Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson calls for Atos Healthcare to be axed in benefits row: “This is about real people – at-risk people in our communities – who need help.”

Sep 6 2012


by Janine Yaqoob, Crosby Herald


AN AMPUTEE who can’t work because of his poor health has been told he is no longer eligible for disability benefits.

George Mullen, from Brighton-le-Sands, had a leg amputated when he was 18 after an accident as an apprentice joiner. Despite this, he continued to work for over 35 years full-time.

At the time, a solicitor told him not to go back to work, but he ended up as a successful clerk for a small business, despite suffering from chronic pain.

From chronic infections and abscesses at the amputation site, to developed arthritis in his neck, shoulders, back, and the knee and foot of his remaining leg, every day is a struggle for Mr Mullen.

But, despite this, he continued to work until a member of the HR department at the company told him he was being retired on health grounds.

Now on a 24-hour blood pressure monitor because stress pushes his blood pressure to dangerously high levels, Mr Mullen applied for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) as a last resort. 

After recently attending a work capability assessment, Mr Mullen was shocked to discover his money was being stopped.

Critical of the disability assessment carried out by Atos Healthcare, Mr Mullen contacted Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson for advice.

Now the MP is calling on the Government to replace the private company which works on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

He said: “I’ve met with constituents who clearly have disabilities where Atos reports bear little or no resemblance to their own circumstance. 

“The accuracy of these reports needs urgent investigation.

“George Mullen’s case is just one of many which have been brought to me. It came as a complete shock to have his ESA stopped recently, when the year was up. He has applied again and awaits his assessment.” 

Bill Esterson, who spoke in a Westminster Hall debate about Atos Healthcare, added: “There is something fundamentally wrong with this system. 

“That has been supported not just by the claimants, but also the British Medical Association. 

“This is about real people – at-risk people in our communities – who need help.” 

An Atos Healthcare spokesperson said: “We fully understand that applying for benefit can be an emotive experience for those involved, which is why we continue to make sure that the service that we provide is as highly professional and compassionate as it can be.

“We do not define welfare policy or make decisions on people’s benefit. 

“The process and criteria for all assessments are set by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and approved by our democratically elected Parliament. 

“Our focus is to ensure that our team of fully qualified doctors and nurses carry out thousands of accurate assessments every month, in full accordance with the detailed guidelines set by the DWP.”

Crosby Herald

4 thoughts on “Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson calls for Atos Healthcare to be axed in benefits row: “This is about real people – at-risk people in our communities – who need help.”

  1. Dave Rowlands says:

    You did, and it’s called Natziysm government thinking. These millionaire self obsessed leaders of this country used cheap labour to become millionaires and now want to continue the trend for their siblings. Long live screwing the poor, while they exist we will survive. Not sure what they will do when they run out of the poor though!


  2. Purplewheels says:

    I have just had the dreaded form to fill in and I am already feeling sick at the thought of having to fight for what I am entitled to. If I could work, I surely would. Life is very hard for a disabled person without this thinly veiiled attack upon those most in need of benefit. What I may be able to achive in some ‘assessment’ bears no resemblance to what I am able to do day in day out, week in week out. All the doctors who treat me are in agreement that I am simply not fit to work yet, these people who know me and my difficulties intimately are being ignored and implicitly told that they are liars! Cameron is a facist and so are many of his government, the re-shuffle has strengthened his cabinet with hard-liners (read facist).

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