Atos...

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
Atos make millions on the back of thousands of... disabled people losing the benefits? Watching Panaroma the other night highlighted what an absolute shameful disgrace the governments cuts programme has become.At least 80% have won successful appeals only for the benefit recipients to be called back for further assessment in order to have those benefits taken away again.The repellant Chrish Grayling had temerity to criticise the appeals judgments and spoke about "tough love"being imposed on the most vulnerable people in our society.The tv programme showed some examples of appalling assessments made by Atos - a young lady with cystic fibrosis who wants to work but kept losing her jobs due to her condition, a bipolar sufferer and emphysema victim and a man with a heart condition who ultimately die from a heart attack after being told he was fit for work.It makes me sick to the core that this country, which was once a byword for compassion, has been reduced to this level throwing the weakest to the wolves of the market place..
Here is an article from the Guardian which shows that Atos disgustingly is sponsoring the paraolympics
Disabled anti-cuts campaigners take the fight to the Paralympic Games | Sport | guardian.co.uk
 
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sidicks

Banned
disabled people losing the benefits.Watching Panaroma the other night highlighted what an absolute shameful disgrace the governments cuts programme has become.At least 80% have won successful appeals only for the benefit recipients to be called back for further assessment in order to have those benefits taken away again.The repellant Chrish Grayling had temerity to criticise the appeals judgments and spoke about "tough love"being imposed on the most vulnerable people in our society.The tv programme showed some examples of appalling assessments made by Atos - a young lady with cystic fibrosis who wants to work but kept losing her jobs due to her condition, a bipolar sufferer and emphysema victim and a man with a heart condition who ultimately die from a heart attack after being told he was fit for work.It makes me sick to the core that this country, which was once a byword for compassion, has been reduced to this level throwing the weakest to the wolves of the market place..
Here is an article from the Guardian which shows that Atos disgustingly is sponsoring the paraolympics
Disabled anti-cuts campaigners take the fight to the Paralympic Games | Sport | guardian.co.uk

1) The program I saw stated that one third of appeals were successful not 80% which is quite different.

I think the 80% refers to appeal success for one particular agency (who clearly only take on the most obvious errors of judgement).

One third is still too high, but there is no need to post misleading statistics.

2) You claim that this private company are making 'millions on the back of thousands of people losing benefits'.

Please can you post the evidence to confirm how Atos are remunerated for their role in the process. In particular how much they get paid for each person refused benefits.

3) What do you think should be appropriate percentage of people who make successful appeals?

:confused:
 

Phil57

Well-known Member
1) The program I saw stated that one third of appeals were successful not 80% which is quite different.
One third is still too high, but there is no need to post misleading statistics.

Statistics, Facts and LGS are not compatible.;)
 

tapzilla2k

Distinguished Member
Having been through the WCA adminstered by ATOS, I can say that it is not fit for purpose. You don't have to do much digging to find the horror stories. There have been several parliamentary inquiries into the system, with lots of recommendations that have yet to be implimented by Ian Duncan Smith and I doubt they will be until the Government is taken to court over it (two people are waiting to hear if they will get a judicial inquiry into it).

What gets my goat about the process is they do not have people with the relavent expertise in the field to properly assess somebody (depression, blindness, complex disabilities), nor do they have much leeway in how they conduct the assement as it's a series of questions on a computer screen. I still have no idea why the person I saw was tapping my knees for when my problems are to do with my feet. I am getting my feet checked out properly at the Nuffield Hospital, just waiting for an ultra sound scan to see what the soft tissues are upto (early October for that). I believe the 80% stat is to do with the number of appeals that are successful when you get help from a charity i.e. Mind. ATOS should lose the contract forthwith, assesments suspended until the WCA is made fit for purpose or replaced with something that is. End of.

Mind on the WCA - Uncomfortable truths | Mind
How I almost lost my boyfriend to the WCA | Mind

This is partly Labour's fault and partly Osbornes for grinding the spending axe on the welfare system in an indescriminate fashion. The coalition have failed to protect the most vulnerable members of society using the smokescreen of the benefit cheats who are more than likely carrying on as usual (going by the raw numbers the cheats make up a tiny percentage of claiments and not the tabloid rags headlines). I'm lucky that I've been able to go self employed as a photographer, for others with similar mental health problems as mine, then I fear for their sanity and overall health. Of course it'll be the NHS that has to pick up the pieces, so the costs will be shifted around.
 

sidicks

Banned
This is partly Labour's fault and partly Osbornes for grinding the spending axe on the welfare system in an indescriminate fashion.

Welfare spending increased by 60% between 2001 and 2008

Welfare spending is projected to stay broadly flat over the next 3 years or so.

That seems more like a small butter knife than an axe....
 

damo_in_sale

Well-known Member
Welfare spending increased by 60% between 2001 and 2008

Welfare spending is projected to stay broadly flat over the next 3 years or so.

That seems more like a small butter knife than an axe....


In lefty land, if the tree stops growing, but the axe swings through the air where the tree would otherwise have grown to, then that is classed as a swingeing cut.
 
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la gran siete

Distinguished Member
Having been through the WCA adminstered by ATOS, I can say that it is not fit for purpose. You don't have to do much digging to find the horror stories. There have been several parliamentary inquiries into the system, with lots of recommendations that have yet to be implimented by Ian Duncan Smith and I doubt they will be until the Government is taken to court over it (two people are waiting to hear if they will get a judicial inquiry into it).

What gets my goat about the process is they do not have people with the relavent expertise in the field to properly assess somebody (depression, blindness, complex disabilities), nor do they have much leeway in how they conduct the assement as it's a series of questions on a computer screen. I still have no idea why the person I saw was tapping my knees for when my problems are to do with my feet. I am getting my feet checked out properly at the Nuffield Hospital, just waiting for an ultra sound scan to see what the soft tissues are upto (early October for that). I believe the 80% stat is to do with the number of appeals that are successful when you get help from a charity i.e. Mind. ATOS should lose the contract forthwith, assesments suspended until the WCA is made fit for purpose or replaced with something that is. End of.

Mind on the WCA - Uncomfortable truths | Mind
How I almost lost my boyfriend to the WCA | Mind

This is partly Labour's fault and partly Osbornes for grinding the spending axe on the welfare system in an indescriminate fashion. The coalition have failed to protect the most vulnerable members of society using the smokescreen of the benefit cheats who are more than likely carrying on as usual (going by the raw numbers the cheats make up a tiny percentage of claiments and not the tabloid rags headlines). I'm lucky that I've been able to go self employed as a photographer, for others with similar mental health problems as mine, then I fear for their sanity and overall health. Of course it'll be the NHS that has to pick up the pieces, so the costs will be shifted around.

the same with me not as a photographer but as a gardener, plus I am lucky to have wife whop earns a reasonable salary and one or two other bits of good fortune we gained over the years.There is no way on earth I could have coped as a PAYE employee although the ATOS clowns would have thought otherwise.Ironically it was the DSS who strongly suggested I go on IB back in 1992 as they did not see me being fit to work or even compete for a job in the market place.
The tests carried out by Atos are a joke .Judging someone , for example,with a heart condition to be fit for work because he can bend both knees is shocking, made all the worse because he died shortly afterwards.What i cannot understand is that if a GP decides someone is not fit for work(and if anyone should know it his him/her) then what right has anyone else, especially an organisation run for profits and with clear targets, to decide otherwise??
I am glad that Panorama showed that programme as it clearly showed what a wicked ,uncaring Government this is:thumbsdow
 

sidicks

Banned
la gran siete said:
What i cannot understand is that if a GP decides someone is not fit for work(and if anyone should know it his him/her) then what right has anyone else, especially an organisation run for profits and with clear targets, to decide otherwise??

In the program I saw, they were quite explicit that there were no targets.

Do you have additional evidence that explicit targets exist that was not shown in the program.

I'd be really interested if you could post it here for the rest of us to read.

Thanks
:hiya:
Sidicks
 

gibbsy

Moderator
In the program I saw, they were quite explicit that there were no targets.

Sidicks

I watched both programmes. Grayling's lips were moving, always a bad sign if you're waiting for the truth from a politician.

The government expects to save £2bn by 2015 with a reduction of 300,000 claimants. I would call this a target, a politician may not.

As far as Atos goes it is a business after all. The 'medical staff' they employ are more than encouraged to get as many people off IB and onto ESA and are therefore payed by results regardless of whether the decision gets over turned by a tribunal. The current cost to the taxpayer of Atos getting it wrong is £45m.

It's well documented that people are dying that have been passed fit to work by Atos, some sadly by their own hand. The government is casting it's net far too wide and it is obvious that the current examination criteria is not fit for purpose. Even Professor Harrington, one of the architects of the examination, now calls it inhumane.

But let's face it as a propaganda fight the government has turned the public against the sick and disabled as 'lazy and feckless' (IDS). Much easier to go after the captive prey than hunt down those that cost the country billions in lost taxes. After all we are all in this together.

People can bang on about the marathon running DLA claimant, but these cheats are few and far between, something like 0.5% if memory serves we well. Compare that percentage to those that fiddled their expenses in both houses at Westminster.
 

travid

Distinguished Member
ATOS are a business, they are there to make money. They must have targets, every business does. Why would they have bid for this contract otherwise.

There must a bonus scheme here for their management.

Some of their "decisions", in regard to employe's ability too work are odd, to say the least.

I have absolutly no problem with a robust sicknes policy, but when it involves bullying tactics, sometimes using peoples ignorance of the appeals system to justify their decisions, often made without actually interviewing the person, it does beg the question, what exactly is their purpose?

Get the real "scroungers" back to work, but don't drag the genuinely ill down with them.
 

sidicks

Banned
I watched both programmes. Grayling's lips were moving, always a bad sign if you're waiting for the truth from a politician.

The government expects to save £2bn by 2015 with a reduction of 300,000 claimants. I would call this a target, a politician may not.

Clearly, with a benefit bill that increased substantially between 2001 and 2008 (despite record economic growth and with no medical explanation), the Coalition are keen to put in place a robust process to control this spending and no doubt this does include a target.

However, LGS has repeatedly claimed that the contract with ATOS has an explicit bonus linked to the number of people taken off benefits. I am yet to see any evidence that is the case - indeed this has been strongly refuted by both the government and ATOS.

As far as Atos goes it is a business after all. The 'medical staff' they employ are more than encouraged to get as many people off IB and onto ESA and are therefore payed by results regardless of whether the decision gets over turned by a tribunal. The current cost to the taxpayer of Atos getting it wrong is £45m.
This was disputed in the program - do you have evidence to the contrary?
:confused:
 

sidicks

Banned
ATOS are a business, they are there to make money. They must have targets, every business does. Why would they have bid for this contract otherwise.

There must a bonus scheme here for their management.

Some of their "decisions", in regard to employe's ability too work are odd, to say the least.

I have absolutly no problem with a robust sicknes policy, but when it involves bullying tactics, sometimes using peoples ignorance of the appeals system to justify their decisions, often made without actually interviewing the person, it does beg the question, what exactly is their purpose?

Get the real "scroungers" back to work, but don't drag the genuinely ill down with them.

Being a business and having targets is very different to the claim that ATOS are directly incentivised to take people off benefits.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Being a business and having targets is very different to the claim that ATOS are directly incentivised to take people off benefits.

A bit long winded but I've found this FOI request:

Thank you for your Freedom of Information email that was received by the
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Adelphi on 5 April 2012 and
forwarded on 10 April 2012 for response by DWP Medical Services
Contracts Correspondence Team (MSCCT) Freedom of Information Officer.

In your email you asked to be provided with information answering the
following questions:-

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

My Freedom of Information request relates to the use and payment of ATOS
healthcare professionals. I am fully aware that it is the DWP who make
benefit decisions however, they rely on the medical assessment in order
to arrive at the decision. My query relates to the use of ATOS
healthcare professionals in disability living allowance (DLA) and
employment and support allowance (ESA) assessments.

1. Do ATOS healthcare professionals receive any pay related
incentive based on the scoring system for DLA and ESA at all. For
example if an ATOS healthcare professional awarded no points based on a
medical and capability of a client, are they paid more?
2. Is there any scoring based incentive for ATOS healthcare
professionals when completing DLA and ESA assessments?
3. Are ATOS healthcare professionals paid on a salary or is pay on
a per medical basis?
4. Do ATOS healthcare professions receive any performance related
pay when carrying out DLA and ESA medicals?

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

In answer to Qs 1, 2 & 4 Atos Healthcare do not have incentives or
receive bonuses with regard to the number of people expected to qualify
for Benefit.

Atos Healthcare provide the relevant reports for DWP Decision Makers
(DM) but play no part in the actual decision making process. DWP DMs
determine benefit entitlement not the HCPs. In order to make the
decision on the benefit claim, the DM considers all the available
evidence not just the medical assessment report received from Atos
Healthcare.

The Healthcare Professional's (HCP) role is to provide an independent,
impartial assessment of the claimant's ability to perform activities
within each of the functional areas by choosing the descriptors that
they consider appropriate on the medical report they complete. This
opinion is based on interview with the claimant, observations and an
appropriate clinical examination.

I can confirm that payment to Atos Healthcare for the services provided
is not related in any way to the outcome of individual medical
examinations. HCPs who are employed by Atos Healthcare to compile
medical reports do not receive bonuses where the DWP DMs have disallowed
benefit.

In reply to Q 3 the DWP does not hold any information regarding Atos
Healthcare staff remuneration.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

We do know that Atos have a £100m a year contract with the government. It does not mention if Atos themselves pay out any bonuses. All those working for Atos have had to sign the Official Secrets Act. As for stating that the HCPs provide an 'independant, impartial assessment' I find a little strange when there is hardly any scope in a tick box answer for any explanation on the part of the claimant.

The brief must be, whether implicite or nor, is to get as many people off IB and onto JSA as is possible, regardless of the implications to their health. If this is not so then why are so many people dying after being pronounced fit for work.

I've been through an Atos assessment (although not under the new rules). The 'doctor' refused to give me his name or qualifications. He refused to look at my specialist's report. His physical examination of me caused such pain, even though I requested he told me of everything he was going to do. He only stopped when my body went into involuntary spasms. The result was a fortnight in bed over a Christmas and at one point my GP was so worried that he wanted me admitted to hospital. I wonder if the quality of Atos staff have improved in the interim.
 

sidicks

Banned
In answer to Qs 1, 2 & 4 Atos Healthcare do not have incentives or receive bonuses with regard to the number of people expected to qualify for Benefit.

In no way am I trying to defend the approach taken by ATOS or the suitability or otherwise of their procedures.

It does seem however, that certain posters are making wild claims that can't be substantiated and indeed, as the information you provided above demonstrates, can easily be disproved.
:smashin:
Sidicks
 

gibbsy

Moderator
In no way am I trying to defend the approach taken by ATOS or the suitability or otherwise of their procedures.

It does seem however, that certain posters are making wild claims that can't be substantiated and indeed, as the information you provided above demonstrates, can easily be disproved.
:smashin:
Sidicks

The test, which has been approved by the DWP, is a highly loaded gun in favour of taking people off benefit. When structuring their attempt to get the contract don't you think that perhaps Atos agreed to play ball and acquest to what the government wants? If everything is above reproach then why the Official Secrets Act?

There are just too many legitimate questions that Atos refuse point blank to answer.
 

sidicks

Banned
The test, which has been approved by the DWP, is a highly loaded gun in favour of taking people off benefit. When structuring their attempt to get the contract don't you think that perhaps Atos agreed to play ball and acquest to what the government wants? If everything is above reproach then why the Official Secrets Act?

There are just too many legitimate questions that Atos refuse point blank to answer.

I'm not defending ATOS!
:nono:
 

gibbsy

Moderator

Stop it.:nono: :facepalm: Doh.

I'm just making a generalisation just throwing the question out.

One thing I am sure of is that the very mention of the Atos interview is to make people that are genuinely too ill to work really fearful of their future. That in a civilised compassionate society is surely wrong.
 

travid

Distinguished Member
ATOS is there to prevent false claims, no problem.

However, the way they assess is controversial, to say the least. This informed opinion comes from GP's, consultants and other healthcare proffesionals.

Example; collegue of mine has spinal surgery, carried out by 2 consultants, brain and spine. They tell him, apart from specialist rehab and physiotherapy, he is to be as careful as possible in regard to movement etc, for up to 6 months.

One ATOS referral later, he is requested to attend work for interview, 4 weeks after surgery! His assessement included the question, via phone, "can you touch your toes"? At this point he placed the phone down. Despite having 2 aforementioned consultant surgeon reports, the ATOS "expert" ans assessor, turned out to be a 75 year old, retired for 15 years, GP.

Thank goodness our staff association has the status and experience to challenge this obnoxious process.
 

BISHI

Distinguished Member
If atos have a £100 million contract - who is liable for the massive expense of the many successful overturning of atos decisions ( I seem to recall several tens of millions of pounds expense so far). I would suggest if this expense were taken away from their contract they would think twice about such ludicrous and I'll informed decisions. Furthermore the fact that employers are required to sign the official secrets act suggests that some politically damaging and socially unsavoury reasoning lies behind the whole process. No body likes a ligger but I guess disabled people dying on the way to work or committing suicide does save the tax payer money.!!!!
 

tapzilla2k

Distinguished Member
In no way am I trying to defend the approach taken by ATOS or the suitability or otherwise of their procedures.

It does seem however, that certain posters are making wild claims that can't be substantiated and indeed, as the information you provided above demonstrates, can easily be disproved.
:smashin:
Sidicks

Having direct experience of ATOS I can confirm that they overbook the appointments, which results in people either waiting well over 2 hours or more for their assement or having to get it rebooked for another day (I had to sit in a room with 2 drug addicts who nearly came to blows, stressful to say the least, glad my dad went with me). The assement itself takes 20 minutes or so. During that time they ask you rather stupid questions (which are on a computer screen) which have no chance in hell of covering a complex mental health problem. The former A&E nurse seemed more interested in my knee than my mental health problems. They have zero room for manoeuvre, they have to stick to the process or get berated by ATOS management.

It's a flawed assesment system, if they spend more time on the paperwork than the actual physical assement then that says it all about the system.
Targets ? Would not surprise me in the least if ATOS were working towards Government set targets to shift as many people off sickness benefits onto JSA, while the NHS picks up the tab when things go wrong for those who are too ill to work.

I will say this again - We need a system that is tailored to each individual with proper pathways into work or support.

Personally I don't mind going for an assement as long as it's carried out by competent Doctor's and Nurses with relavent experience according to the person's disability/ill health/mental health status. I'm pretty sure ATOS ignored the reports sent by my GP and the expert who cobbled me back together from the broken bits.
The final thing I will say about ATOS is this - Why the hell Labour and the Tories elect to use a French IT company for complex medical assesments of this nature I'll never know.

The WCA as it stands is flawed and every parliamentary inquiry and indepedent study into has called for it to be reformed or scrapped. I just wonder if it suits Ian Duncan Smith to keep the WCA going as it brings down the numbers of people claiming sickness benefits.

The stats are pretty clear on fraud, while it's a problem. It's not the massive problem the tabloid rags have blown it into, which the Tories have taken advantage of for their own political agenda -
What the government won't say about benefit fraud | Liberal Conspiracy
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Atos has just been awarded another multi-million pound contract to start assessments for DLA to PIP payments. There were three contracts up from grabs in mainland UK and Atos has been awarded two. Capita has been awarded the other. Capita have never ever undertaken any medical tests.

DLA is the payment that the government would dearly love to curtail as it amounts to a tax free and income related benefit. It is also an inwork benefit to help disabled people in their transportation needs.

No doubt Atos will persue this new contract with the vigour that are currently showing with IB claimants. Disabled people could lose their benefits, their car, ultimately their job if they have DLA taken away from them. Then twelve months later the decision is overturned but the disabled persons life has been destroyed.

Little wonder there is a feeling of dread amongst disabled groups.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
waiting well over 2 hours or more for their assement

I'm afraid 20 minutes would be my absolute maximum, any longer than that and I would be in real pain. This is just one of tricks the Atos is pulling, wait for two hours then you can sit at a desk, no points. Another is to have the offices on an upper floor so you can climb stairs unaided, no points.

Want to take notes of your assessment, you are told no, although it is your right. You can also ask to have your assessment recorded, but all the recording devices of which there are 11 nationwide are broken.
 

timberland

Standard Member
DWP have announced this afternoon that Atos have won the biggest share of the contracts for carrying out personal independence payment (PIP) medicals. A smaller share has gone to Capita.

PIP is due to begin replacing disability living allowance (DLA) for working age claimants from April next year, with all current working age DLA claimants having to be reassessed for the new benefit. The contracts for PIP medicals are worth up to a billion pounds in total and have attracted the attention of many multinational companies.

Atos have won Lot 1 and Lot 3 in the bidding for the contracts. Lot 1 covers Scotland, NE England, NW England & Isle of Man while Lot 3 covers London and South England. Capita have won Lot 2, which covers Wales and Central England.

Lot 4 which covers Northern Ireland has not yet been awarded and Lot 5 is also up for grabs, but the DWP have said they do not intend to use Lot 5 unless things go wrong with regional suppliers.

Capita, which runs the Criminal Records Bureau on behalf of the Home Office and is invariably referred to as ‘Crapita’ by Private Eye, has no history of carrying out medical assessments for state benefits. The company has been involved in a number of less than successful public service contracts in the past, however, including Individual Learning Accounts which were subject to fraudulent claims on an unprecedented scale and which were shut down after just one year.

Amongst the unsuccessful bidders for the contracts so far awarded are G4S who are still reeling from the Olympics security fiasco, Serco, Avanta, Ingeus Deloitte, APM UK, Reed In Partnership and Vertex.


Source b&w
 

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
Clearly, with a benefit bill that increased substantially between 2001 and 2008 (despite record economic growth and with no medical explanation), the Coalition are keen to put in place a robust process to control this spending and no doubt this does include a target.

However, LGS has repeatedly claimed that the contract with ATOS has an explicit bonus linked to the number of people taken off benefits. I am yet to see any evidence that is the case - indeed this has been strongly refuted by both the government and ATOS.


This was disputed in the program - do you have evidence to the contrary?
:confused:


did i mention anything about a bonus? However only a naive fool would pretend there are no targets involved. Atos is a profit run business and anything associated with the Government ,local or national, would have an element of targets involved.Even modern day traffic wardens have targets they must meet otherwise they get the sack.
The fact IB recipients are passed fit to work when clearly they are not suggests there are targets at play. Either that or the people doing the assessing are complete fools.The only people who are fit to do the assessing are the GPs themselves ,as they are the experts with no vested interests:lesson:
 

sidicks

Banned
did i mention anything about a bonus? However only a naive fool would pretend there are no targets involved.

Only a fool would make such a definitive statement with no evidence to back it up. You seem to do it an awful lot!
 

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