Black Triangle Campaign
Initial response to the news that Atos has sub-contracted Salus to carry out Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) across Scotland
Atos has announced that it has now appointed NHS Lanarkshire to carry out consultations for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment delivery in Scotland
What a perverse situation – a private misery monger appointing an NHS structure to deliver their contract!
Surely the DWP could have cut out the middle man on this one or would that be breaching contracts agreed with these private corporations?
We don’t even know if the DWP could have done so because vital information on the nature of these contracts are labelled ‘commercially sensitive’ and are thus outwith the public domain.
NHS Lanarkshire will carry out the assessment for the whole of Scotland from June 2013 and may sub-contract some work to other health boards.
Can SALUS – AtoS’s subcontractor to NHS Lanarkshire – provide the necessary staff capacity to deliver this Scotland-wide or will it prove to be just another Serco-scale fiasco waiting to happen such as we have seen in the GP out-of-hours cover scandal in Cornwall and NHS pathology labs in London?
A spokesman for NHS Lanarkshire has said:
“NHS Lanarkshire is committed to ensuring everyone assessed is treated with dignity and receives a professional service”
But what specific assurances can SALUS give to demonstrate they will not make the same sorts of errors that ATOS are making with the Work Capability Assessment?
What risk assessments will be done and specifically how will they ensure that claimants are not put at substantial risk – what equivalent regulations will exist to mitigate against this risk?
For example, will there be an exemption clause that states clearly:
‘Because of your physical or mental health condition or disability there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person, including you , if you were found ineligible for PIP.’
We also need to ask what discussions, if any, have SALUS had with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) regarding the delivery of these assessments?
We must insist that the principle “Nothing About Us Without Us” be given full effect!
A spokeswoman for Atos Healthcare has said:
“PIP consultations will be conducted by health practitioners that have first-class expertise in dealing with the needs of disabled people.”
A very interesting statement!
It is crystal clear that standards in the DWP/AtoS WCA régime are appalling and this statement tacitly acknowledges that fact.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!
Health Care Practitioners that have first-class expertise in dealing with the needs of disabled people should be utilised forthwith in the ESA Assessments ALSO and the WCA must be scrapped with immediate effect!
The root of the problem with both assessments is the so-called ‘Biopsychosocial Model of Disability’ against which both Black Triangle and our sister organisation Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have been campaigning hard.
This toxic root must be utterly extirpated from the assessment system if we are to have a fair, rigorous and safe disability assessment régime that does not cause avoidable, serious and sometimes even fatal harm to sick and/or disabled people.
We therefore cautiously welcome this latest development while continuing to fight unrelentingly against the obscene injustice that passes for so-called “disability assessment medicine” today.
And not just for us in Scotland – but for ALL the sick and/or disabled people of these isles!
~ Black Triangle Campaign
Related post by Black Triangle friend and ally Johnny Void: