreciate others altering the title of my reports without consulatation. And I really do not accept that anyone has the authority to access and distribute my reports without puiblishing the title of the reports, including the identifty of the author.
The DWP is a rogue department.
What do the letters Atos stand for? Could it be Association for the Termination of the Obviously Sick?
Answer – ATOS because they don’t give one!
I cannot understand why some form of class action is not started against this company and/or the government for negligence. Surely there is some disability organization willing to look into this or the idea could be circulated so that everyone affected can make a small contribution to get preliminary counsel’s advice? Until positive action is taken, the government and Atos will simply not take the matter seriously.
The Black Triangle Campaign is currently in discussions with a leading national organisation that campaigns for social justice who have suggested that they may be willing to provide legal assistance to do what you are suggesting Corin 😉
Thank God for that but remember Ian Duncan Smith said something about you cant take the government on and win lol that’s why you need lawyers with balls of steel!
absolutely they are threatening legal procedures against web sites perhaps we should threaten legal procedures back. Compensation claims for erroneous health reports causing severe distress. Any disabled laywers out there? Where would we stand?
UNUM and ATOS are truly despicable Heinous companies
I have circulated to all I know
I’ll be taking a break for a little while as not doing too well just now.
Pleased that Phil has brought this to your attention and that everyone seems to appreciate the info, if very shocked by the contents of my report. The more people who know just how bad this is the better. Tell your MPs.
Be prepared for the next phased step and watch out for the launch of a massive publicity campaign by Unum Insurance as they plan to flood the UK market with their income protection disability insurance. This has been planned since 1994, it is the systemmatic destruction of our welfare state as we take another step closer to American style healthcare.
Look after each other. I’ll be back. Mo xx
Quote from the DWP website “Atos Healthcare professionals are bound by General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council codes of conduct and confidentiality. They also have to comply with strict contractual conditions relating to the handling of medical and DWP-related information.” Yet I have a musculo-skeletal condition that they did not seek specialist medical opinion for, my specialist has told me no one has been in touch regarding the effects of my chronic condition.
ATOS are only interested in getting as many as possible off benefits for the DWP and the DWP don’t want to scrutinise how they do it. As mentioned on this site contractual obligations are not met, like the Inquisition they are not accountable for their actions or the result of any decisions that affect the patients health. To reduce unemployment figures the DWP encouraged people onto Incapacity Benefits to manipulate the figures, now they are targeting every claimant with a company that is consistently breaching it’s contractual obligations. If anything ATOS Healthcare should be reported for breaking the trade descriptions act, i.e. health has little to do with the assessment and care should be replaced with “couldn’t care less”.
Thanks for working so hard on everyone’s behalf.
There was a book in the 80’s called the Empourer’s new mind by Roger Penrose which clearly explained why a piece of software should never be utilized in the way ATOS and DWP are reliant on LIMA. The powers that be in the DWP obviously did not read it, (perhaps there was too much Maths) so now we have a playing out of the Empourers New Clothes. Thank goodness for the little boy who has cried out that the Empourer is naked and now all those at the front can see it. However those at the back of the crowd can not see for themselves and find it impossible to believe he would go about naked. They need more than our words. The job in hand is to force the public to the front so they see for themselves. I do not know how to do this.
Hi again. For those who don’t know, the Disability Alliance that represents 42 of the natioanl disability charities has invited a Judicial Review of the government’s welfare reforms. This is heavy stuff in tha tthe government may ignore recommendations by DWP select committees, and 10 annual reports by the President of the Appeal Tribunals, but they can’t ignore any ruling by Judicial Review. So, a little bit of hope perhaps…
Meanwhile, I’ve just had an unexpected bit of good news as someone out there is aquainted with a documentary film maker, who may well be interested and I know that Black Triangle are also attempting to get access to making a film about this breach of Human Rights and obvious medical tyranny against those who can’t fight back. Will report back once I know a bit more.
Take care of you. Mo
More news just in from the trenches… Many congrats to John McArdle for his interview on Al Jazeera, whic hwas powerful, passionate and brilliant too.
Watch out for Balck Triangle on 13th September as important and damning info will be published here once the welfare reform debate in the House of Lords has completed.
I have written a very strongly worded report, now being printed and distributed to the House of Lords, that confirms that the reasons why we are suffering this way is because the DWP ARE NOT in charge of these so called welfare reforms and they are being run by Unum Insurance, the infamous American corporate giant, with a diabolocal past reputation when calling themselves Unum Provident Insurance, and they are running the show. You can complain all you want but the DWP won’t listen because they can’t. They are no longer in charge.
And the ticking clock brings us closer to American style health care in the UK as now confirmed by eve nmore research evidence. Sorry, there is no good news my friends, but we need to get the info out to as many as possible.
So, remember that letter published in the Guardian listing large numbers of concerned professionals, academics and MPs asking the government to stop the tyranny: www. guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/08/welfare-reform-bill-punish-disabled…. I am now contacting the academics and sending them the research too – and I’m waiting for the replies. Wish me luck Mo xx
Many thanks for the info. This will soon be foisted on people who are not yet, or no longer, of working age. The evil things people/firms do for profit! And the way government’s dereliction of duty/Orwellian redefinition of the very words “medical”, “customer” and “oversight” blights the lives of the sick and the disabled! And to top it off, they want to profit from OUR NHS too, making us pay there too. Without a mandate, and not telling us the truth about what they are doing. All for money.
Is there anyway the government can be sued over human rights and neglect in these situations and if not why are they above the law causing so much distress to the very people they are supposed to be looking after?
Jane Campbell is on the Joint Committee for Human Rights and has had her question accepted for the next debate, so will keep you informed. They are to look into a disabled person’s right to independent living, so a lot of this info should get exposed. Will try to keep you posted once I know more myself. Mo
Well done and thank you for this. I did think it as a private company when I heard of its name Atos ! For the first time….I can see the day that it will all blow on to their criminal faces. Ministers and directors, the lot. And I could promise you that by now probably few suicides might have been caused by this criminal company.
United we stand divided we fall.
thanks I’m waiting for a medical sorry appointment with Atos 6 weeks and counting have a few medical conditions and I agree with everything you have said getting more anxious my daughter in law who was my carer has had to go to full time work just to keep our home going. bereaved in 2010 husband was my carer my son and daughter in law moved in to look after me.have been on benefits incapacity18 yrs
I’m at my wits end having just recieved my invitation to attend a medical (haha) with less than one weeks notice. I have read the assessment criteria for ATOS and cannot see how I can pass it despite being seriously ill. I live in france and qualified to join the french health system with an E121. If I lose my right to an E121 I will immediately lose my right to healthcare in france as I haven’t lived here 5 years. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and recieve treatment costing over £1000 a month. I haven’t been irresponsible. I assumed I would retain my right to healthcare. But now potentially I could lose my right to any healthcare whatsoever!! Sarko changed the law here to deny access to healthcare to anyone resident for less that five years. Even if I wanted to pay into the french health system (like NI payments) I am not allowed because my ill health pension is not earned through working!! This is madness. I live here I have a house here so cannot resonably be expected to move back to the uk. Honestly I feel like killing myself. Surely this must be against my human rights. Is anyone else in this boat?
My husband attended a ‘medical assessment’ in october. Having passed his previous assessment in ’08 and his condition now considerably worse, we expected to be informed his benefit would continue…..we were wrong!!! He is unable to walk any distance, is in constant pain and on high doses of medication. The nerve damaged caused by spondylosis means he has lost sensation in his fingertips so regularly drops things. His consultant has told him his spine is ‘rotten’ and will continue to deteriorate. He has been informed that he was awarded – no points – at his recent assessment. Its disgusting…he worked from the day he left school at 16 until his health prevented him. We foolishly believed we were the people cameron said would be helped. He has received an ‘invitation’ (followed by – if you do not attend your benefit will be suspended) he will be told, from the end of december he will no longer receive incapacity benefit and the amount payable on the new benefit is lower than he has been receiving whilst we appeal the decision. Even if the appeal is successful, the amount of benefit he receives will be lower than the amount we have struggled to live on. He is 61 next birthday and tansferring to pension credits in 2012. This must be against our human rights!!!!!
This original research report was published on BT back in August. Since then another report: WELFARE REFORM – REDRESS FOR THE DISABLED has also been distributed, and I believe it is also available on the BT website. The info relates to Unum Insurance in more detail and is cause for concern.
I don’t know where to start I have multiple diseases/conditions some of them for over 10 years! all long term and chronic and one a pre-cancerous condition caused by incurable HPV virus growing lesions/tumours on 4 different sites 4 times and now possibly a 5th… having some 16 surgeries in the last 3 yrs… leaving me with permanent disfigurement (unseen), and disability, unfunctioning body parts to add to the list – use of catheters , walking sticks, home adaptations, scooter 26 different medications administered through the clock 24 hrs a day including morphine tablets and solutions as well as other pain relievers…..etc (terrible medical care and been battling the NHS/Medics for proper treatment as by most of my local consultants I’ve been written off can’t help you anymore!! I’m only 39!! local GP practice usless but no others near by and have no transport so stuck there too, so I am in the process of structuring a major complaint to the NHS and finding out uk leads on my diseases and asking for their help/input). Always been a tax payer sometimes high level lost my job with govt organisation due to recruitment frieze/govt cuts in december 2010 actually I was fired but couldnt prove it due to a major surgery in Nov’10 and had 8 weeks recovery 2 of that in hospital. told my job was safe whilst in hospital to then come home an be told by letter I was no longer required. I am a single parent with no support/family/adult social services – are usless can’t help me not their fault govt cuts again… onto JSA then too sick to look for work told to claim ESA… well me I’ve been claiming ESA since apr 11 when I had bowel surgery never fully recovered from that and previous op’s then advised to claim for DLA and this is where my problems begin… ESA & DLA intitially refused asked them to look again award made but low level not enough and constantly re-reviewed every 3 mos often co-inciding with the latest operation! as did my last review now sent in october (original award said review due apr 2012!!!!) urology surgery 26/10/11 letter received xmas eve take upto 11 weeks for decision by that time I’ll prob get another review form to fill out….. how can this be right I have to fight the medics and the DWP/Atos as well as the 9 different diseases and conditions I have on a daily basis…… come on govt, minsters and mp’s wake up and see whats happening!!!! the chronically sick and disabled are being failed at many levels and thrown down the pan!!!!!!
have read and passed it on http://www.facebook.com/groups/AntiAtosAlliance/
It has been well documented in the press that the ” colourful character ” Lord Freud was known as the ” Fraud Squad ” or ” Suicide Squad ” for pushing share issues for companies that subsequently tanked .
The vilification of the disabled as cheats & scroungers with 1930’s Germanic undertones in the media is largely down to Tabloid friendly DWP Press releases which can easily be translated into lurid headlines . Iain Duncan Smith’s SPAD is Susie Squire ex of the far right Tax Payers Alliance , a very motley crew of swivel eyed rabid foaming ideologues . Their backers tend to come from Big Corporates with vested interests in paying no tax or at least as little as possible .
I agree there is very little democracy these days , the boundaries between front organisations for the Tory Party , the media , ATOS Origin + UNUM are very blurred at best .
On Thursday 10 March, we launch Of Mutual Benefit, a new Progressive Conservatism Project report on welfare reform.
Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform
Rt Hon. Frank Field MP
Jack McGarry , CEO of Unum UK
Kitty Ussher, Director of Demos (Chair)
Of Mutual Benefit: Personalised welfare for the many looks at how radical reform to incapacity benefits could provide more generous, secure coverage for individuals whilst saving the taxpayer billions. The report argues for reform to encourage and incentivise greater take-up of private welfare solutions such as personal income protection.
This is a privte, invitation-only roundtable taking place under Chatham House rule in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA. For more information on the project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Marsh is seriously ill in hospital , her valued contribution to the Spartacus Report has obviously taken it’s toll . No doubt the spin doctors for Messrs Miller , Grayling & Duncan Smith , the DWP , ATOS Origin & UNUM & their friends in the media would call her a lazy malingerer .
I’m surprised that UNUM haven’t visited her with a view to selling her a ” Protection ” Insurance Policy that they’ve absolutely no intention of paying out on .
This also rubbishes the ” Non Medical ” ” Medical ” policy and the ” all in the mind ” UNUM Psycho – Social or ” behavioural ” pseudo science that has shaped Government Policy .
Seriously ill cancer patients are to be subjected to dubious ” capability ” ” assessments ” please note that Chris Grayling is vehemently opposed to real world tests , to teach them a moral lesson about entitlement . Paternalistic moral authoritarianism ? backed up by a strong repressive State .
This is the mantra parroted out by Tory Trolls representing vested interests in the media .
“They’re trying to make it like America, where insurance firms tell you if, where and when you can get healthcare, and companies like Unum offer unemployment insurance. The Tories are trying to abdicate governmental responsibility for taking care of its citizens by handing over responsibility to the citizens themselves.
This is a typical laissez-faire Tory/ Neo Liberal / Con ideology where everyone becomes responsible for themselves, and if they can’t look after themselves, they’re told ‘it’s your own fault, and therefore we’re not gonna do squat to help you, except throw you some crumbs as long as you show us you’re deserving of them.
You’re responsible for your own success or failure, your own illness, your own poverty. Deal with it.’ This mentality often comes from people who are born rich and have little concept of how the real world works. That mentality blames the victim for ‘letting themselves’ become the victim. That’s the tory ‘social model’.
I am a translator in french/italian /english.
I had a call from XEROX UK , who are DWP outsourcers in these languages. They asked for a quote on bulk medical documents .
I thought they were for staff medicals, but no, they were medical reports on Africans who are currently arriving illegally to Italy and France at the rate of 2,000 a month in pirate ships.
Due to un conventions on human rights, the only way a refugee /asylum seeker can be passed onto another EU country is if they have medical needs that cannot be met in their country. SOOO, Italian government employ a firm to ‘find’ they are all disabled! I dont know the name of the firm involved, but it is possible its ATOS, or a subsidiary….sick that a team of quasi medics in the UK obey govt.guidelines and find truly disabled people well, yet in another part of the EU, another government employ a team of quasi medics to find a group of unwelcome physically fit people ‘disabled’ –
You should find out what the name of the firm is…..ask the DWP under an FOI act? Or Xerox? The whole thing is fraud!
I am a disabled war pensioner (ex-special forces medic) who, since being medically discharged in 1992, has worked in a variety of different positions, all of which have had a negative impact on my declining health. I am now 57 and have not been in gainful employment for the past 12 months, due to ill health. I currently rely on a small service invalidity pension, war disability pension (both awarded for my service attributable medical condition) and DLA, and as such have never claimed any unemployment benefits. I want to work, however my medical condition is such that every day is a challenge, faced with constant multiple joint pains, chronic fatigue and general unwell. My medical history is well documented with numerous expert clinical reports written by both service and civilian medical consultants, going back well over 20 years.
I am currently considering taking on voluntary work, possibly as a welfare caseworker for the Royal British Legion or SAAFA, which would enable me to fit my work in around my medical and physical disability.
I have read the research summary written by Mo Stewart. I have major concerns over the apparent lack of reliance on past medical history, and what appears to be blatant disregard of expert clinical opinion, by ATOS Healthcare whilst carrying out DWP assessments.
Whilst I may be suffering from chronic ill health, which is known to be exacerbated by any form of stress, I would, like many others, use what little strength I have left to appose such flawed assessments, not only for my benefit but for the benefit of other disabled sufferers.
My Dad was in the H.M. Forces for 22 yrs. As a boy I grew up in the Regiment until the age of 11 and attended schools such as R.A.F. Gatow in Berlin and Aldershot where all the other kids were forces kids too. That is why I feel a special affinity to the plight of veterans who have literally been prepared to lay down their lives for each other and for their country. That’s what they signed up to. And they carry out their work with confidence and pride. We FUME at our politicians for marching our boys off to war – but we ALWAYS support our boys and girls.
Over the course of the latest conflict in Afghanistan, I have been nauseated by the sight of Cammerface and Milliandroid always beginning their sparring matches of a Wednesday lunchtime at Prime Minister’s Question’s with paying a tribute to our fallen soldiers.
Why am I fuming?
I am FUMING because I know FINE WELL how our forces are treated when they get home.
The very idea that a war veteran should have to undergo ANY sort of thing that approximates anything like an ATOS “Biopsychosocial ‘Model’ ” Work Capability Assessment absolutely makes my blood BOIL.
That is why I find their tributes in the House of Commons utterly nauseating. Because they pretend to care for and respect us and then practically abandon you when you get home. Nobody is asking for a free ride. No-one is expecting anything less than to be treated fairly and professionally.
Instead, veterans with PTSD and other injuries are placed in jeopardy. These welfare policies are about removing the welfare state and the NHS from public sector duties and statutory requirements. They’re about declaring war on our own people.
If you encounter any specific adverse experiences by sick or disabled veteran in result of the Welfare ‘Reform’ Act or dealings with government departments let Black Triangle know right away. We will advocate for their cause as an integral part of our wider campaign for the human rights and dignity of all disabled people.
I really admire what you’re doing and if I or Black Triangle could work with you in any way to change things for disabled veterans please let us know.
Yours in solidarity,
Perhaps you could publish my other research reports John ?
I was in Berlin and Aldershot as a soldier of 1 RRW from 75 to 82, I have had PTSD for 30 years, our treatment is appalling, and patronising. Every MP starts communications with their “waiver”, lifted straight from the covenant, along the lines of “we value our armed forces blah de blah de blah”, well after 39 years involved with the Gov. MOD and NHS I can tell you they blo*dy dont. Why should I after all these years go to ATOS like a performing monkey and lift a bucket of paint to prove I have a Psychological injury?
What an insult. I fought and was injured for my country! I saw and was involved in things that no one in their right mind would wish to, just for some tosser to tell me either that I am a liar or I am not that sick. Since the inception of The NHS and NA ACt (1948) we have paid NI contributions and taxes in order that services would be provided “from the cradle to the grave”. That is what I fought for, so who gives the politicians and their collaborators the right to call me “a Lying theiving B*stard!
Do they think that being politically criminalised, after already enduring in some cases, a life time of disability, and discrimination is a bundle of joy? That by slandering us that they can kill us all off,? Well we veterans are used to this, the MOD/Government have maintained that stance with us for at least 9 decades!!
it’s not just ATOS, despite having an uncurable conditon which is listed by the McGill Pain index as the most painful in the World and being virtually housebound the PMABS have reafused early release of my Police Pension basing their decision on NICE Clinical guideleins which state for 4 seperate reasons they cannot be used in my case. So with my ESA stopped because of ATOS and no Police Pension we are going to lose our home and everything.
Fantastic and damning piece of journalism. I now feel that they must all be tried for crimes against the people. This has to be illegal. The magna carta…
Well tomorrow I am of to attend an appeal . At present I receive £15 per month . What the hell am I supposed do do with that . If I loose the appeal don’t know what will do. Why should people have to live like this I worked for 29 years with out a day sick . And bang this is what we get for paying our national insurance for all them years . Sorry but this suckd
Referring to Magna Carta might be tempting, but it does not and never did apply to companies or bands of brigands not controlled by the Crown.
It would make more sense to refer to the European Declaration of Human Rights and to the UN Convention of Rights for People with Disabilities – http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml – which requires States to outlaw discrimination against and defamation of people with disabilities.
Thanks for digging all this up. I remember my 1st ATOS interview. When I said I was going to record the session, I was told that this was not allowed and if I tried to record my benefits would be stopped! So these days I keep my mouth shut and tape clandestinely.
I am also an ex nurse and ODP, with over 30yrs service,once they find this out I have found their attitude changes remarkably. But I find ever interview very stressful, it is patently obvious that the interviewers have no perception of a duty of care to the “customer”. This is a scandal that will not go away. If you need any help in anyway to further this campaign to expose the dreadful way in which we are being treated you have my e-mail address, you are welcome to get in contact. As you would any one with the length of service and qualifications that I have allows me to make very informed judgements that cannot be refuted!
OMG… I can’t believe that, you were told if you recorded it, you would lose your benefits. I would have made sure that I recorded them saying that, I would have got them sacked. You have every right to record a conversation of any sort. They say they have the ability to record these meetings (they dont say that because they are recording, you will lose your benefits, they just go ahead and do it), so why can’t you.
You can demand that a recording is made, they set it up and you are given a copy of the tape at the end
If you all really want to screw over ATOS and wipe out a large portion of their profits then we need to get everyone to demand an audible recording of their assesment you have the legal right to one and ATOS cannot refuse. They only have two sets in my area. This would mean they have to not only buy a lot more equipment but also train the people to use it and pay them.
Keep fighting thses bastards – it’s the only way…
Where can I get a .PDF copy of the ATOS/DWP Contract?
You can demand one from the DWP under the freedom of information act
Does it cost anything, like a CCA request is £1.00 and a DSAR is £10.00.
And do I send it to their bog standard Blackpool address or is there a special address to send such requests to and whats the time limit for them to reply?
It,s free , You send it to Dept of Work and Pensions stating you are making the request under the Freedom of Information Act. You can do it by e-mail but you must put down your full name and addrees. The Act gives them 20 days I think.
Someone , somewhere needs dealing with…..and they know who they are
what really gets me is if someone files false info to claim a benefit they can be prosecuted Atos are falsely or fraudulently filing info to the DWP (& thereby the government) & nothing happens ! WHY ???? i am heading to my 2nd tribunal next month because of blatant lies by Atos
well mo the fight goes on but will they do anything about this unum atos dwp i think not a lot but its with thanks that i jeff3 jeffrey davies is gratefull for trying t ostop this abuse of sick and disabled people ,mps some are opening their eyes wider to affect of thei corrupt company but then dwp are not being truthfull either ,but like you being following unum and missed out that they bought their way back into usa ,but then its all been about money not about people well enough woffle of me but thanks mo
start a petition here, http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/ get 100,000 signatures and they have to debate it
fantastic work Mo, I,like many others am a victim of the corrupt ATOS / benefits system.I am currently living on housing benefit ONLY and that covers 60% of my rent! So I’m selling everything I’ve ever worked for to feed myself and expect to be homeless within 4 months!
There is no doubt that ATOS/government benefit reforms are corrupt,but what’s the best way to deal with these life threatening issues? I think we’ve got to start with public awareness and direct action(fast)
Most of the readers of this blog probably aren’t aware of the threat that humanity is facing on a global scale!
For example: there is/will be an unprecedented increase in diseases such as alzheimers,multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis,
Mental disorders,respiratory cancers (the list goes on).
The reason for this? Our government is allowing the SPRAYING OF TOXIC CHEMICALS over our skies in the form of CHEMTRAILS !
If you research this subject, you will find evidence that the chemtrails contain barium oxide,aluminium particles, strontium,mercury,(all toxic heavy metals) also live yeast virus organisms!!!!!! You think that’s shocking?
What about the fact that the major pharmaceutical companies worldwide (BIG PHARMA) are corrupt and causing disease through toxic medicines!!!!! Same corruption applies to doctors and VACCINATIONS , ingredients include mercury,flouride,animal foetal DNA,formaldehyde !!!!! SHOCKING.
And dare I mention the FOOD INDUSTRY ,with their toxic packaging and genetically modified organisms (GMO) and toxic sweeteners (ASPARTAME)!!!!
Sorry for straying from the subject of ATOS, but it is all very relevant…. THEY (so called Global Elite) MAKE VAST AMOUNTS OF MONEY from making us ILL !
We (the people) need to get informed,reclaim our rights and power as a society,and get rid of the psychopaths in government!
We put them there to help us, not kill us.
thanks for listening…
May 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm
fantastic work Mo, I,like many others am a victim of the corrupt ATOS / benefits system.I am currently living on housing benefit ONLY and that covers 60% of my rent! So I’m selling everything I’ve ever worked for to feed myself and expect to be homeless within 4 months!
A truly horrendous situation to be in Cosmic, there really needs to be some sort of help put in place for people like you, I’ve seen so many horror stories on this site.
So much for all the charities we have, probably just fronts for more big earners. There should be ad’s on TV asking for money too help people like you!
if you want to see how the DWP don’t care please read this FOI
Serenity,thanks for your comment.you mentioned charities to help people like myself who are struggling to cope following benefit denials.let’s face it,there should be no need for charities at all. Any part of society that needs help,wether it’s homelessness,disabled,unemployed,etc, should be covered by government funds.All those wonderful volunteers who give their time to help our vulnerable citizens work for free!They shouldn’t have to.
I read the previous link from Diane,very disturbing! It puts things in perspective for me,all have is depression/fatigue and a dog to feed.My heart goes out to the families and children who are suffering. The reason I posted a comment a few days ago was to hilight issues that are not within the public consciousness but have a direct impact upon us all and our health,(CHEMTRAILS, TOXIC POISONING IN FOOD AND MEDICINES).
After reading lots of disturbing comments from people who are on the edge of sanity and feeling suicidal (I’ve been there), I feel I could help explain why we as a society are in this period of traumatic stress. I’ve spent the last 20 years researching what is going on right now! It’s complicated,but we can get through this.
There’s too much information to write now but I’ll spend a few days simplifying it and post to a current blog on this site with HTML tags so people can check for themselves . Thanks,Mik (cosmik)
Complained about my medical, letter back saying doctor sorry could not recall my case but will take on board my comments.
She did not have my records at my medical, but reckons no decision was made till they had been delivered, and a colleague
had made the final decision no name. Sent this information to my Asbestos victims support group. Send them back to France.
Mo, brilliant work. I often visit Black Triangle, WhyWaitForever and whatdotheyknow (Freedom of Information website with a lot of the Atos protocols available). It is definitely worth getting to know as much as possible. The ESA Handbook is downloadable from the DWP.
I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, spinal conditions caused by Spina Bifida, diffuse osteoarthritis, diabetic neuropathy and eye conditions. I scored 0 points. So there is plainly something rotten with DWP/Atos’ model of disability that bears no relation to a medical model. All disabilities appear to be “functional somatic disorders” even if there is substantial evidence of disease that alters the physiology, biochemistry etc of a person from the norm (the medical model). I very likely have Fibromyalgia (it is often co-morbid with CRPS) but am not mentioning it as it is deemed a functional somatic disorder. I know Simon Wessely had great influence on the DWP/Atos model but they appear to have distorted his findings to suit themselves.
Meant to say I’m not mentioning Fibromyalgia in my new ESA50 or to the Atos healthcare practitioner.
Having re-read my post it reads like I support Wessely. I categorically do not. Wessely acknowledges (ungracefully) neurological, physiological and chemical changes occur* so I would say that makes Fibromyalgia, CFS and ME diseases. The ‘distortion’ is that DWP/Atos appear to believe that there is no significant effect of the diseases on capability for work. I may have got this wrong so I recommend anyone to read the excellent information library at Invest in ME.
* ‘Functional somatic syndromes: one or many’ The Lancet Sept 11 1999
Karen can you please help with this
My MP is going to ask parliament to debate our situation/condition, on his own he is unlikely to succeed so far 4 MP’s have agreed to support him but we need more so if you want the government/health dept to do something to prevent others going though what you have please e-mail your MP today.
Tell them the name of this condition. That it is the worlds most painful incurable one and as much of your story as you are comfortable with, at the very least tell them how long and how many doctors before you were diagnosed. That 95% of the NHS have never heard of this condition but according to figures in a paper published by the Royal College of Physicians last May there maybe 480,000 sufferers in the UK and less than 20,000 have been diagnosed That is approx 760 undiagnosed for every MP.
Ask them to read these links and spare 5 mins to watch the video.
Tell them that Iain Stewart is going to call for a debate on this and ask, beg , plead whatever you feel is appropriate that they contact him ASAP to offer their support in anyway they can.
Please don’t think I’ll do it later do it right now.
You can contact me on RSDFighter@hotmail.co.uk
I am really lucky in that my pain management consultant is proactive and is very aware of CRPS. I’ve had great support from him and his interdisciplinary team.
However, 11 years is a long time to wait to be taken seriously and unfortunately I suspect nothing now will help the pain long-term. The really frustrating part is that old names are used still (Sudeck’s and RSD) which confuses the picture. Next most frustrating is lack of knowledge among GPs as it is so rare.
I regret to say but this is not a wholly political issue. I feel it is more a matter of raising awareness by being a patient representative of CRPS and starting locally by educating healthcare professionals.
However my DWP/Atos experience shows there is a wilful role on their part not to appreciate the significant negative effect of CRPS on capability to work. The excellent Freedom of information people WhatdoTheyKnow got the LiMA protocol for CRPS. And this protocol is incomplete. Which means that Atos HCPs cannot make informed tick box choices- so based on that I will always be capable of work.
What I would suggest is that the UK based part of RSDHope apply to contribute to the evidence gathering stage of the 4th Review. I don’t know how individuals access it but as a group RSDHope will have more clout. Rather than email my MP I will hopefully meet her in person (she was a Minister under Blair).
Apologies to BT for going off subject!
Karen we have the Debate 4.30 next Tuesday in Westminster Hall. A number of us are going, if you could make it it would be nice. I have a press release ready to go tomorrow and hope to get a lot of journalists there would you be prepared to talk to them.
Even if you can’t make it you could help by sending the press release to your local papers TV and Radio Stations and giving them yoour story.
Can you e-mail meon RSDFighter@hotmail.co.uk.
With reard to RSDHope I have been in touch with Keith for about 3 years, he has put a number of UK sufferers in touch with me but never mentioned a UK section
I would like to say thank you to Black Triangle Campaign for all the support you are giving to me and others. Sterling work.
“I don’t want to leave anyone behind. The test of a good society is you look after the elderly, the frail, the vulnerable, the poorest in our society. And that test is even more important in difficult times, when difficult decisions have to be taken, than it is in better times.”
David Cameron 2/5/2010 on the Andrew Marr Show
Atos and DWP are a reflection of what society/government has actually done.
Karen we have the Debate 4.30 next Tuesday in Westminster Hall. A number of us are going, if you could make it it would be nice. I have a press release ready to go tomorrow and hope to get a lot of journalists there would you be prepared to talk to them.
Even if you can’t make it you could help by sending the press release to your local papers TV and Radio Stations and giving them your story
With reard to RSDHope I have been in touch with Keith for about 3 years, he has put a number of UK sufferers in touch with me but never mentioned a UK section
Fantastic work Mo, thank you. I knew things were wrong but I had no idea how wrong. And although it is dispiriting to hear of so many people so adversely affected by these people, it is heartening to know there is someone to help bring us together to fight them. Thank you so much.
First, a huge ‘thank you’ to Mo. Outstanding work.
Second, sorry for the long post, but here goes.
Having read the article and all the comments I was struck by one thing – how often people seem not to be launching an appeal against a DWP confirmed ATOS ‘assessment’ giving them inadequate points.
I hope I’m not teaching people how to suck eggs, but there are a few things everyone should know.
Everyone has a right of appeal. Everyone. Having been through one already and facing another from January 2014 (as I have no doubt I will get 0 points again) I know how stressful it can be, but I would urge everyone to appeal if necessary.
You have 28 days to notify the DWP of your decision to appeal. Once they receive this notification they are bound by law to continue payment of benefit until the tribunal decision, at least in the case of ESA. If you miss it and cannot justify missing it, you can and will be forgotten. Someone else can construct the appeal on your behalf as long as this is noted.
With regard to the tribunal, take valid medical evidence with you. This might not be on your GP notes, or might not be obvious, being buried somewhere in the mass. I handed over a month long diary of the effects of my conditions. If you can, get support from your GP (I can no longer currently do this following this change)
Take someone with you to the tribunal if you can and, similar to the original ATOS assessment, provide information to them AS IF IT WERE YOUR WORST DAY, not your best or your average.
And remember, if your condition(s) mean you would be a danger to yourself or others were you to begin work and this is supported by medical evidence (or medical common sense), it allows a tribunal to reach an ‘easy’ decision in your favour.
After the results of the tribunal you will receive a response from the DWP giving their verdict on your benefit entitlement. Do not accept these as set in stone!
My case in point – I was judged by the tribunal as belonging in the Support Group for Employment Support Allowance. The response from the DWP immediately placed me in the Work Related Activity Group. Again, you have a right to question this, which I did, asking on what grounds their decision had been reached and why they had ignored the tribunal advice.
The response I received from the DWP advised me that if I had a disagreement with the result of the tribunal I should appeal to them! I then send a second letter (this time one of complaint against the agency and it’s decision maker in my case) to the DWP asking them to provide the reasons for their incompetence and explain their seeming inability to read basic information. I have yet to receive a reply to this complaint (which is against their rules, but hey-ho) but I did get a speedy upgrade from WRAG to Support Group.
So always be aware you can question and challenge this evil enterprise at several levels and on more than one occasion.
To all of you, the very best of luck. 🙂
This evil company was outed in the UK by ‘Private Eye’ a few years ago. They also documented how UNUM was forefront in ‘advising’ the govt in forming it’s official policy against the disabled.
People in authority have no excuse that they didn’t know what UNUM was about or their terrible reputation. Isn’t that being complicit in corporate manslaughter? I’m not a lawyer but those in authority should pay for all the deaths and suffering that they deliberately caused.
*Note that you _can_ still appeal a benefit decision for up to 13? months (an ‘out-of-time’ appeal) if you have good reason for not having done so earlier ‘in-time’ (30 days). You need to show that you have a good reason (such as being ill, a death, being told you couldn’t, didn’t know you could, etc)
The Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/991) state that no account can be taken of the claimant being unaware of or misunderstanding of the law (regulation 4(6)(a) for late revisions, regulation 32(8)(a) for late appeals). This means that “I was told I couldn’t appeal” or “I didn’t know I could appeal” cannot be good reason for a late appeal.
It is a general principle of law that ignorantia juris non excusat (ignorance of the law is no excuse). Whilst this maxim is most commonly heard when talking about criminal law (“I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong”), it alludes to an underlying principle called legal certainty – people should be able to know where they stand before the law.
If ignorance of the law was good reason, this would allow late revision requests and appeals on demand, meaning no decision was become final for 13 months. This violates the principle of legal certainty – both the claimant and the DWP should be able to know where they stand.
Unfortunately, in this post-Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 world, where legal aid is not available for benefits matters other than well-founded appeals on points of law to the Upper Tribunal and the courts, the lack of good quality and timely advice has reached crisis proportions. Much of the small proportion of legal aid money historically spent on benefits went to advice organisations like the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, who used it to employ welfare rights workers, to commission expert evidence (such as doctor’s reports) and to represent people at Tribunals. Very little legal aid money for benefits matters went to solicitors, contrary to the public perception.
It is vital that claimants do not let the limited windows for requesting revision and appeal to expire without acting.
Suggested approach for dealing with an adverse benefits decision
Write to DWP requesting a written statement of the reasons for the decision. This extends the time limit to make your request by 14 days beyond the month otherwise allowed.
At the earliest opportunity, request any extra supporting evidence.
At the earliest opportunity, see if you can secure any help or advice – though many advice services are overwhelmed at the moment.
Devise your submission, using the available evidence to show that your own argument(s) you meet the criteria for awarding benefit are more likely to be true than the reasons given by the DWP written statement. This is why knowing the DWP’s reasons are helpful – you know precisely what you are arguing against.
Resist the temptation to bring in irrelevant material, however strongly felt. Any complaint you have about a medical assessment should be handled by the complaints process (even if the only route is to complain against the regulatory body for the medical professional in question). In a revision or appeal submission, you should be arguing against the conclusions in the report, not about how the medical was conducted. Similarly, you should resist the temptation to argue about legally irrelevant facts (for example, the DLA higher rate mobility test relates to walking outdoors on a flat, level surface, so don’t talk about the distance from the bus stop or living on a hill – N.B. the PIP mobility test is about all walking)
Send in your submission by Special Delivery, making sure it is received by the deadline. Save or print out the Royal Mail Track and Trace information to prove your submission was in time.
I suggest making a written request for revision first. In this process, DWP look at your submission alongside all the other information, and make the decision again.
There’s many advantages of the revision process. It can mean you get a favourable decision without a Tribunal. If you fail at the revision stage, you can still go to the First-Tier Tribunal. It gives you longer to get supporting evidence for a Tribunal, as the revision process happens first. If you go straight for Tribunal, DWP will likely revise the decision anyway, but without any submission from you, they’re likely to make the same decision meaning you wasted the revision opportunity.
If you fail at the revision stage, write requesting the written statement of reasons (which extends the month deadline to appeal to a tribunal by two weeks) and put together the best appeal submission you can by following this process over again.
Noose has been up in my office loft hatch for too long now time to use it. bye bye i love you jane x.X.x
Informative read i will see what the local mp has to say
It seems that UNUM Insurance has been shafting its disabled customers IN BRITAIN, going back several decades.
One such experience is described in Diana Holmes’ 1998 book “Tears Before Bedtime” ISBN-13: 978-1860339080 ,
Chapter 3 details the author’s harrowing experiences with UNUM in 1993, when they bought out her insurance company (same time-frame as the start of their involvement with the UK gov’t) and forced her through painful and bogus-sounding medical tests, before divesting her of the disability pension for which she’d contributed in good faith.
Holmes accepted the situation – and was probably one of thousands more in the UK defrauded into believing they did not ‘deserve’ the support they had paid for. In the USA, many victims successfully sued UNUM, but here they have been allowed to get away with it, as with much else.
(The book also depicts the harrowing mistreatment of thyroid patients by the UK medical establishment – sadly NOTHING WHATSOEVER has improved in the 15 years since its publication).
“Those who sow the seeds of discontent, will harvest the wrath of rebellion and anarchy”
i knew it! that atos ”dr”? twisted my answers and even lied , i said she had to take oath or something they are not allowed to lie , (i hope shes in court , i’d like to see her again.) and even tho my consultant backed me, (she considers me disabled) i was cut off esa ! i appealed but still no day in court .i had letter informing of delay then another questionaire , i have to keep sending in drs notes. but i know of much worse cases than mine, tbh i thought it was a hardly covert government plot to get rid of the sick, no actually … i still think that.