Cut less, waste less – Atos fraud

Imagine if you will, taking an old radio in to an engineer. It’s still going but it’s a bit crackly and the volume’s unreliable. The engineer charges £30 for examining the radio and tells you that unfortunately it’s unrepairable but you should come back in six months so they can examine it again. You return in six months, they charge you another £30 and inform you the radio is unrepairable but come back in six months so they can examine it again.

You and I might think the engineer is a fraudster but it seems our government, notably Chris Grayling MP, believes the above to be perfectly acceptable practice when the ‘engineer’ is Atos Healthcare and the taxpayer is footing the bill.

I wrote to my MP, Graham Brady, stating that I believe Atos Healthcare is defrauding the taxpayer by performing multiple medical assessments on those with degenerative and terminal illnesses and asking him to put in a complaint to HM Treasury on my behalf. To Mr. Brady’s credit his Secretary took up the request for me and I have received a reply via Mr Brady’s office from Chris Grayling MP, Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions. In reply to my complaint specifically regarding those with degenerative and terminal illnesses, people whose conditions will never improve only deteriorate Mr Grayling has written …

“There will always be some people for whom work is not possible, because of the severe level of disability they have. Following their WCA, (Work Capability Assessment) eligible recipients will be placed in either the ESA Work Related Activity Group or the ESA Support Group. Unlike the existing Incapacity Benefit exempt group, there is no set list of conditions that make up the Support Group. Therefore, the WCA also provides a way of identifying people with health conditions which make it unreasonable to expect them to work.

People are entitled to ESA for as long as they satisfy the entitlement conditions.

The functional effects of most conditions vary tremendously and depend upon a number of factors. These may include the severity and stage of the disease, and the person’s response to treatment. To ensure that people who receive benefit are doing so correctly, people will be considered for re-assessment from time to time to make sure that they still meet the entitlement conditions. This is a normal part of receiving ESA.

Undergoing the re-assessments is part of the claimant’s responsibilities which balances the right to benefit. In addition, people can be re-assessed if new information or evidence comes to light which suggests their condition may have improved and they may no longer be entitled. This is a vital safeguard against fraud and incorrectness.”

In response I shall be sending via Mr Brady’s office …

“Thank you for your reply via Graham Brady MP but you don’t seem to address the complaint I continue to make. I fully understand how ESA assessments are supposed to work, I am stating that the process is allowing Atos Healthcare to defraud the taxpayer by performing multiple assessments on those for whom there can have been no possible improvement in their medical condition. The permanently disabled and dying are being put in fear that they will lose their benefits whilst Atos Healthcare gets a nice cheque.

Leaving aside the fact that the DWP are wasting £billions and insulting every GP and Consultant in the land by not simply verifying the medical records of those seeking benefits for medical conditions, you have given full control of how many re-assessments the taxpayer is charged for to the private company being paid to supply the service. Hardly a surprise to most taxpayers I would guess but I don’t believe the tiny number of fraudsters left in the system merits such exorbitant waste of public monies, especially when the DWP loses three times the amount in human error than it loses through fraud.
If HM Treasury do not wish to look into the matter and the Minister responsible sees nothing wrong in paying private companies to torture the disabled and dying my next contact must be the Financial Ombudsman. Unless you’d care to forward the matter to the Ombudsman yourself Mr Grayling as you see no ‘incorrectness’.”
I’m hoping Mr Grayling might see the error of his ways and look into exactly who is being re-assessed by Atos Healthcare rather than simply quoting policy but I won’t hold my breath.
In my opinion this isn’t the best time to be wasting £billions re-assessing the dying and those with incurable degenerative diseases, but then I do have Degenerative Spinal Disease, Cardiac Heart Disease and about 18-24 months to live so I might be a tiny bit biased.
Thanks to the Rev Paul Farnhill with this being from his excellent blog
Comments
  • Diana Harrison September 4, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Excellent reply I can only hope someone listens! If the whole truth on this came out the taxpayer would be up in arms! Like the point of the old radio thats so true. We can only but keep on fighting for justice.

  • Diana Harrison on Facebook September 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Such a good analogy and So true!

  • Dawn Inonme on Facebook September 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Keep up the good work!

  • Sharman Prince on Facebook September 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    MPs are incapable of giving straight responses

  • Chris Cut Wars McCabe on Facebook September 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Post to Taxpayers’ Alliance?

  • Mo Stewart September 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    It’s the DWP who decides who gets re-tested and when, not Atos, so it’s the DWP who are in the wrong, and Atos can claim innocence as all they do are the tests – the totally compromised and medically inaccurate tests, as copied from America, where they don’t work either…

    Decisions are wrong not least because the DWP refuse to use trained medical administrators as ‘Decision Makers’, thanks to Prof Harrington, who would comprehend the significance of the diagnosis and resist re-testing those of us with profound diagnosis. Atos enjoy ‘total immunity from all regulation’ thanks to the 500 page contract with the DWP, that no DWP Contract Manager either comprehends or has bothered to read, and therefore the public have no protection from the Care Quality Commission.

    Letters from Chris Grayling are meanlingless. He is not medically trained and neither are the civil servants who provide most of his answers in letters they write on his behalf. Unfortunately, I am medically qualified, have already published research summary on Black Triangle and REDRESS FOR THE DISABLED, a detailed report now being provided for the welfare reform debate in the Lords, will be published very soon. Mo Stewart

  • Old Soldier December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    When will the collective masses learn? All the right wing media have done is pave the way for the government to bully and harass anyone vulnerable. It has opened the floodgates for the people in the UK to blame all the financial woes of Britain on anyone in receipt of benefits. The real problem however are tax evaders, and immigrants drowning us in debt. As for Atos medicals..er did I say medicals? This company is just a collaboration between the DWP to the chuck disabled on the scrap heap, and further into despair. If David Cameron was not the Eton Rich boy, and his own disabled son had been treated by Atos, I think he would have been disgraced by their bullying tactics. He obviously couldn’t give ‘a toss’ about other people suffering debilitating disabilities.

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