Atos doctors and nurses raise concerns over signing of Official Secrets Act

 

TWO doctors believe the signing of the document would make staff less likely to report their concerns about the way the medical tests are carried out.

By Torcuil Crichton

DOCTORS and nurses carrying out Atos’s controversial work capability assessments are made to sign the Official Secrets Act, the healthcare company confirmed yesterday.

The admission came after two doctors who work for the firm raised their concerns.

Both believe having to sign a document pointing out their obligations under the Act would make staff less likely to blow the whistle if they had concerns about the way the medical tests are carried out.

Atos are being paid more than £100million a year by the Government to do the assessments that help determine whether claimants are eligible for sickness benefits.

The process has been dogged by controversy.

One doctor, who joined the firm last summer, said: “I could not have been more surprised when I was told that everybody had to sign the Official Secrets Act.

“There’s something very sinister, cloak and dagger, about it.”

The doctor added that there were already strict rules about disclosure of patient details, saying: “You would have thought we would be covered by our professional codes of conduct.”

A second doctor said: “There’s no justification for a healthcare practitioner assessing a person suffering from back pain or depression to sign this kind of document.”

Atos said they have contracts with other public bodies, including the MoD, which require their employees working with those organisations to sign the Official Secrets Act.

They have one security policy across the company and this was why doctors working with the Department for Work and Pensions are also included.

The DWP said they weren’t aware that Atos employees were being made to sign the Act.

Labour MP Tom Greatrex said: “This is an extraordinary development.

“When Atos are in receipt of millions of taxpayers’ money, it is unacceptable for a culture of secrecy and cover-up to prevail.”

The Scottish Daily Record

 

 

Comments
  • Josie November 2, 2012 at 11:58 am

    This is absolutely ridiculous….this is a private company, it may have a contract to deliver services to the government but it is paid for using public money. Dr’s and nurses are covered by their professional codes of contact not to release patient details…so this is nothing about protecting patient details at all, it is to intimidate, to prevent whistleblowing about mal-practice, it is very sinister indeed.
    It is also laughable that Atos are claiming to do this to protect patient details when the DWP allows any Tom, Dick or Harry from the Royal Mail to open the letters containing the most intimate patient details on the ESA assessment forms and other correspondence.

  • Serenity November 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Suppression, oppression, censorship and intolerance on a grand scale supported by the propaganda arm of the government the media with a total blackout on news of 3848 dying per year, further propped up by the police who police small NHS demos with armed police who also attack disabled protesters so they are now the paramilitary arm of this government.

  • Roger Allnot November 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    This is old news – it was published almost a year ago in The Guardian.
    Unfortunately, the only reason it has been resurrected is that Tom Greatrex wants to enhance his political career by jumping on the Atos bandwagon, aided and abetted by The Daily Record. He is a very questionable MP (he has been questioned twice on his claiming of expenses), who certainly does not have his constituents interests at heart

  • Humanity2012 November 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Cloud Cuckooland Con Dem UK

    I am Glad that I have Not Voted Tory but Disgusted with those who Have

    No to Oppression of the Poor

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