By David Taylor 7 Jun 2013 08:02
SCOTLAND’S leading Catholic tells Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith that human dignity is being trampled over in fitness to work tests.
SCOTLAND’S most senior Catholic has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to protest about Atos.
Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, told Iain Duncan Smith he has concerns over vulnerable people in society suffering due to an injustice.
French IT firm Atos have been under fire since they began carrying out work capability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
Thousands of people have hit out at their treatment at the hands of Atos assessors in the past few years.
The strongly-worded letter from Tartaglia calls on the Con-Dems to drop the current system.
The archbishop said:
“I have been made aware of cases of terminally ill people being summoned for assessments, people with learning difficulties being asked to present themselves for assessment not knowing what the process is all about.
“People being passed as fit for work and having their benefits stopped when they are clearly still seriously ill. Human dignity is being trampled upon and glaring errors are being made, reflected in the fact that 40 per cent of appeals are, I believe, currently successful.
“These circumstances, together with recent revelations by nurses and doctors who have spoken out against the tests they are being asked to perform on people, and which they, in conscience, can no longer collaborate with, must surely mean the time has come for a rethink.
“It is wrong for Atos to be profiting when sick and disabled people are suffering because of the harshness and bluntness of the work capability assessment.
“My concerns are shared by very many people of all parties and none, of all faiths and none.
“Surely the large number of successful appeals, the widespread concern among parliamentarians and the press, and the testimonies of health professionals who have spoken out against the indignity and injustice of the process must lead you to the conclusion that a rethink is needed.”
Labour MP Tom Greatrex said:
“This is an important, significant intervention by Archbishop Tartaglia – and a welcome one.
“This isn’t about party politics now, this is about a growing opinion from the archbishop, from doctors and nurses who have worked for the contractors, from parliamentarians who are all concerned that this test isn’t doing what it was supposed to do.
“It is causing a huge amount of anxiety. People are being badly treated by it and it should be about helping people who can work, into work.
“But the reality is it is hounding people who can’t work. Iain Duncan Smith would do well to listen to the archbishop’s call for compassion.”
Atos say just 15 per cent of appeals are overturned but the latest figures available show that from April to September 2012, the figure in Scotland was actually 46 per cent.
Labour leader Ed Miliband would not abolish the Atos tests but in a policy speech yesterday he pledged to reform them to get the system working for the needs of the unemployed.
14 thoughts on “Archbishop Tartaglia joins chorus of protests against Atos assessments which ‘trample on human dignity’”
I WANT ATOS TO BE SCRAPPED ALTOGETHER. I AM DISAPPOINTED WITH ED MILLIBAND DECISION.
This government ‘s ears are closed to reason and thee concept of fairness.
I dont think it will make the slightest difference who speeks out against this criminal regime,because it is government policy to rob as much as they can from the poorest in society in order to boost the profits of the poverty pimps.
Couldn’t agree more Gerald.
I would urge all persons waiting to go to an appeal to request all recorded information that the DWP hold on them.
There were reports that clearly showed the extent of my injuries, doctors and hospital reports, past score sheets where i had been awarded in excess of fifteen points.
One of the best sources of my worsening conditions were to be found in questionnaires that the DWP sent me on a regular basis. They started with the words, “its been a long time since we last heard from you” and went on to request pages of information that i supplied about my condition.
All these reports would be a godsend to anyone putting a case together to challenge their decision at tribunal.
Why wasn’t all this information collated and laid before the examiner?
We all know the answer Gerald, to deprive us of our disability benefits…………..
Thank goodness so relieved that the churches r finally speaking out about the pain, degradation and misery that ATOS is causing us all.
I just hope that the people who have the power to stop ATOS from killing and hounding the sick the vulnerable the disabled and the weak.
I hope they continue to joins the government like we are being hounded by them!!
The whole process is laughable. This time last year, i was going through the appeal process under the beleif that after the tribunal, which incidently the dwp didn’t turn up to! that would be it. I was told at the tribunal that i’d won my appeal with medical evidence, my doctor had submitted, on my behalf SIX months earlier. Paid back the money they’d withheld. Less than three months later, atos writes to me and the whole process started again! Now i’m in the same boat again! So if anybody else reading thir. that is currently going through the appeals process and is eventually told by the tribunal judge and doctor, that this shouldn’t have come to court in the first place. And this Is an end to it. Think again!
IDS should be excommunicated by the Catholic church.
But would excommunication bother IDS? I cannot imagine that any genuine Christian would behave towards his fellow men the way IDS behaves towards the sick and disabled. I have read the Bible from cover to cover and it DOES NOT contain a commandment “Thou shalt do everything in thy power to make the lives of the sick and disabled even more miserable than they are already.”
This letter of course is very welcome. However I am frustrated by the lack of a coordinated campaign from the Church and others eg. medical staff. Bits of condemnation won’t worry IDS because my understanding is that he is on an ideological (and personal) crusade that is not in touch with reality in any way.
I am one of the ones who has suffered terribly at the hands of ATOS. I am also one of those who (after more than a year of having NO BENEFIT whatsoever)has had their appeal upheld. I have harrassed the DWP and my Tory-boy MP until I’ve been blue in the face. Now they have had to eat their lying words.
What is needed is a concerted hard-hitting campaign NOW.
Atos caused me to loose my job because it concluded I’ld need more time off sick due to my illnesses. And when I applied for e.s.a they concluded I had nothing wrong with me. These people are money grabbing bastards. They should be in jail for fraud- I don’t think I have ever hated an organisation so much.
The despicable practices carried out by atos make me think the govt. are trying to get rid of as many disabled claiments as possible by their own hand namely suicide. Bringing vulnerable people to their knees and death by suicide, therefore exonerating the powers that be namely atos and govt as a whole. Disabled claiments are not the source of financial ruin to the country, criminals cost the economy billions annualy and what are govt. doing to recoup the cost of Police, ambulance, hospitals, probation, lawyers,prisons, release payments etc –absolutely nothing because the weak and disabled as soft targets. I am disgusted at the way disabled people are being treated and moreover at atos medical people are asked to spell the word ‘world’ and subtract 7 from 21. A five year old could do that and it has no bearing whatsoever on a persons psycological illness being able to spell and subtract.