British Pain Society: How DWP~AtoS Work Capability Assessments are failing chronic pain patients

The British Pain Society has a membership of over 1,400 and is involved in all aspects of pain and its management through the work of the Council, Committees and Working Parties.
The British Pain Society has a membership of over 1,400 and is involved in all aspects of pain and its management through the work of the Council, Committees and Working Parties.


Willow Jacky writes:

This edition of the British Pain Society contains a full article on the DWP~AtoS Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and how it is failing chronic pain patients. 

The WCA is unanimously condemned by the Doctors and Consultant experts in the field of Chronic Pain Management.

Here is an extract:

‘It is certainly making it harder for us to do our job of supporting patients to become more active and less distressed by their pain, not to mention the additional burden of filling in forms, dealing with the phone calls from patients in distress, and risk managing patients who have become suicidal.

‘As health professionals, we are in a position to comment on what we are seeing. 

‘We are encouraged to see that Paul Burstow, Care Services Minister, has conceded that chronic pain be considered as a long-term health condition (House of Commons, Hansard Written Answers for 01 Feb 2012). 

‘It is good news that vehicles such as the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition and the Pain Summit are driving this agenda forward. 

‘But it is early days, and there is more work to do before there is proper acknowledgement within the Parliament and policy of the condition of chronic pain. 

‘We hope that through writing this article we will encourage others with similar concerns to join us in calling for a fairer work capability assessment process that takes into account the specialist nature of long-term health conditions including chronic pain. 

‘We are heartened that the Council of the Society has taken this issue seriously, and we would welcome comments from members as to their experience and thoughts.’


8 thoughts on “British Pain Society: How DWP~AtoS Work Capability Assessments are failing chronic pain patients

  1. Jo Yelland says:

    This is not surprising – Atos were given £300,000 of tax payers money to disprove the existence of Fibromyalgia (a form of pain creating connective tissue damage). They are connected to Unum, the same company that is banned in several states of the US and which has (so far successfully, despite the hatred of medical professionals) been forcibly reclassifying ME has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a psychological condition, despite ME being characterised by blood and chemical abnormalities in the body.

    1. pamela fegan says:

      Jo, I have a report from a leading conultant on ME that states I should not work due to having moderate to severe ME. ATOS disregarded that report completely and after an examination then an appeal I was declared fit for work. The irony was that by then my occupational health consultant had retired me through ill health from my teaching career(I am 58 now so it was a long one!) If ATOS had not declared me fit I would have been able to use funds to enhance my modest pension of £400 a month to afford pain relief measures like swimming and physio, as it is I am now almost housebound. Whatever the name is given to what we have, be it ME/ CFS/ FIBRO I echo your sentiments about ATOS and the UK government who seek to disprove our conditions. They are systematically butchering and bullying genuine claimants. As a final remark I consider the term psychological condition for any of the above to be a joke…after all were these psychiatrists the same group of fools who classified homosexuals and sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder after WW II as nutcases….I rest my case!

  2. jeffery davies says:

    we should all be standing together not apart thats whot they want so they can pick each one off but then atos dwp is abuse of our system and should be shut down but there again they kill more every day by it jeff3

  3. cheryl says:

    I suffer with Chronic pain, from 2 Prolapsed Discs, two discs which have disintergrated, Bone Degenarat desease, Ostyo and Rhumatoid athritus, on top of which i suffer with re active depresion ( Chronic) servier Anxiaty, spondlosis, Tendonitise and Carpel Tunal syndrom. I can hardly walk as i have damaged nerves in my feet, also have very bad corns on both foot balls, which i can no longer afford to have seen to i also have insoles for mthese people must think this is a normal bodily function, that your clothes are so wet with sweat you may as well have had a shower with your clothes on y trainers as i am unable to wear any other foot wear appart from slippers. It is now ayear since i had all my Benafits Stoped, anfer many monthes of fighting they eventually gave me my income support back (ESA), The thought of looseing my home has realy made me mad, I am unable to live in small confind spaces, ie Flats. Experianced to many bab things, including being betten up by a woman who had very bad mentel health issus. Also attaced for no apparent reasons on a few occasions. this is a very small part of my disabilaties, and i am still fighting for my DLA which may i tell you was stopped misstakebley when i had my 5th ESA assesment. up untill now if i acctually win my case i am owed approximatly £ 4,500. I cant give them any more evedance they have had every thing since 1961 the day i was born, and i still having medicals every 2 months or so, which makes me so very ill as im agrafiobic unable to get on any public transport with out defacating my self and vomating, They can see how thes assesments affect me im a bath of sweat befor i even get there. and when your wiping which feels like galons of sweat off you and parshaly sitting there trying to take clothing off because you cant stand the sweating. As far as i can tell none of these people care, all they are intrested in is the big pay out at the end of if. HOW UTTERLY DISGUSTING.

  4. wildthing666 says:

    If they want it ATOS have the contract for the DWP ESA interrogations until at least 2017 they had an extention clause in for a further 3 years from 2012 to 2015 and another clause allowing a further 2 years from 2015 to 2017. IMO this will be extended after 2017.
    Previous government didn’t listen, this government haven’t listened that was clear from the election debates in 2010 where Cameron said he would remove 20% from disability benefits. a future government may be stuck with them until 2017 but unless they introduce another extension clause they could have a free run at doing what they like.

    I suffer pain 24/7 but don’t show it most of the time, unless I have to do something like light lifting, many pain sufferers may be the same they can show little or no signs of pain if doing nothing but have to move around regularly for some even a full nights sleep is a problem due to being woken by pain.

    Don’t get me started on UNUM they have a 20 year contract with the government, given to them by Tony B. Lair in 1998 that is why after the elections their site shows the new government on the steps of #10 and it is widely known they have been advising, and I use the word advising in the loosest of terms, since 1994.

  5. Judith says:

    I have now severely injured myself yet again,and blame it on this outrageous system,that left me only a mentally ill person as my carer,are social services and doctors bothered….no,do I know what benefits am to expect in immediate future ,no…… thank you for almost getting my pelvis broken on top of my highly damaged back,that the xrays are still not being shown to me after being taken in July 11 yep folks really

  6. Judith says:

    oh yes,and my consistent BP over 200 mostly,due to the stress of this,but can I ask a GP to come see me ….????!!!!NOOOOOOOOOOOO because of a mix up over 30 years ago,how many home visits have I had in those 30 years or more??? NONE,

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