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Update, July 16, 2014.
ATOS has just been awarded a contract worth £10 million a year under which it will continue to provide IT services to support Work Capability Assessments, even after it steps down as the main supplier of these next year.
In March, ATOS agreed to end its controversial contract to conduct health and disability benefits with the government in February of 2015, rather than in August as was stated in its original contract.
The new contract that ATOS has now secured with the government was set up without any competition. DWP says it is an "interim arrangement" -- but people still have plenty of reason to be concerned.
ATOS, an international company, is in partnership the DWP (Department for Work & Pensions) to carry out a medical survey on any individual claiming certain benefits. Although the medical may be necessary in some cases, it is specifically designed to be 98 percent unpassable. It is time to end unfair medical assessments by ATOS.
ATOS was hired by the government and given £500m per year to realise how many disability benefit claimants were 'fit-for-work' and has faced a barrage of criticism ever since.
A medical assessment -- the Work Capability Assessment -- by ATOS is mandatory. Failure to appear for it will result in your benefits claim being terminated.
The DWP and ATOS have no interest in people’s disabilities or welfare. This has been proven multiple times when people found that neither DWP nor ATOS had been in contact with their doctor or physician.
As the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, has said, “The Department for Work and Pensions is getting far too many decisions wrong on claimants’ ability to work. This is at considerable cost to the taxpayer and can create misery and hardship to the claimants themselves."
The hardship she speaks of is when, after going through a list of 17 questions, the DWP declares you fit for work and halts your benefit claim. Those with true disabilities normally have no means to challenge this decision due to mobility issues.
It is hardly surprising that people are still becoming ill or disabled despite the magical ATOS assessments.
Before the despised Work Capability Assessment began, the UK did not have significantly more people on out of work sickness or disability benefits than other comparable countries. It is unusual that, when unemployment is allegedly falling, the number of people unable to work for health reasons has been rising (http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/category/welfare-reform-2/esaatos/).
Back in May 23rd 2012, the UK GPs Conference voted unanimously to end the DWP and ATOS Work Capability Assessment regime “with immediate effect”. We call for an end to these bogus medical assessments and demand that the government base claimants' capability to work on documented reports from their Doctors, Physicians or Hospital staff.
ATOS, an international company, is in partnership the DWP (Department for Work & Pensions) to carry out a medical survey on any individual claiming certain benefits. Although the medical may be necessary in some cases, it is specifically designed to be 98 percent unpassable -- it is time to end unfair medical assessments by ATOS.
During a medical exam, you are required to take any medication you may have including a repeat prescription sheet from your doctor. You are also given an Asthma test with a medical puffer, and then have a movement test done on your arms & legs. Although the medic is kind and polite during these tests, they can often show sympathy towards you as you struggle with your pain. Why then are there no questions about your medication or how it affects you, or even why you need it? Why is there no recommendation from the medic who performs the exam?. Why are official hospital documents or doctors certificates overruled by these questions? Where are the questions about your daily life and how hard it can be to function properly without aid or assistance from another>
The UK government is not interested if you are able to clean yourself properly, cook for yourself or how hard it is to simply dress yourself. They just want you out paying taxes. Mr David Cameron says his priority is the safety & welfare of UK citizens. But these two words are breached by the DWP as a direct result of these inadequate medicals. They fail to provide an accurate assessment of your disabilities and plunge you into poverty when they instantly halt your benefit.
When they halt your allowance they also end your housing benefit (without informing you), giving people with disabilities an uncontrollable rent debt, followed by threats for payment. In most cases people are often to sick to be able to travel to meetings or write letters to sort this out and have to rely on others like council members or your local MP. In addition to taking into account how much stress a person can take on board when this happens, it does not help their mental health, and can often make people worse.
The DWP must accept official documentation from your local Hospital or the records from your doctor. After all, your doctor is the one who see’s you 5-10 times a year and the hospital staff are the ones treating your illness or disability. It’s time to remove ATOS and pursue a more reliable source of information to determine benefits claims.