Disabled Scots to be spared Atos assessment after firm forced into retreat thanks to Daily Record campaign

By John Ferguson 10 Oct 2012 00:01

THE Record has been congratulated, by politicians and campaigners, for helping force Atos into retreat by exposing the stories of disabled Scots who were denied benefits by the firm.

 
Atos are causing misery for thousands

 

THOUSANDS of disabled Scots are to be spared Atos assessments after a “humiliating climbdown” by the firm.

Atos had been set to rake in up to £40million of taxpayers’ money assessing Scots for the new personal independence payment, which will replace disability living allowance starting next year.

But after a Record campaign against their methods, they have now agreed to subcontract the work to an NHS “social enterprise” who will handle all PIP assessments north of the border.

We have been telling the stories of vulnerable Scots who were denied benefits after “humiliating” Atos assessments.

Politicians and campaigners congratulated us last night for helping to force the French company into retreat.

And dad-of-three Peter Leckie, who lost 11 weeks of benefit after an Atos assessment despite not being able to walk more than 30 feet, said:

“This is great news.

“The quicker we get rid of that shower, the better.

“I take my hat off to the Record for standing up for ordinary people and giving them a voice. Now we are seeing it make the difference.” 

Despite difficulties walking Peter Leckie went 11 weeks without any cash
Despite difficulties walking Peter Leckie went 11 weeks without any cash

 

Labour MP Tom Greatrex, a leading campaigner on the assessments scandal, said:

“This is a humiliating climbdown by Atos.

“By subcontracting this work to the NHS, Atos are effectively acknowledging that the public don’t trust them to do the assessments fairly.”

A spokesman for Citizens Advice Scotland added:

“We have always said the system is unfit for purpose. It is good to see that the campaign by the voluntary sector and the Daily Record is having some effect.”

Atos will continue to carry out “work capability assessments” in Scotland for employment and support allowance, which replaced incapacity benefit.

But the PIP assessments due to begin next June will now be done by Salus, the occupational health arm of NHS Lanarkshire.

Atos signed a £22million deal for the work with Salus last week.

Salus are a social enterprise, with profits from outside contracts ploughed back into patient care.

NHS Lanarkshire promised yesterday:

“We are committed to ensuring that everyone assessed is treated with dignity and receives a professional service.

“It will be delivered in a compassionate and transparent manner, supported by robust governance.”

But Atos remain involved as holders of the overall contract for the assessments.

And Greatrex warned:

“We need reassurance from Atos that the views of experienced NHS doctors and nurses will be given sufficient weight, rather than being dismissed as often happens with work capability assessments.”

Atos have denied claims that the Con-Dems have given them targets to help get a set number of people off benefits.

A company spokeswoman said the Salus deal was “a new approach, working in partnership with NHS Lanarkshire”.

She added:

“It means PIP consultations will take place where people feel most comfortable – in the heart of their local community.

“They will be conducted by health practitioners with first-class expertise in dealing with the needs of disabled people.”

Atos refused to say how much profit they will make from the new arrangement.

The Scottish Government said they had “ongoing concerns” about the effect of Atos’s work on poor and vulnerable Scots.

Ministers would “continue to keep an eye on the impact of UK welfare reform on Scotland’s citizens”.

Atos have been widely condemned for their approach to assessing the sick and disabled.

Crawford Leask, a mortgage broker forced to give up work by two prolapsed discs in his neck, was asked at his assessment whether he could write.

He also told how the assessor effectively called him a liar by claiming his condition was unlikely to cause his symptoms.

Scots-based Royal Marine Aaron Moon, 25, was declared fit for work after losing a leg in Afghanistan. The Atos assessor asked him to point at his non-existent right foot, then asked if he could move his toes. 

Royal Marine Aaron lost his leg in an Afghanistan road blast
Royal Marine Aaron lost his leg in an Afghanistan road blast
 
Aaron replied: 
“I’ve no leg.”
 
We told the story of former Atos nurse Joyce Drummond, who claimed bosses made her “trick” disabled people out of benefits.

She said she was told to mark people as fit if they could write or were properly dressed.

And we revealed secret official figures which showed that 55 per cent of Atos victims in a 2009 survey were left without any income after being declared “fit for work”.

The Scottish Daily Record

Comments
  • wardie October 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Great news – well done – all we need to do now is the same for England, Wales and NI – lets hop we follow your lead

  • Lindsay McKeown October 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Obviously this is a step in the right direction when looking at the current system BUT…Atos is now sub contracting a service back to the NHS that used to be run by the NHS for no profit and are still making a profit from it. WHAT!!! Reeks of inventing services and profit for the corrupt elite whist robbing the most disadvantaged sections of society to pay themselves said profit. Shameful.

    • Dean October 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      sadly im seeing this on the net,
      ‘WARNING: Atos Alliance is part of NHS Occupational Health in Scotland’
      So maybe not so contracted out at it might seem at first.

  • Mel October 10, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Brilliant news!!!! But it does seem a little strange that ATOS will still mke a profit from this…now we need for the rest of the UK to make the same leap, as we have just as little faith in ATOS as the Scots…although brilliant news for those in Scotland!!!!!

  • Graham Askew October 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

    A good start, well done The Record.

  • wunnell October 10, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Aaron Moon shows how good discipline is instilled in our heroes. I’d have thrown my prosthetic leg at the assessor and told them to fuck off

  • ODIN October 10, 2012 at 9:58 am

    What about the English the Welsh and the Northern Irish? We are still suffering and dying.

  • Colin Wilson October 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Great news, but since Atos is now subcontracting back to the NHS, why isn’t that part of their contract rescinded at source and the money kept within the system.

    Their tacit admission that they are unable to do the job to the required standards should be sufficient to immediately terminate the contract anyway.

  • kelpimare October 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Odin….Black Triangle, I’m sure, and us other Scots, will still fight with you. You won’t be left to stand alone. The aim, surely, is a complete withdrawal, from the UK, of tory/atos policy. And UNUM? Well……. :X

    • ODIN October 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks Kelpimare I know the Scots are a honest and a proud people I just wish that we in England could have what you have in Scotland. This government is pummeling us relentlessly. If Scotland gets it’s independence could I get political asylum?

  • leonc1963 October 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    The question has to now be asked why they retreated and what makes them think English, Welsh and Northern Islanders are any different to the Scottish indeed this is a good result and I hope the judge in the up and coming MHRN Case take note.

  • jeffery davies October 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    bye bye atos just wished it was out of the country also jeff3

  • jeffery davies October 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    but its still getting payed so they can fiddle the books as they will get these reports as they pay the nhs so it seems nothing change but the nhs will now get the blame for failing you ops another atos win jeff3

  • Humanity2012 October 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Across the Land the Work Capability Assessment and all Degrading Assessments
    Need to be Abolished

  • roger Allnot October 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    This is a lot of posturing by the Daily Record! No way could Atos have made these changes in the last couple of weeks. This will have taken months to arrange, for whatever reason.

    • ODIN October 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Troll

      • JJ October 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

        Yes. He is.

        • Roger Allnot October 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

          Dudes, you had better explain what you mean by ‘troll’. Do you mean someone who:
          a. doesn’t leave his name – not guilty. BTW, is Odin a real name?
          b. just criticises other’s contributions with pointless comments – not guilty, although you might like to hold up the mirror to yourselves…
          c. you don’t like because his or her views do not align with yours? What are your views on debate and free speech?

          • ODIN October 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

            No it means you live in a cave under a mountain and feed on and get a kick out of people’s sorrow, fear and grief just like a troll does, we could also call you a Tory if you like. Also yes Odin is a real name. Now go away and get a life.

    • kevin Campbell October 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      Roger Allnot, your claim ;
      ‘ ….No way could Atos have made these changes in the last couple of weeks. This will have taken months to arrange. ‘
      … is NONESENSE – I had a phonecall from ATOS LAST WEEK….so something is wrong …AS WELL AS YOU.
      Just what do you mean by ‘for whatever reason.’ – ? that you are commenting WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT or what it is based on

  • Jeff y October 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Great news but remember they are doing Work Capability Assessments and they should not be. Please please Daily Record carry on with your campaign and hopefully the news papers down here will follow your lead.Thank you from all the disabled in this country for taking on this campaign on our behalf when no one on either side of the political spectrum has shown any interest . Please don’t draw a line under the campaign now,they should not be in charge of WCA. That too should be in the hands of the NHS and professionals whose sole interest is the welfare of their patients and those they are assessing and not government targets,austerity measures or most importantly profit. Disabled people wether physical
    or phycological find it very difficult to fight for on their own,we need others to champion our cause and help us tell our story. Thank you again for being the first and hopefully not the last to make the plight of the disabled of this country know. This has certainly given me some hope that something can be done and that Atos is not as invincible as it has seemed

  • Charles Sutherland-Boyce October 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Fantastic news, now we can all breath a bit easier, just Incapacity Benefit to worry about now but maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get rid of them there also, I hope!

  • yvonne October 12, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Sad to hear about guy who lost 11 weeks of money because of Atos…. i myself have lost 13 MONTHS OF MONEY BECAUSE OF THEM.. ive went through a humiliating appeal and got nowhere.. my financial situation is dire… my kids and i are seriously suffering as is my mother who is doing all she can to see that my kids and i can eat, keep a car running to stop me from being completely housebound, Atos are slowly killing me…

  • kevin Campbell October 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I can’t recall the actual time but at least in the late 90’s early 2000’s, the show was rune by another outfit up here called Medical Services, n official sounding name for a PRIVATELY run contractor. They routinely deneid peoples’ claims then sent us to medical person ( in many cases doctors tirtally unfamiliar to the Client or their case and often foreign Docs which seriously compromised the chances of cricial data being understood ad even basic language could be a problem.
    BTW Roger Alnot, your claim ;
    This is a lot of posturing by the Daily Record! No way could Atos have made these changes in the last couple of weeks. This will have taken months to arrange, for whatever reason.
    is NONESENSE – I had a call from ATOS LAST WEEK….so something is wrong …AS WELL AS YOU.

  • kevin Campbell October 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I wonder if the Daily Record ( who ignored the 2010 INTERNATIONAL CCSVI CONFERENCE btw ) would be interested in knowing the NHS Statistics for MS diagnosis ARE WRONG BY 100% S
    AT LEAST !! And that denial of a common vascular procedure is a breach of the Equality Act 2010. Anyone care to comment?

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