BLACK TRIANGLE CAMPAIGN PRESS STATEMENT: Demand to scrap DWP/AtoS Work Capability Assessment “with immediate effect” now BMA policy


This morning, 28th June 2012 at 09.45 am, Britain’s doctors from every medical discipline voted to demand that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as carried out by AtoS ‘Healthcare’ on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) end with immediate effect:

That this Meeting in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by Atos Healthcare, believes that:-

i) the inadequate computer-based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons;

ii) calls on the BMA to demand that the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

The BMA have published the following report on their website:

Scrap work capability assessment, doctors demand

28 June 2012 

The computer-based system being used to determine whether people receiving incapacity benefit are fit to work should be scrapped, the meeting agreed.

London GP Louise Irvine said the WCA (work capability assessment) system was causing ‘distress’ to thousands of people with long-term health conditions deemed fit for work, as well as subjecting the doctors involved to ‘McDonaldisation’ of their careers.

She said 40 per cent of those who appealed WCA decisions were successful and this success rate rose to 70 per cent for those who took up legal representation.

Dr Irvine said: ‘There is no empathy in the system, it is all accusatory.’

However, London consultant in occupational medicine David Snashall urged the meeting not to call for the WCA to be replaced, arguing that there was a scrutiny process in place to improve the system.

Professor Snashall said there was a fundamental misunderstanding surrounding the computer-based system, which was ‘merely a guide’ and did not mandate the questions.

However, the meeting supported a call on the BMA to demand that the WCA should be ended ‘with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause unavoidable harm to some of the weakest and vulnerable in society’.

The Black Triangle Campaign, from whom the original motion originated, warmly welcomed the carrying of Lewisham Division’s motion which added to their motion (480a) that the BMA ‘demand’ the end of the WCA ‘with immediate effect’.

Black Triangle Campaign founding member John McArdle issued the following statement:

We are absolutely delighted that this motion has been carried.

The decision today will send out a shockwave throughout our society that will penetrate to the highest levels of this ConDem Government, and to the Labour Party who have been complicit in the continued operation of this barbaric ‘assessment’ régime – began by them – which has led to the avoidable deaths of dozens of disabled people recorded by H.M. Coroner – and caused enormous harm and misery to hundreds of thousands more.”

What we have witnessed today has been a coming together of human beings from across our civil society – our doctors uniting together with our sick and/or disabled people who are under savage attack – who are being persecuted and tyranised all in the name of unconscionable cuts and austerity for the weakest and most vulnerable while £95billion in tax goes uncollected each year and people like Bob Diamond is able to preside over a banking system that has systematically swindled our entire society and get away with it.

The WCA is a smokescreen for cuts to disabled people’s welfare and nothing else. 

The succesor to Disability Living Allowance – the so-called ‘Personal Independence Payment’ to be introduced in April next year – with the express aim of cutting 20% from the budget set aside to ensure that disabled people are able to live with a modicum of dignity in a society that has the right to call itself ‘civilised’ society – is similarly nothing but a full-scale attack on the fundamental human right of disabled people to live with dignity in keeping with the U.K.’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

We put the Government on notice.

We are uniting across civil society in defence of our human rights and in defence of our N.H.S. and our public services.            


The Government have sought to vilify and demonise our doctors over their pensions dispute – something we as disabled people are entirely used to. Before they seek to crush an opponent, they first mount a sustained campaign in the right-wing media of of misinformation, defamation and outright propaganda designed to ‘divide and rule’ people from the group under attack.

Don’t fall for it. Our doctors have shown the world where their true priorities lie -and that is with the interests of the patients and the NHS above and beyond everything else. They too, have been dealt with shamelesslesly and duplicitously by this Government of amoral millionaires who wouldn’t understand what ‘ethical’ conduct was if they looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary. Private profit is their God and the altar upon which they are willing to sacrifice all that we hold dear.

We now call upon the BMA to give full effect to motion 480 by calling for a full boycott of the WCA. No doctor should violate the code of medical ethics by supplying their labour to AtoS.

We call upon the General Medical Council to revoke, with immediate effect, DWP/AtoS’ assessment centres’ “Approved Medical Environment” status and launch a full inquiry. Doing nothing is no longer an option. People are dying.

We furthermore ask that the BMA calls upon all the other professional bodies and individuals who as Health Care Professionals (‘HCPs’) supply their labour to AtoS, perpetrating and legitimising policies and systems that cause serious, even fatal harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society.


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20 thoughts on “BLACK TRIANGLE CAMPAIGN PRESS STATEMENT: Demand to scrap DWP/AtoS Work Capability Assessment “with immediate effect” now BMA policy

  1. kasbah says:

    YES YES YES! Fantastic work by Black Triangle- you deserve huge amounts of bubbly and a great big party to celebrate. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your huge efforts in working with doctors to secure this victory and thank you, of course, to the BMA. United we stand. Solidarity!

  2. DAVID A SHAW says:

    Yes , a great result , now lets see those shockwaves, let us see the BMA threaten to revoke the license of any Doctor who is complicit in this disgusting and degrading process that has led to deaths. Now is the time for those who really do have the public interest at heart to stand up and be counted. This is the beginning of the end for cameron and his cronies, nothing less than a total boycott of the WCA by healthcare professionals will do, TOTAL, without any second thoughts. This barbarous scheme invented by the Neo -liberal Labour party is over, and those who were complicit in its creation should hang their heads in shame and RESIGN from the labour party forthwith.

  3. rogr says:

    Congratu.lations to the Black Triangle for getting this put forwards and my sincere admiration for all those medical professionals who voted it through. This is a massive victory.

  4. John Hargrave says:

    I am very pleased the BMA has come out in support of getting rid of the awful assessments that Atos is carrying out. For too long disabled people have seen their entitlement taken away, causing great stress, death, and an unbearable financial burden. These assessments need to be carried out by doctors who know what they are doing.
    Thanks too to John McCardle and Black Triangle for continuing to fight for disabled people and to get Atos replaced. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a good result, far too many people are being seen as scroungers, when they are clearly not.

  5. Leonc1963 says:

    I live in Hampshire and our LMC was one of the ones that motioned to veto the WCA at the LMC Conference in Liverpool. However I shall be writing to my GP as I am unsure if they are carrying this out. Well Done Black Triangle for your efforts as it is having an impact.

  6. Joanna Terry says:

    The new P.I.P is not fit for purpose, what I have understood so far is that the only people eligable for any kind of payment are brain-dead. It is beyond a joke when if you take medication, have aids and mobility help this attracts nil points. So if you need bathroom aids for example you may get it but if you have or get those bathroom aids you suddenly score no points on the assessment. If this is wrong, please correct me but that is how I have read it. So the end result will be, if this is the case, that the saving will likely be 80%, the other 20% being paid to only the most extreme case of disability. This must be sorted before any of this being rolled out, we are heading for an absolute disaster and many of us are going to wonder how they managed to do this to us. Thank you for all of your campaigning and well done the BMA for accepting this motion. Looking forward to the government response to this challenge. Lets hope that with enough pressure from the Doctors that the P.I.P never sees the light of day.

  7. Paul Smith says:

    Well done, this is brilliant news, BlackTriangle have worked so hard and should be applauded for their dedication.

    Is it OK If I repost this on my website?????

  8. kasbah says:

    Joanna Terry
    The new P.I.P is not fit for purpose, what I have understood so far is that the only people eligable for any kind of payment are brain-dead. It is beyond a joke when if you take medication, have aids and mobility help this attracts nil points. So if you need bathroom aids for example you may get it but if you have or get those bathroom aids you suddenly score no points on the assessment.

    I think you are right Joanna, and this is something that was not the case a few years ago, as aids were regarded as something that you needed to help you in your daily life, therefore linked with “help needed”. I have heard from an advocacy worker that you have to now need/get help from a person to score the points needed for DLA. Bear this in mind guys. A crying shame and a disgrace which I have heard is putting disabled people off using aids in case it counts against them as making them more able, in assessments. What a travesty- to me this is something only a really twisted mind could dream up let alone implement. Oh, of course, silly me, it’s the Tories’ idea. Let us hope the momentous decision of BMA will bring strong pressure to bear on the cruel architects of these nasty shifts in meanings of words in assessments.

  9. Findlow says:

    Wonderful news! Huge thanks to Black Triangle and all the doctors who put this callous and wicked government to shame. Hoping and praying this will herald an end to the appalling suffering and stress sick and disabled people are being subjected to at the hands of the ConDems.

  10. jeffery davies says:

    weel are torys going to listen i think not they get other weasels in to interigate us without them being in health care thats a laugh torys listen i think it go on for a while longer yet im time limited and run out jeff3

  11. DR DAVID ATOSKI says:

    I’m so proud of everyone that took the time to post, blog, write to MP’s . People that didn’t give up on us all and took the fight to them. My hat is off and My eyes arn’t to clear at the moment. Thank You all, keep up the good fight 😉

  12. Humanity2012 says:

    Good to Hear of the Voting Result

    We Need those in Office to take Heed and Scrap the Work Capability Assessment
    with Immediate Effect

    The Suffering Level for the Disabled and Vulnerable has been Beyond Diabolical
    under the Con Dem azi Regime

    Congrautlations to the British Medical Association upon this Vote

  13. sue mccafferty says:

    No sign of this so far in the mainstream news; tweet it, forward it, link to it, let everyone know about it. Well done Black Triangle and the doctors; together we are strong.

  14. Cher Cassini says:

    Well done for fighting the inhumane tests and faceless bureaucrats and for beating them; power to you all. You are just a part of the Revolution, but there are more of ‘Us’ than there are of ‘Them’. Keep the faith!

  15. Aunty Admin says:

    Well done, this is great news. without the endorsement and support of the medical profession the WCA programme cannot go on. BMA shd recommend and endorse that there members refuse to work with them as they are bringing their members and the whole of the health profession into disrepute.

  16. muffie02 says:

    don’t cheer to loudly yet people – a vote is one thing – ACTION is another – my docs seemingly have no knowlege of, or concern about ATOS or PIP and just don’t want to listen when i mention it – thats just 2 – how many more round the country are likewise ??

    lets see what they do if this evil coalition threaten their wages or fat pensions – ( any money they will if the BMA start making waves )

    sorry to be the cynic here – but i have little faith that this will do much good – the ONLY way to stop this is to vote the tories out – and make it chrystal clear to the other parties that it has to go

    only today in the mail ( where else ) we have camoron now saying yes he WILL have a vote on the EU as a major item of the next election – and THIS if it happens will BURY any changes or discussion about the sick and disabled of the UK ( mark my words well here )

    and the SHEEPEL will be more interested in that than our rights – will labour forinstance – put this matter at the top of THEIR policy list ?? -( yea and pigs will fly ) – because the BMA have taken a vote – don’t think so somehow – simple reality is that the sick and disabled are not vote winners UNLESS we can be branded as scroungers and worse – THIS appeals to the self richious “i work for a living brigade ” – WHO conveniantly forget that many sick and disabled people ALSO have worked all their lives – have and still do pay their taxes and way – and wish to god they did NOT have to claim benefits

    any hoo – well done to you for getting it at least thus far – now we need to see some action FROM the docs – it will take more than one vote to get the stinking politicos to listen ( thats if they are ever there – i see they NOW want fridays off and MORE holidays -( yep its in the mail .lol ) )

    regards to all from muffie02

  17. Humanity2012 says:

    Pertinent and Good Points Muffie02 about the Ignorance and Bigotry of the Sheepel

    They Need to Stop Reading the ” Newspapers ” and Get a Human Heart

    We Need Action to Get the Work Capability Assessment and all Unnecessary Bureaucracy Abolished and a Good Start is a Better Government in Office

    Never Trust a Politician

  18. NIP3 says:

    Is there any political party at the moment with the guts to stand up and put an end to all this evil its seems not. I really do not know who to vote for now and l am deeply ashamed of voting Tory in The past NEVER AGAIN! I will never forgive them for their part in this and some of the comments made.

  19. john branker says:

    i have never voted tory , for the reasons that are now being made quite clear, they not
    concerned for people of this country, they are only where they are today to line there
    own pockets, at the cost of the have nots, there has never ever been a tory goverment
    in my short 63 years, that ever helps people in need only them selves, i vote lib dem not
    for mr camero

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