Michael O'Donnell, Chief Medical Officer of Atos Heathcare
Michael O’Donnell, Chief Medical Officer of Atos Heathcare Ltd. FORMERLY CMO of UNUM


See also: 

‘Private firms’ role in creation of disability assessment regime’ ~ Black Triangle’s Letter Published in The Guardian Posted on September 14, 2012







Now that the link between the UK Government and Unum Insurance has been identified during debate in the House of Commons (HOC), and is on record in Hansard, the entire disturbing history of the welfare reforms, the bogus WCA assessment and the US corporate influence with the UK Government can finally be fully exposed. 

Executive Summary:

[Intro: I am a (medically) retired healthcare professional, a disabled female veteran and, for the past 3 years, my research has exposed the links between the DWP, Atos Healthcare & Unum Insurance. My research was quoted during HOL debates on welfare reforms, during the Westminster Hall debate on Atos Healthcare last Sept and during the HOC debate on 17th January re Atos Healthcare & the WCA.] 

The significant cross-party Backbench Business debate, held in the HOC on 17th January, finally exposed the link between the ongoing DWP Welfare Reforms and Unum Insurance(1)(1b), who are one of the most notorious corporate insurance giants in the world.(2)(3)(4) Michael Meacher MP exposed a possible link between the UK Government and Unum Insurance(5) and many disabled people, familiar with my research, were very grateful to him. 


America has no welfare state and so the US Government, in their infinite wisdom, refuse to legislate to control the well documented illegal practice of disability insurance companies.(2) The only thing that does happen in the US are unlimited court cases, and unlimited fines of millions of dollars, but the companies remain unchallenged by the State as demonstrated by the continued success of Unum Insurance; now valued at $15 billion. 

* The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is a replica of US disability insurance medical tyranny adopted by Atos Healthcare, and funded by the DWP, as successive British Governments used Unum Insurance as ‘advisers’ to reduce the welfare budget. The WCA is very similar to the ‘assessment’ system used by Unum to resist funding pay-outs on disability insurance, and that includes the ‘administration’.(3)(4) The question remains as to why would any UK Government knowingly use one of the most notorious of all corporate insurance giants to ‘advise’ the British Government on welfare reform… 

* The power and influence of this corporate giant appears to be unlimited. Consider why there is a press blackout with the national press and the media all refusing to expose the links between Unum Insurance, Atos Healthcare, the DWP and the introduction of the entirely bogus Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as copied from the assessment tyranny employed by Unum Insurance, now used to resist funding DWP disability benefits.(4) SEE: CBS NEWS REPORT – WCA is a duplicate of this US system There have been some powerful documentaries about Atos Healthcare assessments, (Panorama & Dispatches) but they don’t mention the influence of Unum Insurance….. Why not?? 

* The WCA uses the highly discredited Bio-Psycho-Social(BPS) model of disability assessment, which is used successfully by the insurance industry and has no medical credibility yet is sweeping the world as a method of deciding State benefits.(6)(7) 

* Gill Thorburn is an academic expert and has reported the following re BPS: “Examining Professor Aylward’s recent defence of his position on BPS, and the links that have been made between his work and the rearrangement of our welfare system, it would seem that he is now claiming to have had no influence upon the changes which have been wrought. This is an astonishing claim in light of the manner in which he and others of his cohort have ruthlessly promoted and applied some very specific ideas about illness. These academics, including Professor Aylward, within what I have previously termed the ‘BPS lobby’, have consistently and persistently pushed their ‘new’ notions about illness and disability until they, first successfully penetrated, and then became the sole authoritative discourse within official literature in this area. [My emphasis. MS] They were able to do so through drawing on their privileged positions as leaders of medical and scientific authoritative discourse and doctrine. We should remind ourselves too that welfare policy is to all intents and purposes a form of law, which in the case of

welfare benefits is very strenuously applied. Results of failure to comply are severe, and punished mercilessly by the modern system. Those stigmatised as ‘scroungers’ or ‘malingerers’ are afforded zero tolerance and enthusiastically chased to ground and pilloried in our contemporary society. All the more reason, then, for the ideas which have fed into those administrative instruments by which people’s health is assessed to be above criticism, and fair and just, avoiding adding to any stigmatisation of illness and disability.” …… (6) 

* What the BPS model of assessment did have was the authority of the Chief Medical Officer(CMO) of the British Government, Professor Mansel Aylward, whose been linked with Unum Insurance for most of his career.(5)(9)(10) The fact that this man was awarded a Knighthood for “services to disability assessment” is an atrocity that has offended many, and this Knighthood should surely be revoked from a ‘professional’ who has benefitted from medical tyranny for personal gain. This is the man who claims that illness doesn’t exist (!!) and the UK Government hang on every word reported in order to reduce the welfare budget, regardless of human suffering or consequences. This is how the welfare state will be destroyed and replaced with private health insurance – which is the Thatcher legacy.(12) 

* Consider why the UK Gvt would use a discredited corporate giant that was exposed by the BBC: This video has only just resurfaced having been advised that it had been removed from BBC archives. The transcript can’t be found on BBC archives but is referenced here.(8)

* Consider COHPA – founded by Atos – who were no doubt confident of always retaining the lucrative UK Government contract for ‘assessments’(9) The Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association (COHPA) ‘advises’ the UK Government and attending the 2009 AGM and conference were: Dame Carol Black, Professor [Sir] Mansel Aylward – UNUM CPDR & former DWP CMO, Greame Henderson (H&W), Dr Bill Gunnyeon (DWP CMO), Cynthia Atwell (RCN), Dr Steve Boorman (Royal Mail) and Dr John Osman (CMO HSE)

* Unum Provident funded the Centre for Psychosocial Research at Cardiff University from 2003-2009. Prof Aylward left the DWP to become the first (and only) Director of the ‘research’ centre and has benefitted in his career as he now tours the world lecturing about the BPS model of disability assessment and how people can “think themselves well”. The amazing thing is that, until recently, no-one ever challenged this dangerous nonsense and he has enjoyed a lucrative career.(10) The Professor is now also a Director of the influential Health Claims Bureau, and so is Al Hemond, “..who spent 23 years with Unum, and is a ‘recognised expert and world leader in disability claims management’.”(11) 

* The total misrepresentation of the BPS model of disability assessment, with the emphasis on the ‘psychological’ to the detriment of the ‘social’ model has permitted US medical tyranny into the UK.(8) The BPS approach, as used in the WCA, is as far away as possible from evidence-based medicine as it is possible to imagine and it’s time to stop it before more people die. Remove Atos and remove the WCA. 

* Corprate Watch reported on Unum Insurance in 2007 and, at the time, Unum had been ordered to re-examine 290,000 previously failed claims. To date this has not been achieved.(14) 

Mo Stewart 4th February 2013 

(1) Backbench Business DWP-Atos Work Capability Assessment debate LIVE:

(1) (b) Backbench Business: DWP-Atos Work Capability Assessment HANSARD:

(2) New York Attorney General Spitzer’s ruling:

(3) Yale Law School ‘The Unum Provident Scandal’:

(4) CBS News LIVE debate:


(5) Welfare Reform – Redress for the disabled:

(6) Academic response to claims by Prof Aylward:

(7) A Tale of Two Models:

(8) BBC News Transcript re Unum Insurance:

(9) Atos Healthcare or Disability Denial Factories:

(10) Memorandum on Disability Insurance:

(11) Concern over DR UK director’s links with insurance investigators:

(12) Margaret Thatcher’s role in plan to dismantle welfare state revealed:

(13) BBC News video exposing Unum Insurance: (14) Corporate Watch – Unum Insurance:

See also: 

‘Private firms’ role in creation of disability assessment regime’ ~ Black Triangle’s Letter Published in The Guardian Posted on September 14, 2012



  1. jeffery davies says:

    about time been screaminh enough about this unum now perhaps they get thrown out it beggers belief how they can operate over here after being thrown out of the states not oly this they told labour tory goverments how to run their welfare and nhs and other things how did they get to this jeff3

  2. Colin Wilson says:

    Good work compiling all this, but how do we now force the government to remove their henchmen, and reclaim all money paid as part of their cosy little scam ?

  3. backdated benefits says:

    What I wan to know is HOW are tens of thousands of disabled people going to get back all the money they had taken from them coz the DWP closed or reduced their claims ?
    I had £25,000 of savings taken from me by Jobcentre plus /DWP and they closed my income support claim coz I had savings over the limit (I was NOT working and claiming) are we ever going to get our money back?

    Is Mo Stewart thinking about how to get back our money?

    or is it all just an exercise in futility. is all the blogging and campaigning useless what point is there in campaigning if all you get at the end of it is zippo nada nothing.

    All that money from all those people gone for ever into the bottomless pit of the Government coffers.

  4. Mo Stewart says:

    Mo Stewart can’t do anything apart from expose the info and invite you all to bring it to the attention of MPs who then should get things changed in the House of Commons but it won’t happen fast.

  5. jay says:

    Fantastic work Mo. Your work shows the corruption that these politicians are implicit in. The financial links between Unum and our elected politicians will be the hardest to investigate and reveal but the money backhander trail must be in there somewhere


    Our Reference: FOI 4266-5116

    24 January 2013

    Dear Mr Reynolds
    Freedom of Information Act – Request for Information

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 24/12/2012.

    You asked:
    1. Have executives of U N U M corporation sat on mental or physical, technical working
    groups on behalf of any British government?
    2. Have executives or staff, from either U N U M, or A T O S, acted in steering any
    favourable decisions for contracts for themselves?
    3. Have A T O S, who funded the Biopsychosocial Research department at Cardiff
    University, now distanced themselves from this department?
    4. Does the department above, still do classes and accreditation for A T O S HCP
    5. Could this cosy relationship be defined as a “Conflict of interest” that is clearly apparent,
    blatant and reprehensible, given the magnitude of the effects of their policies inflicted on
    the disabled?

    In reply to Qs 1, 2, 3 & 4 DWP does not hold any information on these subjects, as they are not
    connected to the DWP Medical Services Contract.

    In response to Q 5 the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act is about the supply of recorded
    information held by the Department rather than explaining things or confirming whether your
    assumptions are correct or not, therefore this question is not, under FoI a valid request.

    Yours sincerely

    DWP Business Management Team
    Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)

  7. PAULA says:

    This Professor Mansel Aylward Is a Very Evil Person, And Needs To Be Arrested Immediately, Before He Commits Further Genocide On Innocent Sick And Disabled People!

  8. Mo Stewart says:

    WATCH this space. I’ve now sent BT the missing BBC News report from 2007, plus two recent finds of news reports by NBC DATELINE AMERICA – both exposing Unum Insurance.

    I’m sure John will get them all online asap.

    My next report exposing it all will be published on BT.


    Bill Gunnyeon (Chief Medical Officer DWP)

    Attended meetings with Gordon Waddell (see Waddells TESTS) and Sir Mansel AYLWARD (ATOS FOUNDER)

    Just a coincidence?

    1. jeffery davies says:

      you also forget those in unis they payed for now outside helping out goverment departments the list goes on with unum

  10. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    I am wondering if the CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER for DWP BILL GUNNYEON, has stated a conflict of interest, given that he is a director of CAPITA HEALTH CARE, who share many links with ATOS, on securing lucrative government health contracts.


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