Atos: Why are we campaigning?

The Stream – a programme on Al Jazeera English – are covering the protests against Atos in their show this evening at 19:30 GMT. They asked me what I thought should be included.

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These are the key points that I think are the problem.

  1. That Atos staff and Lima system do not adequately assess whether patients fit the descriptors as set by government, instead asking their own questions to fit their tick boxes then trying to make the answers fit the legislation set out by government. (Found at
  2. That Atos as a private contractor is not accountable in the same was as gov, e.g. FOI requests
  3. That the whole concept of assessing patients as fit for work or not is flawed, this cannot be tested in a 45 minute session as Atos does not draw on medical history, variation from day to day, etc.
  4. Atos judge a person’s ability to walk, stand, concentrate, communicate etc on what they look like in one 45 minute session which can be very different from other times.
  5. In making the decision Atos ignore impact of work on state of health and they don’t account for the health impact of doing many things in sequence to work, just ability to do any one of those things in isolation!
  6. Asking trick questions to catch people out.
  7. Having “Medical Centres” that are not fully accessible, including centres with no lifts, no disabled car parking bays, or sometimes no parking at all, and unsuitable chairs in their waiting rooms.
  8. Frequently keeping patients waiting hours for their appointment, and observing them in the waiting room for behaviour that might mark them as liars.
  9. Having assessments carried out by staff other than fully qualified doctors.

I would particularly like to know why Atos do not ask the questions as set out by legislation, instead asking their own random questions, including trick questions to catch people out. For example, “Do you watch Eastenders?” if answered with yes is taken as proof of ability to set in one place for an hour, and to concentrate fully. “Do you have any pets?” is used to determine that the patient is capable of feeding, cleaning and caring for the pet and therefore themselves. “How did you get here?” is another trick, since it can be taken as proof of being fully able to use public transport, when in fact the journey might have caused considerable deterioration in health for the patient but was undertaken out of fear of losing benefits.

This list is just what I can think of in a few minutes, I am sure there are other problems too.


Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

10 thoughts on “Atos: Why are we campaigning?”

  1. I took my neighbour and he was only in for about 30 minutes, as soon as we got in the security guard gave him a pen which he dropped but the assessor marked him down as being able to hold a pen,That was an atrocious lie.  I went on line to GMC and lodged a complaint that the doctor was not morally qualified and should be struck off.

  2. If someone is suffering from a mental illness due to sexual trauma, it must be horrible for them to discuss this with a stranger.

  3. I posted tweets @ajstream from the WtB account with a few bits they might want to consider.

  4. The other major issue is the unprofessional attitude of significant numbers of  ATOS staff. The doctor who administered mine fell well short of professional standards when he crossed the line into disputing my answers and criticising me, but that pales in comparison to the people reporting outright falsehoods in their WCA reports, with claims to have conducted tests which never happened and the like.

  5. here is a good tip for you.i know its not always possible, but when ever you go for an assessment.
    take some one you know with you as a witness,   and even better if your witness is a professional person , like a clerk or something ( or at least some one dressed smartly). the doctors are less likly to try and pull any  stunts or try to trick you. i only ever went once on my own, and boy did i meet the bitch from hell.
    she pulled every dirty trick in the book to fail me. in the end i stopped the interview, and reported her. i got a written apology from ATOS, and a rushed appointment to see a better doctor.
    Don’t LET THEM LEAD YOU ON. if they say” can you bend down”  if you can, and it would later cause pain say ” NO it will cause me pain” don’t be a hero and suffer to please them.
    you wont get marked against you if you “cant” bend.

  6. somebody went to a ” medical ” ” assessment ” with his NHS  Heart Consultant to pull rank on the  ATOS Origin  ” HCP ” , quell surprise he was in and out & passed  in five minutes . 

    I first encountered this ( IMHO )  shoddy and amateurish outfit at a works ” medical ” , as they did Occupational Health for my employer which could be as equally amoral at best , underhand & corrupt in their machinations as ATOS themselves , a marriage made in heaven . 

    Originally if we questioned as to exactly who would be standing in the witness box at the likes of a Tribunal , we were told not to be ” negative ” . We were told that ATOS Doctors and Nurses would over rule your GP , Consultant or Specialist and ” we will have work out of you ” . The Employer said they were ” incentivised ” financially . ATOS deny this with DWP claimants , allegedly ex ATOS staff have confirmed this . 

    Then we were told to ” button up your mouth ” about ATOS being a bunch of unqualified quacks and amateurs . Apparently only a OHS HCP could judge whether you were fit for work or not as he “knew” what your job entailed . In reality I and others have had to explain this to the ATOS OHS ” HCP ” . 

    The Employers next stance was that it was all sour grapes from disgruntled staff that hadn’t heard what they want to hear from ATOS . I accept there are some old soldiers , professional skivers , compensation claimers and malingerers , and some that have accidents at very opportune times working and playing the system but they are in the minority  . It depends if you tolerate necessary evils or not  , if you go down the ” holier than thou ” route ; you must expect to be contradicted and challenged ? . 

    However ! there was too many horror stories re ATOS Origin , that had too much of the same ring to them to be within the realms of coincidence . Twice at Union Conference we could have had a debate re ATOS that could have gone on all night . The union’s branches tabled a motion of no confidence in ATOS Origin . Now this cannot possibly all  be sour grapes from disgruntled employees now ? .

    The view of Area Reps was that ATOS Origin assume that you’ve a ” good doctor ” and it’s a case of ” we’ll trip you and stitch you up as a malingerer ” . It doesn’t matter how vague , curious , obscure and contradictory the ” justification ” for their stance is . It’s purely to  tick boxes and impresses someone more senior . 

    With the DWP this assumed collusion started with Hard Right Winger and over grown public schoolboy Peter ” I’ve got a little list ” Peter Lilley in the 90’s and continued with Tory Lord David Freud a colourful City character that was well known for advising people on buying up on share issues and then the companies would ” coincidentally ” crash . The Government are working on too many assumptions and are stuck in a 90’s time warp . 

    Branch Secretaries advised their members to report ATOS ” HCPs ” to the GMC or NMC . A lot of ATOS ” Medical Reports ” tended to be too negative , riddled with errors and inconsistencies , begging more questions than answers . 

    If ATOS rulings were contentious , the Union would challenge the Employer in a appeal , they would put together a panel of trained and qualified specialists , not a bunch of ex army MO’s and ex jobbing / retired jack of all trades but masters of none GP’s . 

    IMHO ATOS are running scared as they’ve been rumbled  , it was internet websites that brought about the class action in the States which led to their disability denial factories using ” aggressive claims management ”  being outlawed in various states . 

    ATOS use exactly the same methods as UNUM Provident , UNUM Provident developed the LIMA tick box  software , let’s just say the relationships between UNUM Provident / ATOS Origin / The DWP and the Government are very , very organic . I don’t buy the ATOS Nuremberg ” We were / are only taking orders ” excuse , you have to look at these companies lobbying power , networking , targeted academic ” research ” , pseudo science justification to influence legislation in their interest .

    1. i agree with you Norbet 99% but you neglected to mention that we have had 13 years of Labour in charge. they are equally as guilty  ( lest we forget)
      and it was under them last year, i went a whole year without a penny from incapacity until my appeal. i have been off work from my job for 4 and a half years, with an industrial injury ( caused directly by labours PFI meddling) so imagine how i struggled with a mortgage, and 2 kids. so lets share the blame. ( ps i am no Tory boy)

  7. I had my Atos interrogation in Feb this year,awful experience awful ignorant pompous “doctor”.When I got my report back Id scored 8 points and was booted off ESA Im now appealing and have been living on £98 a fortnight since,no sign of an appeal date yet.The whole process had made my illness worse and so stressful Im suffering pdsd depression anxiety and other things.Fingers crossed I`ll win the appeal but im not holding out any hope,has been the worst year of my life.ATOS need stopping they are evil corrupt poverty pimps of the highest order !!

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