Sep 122011

The following letter has been sent to Atos Healthcare. Copies have also been sent to The Guardian, The Independent, The Morning Star, The Times, The Financial Times, Newsweek & the Daily Mail. It is written in response to Atos Healthcare’s misuse of the libel laws in a bid to silence their many many critics, especially those who have spoken openly about their bad experiences of the Work Capability Assessment.

The original post Atos objected to can be found at


Lisa Coleman
General Manager for the DWP Contracts
Atos Healthcare
4 Triton Square
Regent’s Place
London, NW1 3HG

Dear Ms Coleman,

We the undersigned individuals and groups are seriously concerned by the fact that Atos Healthcare, the provider of the Work Capability Assessment for sickness benefits, has threatened legal action against the Internet hosting companies of three websites which circulated letters from sickness benefit claimants – ‘Carerwatch’, ‘After Atos’ and ‘Atos Register of Shame’ (now relaunched as ‘A### the Truth’).

These websites have given members of society who are often isolated and have traditionally found it difficult to take joint action, the chance to come together and share their experiences. We find it unacceptable that a large IT company, which receives £100m per year for their assessment of claimants, has deployed their legal department against individuals or small organisations who dared to circulate people’s comments and concerns about their treatment at Atos’ hands.

As acknowledged by both the recent Harrington Report and the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the Work Capability Assessment implemented by Atos Healthcare was found to be mechanistic and Atos’ ‘medical reports’ far too often did not reflect circumstances and discussions that had taken place during the assessments (Harrington Report, pp. 40-41). In addition, ESA claimants have now been told that twelve doctors working for Atos face being struck off for improper conduct, and other members of Atos’ staff are under investigation over allegations of obscene criticism of benefit claimants.

Atos Healthcare has given assurances that the shortcomings identified by the Harrington Report are being addressed. Yet many claimants are still experiencing the distress of poor and rushed medical assessments based on Atos Healthcare’s computer programme.

Amid growing concern that Atos Healthcare is failing to raise its methods and professionalism to acceptable standards, the company is now attempting to silence those claimants and their small organisations who have had the courage to speak up. At a time when we see that major corporations such as News International are able to use the threat of legal action to hide their wrongdoings, it is important that Atos’ actions are brought to account.

It is also the case that government bodies are unable to sue for libel. Atos’ argument is that they are taking legal action to protect their business reputation, but in this case they are performing the work of the DWP, and receiving public money for doing it.

For these reasons, we ask that Atos withdraw all threats of libel action, that they publicly guarantee that they will not in future use the libel laws to close down criticism of their practices, and that they make a public apology to those individuals and websites which they have tried to silence.

Yours truly

Brighton Benefits Campaign
Brighton & Hove TUC Unemployed Centre
Caroline Lucas MP
Amanda Sebestyen Writer
Paul Smith Atos Victims Group
Holly Smith (President) Brighton and Hove Trades Union Council
Brighton Keep Our NHS Public
Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition
Brighton Disabled People Against Cuts
Ipswich Unemployed Action
Disabled People Against Cuts
False Economy
Southampton United for Pensions and Public Services
National Coalition for Independent Action
Redhill Coalition Against Cuts
Lewes Stop the Cuts
Art Uncut
DLA Help Group
The Broken of Britain
WinVisible (Women With Visible and Invisible Disabilities)
Suffolk Coalition for Public Services
Queer Resistance
Newport Trades Union Council
Cornwall Anti Cuts Alliance
Cornwall Disabled People Against Cuts
Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group

cross posted from Brighton Benefits Campaign


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  1. Following up from a letter received my reply is as follows:

    26 March 2013

    Jeanette Howard
    Customer Relations Manager
    Atos Healthcare
    Wing G – Block 1
    Government Buildings
    Otley Road
    LS16 5PU

    Re: Mr Stephen Harvey
    National Insurance Number: **************

    Dear Ms Howard

    Thank you for your letter of the 20th instant and I note what you say.

    Whilst you may wish to conduct an investigation into those matters raised in my letter of 14th instant which you say will take four weeks, I personally believe that you are being obstructive since you could give an immediate response into the actions of your assessor. Your organisation is clearly aware how your assessors treat those who have been required to succumb to an assessment for Employment & Support Allowance, as evidence clearly shows that they are following company policy.

    From the evidence available on the Internet I understand that your organisation receives £100 million per year from the Government to carry out these assessments with the full intention of failing three in every four individuals who were previously in receipt of an incapacity type benefit and it is costing the tax payer a further £50 million per year for First Tier Tribunals to hear appeals that would not necessarily be required had your assessors not been following some unwritten policy. I further understand that your assessors actually receive a “bonus” for failing individuals who would otherwise remain on a higher rate of benefit than what is paid in the form of Job Seekers Allowance.

    I doubt whether my particular complaint is being viewed in isolation. My complaint is just another that is to be added to an ever growing mountain.

    It is maybe the first time that someone like myself has the evidence to bring either criminal or civil proceedings against one of your assessors and that Atos remain vicariously liable for those actions.

    It is most unfortunate that you have decided to investigate my complaint “in house” rather than involving your litigation department at this time.

    Yours sincerely

    Stephen Harvey

  2. Hi all. I have recently had an assessment with Atos. I am now in correspondence with their customer relations manager. not to dwell on the finer points, I’ll let you make your own minds up on the issues. Copy of my letter is below: –

    14 March 2013

    Atos Healthcare
    Customer Relations
    Wing G – Block 1
    Government Buildings
    Otley Road
    LS16 5PU

    Re: Mr Stephen Harvey
    National Insurance Number: ************

    I hereby lodge a complaint which is in 2 parts:

    PART 1

    that on Thursday 14 February 2013 at Pearl House, Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton your chosen Healthcare Professional, to whom you claim to be “fully registered, specially trained and approved” did “over exaggerate” the report that she prepared during and or immediately following the assessment.

    I conclude that this “over exaggeration” is for the sole purpose of diminishing a claimant’s current long term health problems as to purposely deny that claimant access to an entitled Employment and Support Allowance.

    This “over exaggeration” is further compounded by the Healthcare Professional concluding that the claimant is awarded ZERO points towards the said benefit, despite the legislation clearly stating that Atos and / or the DWP have a right to gain access to the claimant’s medical documents (free of charge) which could or should have been obtained prior to any assessment taking place.

    Based upon that evidence provided by the DWP I have found it necessary to call upon them to provide the full report of your Healthcare Professional which I am informed extends over 20 or so pages.

    From that evidence provided so far, I am able to state that the “over exaggeration” relates to “actual time” that I am alleged to have sat on a doctors examination table during the assessment. Your assessor concludes in her report:
    “At the assessment Mr Harvey was able to sit on a couch for 34 minutes rising without assistance to stand independently for 2 minutes without difficulty”.

    I give notice that prior to the assessment and having read various forums being displayed on the Internet regarding your foul practices and the thousands of previous claimant’s experiences at your hands being failed at assessment and then they have gone on to successfully argue their case at Tribunal I personally thought it wise to equip myself with some type of recording device to at least have the evidence to challenge any unfair practices committed by those in the employ of Atos Healthcare.

    I am able to state that I have a “digital recording” that cannot be tampered with in any shape or form and that recording extends to an actually time span of 31 minutes and 10 seconds.

    I am able to say that the recording device was switch on immediately after your Healthcare Professional called out my name whilst in the Waiting Room. Moreover there is a lapse of some 42 seconds whilst we are walking towards the Examination Room. Furthermore there is a time lapse whilst I dealt with that which is mentioned in PART 2 of this complaint. Following conclusion of the assessment, and upon leaving the assessment room, walking back to the waiting room and out into the lobby, the recording device was switch off whilst I was waiting for the lift.

    I am currently engaged in constructing a “timeline”. I know exactly the moment I sat down on the examination table, which is described as a couch in the report and also the time when I got off that table.

    From what I have said so far, I am absolutely certain that the above has displayed qualities as to cast doubt upon your Healthcare Professional’s report as being a true account and that a case is proven against her that the report on one part alone is “over exaggerated”.

    In addition it would appear that your Healthcare Professional is casting doubt upon my disabilities claiming that she could not substantiate the high level of disability that I claim that I have, thus implying that it is I who is over exaggerating my claims.

    My claims are born from irrefutable X-ray slides that I had in my possession which your Healthcare Professional totally refused to view.

    Those X-ray slides were taken at various times during the years 1993 following an accident at work on 15 September 1993 and again following a further accident on 14 October 2001. Those further X-rays were taken in 2002, 2003 and 2004 as well as MRI scans. These show accelerated degenerative disc disease of the lower spine from the T12 through to the S1 vertebra which were onset following the 1993 accident and exacerbated by the accident in 2001.

    Had your Healthcare Professional been more accommodating to have at least viewed the X-ray plates which she would have seen at first hand that I have accelerated degenerative disc disease of the lower spine she would then have had sight of various medical opinions that I had in my possession.

    Indeed the DWP already have these reports in their possession from my years of claiming both Incapacity Benefit and Industrial Injuries Benefit.

    Of course, these medical reports that I have, one in particular that was completed by Mr David Marks, Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon and dated 16 December 2004. I believe that this report cannot be relied upon as it is too old to form an opinion of what my current condition is today, but if asked again to form an opinion Mr Marks would definitely say that I have an Incapacity that prevents any form of working.

    I am also sure that your organisation is or should be familiar with Mr David Marks since he is one of the leading Orthopaedic Consultants in his field in the UK and is renowned throughout the world for his expertise. He certainly does not trivialise a condition such as my own as your assessor has done in the report so far provided.

    When completing the ESA 50 form I have indicated that I am able to walk 30 metres without having to stop and take a rest. This level of walking is only achieved whilst under the influence of medication. Such prescribed medication (SOLPADOL) has the highest level of codeine of 30mg to 500mg of Paracetamol with a dosage of 2 capsules at 4 times daily intervals (when required).

    There is no evidence at all in the information provided so far that your assessor has mentioned that I take such a high dosed painkiller relief in order to get mobile.

    I further believe that I am entitled to 15 points on mobility alone, this despite those points that are available to me for sitting and bending.

    I find it odd that your assessor did not ask for information regarding my pattern of sleep, which is disturbed through low back pain, this despite sleeping on an Orthopaedic bed.

    Nor did she enquire whether I had trouble getting out of bed, which in truth, if it were not taking the medication at least 2 hours before needing to get out of bed in the morning, I would be “bed bound”.

    In my opinion these are some of the questions your assessor should have asked, but again failed to do so and I can only conclude that she did not ask these questions because there is a “need” by Atos to dismiss as many genuine claimant’s to benefit as possible.

    I think that I could say lots more in this complaint but why waste my time when Atos has already shown themselves in a bad light. I shall conclude this part of my complaint by saying that I have sufficient grounds already to draw this matter to the attention of West Midlands Police, since criminal offences of Fraud and Perverting the Course of Justice have been committed here where your assessor is claiming that I sat for a longer period than I actually did with the full intention of not awarding points.

    Failing all else there is a clear case to answer in Civil Courts process for the manufacturing of documents where the information contained therein are proven to be false. Should I be caused to venture down that route for satisfaction, I shall be looking to recover Exemplary Damages of in excess of £100,000.00

    Perhaps when dealing with this complaint you should seek the advice of your litigation department.

    PART 2

    Being a Disabled person or displaying various disabilities it was confirmed in Law on 18 March 2004 that I qualify for all consideration as stated within the Disability Discrimination Act and I expect that consideration is shown to me as well as any other persons covered under the said act, when being invited to partake in assessments conducted by Atos on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

    On Thursday 14 February 2013, and upon entering the assessment room your assessor beckoned me to sit on either one of two seats. These seats by their definition are too low for someone with such low back spinal problems as myself.

    I asked your assessor if there were any higher seats than those provided or anything that could be placed on the seats to make them higher, to which she replied that there were none. I further pointed out that the chairs provided were too low.

    I continued to say to her the following which is taken directly from the recording “I am not being funny, but there are 36 chairs in the waiting room. Atos are getting millions of pounds off the Government for conducting these assessments and you are providing inadequate facilities i.e. chairs. You are dealing with peoples disabilities expecting them to sit on low chairs”.

    I did moments later, sit on the doctors examination table, which I reached by climbing 2 steps. (The actual time I was sitting on this table is part of PART 1 of this Complaint as stated above).

    Under the head of Standing and Sitting, your assessor says:
    “Based on available evidence, and how he must cope with his day to day events it appears that Mr Harvey can alternate between sitting and standing for more than 60 minutes and transfer from one seated position to another without assistance”.

    You are reminded that there are several aspects of the assessment that did not apply, since I did not sit down on a low seat and then transfer to another low seat that was provided so it is only supposition on the assessors part to imply that is the case when the assessment did not take that approach.

    Nor can it be implied that I don’t have difficulty in getting out of a seat when that was the reason for refusing to sit in the seats provided. Since the examination table was higher than the low seats, I would in effect be getting “down” from a high seating position rather than getting “up” from a low seat.

    Perhaps when dealing with this complaint regarding you providing inadequate facilities under the Disability Discrimination Act you should also give good reason why I should not file a claim before the County Court for those breaches.

    One thing is for sure, I did not go before Courts to prove in the face of the evidence before it, that I am a disabled person as stated within the DDA and later mount personal injury claims for those injuries sustained in an accident on 14 October 2001 for your assessor who barely conducted a 2 minute physical examination to imply that I am over exaggerating my condition in order to claim a benefit.

    Yours faithfully

    Stephen Harvey

    Dept. for Work & Pensions

  3. I recently had my atos medical exam. The medical examiner was a pysio therapist. Not a medical doctor. To cut the long story short. I recieved my medical report. We found so many faults in his assesment, we wrote a letter of complaint to atos with 3 pages of mistakes we found. None of my medical history was taken into account, this examiner had no idea of medication, or health issues. I have not heard back from atos. But had a letter from DWP saying i can be put on work related benefit. I have lower spine injury due to an accident at work,which i spent many years having lumber spine injections, i am in pain 24.7. The pain has never gone away. I have sleep apnea. And depression. Sadly i dont know who to turn to for help. The doctor can only do so much. Good luck to everyone fighting this . Atos are useless.

  4. atos health care are a company payed by the goverment to stop peoples benifits,there corupt and dont give a damm about people,all there interested in is the money the goverment gives them in bonuses to stop peoples benifits

  5. My daughter recently had an accident in the warehouse she is employed in and hurt her back! Her doctor gave her medication but while she gained relief from it the doctor signed her off until she had a MRI scan! She is still waiting for it but has had a date made for it in a few more weeks. Meanwhile her doctor still signs her off.
    Mr daughter requested light duties at her work but they refused. Now she has to attend an interview with her employer and has been requested to fill out an ATOS Form. This is even before she has had the SCAN or has been assessed by her Doctor! It seems a very odd way about doing things! I understand this is a company that is contracted by the work and Pensions Board! Surely all medical work should be completed to the satisfaction of both doctor and patient first shouldn’t it? This is not a patient that does not want to work but wants to be fit enough to do the job she is paid for!

    • It sounds like your daughter should get her union involved or go to CAB for advice on this asap- if the company is contracted by the dept of works and pensions then they may use Atos for ‘healthcare’ stuff for employees

  6. My Atos assessment was on the 6th of June. I attended with my daughter.
    The lady I saw did not listen properly to what my daughter or I said, she was arrogant and dismissive.
    My report came back – 0 points – fit for work.
    I have had pain due to damaged lower discs for 19 years. I appreciate that to some, this may be only a ‘bad back’ – but the condition is mind-numbing, as I can do little without pain.
    I cannot walk properly – which the assessor noted in her report – yet she still expressed that in her opinion I can walk 200m – which is 645ft. My Doctor and I have a figure of 80 to 100ft.
    The report I received is full of lies and misrepresentation. Yes – LIES.
    There are statements which are completely the opposite of what the lady was told.
    There are comments saying I described things I was not even asked about !
    This is not simply an attempt by a government-approved company (which is making money from each of us) to dismiss benefit claimants, it is also dishonourable – and disgusting.
    We are each being called liars – blatantly – when it is our accusers that are making things up.
    My Doctor laughed as I told her I’d been found fit for work – and immediately wrote a note for me to send.
    Why can it not be accepted that your own doctor – who knows you and your history – has the best view of your condition – and it’s implications ?
    Leaving it to people who are not even doing their job correctly – let alone professionally – is disgraceful.
    We should ALL post details about how we have been treated – publicly – and allow others to see through this sham…
    I satisfy at least one of the descriptors – so I should be in the Support Group.
    I have not been informed by letter that I am in WRAG – nor have I been contacted by any other method.
    I’ve had no communication about anything. No explanations – no support.
    Writing to my local MP is pointless – as he is LibDem – and the whole of that party’s members may as well be chocolate teapots !
    I have appealed TWICE – the first appeal form was lost – presumably by the Post Office – who are contracted by the Government to open ALL mail addressed to DWP.
    I await a date for a tribunal.
    I wonder if ‘the three’ at my appeal will notice my “awkward gait” – and dismiss it with as much ease as did the lady I saw.
    If you walk awkwardly – then you use muscles that are not meant for walking.
    Accordingly – it is to be expected that you can walk less – and get tired more.
    No Medical Degree should be needed to understand that.
    This whole situation is so completely discriminating – and against human rights.
    We are entitled to a fair trial by law – and these Atos trials are nothing close to that.
    When Atos trials for ESA applications are over – there will then be more – for the replacement for DLA.
    Thereafter – regular assessments.
    What for ? What a waste of time and money !
    How do they expect any disability to miraculously disappear ?

  7. This treatment by DWP and Atos is no less than inhumane. I can add my situation to the long list of ludicrousness – I’m housebound, have a carer for personal care and cooking, stairlift and equipment, yet a few weeks after finally being put in the esa support group (and that took almost a year of fighting) I receive a new assessment form from Atos. Apparently they believe my long term disability might have disappeared in the last few weeks. What a lovely Christmas present too. I’ve written to my MP and will write to DWP too. It is disgusting.

  8. Allegra you describe the whole stupid Atos DWP process perfectly, with their rude and ignorant discriminatory treatment.

    Professional GP’s and Consultants that know your health history take second place to Atos DWP decision makers, people that have little or no extensive medical knowledge.

    It’s a system designed to dump everyone off sickness benefits into poverty and destitution.
    You would think there would be someone rich with ill relatives suffering through Atos & DWP decisions that would challenge them in court.

    But the blame can be squarely placed on our right dishonourable MP’s. What did the British people ever do to deserve this bunch of uncaring excuses for humanity?

    I hope you get things sorted out
    good luck

  9. I have been battling with ATOS and DWP for months now. Despite sending them copies of hospital letters, copies of my brain scan and several emails, this has all been ignored!! I suffered a Stroke when I was 19 years old and this has left me with Frontal Lobe Damage that affects my memory, concentration, balance, co-ordination and I get bouts of extreme tiredness. I requested the name of the ‘Doctor’ whom agreed to a face to face assessment and found that he is not even on the GMC GP or Specialists register!!!!
    When I requested that they contact my consultants-all 5 of them as I have multiple health problems, they refused saying that they do not need to contact them as they are going by the information I provided on the form. I am not medically qualified and to be honest, I have no idea how to even begin to expain my brain damage as I don’t really fully understand it myself!
    I attended an ‘assessment’ on 30th November with my support worker. The Doctor was extremely rude to both of us! My support worker is hard of hearing and asked if we could record the meeting but this was refused and we were told we have to request this in writing prior to the appontment. My support worker then asked the Doctor to speak clearly and would she be able to repeat anything that was not clear- the doctor said No, I don’t have time for this!!, she then said she was not prepared to do the assessment and left the room only to return with a receptionist!!!

    I have once again emailed ATOS requesting information as to the training given to the assesors and I will also email the DWP and request the same info. The fact that the final decision is given by pen pusher whom is no more medically qualified than you or I, begs to differ as to why we are forced to go through this humlilating assessment. Obviously, ATOS seem to be far more qualified than our own doctors, physios etc!! THEY CAN CURE US!!!!

    Its a disgrace that we are having to fight to get the little amount of money we get and fight against the people ie MP’s that are supposed to be protecting us from people like ATOS. When I raised concerns about the whole assessment process, I was directed to DWP but DWP directed me back to ATOS, and the game of tennis begins! I may not be able to do everything without some help but this is defo a battle I am not prepared to let go. Even if I have to spend as much time as I can contacting MP’s, ATOS, DWP, GMC etc etc, I will. This is clear discrimination and illegal.

    If anyone can sugget whom else to contact please let me know.

    Thank you.

    • Well put…i have had exactly the very same thing happen with Atos, on two assesments. I did contact my MP`s both labour and Conservative and also David Cameron at number 10, all i had back was an email to say that they have my email. I did however have a letter back from David Camerons office stating that he feels the letter that i had sent to hi9m should be passed on to the DWP as they are more equipped to deal with these matters…no one cares or listens…

  10. I have yet again been assessed by the so called Doctors and nurses of Atos Healthcare. Even though i took along my carer as a witness and all hospital and doctors paper work, they have still continued to make up a fantasy report as to my illnesses and disabilities. I am Deaf, and yet they claim i can use a telephone and hold a normal conversation and carry out normal everyday tasks…So based on their fantasy report i have no disabilites or health problems and have promptly had my benefits stopped. I now have to go to Tribunal “again” this has happened twice with a year.The first one having the Atos decision over turned within 10 minutes by the tribunal, when are the government going to learn from all this and stop wasting money on foreign idiotic companies not doing their jobs properly.

  11. My spouse was to undergo her 2nd assessment within 6 months despite her case being subject to appeal. She requested the session be ‘audio taped’ as is her right. This request was sent 3 weeks prior to appointment. The day before this appointment (19th Nov) I rang ATOS to confirm the necessary arrangements were in place. Via their regional call office the centre involved denied having received the request. Never the less the appointment was postponed to a future date by the regional administrator I was conversing with. The probable scenario had my spouse attended without checking would have been this: “Sorry the equipment is not functioning but now that you are here you will have to undergo the assessment or your benefit will be stopped.” It remains to be seen how this ‘pan out’. ps. My spouse requested the recording as she her 1st assessment ignored totally her main physical issue and she was treated with indignity beyond belief. Conclusion: More people should claim their right to have their sessions recorded ? The fight goes on!

  12. We’ve made the front pages of with the ATOS petition re recording assessments:

    Please visit and sign up

  13. Just because were disabled doesn’t mean we have to believe we have no spine. We all need to fight back with measures we would normally associate with scumbags like Atos.

  14. I have just sent a GP’s letter by fax to ATOS (as this is the procedure set by ATOS) which backs up the fact i cannot attend their assessment due to suffering from Agoraphobia,i have just got a phone call from ATOS saying that i have to attend!
    The fax and medical evidence that i have sent has been completely disregarded with utter breathtaking arrogance!
    I am at my wits end and dont know what more i can do? My assessment is tomorrow(26/6/12) and i just cant get there!
    Any advice would be very much appreciated

    • Get in touch with nearest CAB or disability org- ATOS are failing under Equalities Act 2010 by not agreeing to a home visit as a reasonable adjustment -and you have done everything correctly. Have sent an email to you too

    • were you made aware that you can request a home visit from Atos as long as you do not suffer from any violent tendencies that would be a weapon in your favour for any future appointments

  15. You may consider the ultimate end of this and other private companies trying to somehow to undertake government contracts effecting socially disadvantaged people.

    Each one of you must identify and purchase one share of each of these companies.Go to the annual general meeting and question the unethical trading behavior of the company.In addition write to the remuneration committee of each company on the same basis to reduce the chairman’s pay.Those with evidence of unethical trading might ponder making a complaint to the institute of directors to get the director struck from the register.

  16. It is likely Atos will discontinue its outsourcing contracts with the DWP or further contract bids for political,social controversial, social welfare issues best deal with government services.

    One of Britain’s largest grocers has just dropped its ‘slave nation policy’ of using UK unemployed against their will as slave labour.Shareholder revolted and threatened to topple the chairman for unethical trading practices.Within a short time profits dipped and analysts advised the company not to pursue unstable political policies which would wipe millions of pounds off the brand. Many outsourcing bidders for government work are now reconsidering their positions with such conversational politically ‘hot’ work fearing existing and new clients will no longer trade with them.Clearly people are under no illusion that this work was identified by the government as too politically sensitive to do in house and has as a result cost four times as much as forcast, accelerated social costs elsewhere in government with very little to show for it except disenfranchised voters..

  17. try asking for professional qualifications for the so called health care professionals ??
    mine was a registered nurse , after my enquiry he is now registered as a professional nurse ?
    a professional in adult care it says . well i would not let him look after my cat .
    mind you” he was very good on the computer yes /no box¬s .
    my appeal doctor was ex army hong kong, and an expert in tropical disease .
    after 45 years of continues working ,this did not count for one jot !
    clinical depression is not understood by these people and shold be left to the real professionals .
    al they do is make the situation worse .

    • A few weeks ago I watched a TV programme all about apes. It showed how some were that clever they could remember a sequence of numbers shown to them for a few seconds on a computor screen and then amazingley the apes could, by pressing buttons on the screen, bring up the exact numbers in the correct order. The apes were shown to have powers of recognition and memory greater than man. Could this be the next step in Atos Healthcare,s developement of their medical assessment programme. Apes could carry out assessments with the same ” your OK to work” result but much quicker, so stopping benefits quicker and all for the cost of a few bananas.

  18. A well known daily newspaper runs an excellent “Beat the Cheat” campaign to identify people claiming sickness benefits when they are quite capable of work. I would like to see something similar done for the ATOS Healthcare proffesionals, a “Naming and Shaming” of ATOS staff who fail to carry out or report correctly on medical assessments and of the effect this as on claiments and their benefits. I would also like to see all ATOS medical assessments filmed and taped, to ensure that what happens and is said in the assessment cannot be disputed.

  19. What a world we live in. We suppose to trust thieving politicians but not the doctors who issue medical certificates.
    After all, we, the great unwashed do not deserve to be taken care of, so an incompetent – brush everybody with same brush profit making organization has to ensure we get as little as possible and leave more in the kitty for politicians to be able to cheat on their expenses.

    • I had to resign from a position of Care Assistant 2 1/2 years ago as my painful feet and knees were making it increasingly difficult to do the job. I was investigated by the D.W.P and my reasons for resignation accepted. I signed on as unemployed, looking for work, until January this year when forced to sign on as sick due to the worsening of the conditions. Today, after a 2 hour wait to be seen, I had a ‘medical assessment’ which consisted of a 5 or 6 minute interview (where the doctor looked at the computer as much as at me) followed by a 2 – 3 minute ‘examination’ with my clothes, even outdoor coat and shoes still on. After reading the open letter and so many other peoples, frankly horrifying, experiences and results at the hands of the same D.W.P contractor, it makes me wonder what likelihood there is of me receiving a factual report that truthfuly reflects my actual physical and mental condition.

      • just read a very interesting and informative account of the lima programme which is used by atos and according to that if you can remember to get dressed you are fit for work or if you can make a cup of tea you are also found fit for work
        the article is the lima programme the full facts it is on the web it is rather long but worthwhile reading the whole account
        also just read that as atos use the lima system to deny pay outs of disability payments this system is designed for you to fail
        Unum have been sued in the USA for using this system and it is banned in some of the states
        wish i knew of a way that this company could be sued but if they are challlenged they say that is the DWP who make the final decision oh what a cop out

  20. Time for an e petition asking for all public sector job losses to come from the DWP and for Atos to lose their contract for government work.

  21. Great letter issued against the most incompetent government department and what must be described as the biggest waste of time medical in history

  22. I am appalled by what I have read here. Right winger Ian Duncan Smith is beginning to make Mrs Thatcher look like Mother Teresa. Rapid repeated peaceful wheelchair locking demonstrations in Chingford and Woodford Green constituency and at vulnerable traffic intersections and public buildings across the country etc etc would draw attention to the inhumanity of this policy of bashing the the severe disabled.

    John Smith

  23. I despair on reading these comments; all of you are in so much worse position than myself. I am at the start of my battle with the authorities, having had my DLA cut off this week, despite the fact my health is worse than it was at my last review. I demanded a new review and am still waiting for acknowledgement a week later.

    I have been disabled by Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and spinal Osteoarthritis for ten years already and my chances of recovery are nil. I’m completely isolated, black listed by the NHS for making repeated complaints of incompetence and negligence, leaving me with absolutely no Health Care, not even for something as simple as flu. Completely housebound due to the effects of PTSD and limited mobility (I live in a hovel with no lift and four flights of stairs to negotiate btw), it’s impossible for me to go out to work. The opportunities for me to work from home are also prohibitive, being old, unskilled and unable to afford courses, quite apart from whether my health would affect work routines.

    I’m an adult survivor of child abuse, not just at home but from society in general. I’ve endured inordinately extreme levels of abuse all my life and it continues to this day. The DWP have crushed me completely with their decision and I face the battle knowing there is no chance of success and that I’m too ill to endure the stress.

    Having said this, I am daily signing petitions, emailing politicians and generally scouring for help and information sites I can pass on to other people. I will fight the government on this issue no matter how ill I get, because we are the invisible not the inconsequential.

  24. Hi, here’s a story about Atos and DWP. I swear every word is true, Its quite long but quite unbelievable.
    Approx 10 years ago I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, after the usual chemo etc it was found that it just kept coming back, the end result was a very painful operation every three month to remove tumors from my bladder for the first 6 years I worked while going through this. The only time i didn’t was when I had a couple of heart attacks and they could not do the bladder operation. Anyway, my bladder shrank and it was causing me so much pain every three month that I was no longer able to work. i asked JC+ and they suggested ESA, so did all that then got a letter asking me to attend Atos interview, unfortunately, the time and date was close to my next bladder Operation so I rang them and explained I didn’t think I would be well enough to attend, the reply,”Attend or your benefits will most likely be stopped”.

    So feeling really unwell and bleeding internally and with excruciating pain I attended and informed the so called Health professional of all my problems including the fact that within 6 week I was due to have a eight hour operation to have my bladder, prostate and appendix removed and the suggested recovery time would be 8 to 12 month.
    The assessment took approx 15mins, they later claimed It was 1 and 3/4 hours.This is where the story gets interesting. The same day as the medical I had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital where they filled me full of blood thinning drugs and discharged me seven days later, five hours later after suffering incredible pain that I wouldn’t have thought any human could stand I was rushed back into hospital near death due to massive internal bleeding in my bladder because of the drugs I had been given. Atos Knew what I was going through at the time of my interview, they knew about the fact I had heart disease as well as upcoming major surgery. After receiving two life saving blood transfusions and a two week stay in hospital I returned home to find my benefits had been stopped. I contacted DWP and explained what had happened only to be told it didn’t matter I had been found fit for work and scored NO POINTS, so must attend the jobcentre but I could appeal, so I did and was given a date for the appeal. The appeal date clashed with my operation date to remove my bladder etc, so I asked for it to be postponed and was asked if I could attend 6 weeks later I explained I didn’t even know if I would be alive 6 weeks later and was told that I would have to deal with that when the appointment came through (honestly).

    Had the op, got through it discharged after weeks in hospital only to be rushed back in with blood clot on my lung, all the while keeping DWP informed. Back out of hospital month later two mini stokes back in again.

    As i got slightly stronger, (by the way original assessment was Feb) I got a date for appeal on November Ist, couldn’t wait I was going to tear someone a new one, by this time I had got Macmillan cancer involved, (god bless their cotton socks and all who sail in them) and they were going to represent me. Unfortunately for me I had read the date wrong I thought it was the 11th Nov. Result, appeal denied, my fault I know but how could any appeal panel looking through my medical files have come to the conclusion that I was fit for work?

    Appeal against the appeal: I dare say everybody reading this is bored to tears by now so here is the shortened version:

    1 I was sent someone else’s medical file giving a complete history of the health issues they were fighting, mine went to them.

    2 Appeal against the appeal denied.

    3 Made appointment to see my local MP Stewart Housie (god bless his cotton socks etc) His exact words to me after reviewing things. ” Russell, I will have the head of DWP for this area in my office in the next week”. And he did.

    4 Miraculously, new appeal agreed,

    5 Won appeal, do I feel good? Not at all, I can not explain the torment and anguish the DWP and Atos put me and my wife through.

    6 Just got new assessment book to fill in from Atos, here we go again.

    A final thought, are Atos and the DWP at fault? Yes, but not as much as the government behind it. Don’t give
    up and don’t stop fighting I won’t.

    • Hi Russell.

      Fortunately, your MP is SNP, and not a member of the coalition. When I wrote to my local Tory MP, David Nuttall, re my first ATOS assassination, I got a response more than 3 months after the appointment, and the reply said he couldn’t get involved with anything to do with health or benefits!! Joe, Bury, Lancashire. M.E. Sufferer.

      But, good on your MP for getting matters sorted, in what is an outrageous and dispacable example of ATOS.

      • Mine said the same but they told me i could complain about the fact that DWP dont understand their own rules as laid out on government websites which shows if you are restricted as to the work you do you should be put in a Work-Related Activity Group so i used that instead as they agreed that in my case, and by the look of it a lot of peoples,they arent doing what they should and are turning down anyone who at anytime may be able to work.

  25. I just wish there would be an honest, respectable MP who would just say what we all know. That the UK is bled dry by tax evaders, not vulnerable disabled benefit recipients, desperate for a little bit of bread and water. Cruel this Government is, and shameful to the core for demonizing them, when they can’t fight back. Tory vote? Liberal vote? Never, never, never again.

  26. dear sirs i am disabled in a wheel chair for last 20 years. ,atos said its my fault and i am fit to work, my money has been cut i dont know what to do, no money .atos health care are the worst ive ever met,

    • Press criminal charges, simply write a letter quoting that you wish to press charges of misrepresentation (or possibly use theft by defraud) or racism, or whatever you have at your disposal against the ATOS healthcare investigation… if you have the name of the doctor that carried out the interview… you could press criminal charges against him personally for misrepresentation. That’s free, because its then a criminal matter, not a civil liability case.

  27. I have recently failed an Atos DWP Medical and have been declared fit to work

    I have had four Heart Attacks

    I have had a quad bypass operation

    I have had two mini strokes and a full blown stroke affecting my vision (I can still drive just) having been assessed.

    I have had a gross abdominal hernia repaired surgically.It causes a deal of discomfort.

    I have been shot by a Police Firearms Instructor resulting in a 13 Day coma , the loss of a rib and 12-14 inches of large and small bowel, the removal of the top third of a kidney and a large hole in my Liver.I have large entry and exit wound scars which are painful.

    I have had over 30 hours of CBT and Psychiatric care and assessment.

    Never Mind Atos say I’m fit for work so that’s all right then.


    • Desr Keith Please can you call martynhalle on 0208-245-2918/07973-531933

    • Anyone in their right mind could see from your post that you are obviously a very ill person, your mental health will be traumatised too. I hate ATOS and the DWP for what they are putting people through, some committing suicide because of fear and no hope, they should not be failing people who have doctors certificates in the first place, a pen pusher decision maker at DWP is not a qualified doctor and neither are the people ATOS are using, the whole system is a FARCE and needs to be scrapped.

  28. I spoke to a lady last week who had worked all of her adult life. Now in her late 50s, she has just had a hip replacement. On the day of her operation she got the letter saying ATOS had assessed her as fit to work. She told me she cried throughout her stay in hospital as she was so worried that she’d have no money. Of course she couldn’t be expected to sign on as ‘available for work’ as soon as she got home! She is also waiting for the other hip to be replaced and for a knee operation.

  29. W O W ! I am glad to have found you all ! and all what you say I fully agree with!
    I have recently attended my 4th Medical Assessment August 2011, the 2nd I think with Atos Health ” C A R E ” ???,
    with continued problems with Anxiety and Depression (mental health) and on this occasion added Physical Disabilities , taking along even more medications etc , and on this occasion I failed by a few points !
    Upon receipt of my letter informing me of such. I contacted the number on the letter from JobcentrePlus the 1st so called adviser could not help me, the 2nd was very much a “Bully” she treated me like I was dog muck on the bottom of her shoe! I wanted answers and she could not even help me with despite saying she actually dealt with E S A. Eventually I was contacted back and I demanded a copy of the Medical Examiner , ATOS doctors report because I with common sense and wisdom (despite my disability) knew there was something wrong. I have that copy of the report and guess what the report is inaccurate so thereby no means fair , Right of course Right ! . I fully agree “it IS mechanistic” and my own personal report DID NOT reflect circumstances or discussions that actualy Did take place, I have suffered Anxiety and Depression (Diagnosed with Clinical depression), now in almost 20 years how could one Atos Health ” C A R E ” ? doctor conclude after a 30 minute assessment give a prognosis return to work within 3 months ?, as for the ESA qustionnaire I completed (with assistance) and returned I dont believe that was even looked at at all until it reaches the Doctor at said assessment who may peruse through it 5 minutes before you are called into examination room !,
    How can any of these so called H C P s ( Health Care Professionals) make a true solid assessment of any claimant, they sit behind a desk 95% of the time asking questions and inputting data into a computer and they do it exactly as they see fit on the day , and as for eye contact “Adequet” they hardly look at you !
    The Questiions in the Qustionnaire are ambiguos , The Desriptors for awarding points even more so. I had recognised disabilities appropriate to the descriptors that I and a few other suitably educated people could clearly see but my position didn’t seem to fit in appropriately , ( because they way they word it) so thereby putting claimants at a disadvantage ! The way the doctor words their report influences/ directs the Decision Maker at DWP JobcentrePlus on how to score each activity in the Mental and Physical Functionality !. The D M inputs that into their computer and all it may generate is “Computer Says No” you are right to state it is Mechanistic . It is apparent Anxiety & Depression is no longer in the vocabulary of DWP and/ or Atoshealth”CARE” (care thats a Joke surely) however Cognitive Impairment or Mental dissorder is now the “IN” terminology ! I have appealed to DWP I am reliably informed by a nicer adviser that my benefit is re-instated back to the day it ceased and will remain payable until the matter is resolved !, I will take this appeal to the “Tribulnal” and highest point of appeal if I have to because I know I have been unfairly awarded points due to the imcompetence of the Atos Doctor ! ( the reception clerk had a fairly abrupt manner too I add here)The E S A and its Questionnaire is, “NONSENSE ABSOLUTE”, it is not fit for purpose ! and if there is anyone in Government with plain simple common sense and credible wisdom should have it scapped immediately along with Atoshealth “CARE”?. Each and everyone of us who have experienced problems with ESA JobcentrePlus or Atos should raise their concerns with their Local MP , I have !, If you think you have been awarded unfairly Appeal Appeal Appeal take it to the top , I am pleased I have found this website count me in as a supporter not only for myself but for any and/or all others with such Problems , make sure you have everything on paper black and white evidence is best , telephone calls are a waste of time and money I will report here the progress and or outcome of my Appeal or appeals etc,
    My Very Best Wishes to you all ! Mr M Wales.

  30. Forgot to mention. ATOS are now forcing me to go through it again. I already know the outcome (FAIL!!!). I will have my ESA cut off, have to appeal, have my ESA amount reduced, have to go to a tribunal. I know this because I had to go through it recently. I suffered great finantual hardship, stress (IE my depression was worse because of it) and all this takes about a year to sort out. By that time I had to start all over again with them. I filled out there questionare and backed it up with a letter from my GP and mental health team. They simply ignored it. I even had to ask the CAB to help with the questionare. When I tried to speak to ATOL they abused me on the phone and simply hung up with the message “ATTEND OR YOUR ESA WILL BE CUT OFF !!!”. I agree fraud claims should be dealt with but ATOL assume ALL claims are fraud. I have tried to end my life once already. Are they really going to push me over the edge?

  31. ATOS are clearly corrupt and have a (one assesment for all) policy. The last time I was forced to see them I was suffering from depression due to my family splitting up. This had a hard affect on myself. I tried to explain this to a so called Dr that could hardly speak English. He was not interested at all. He only asked me to lift my arms, legs, took my weight and height. I scored zero points and had my ESA cut off. SHORTLY AFTER I CUT MY WRIST !!!!

  32. I recently had a so called medical performed at atos warrihgton. I was told that it was to be a medical but it turned out to be just a phisical exam. None of my medical conditions where observed. I found this not to be a true examination.

  33. A##s must be one of the worst contractors to a governental department ever. I have now recieved a large number of compliants about their efficiency and effectiveness and their arrogance in reacting to comments about them fully reflects their organisational approach.

    The letter is brilliant and hopefully will form a concerted focus for futher action.

  34. Brilliant letter! I assume a copy of this is being sent to the DWP themselves as well?

  35. Please feel free to use this link and/or the poem ‘The Assessment’ for any campaign against Atos Origin, their practices and their ethos

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