ATOS Call Police to Stop Welfare Experts Advising Disabled Claimants

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ATOS, the firm contracted by the UK government to perform ‘Work Capability Assessments’ on the entire population claiming incapacity benefits are never far from controversy. But the firm have now been found to have called in police in efforts to prevent welfare experts advising the sick and disabled people undergoing assessments, adding credence to claims that a meeting with ATOS is simply a ‘computer says no’ scenario.

Who the F*** are ATOS?

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Atos didn’t just enter with the Coalition.  They have been the sole provider of medical assessments for the DWP since 1998.  While Atos is the bulldog, it is the ministers of the DWP who hold the leash – and this government have given a firm order to attack.

The government has mandated that every single person claiming social security payments for sickness or disability undergo a work capability test with Atos, to determine whether they could really be working.  The clear implication being – these people could really be working. In fact, ministers have not merely implied it, but propagandised about it until many people believe it was benefit fraud, and not the Bank Bailout which caused our sky high debt.

ATOS Kills

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The government’s own statistics show that between 2010 and 2011 10,600 sick and disabled people died within six weeks of their Atos assessment. This is 204 people a week, or 29 people a day. 2,200 of these people died before finding out if they were still entitled to their social security, and an astonishing 1,300 had been declared ‘Fit to Work’ by being placed in the Work Related Activity Group. These people spent their final weeks alive being harassed by the Job Centre, answering pointless questions, and fretting over late payment notices and threats of eviction as their social safety net was ripped away.

As this horrific figure of more than one person every hour is almost too large to conceive of, here are some names among that number.

Linda Wootton, 49, was on 10 medications a day after a double lung and heart transplant.  She was weak and suffered regular bouts of blackouts.  She was put through the Atos Work Capability Assessment and as she lay in a hospital bed dying, she received confirmation she was ‘fit to work’.  She died just nine days later.  Her husband Peter said:

“I sat there and listened to my wife drown in her own bodily fluids. It took half an hour for her to die; a woman who is apparently fit for work”.

Brian McArdle, 57, had been left paralysed down one side, blind in one eye, unable to speak properly and barely able to eat and dress himself after a stroke on Boxing Day 2011. Despite this, he was deemed ‘fit to work’ by Atos.  He died of a heart attack the day after his benefit payments were stopped.  His thirteen year old son Kieran told the Daily Record:

“Even though my dad had another stroke just days before his assessment, he was determined to go…He tried his best to walk and talk because he was a very proud man, but even an idiot could have seen my dad wasn’t fit for work.

Colin Traynor, 29, suffered from epilepsy.  He was deemed ‘fit for work’ by Atos and forced to enter a lengthy, bureaucratic process to appeal the decision – during which his benefits would be frozen.  He did not live to see the result of his appeal.  Five weeks after his death, his family received the news that his appeal was successful.  Too late for Colin.  His father Ray said:

“I firmly believe – 100% believe – that the system this government introduced has killed my son.”

At the rate at which people are dying – these three people represent the death toll in just the last three hours.  This is not just some occasional poor decisions, this is a Linda, a Brian, or a Colin, every hour, all day, every day, dying because this system is designed to throw people out of the social security system – whether they need it or not.

And now…Not Even Advice is Allowed

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In the face off all this, one claimant invited Wirral Councillor Joe Walsh and Welfare Expert Terry Craven to attend his ‘Work Capability Assessment’.  The ATOS assessors refused to conduct the assessment with either of them present, even though claimants are allowed to bring a person into the room.  ATOS workers then called the police claiming the two were ‘threatening and upsetting people’.  Ironic, given the behaviour of the company themselves.

Mr Craven told the Liverpool Echo:

“We were just advising people before they went into their medicals of what they should be aware of.

“A guy asked if we could go in with him and they said ‘no’. I asked on what grounds and they said his benefits might be affected. And when we asked for them to put in writing that his benefits would not be affected by what had happened, they refused.”

Police arrived to Mann Island expecting a ‘demonstration’ but found two men handing out information leaflets. A Merseyside police spokesman confirmed no-one was breaking the law when officers arrived at the Port of Liverpool building.

When is an Assessment not an Assessment?

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Seriously ill and disabled people up and down the country are being harassed, literally to their deaths, by this horrendous excuse for an ‘assessment’.  It is not an assessment if the outcome is predetermined by a quota.  The government continues to claim it hasn’t set ATOS any target for kicking claimants off benefits – yet multiple investigations have revealed ATOS are applying a quota system internally, with assessors rewarded for declaring more people ‘Fit to Work’, and penalised for not.  The firm would have no cause to behave this way (and have not during the rest of their fourteen years conducting the assessments) without a clear steer from the State.

This simply has to stop. Atos will receive £206m this year to conduct these assessments, while their boss earns a cool £2.3m.  The boss’s wage alone could fund maximum benefit for 334 people too ill to work.

If the measure of a civilisation is the manner in which it treats its weakest members, the UK is regressing to the Stone Age.

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59 thoughts on “ATOS Call Police to Stop Welfare Experts Advising Disabled Claimants

  1. ATOS and the Government should hang their heads in shame, sadly they won’t tho as they’re arrogant egotistical morons who can afford to live the high life and leave the poor and infirm to fall by the wayside. Absolutely appalling behaviour by those who have been taught right from wrong. Sickening

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  5. I attended ATOS with a shoulder injury, question can you comb your hair, question when your in a supermarket and have to wait in a queue do you get annoyed. Lie on the couch knee reflexes checked? What these had to do with my shoulder I don’t know. My shoulder was never looked at. The so called Doctor said he asked the questions because they were preset on the data base. Yes my benefits were withdrawn.

    • Yes Eddy, the ATOS, are the police, they do not perform to common sense and rational thinking, their job is to frustrate you and demolish your self esteem as a human being, they are paid and trained for this operation, if you were a humanitarian you would be rejected for the job, unlike the official who came on this platform to suggest they are otherwise, he is all part of the bureaucratic game, if he thinks he is a authentic human being which he may well think, he is not only deluded but most likely backward. As such he should be on a disability pension.

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  7. The hole thing is a joke i am going blind i saw someone (excuses the pun) was no way the right person to see asked me stupid question what can u see can u walk can you talk not questions to what needed to be asked
    How much do u drink smoke how much do u sleep
    Not things like how much help i need or anything about my illness then told after going waiting two hours to see someone i saw a very rude woman then i left to have a letter sent to me to tell me i saw the wrong person your a joke but don’t worry people what’s new with the hole ship system

  8. Reblogged this on and commented:
    ATOS now breaking their own rules by not allowing advisors into assessments. – An insightful article from Scriptonite.

  9. Yet another brilliantly written, clear factual piece on this ridiculous excuse for benefit reform. I also lived the Crippen pics too, I’m sharing :-)

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  11. It would be nice if articles like this had the right facts in them! ATOS do not make the decision about who does or does not get benefit or is told they are fit for work/unfit for work. This decision is made by ‘Decision Makers’ who work for the DWP i.e. they work for the Government. It is not the decision of the Doctor or Health Professional who assesses a claimant. They simply carry out the assessment.

    Also, with the revamp of DLA to PIP, both Doctors and Approved Health Professionals can carry out assessments. This is NOT a way to get unlicensed Drs to carry out assessments nor anything to do with a change in standards, as someone tried to insinuate above. Approved health professionals can be Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists or Occupational Therapists. All have undergone stringent and extensive training. All have to be reigstered with their respective professional bodies; such as the GMC, CSP, RCN or COT.

    I am a disabled person and have been through these assessments. I have lived off benefits, but now I am fit to work. I do think there needs to be a mentality shift about work and disability. Just because you suffer from a disability doesn’t mean you can’t do some form of work. However, I agree that can be very hard due to preconceptions and lack of reasonable adjustments. These assessments can be very difficult. But I think we should all beware of these scaremongering articles that show only the worst case scenarios. What about people like me-who have been helped back into work?!

    • Interesting but factually inaccurate comment.

      1. I expressly state that ATOS have had this contract for 14 years and the issues have only become apparent now, hence the DWP are at fault.
      2. Nowhere in my article does it mention a thing about the qualifications of those performing assessments.

      You may very well have had a positive experience, but this article is not about you. It is about the 10,600 people who DIED last year while having their benefits cut as they had been assessed FIT TO WORK. This actually happened, that’s a person an hour for an entire year. We might well have a discussion about work and disability separately to this, but for pity’s sake get some urgency about this issue. It’s not a case of some people being a bit put out while most are fine, this is mass suffering.

      • I’m referring to some of the comments that have been left when addressing those issues.

        Usually Governments are run on Utilitarian Principles- much like the NHS is run, I expect the benefits system to be the same. I’d have to see some reputable facts myself before passing comment on your claims.

      • Hi Scriptonite,

        I’m not sure whether you can see my reply to stephen alsop’s comment below – I wrote it last night but it still says that it is awaiting moderation.

        If you can’t see it, then I will give a brief overview of what it says:

        Firstly, whilst I think I am correct in my what I will say, I am not 100%, so I would happily be corrected if I am wrong.

        Basically, if you look at the government statistics that you refer to, that figure of 10,600 deaths actually refers to people that were receiving benefits NOT people that were assessed as ‘fit for work’. Furthermore, there is a paragraph just below the Table 3 (from which you found that figure of 10,600 deaths) which highlights the fact that there are, in fact, no statistics for those that were assessed ‘fit for work’.

    • @ Glutenfreeness:
      In my case the ‘healthcare professional’ was anything but. She wasn’t qualified to make mental health assessments, never read or received the questionaire or supporting docs from my doctor etc. She even lied & contradicted herself on the same page of her ‘assessment’!
      She gave me ZERO points, though my previous assessment six years ago gave me 13. My Independent Appeal, led by a judge & a doctor gave me 18 points.

      Police Officer from Fraud Squad even promised to have her investigated by his team if I could prove motivation!

      I challenge your misconception that the assessors are qualified & don’t have an agenda.

      Paul H

      • Hi Paul,

        This is not a misconception, it is verifiable FACT. I’m sorry that you seem to have been treated by health professional who should not have still been practicing. If you suspect they were not on their professional register, then should definitely report this to their respective professional body. If they are a repeat offender, then I should think they would be struck off. I doubt the police would get involved unless there is a criminal element because it’s a civil matter. It is unfortunate if this has occurred, but you must also remember that there will always be people who try to do this in any organisation- be it ATOS, a hospital or social services. That is a sad fact of life.

        ALL the health professionals employed by ATOS have been fully trained in conducting all assessments, inc mental health. In some parts of the country, they are now not employed by ATOS at all, they are self-employed. If you are self-employed you cannot have an agenda. Also, how can any of them have an agenda- it would be against the code of ethics of the respective professional body AND they are paid regardless of the result of the assessment. PLUS, they DO NOT know the result of the assessment- that is taken by the DECISION MAKERS AT DWP! It’s the government that has the agenda, NOT ATOS OR THE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. I wish people would actually understand how the system works before spreading this propaganda.

    • I can neither SIT, STAND OR WALK. I was told that I scored insufficient points to receive any benefits. As soon as my consultant and MP entered the scene all this was immediately reversed. You may well have recovered, however those who have already died largely due to ATOS/DWP lies will not. Wake up. The information that decides whether or not one gets benefits IS provided by ATOS who either do share all relevant information-or choose not to. It is too often that the later scenario can be demonstrated to be the case. Again, WAKE UP. People ARE dying, but you’re OK, is that really what you’re saying, cause it seems like it to me.

      • Kenneth, I am saying nothing of the sort. I am just seeking to have an informed and balanced debate which can only be achieved with all the facts. I know the issues with the system, I’ve been through them myself repeatedly- tribunals and appeals and all. I’m not OK, I live with several chronic, long-term disabilities. Most often disability is not about complete recovery. But just because you have a disability does not mean you are not fit for work. Work doesn’t just mean paid work, there are many types of work- including unpaid or voluntary work. Work can be part-time. Work can be adjusted to fit the particular needs of a particular disabled person, so they can complete the required tasks. I feel that there is a very closed mind-set by a large proportion of the disabled community about what work is and what being ‘fit for work’ entails. Obviously there are some times when wrong decisions are made- like when someone is on their death bed and I am not for one second suggesting that is right. I don’t think it is ATOS’s fault that all these people are dying (that fact is in question anyway). Maybe some of these people need counselling about how to deal with being told they are ‘fit for work’ and recognising what that actually means. It might mean taking steps towards work, not going out the very next day and taking on a full-time job. It seems a lot of the responses here are ALL or NOTHING and actually disabled people need to recognise the middle ground here!

        • You have a very valid point that not all people with disabilities are unable to work. What you are missing is that ATOS is very much in the wrong. There have been whistleblowers that have come out and said that they were forced to make people who were clearly unable to work be deemed capable. They get punished if they don’t meet a quota. Being told they are ‘fit to work’ means for those people they no longer get any help or special circumstances even though they do have disabilities and are treated fully capable as anyone else. Now I’m all about equality but if a person can’t walk and talk they are going to need a bit of extra help but if you’re on JSA you don’t get that. You have to be able to do any job they pick out for you. I think also that as I myself have disabilities I would very much meet a middle ground. With added support I could get a job but the problem is there is no support so what is happening is people get chucked in the deep end without knowing how to swim.

        • So how does todays report fit in with your ideological view of ATOS? I am afraid that I have only read it in the Daily Mirror, but it is serious enough for questions to be asked. Will you now concede that ATOS are making these decisions?

  12. what I have been saying for about a year now more& more ppl are realising, I read a book I never thought I would ever read in my life it was mein kampf, everything this Nazi government has & is doing to sick/disabled&poor is straight out of that book it is hitlers politics down to the last, Britain is run by Nazi political elite in all parties 10,600 dead by atos half a million by NHS & care holmes and this is still rising, the house of commons is full of corruption lyers and cheats if we did what they did we would be in prison were are the people who we pay to protect us the police still there full of corruption to what do we all do everyone goes after the press for phone hacking go after the police for corruption who is going after the political elite for doing the same thing??????????????????

    • What the Nazis did for Britain was to dissolve part of their grip of land and culture/assets of the colonist British theft, this only in part successful such as losing the Middle East oil fields to America, as you see America become the new colonists, so places like Iraq become renewed targets for American hostility that killed one hundred thousand people in Iraq, for oil and resources, so this behavior transferred from Britain to America, as one can see the German ideology of the superior race is similar to Britain and its Allies, what this means as a economic and utilitarian out come the people regarded as no longer useful to the regime can be dispensed with, as you are no doubt aware the British program is to save money on those considered expendable and the British Queen income from the state has increased from a mere 35 million pounds to over 60 million pounds, where do you think the ribbon cutters money comes from? incidentally this family has deep roots with German blood, they have contributed enormously to class indoctrination, what many are unable to understand is the well educated are often motivated by primeval feelings of vindictiveness and many other bad traits, this is covered over with a front of eloquence and a plummy voice front, often intimidating to those who are not in this club.

      • Understand from where the Queen gets her ‘salary’, how much the Crown Lands give the gvt (100% of the profits goes to the treasury) and understand what the ‘firm’ does for the country. Maybe then you’ll drop the comments that reveal your ignorance…..As for ‘nAZI’ POLICIES – YES, AGREED THAT THIS GVT is deliberately trying to change the mindset of the public to make the sick, old and disabled responsible in part for the mess the country is in.

        • Thanks Helen for your informed commentary on the Queens income, when you say get your facts right, can you let us know where you get your facts on the Queens income from?I believe her accounts are kept in some secrecy, rather than the taxpayer paying the Queen like a sort of highly paid dole cheque from social security, do you think the wealth she extracts from her real estate and tea towels she could pay her self instead of government handouts, she like any one else could pay herself a salary minus expenses like any corporation is obliged to do and that’s what she runs, and her accounts put out their for public scrutiny, if she is having hard times such as Buckingham Palace roof leaks, she could have paid tea parties at the Palace or bingo to keep in touch with her subjects.
          I have investigated a property the Royals cleaned up on a dysfunctional palace that was sold a couple of years ago with no payment of taxes for in the region of 20 million or so, this was put through by her clever accountants, you if you exist as a human or I, would drool having those sort of privileges or accountants.

  13. Atos, its ministers and all are rubbish human beings…..they should give up thier “jobs” and be made to scrub toilets for little more than thedole……mcvey and ids should be beaten and dragged to the streets and let the public deal with them

  14. ATOS cant claim credit for turfing someone off benefits when theyre dead. Why not do it a week before?

  15. I had to argue for a year to get an assessment and weeks to get it recorded. Despite the fact I sent multiple letters from my numerous consultants to back me..I still had to attend a face-to-face assessment! The first ‘Dr’ refused to allow my support worker to record the assessment, despite both of us stating that I have memory problems following a Stroke at 19 years old.
    My second assessment was recorded and found the ‘Dr’ to be very understanding. He said that he could not understand why I was made to attend. I have only been put on the support group for two years and have requested a copy of the final decision by still have not received this to this day. I can do many things but growing a new brain isn’t one of them!
    I have multiple health problems including severe brittle asthma, the stress of being bullied into going for the assessment caused me to have a serious asthma attack leading to me be admitted to intensive care…I was in hospital for a total of 18 days.

    The people whom found seriously ill people fit for work, should be charged with murder, perverting the course of justice and be struck off the medical register. It’s good news the that GMC are now stepping in to investigate these ‘Dr’s’. They refused to get involved before, but I think they have realised that although ATOS are a private company…it is in fact the ‘Dr’s’ whom are on their register.
    Well the qualified one’s are..there is a fair few that are not on the GMC register as they did not train in England!!!

    • You do know that most of them are not *on* any medical register, right? They’re not referred to as “Doctors” by ATOS, they call them “Health Professionals” as they could be sued otherwise.

      I was assessed (and failed, unsurprisingly) for a long standing mental health problem by a physiotherapist, who (upon further research later) had been struck off for malpractice two years previous to my “assessment”.

      • that is truely awful….and ill bet they all have been…..there is no way the dwp can get real reputable doctors to do thier filthy work……and to get someone who got an o level in biology would also not be on…..what you are saying, is not the first time ive heard this…..if folk put before the atos fireing squad asked to see some sort of credentials and kicked up a fuss….tis is a human rights issue…..and should go before the european court

  16. As I have said before on this subject, the DWP and ATOS are following a criminal agenda,and should be held accountable in a court of law,facing charges of corporate manslaughter, as the DWP obviously issue targets, and ATOS aim to reach these targets willingly, so they are both equally culpable.

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  18. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    I hope Samuel Miller is reading this, as I think his contacts in the UN should see it. What chance does anyone have of getting justice, within this country’s legal system, when THEY are the ones facing the possibility of arrest?
    So far, the police appear to have taken the sensible route. How long do you think it will be before Iain Duncan Smith introduces legislation to compel them to enforce his political agenda?

    • Mike I am already terrified living each day, I have been told that i’m probably in the support group (though mabe not for long) because Atos are sick of reports of suicide, and to boot I Do Not Trust the police at all and they are supposed to protect us, however kudos to them bieng sensible in this case!!!
      Thank You so much for your excellent reporting I feel like you are a friend to all of us!!!

  19. You want to be careful with saying “… dying of the illnesses and conditions that the government has dictated they are fit to work with.”, as the linked document clearly states “The analysis below covers all cases where a date of death is given, whether or not the cause of death is related to the health issues leading to the incapacity benefit award.”

    What is going on is shocking and awful, but adding hyperbole and fudging facts for dramatic effect is not helpful at all and more likely to be counter-productive.

  20. I think the war against welfare and benefits claimants also reflects a deeper political agenda which has nothing to with “cutting government spending” which clearly they are not but preventing the possibility of any alternative lifestyle and basically preventing any means by which people can be outside the system as it were and question it. I think it’s a similar agenda with super top up fees, it is a method of social control. If you have gone to university and have accumulated debt from studying you will be, for the rest of your life, forced to subscribe to whatever those who hold money and power want and/or force you to do. You will literally be a slave to corporate interests and your only means of feeling better in any way will be by either using corporate pharmaceuticals which are proven to be toxic for the environment and our own bodies or, if you don’t fit into that category, buying corporate owned entertainment, which also is massively destructive to nature, to simply forget the day to day abuse in the average working world.

    Even now alternative and intellectual discourse is stigmatized and cast off as “crazy” or “schizophrenic”. I myself am diagnosed with schizophrenia despite the glaring evidence and my own knowledge which I shared with the psychiatrists in charge that I suffered from acute depersonalization and anxiety. Now that government total surveillance on its citizens is beginning to enter mainstream consciousness, although it has been been clear to enlightened minds that that has been a long planned agenda, it is remarkable how typical “schizophrenic delusions” such as a fear of being spied on or having had a chip placed in your mind – the now recognized transhumanist agenda – is actually scarily close to the truth and what is being concocted by “the powers that shouldn’t be.”

  21. Atos Healthcare? Sounds more like Auschwitz Healthcare. Maginalize those considered “undesireables”, and blame them for the nations problems.

  22. Reblogged this on Christopher John Ball and commented:
    When it has reached the stage that ATOS feel comfortable in denying access to an elected official and hinder representation for their constituents we know things have gone too far. Esther McVey should look into this but, based upon her previous record, I doubt she will. McVey has to be the worst Minister for Disabled People we have had to endure. As a disabled individual, who is also primary carer for a disabled partner, I have no faith in McVey at all.

    • The coalition will always employ people unsuited for their role. Esther Mcvey has already nailed her colours to the mast. She has already implied that DLA claimants are dodgy “as people can get better” and then she spun (sorry , LIED) about statistics to back up her draconian measures along with Ian duncan smith.

  23. I know someone who is disable can hardly walk, on Oxygen what told he was fit for work. Disgusting. Yes there are some people who take the piss, but the really people get penalised.

  24. Nothing is going to change…..this is the true face of our fascist and extreme right CONDEM party. Any protest will be dealt with , the question must be ….who and what is next ???? I suggest migrants to this green and pleasant land…..then the elderly whilst the NHS dissolves. No more army cuts as they are required to quash any civil unrest and its all for the good of our country and to keep us safe ! FFSake do they think we are imbeciles.

  25. So why didn’t the police arrest the ATOS staff member that called the police for wasting their time? “No crime here, you’re just trying to intimidate someone.” THAT is wasting police time and making a false statement!

  26. atos are total scum and that wanker IDS should be behind bars for the rest of his natural existence for the misery he has caused people

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