Bringing truth to the people of Kent
Atos the soul less organisation, destroying peoples lives
The Atos assessment process troubled me greatly. originally i felt that i had to somehow prove how ill I was, and in that process I actually made myself more ill and depressed. I stopped doing things that I can do, like stretching my damaged back and getting out when I can to play music, which always takes my mind off the pain for a while. It was like some evil judge was watching me all the time.Once I realised that there was no point in even trying to pass the "medical" as it is so biased and unfair, and went through the horror of trying to accept that, i gradually started understand what i believe now, that this process is at best flawed and "not fit for purpose", and at worst a deliberate policy to effectively rid the country of "the problem" of sick and disabled people.
What I am left with is still incredibly stressful and a continuing process of despair as i look more deeply into what seems to be happening to us. the only thing that seems to help at all is fighting back when I can find the energy to do so. posting all I can find, learning all I can and for the moment doing all I can to "rouse rebels" and encourage others to question and fight back in any way we can, supporting each other in what is looking more and more like a fight for survival.
I went last Friday in a second attempt to comply with this biased and unfair process, having refused to wait an hour for one on Monday. When insisted that I would be recording the interview, the "doctor" became angry, I later realised very scared. I insisted on a copy of THEIR policy, which forbids this and after asking her 3 times to not raise her voice to me, she informed me that it was not available, nor would a paper copy of the submission be available.She then insisted that I leave her office immediately, which I protested against.I asked at reception whether there was a manager available,to which I was told was not.
I said I would complain and was shown a phone number, which would cost me money to call. during this process four other doctors appeared in reception. Intimidation? I asked for a written copy of my records of what had happened that day, which they obliged me with, again looking confused and scared.
This is the company which has been given 100 million pounds by the DWP to assess over 1.6 million people for fitness to work, at a rate of 40,000 per week, plus the enormous cost of the appeals which are being held against the biased and unfair process.
They do not have a copy of their policy, their staff are not trained, they have no discernible management structure and their staff cannot comment on the firm as they have to sign the official secrets act.
They are dealing with vulnerable people and this is simply a "face saving" way to throw everyone off benefit, which we have all willingly paid for when we could go to work.
This is totally unacceptable, it is abuse and cruelty of people who cannot fight back by animals.
It has to stop before more peoples lives are ruined needlessly!
I am compiling a page of evidence about this and asking everyone to share it to support each other - i can think of no other way to fight back
Face book link
stage 2: letter and email to Atos complaints and anyone else I can think of...
"Atos Health care,
Chatham Medical Examination Centre,
1a Batchelor Street.
Chatham ME4 4BJ
Your reference - ♫♪▼♥♦♣♠•▼▼
I have received an appointment from you regarding a medical examination for Monday 18th June at 11.15.
I feel sure that there has been some kind of mix up since my last visit to the above centre at 08.30 on Friday 20th April, and I am sure we can get things cleared up.
I assume that understandably your staffs is overworked from the lack of continuity I am experiencing, and the obvious stress the lady I spoke to at previous in April.
She was so stressed that I had to ask her 3 times not to raise her voice to me.She would not give me her name, perhaps because she was very upset that I saw no reason to stop my personal recording of the assessment.
I asked 3 or 4 times for a copy of the policy that she was referring to regarding this, which even though it in no way applies to me that I am aware of, she said it was not available to me.
You can imagine my confusion, which was further added to when I asked for a paper copy of the assessment upon completion and she told me that would be impossible, asking me to leave her office immediately.
This was even more confusing to me, as it was my second visit to the centre that week, causing me further considerable pain and almost intolerable stress due to my chronic incurable back pain due to severely damaged discs in my lower back.I am sure that your specialist staff, as one of the conditions of the Atos and DWP agreement states clearly, will be more than aware.
I can only surmise that the level of her stress made her behave in that manner. I am all too familiar with the devastating effects of stress having suffered with mental health problems all my life. I am very pleased that my stress levels were not so bad on this day that I would lose my dignity there. I checked with my companion whether he thought my behaviour was inappropriate and he reassured me that it was not.
I was feeling very confused and fearful by now as I could not understand the lady behaving this way towards me. My surprise at this further appointment in June is also compounded by the fact that upon being asked to leave I requested a written copy of what had transpired as another side effect of my mental illness is cognitive, something your medical staff will I am sure be very aware of again due to it being a condition of the DWP contract mentioned earlier.
This letter, signed by your medical staff and countersigned by me, clearly state my request for confirmation of the policy regarding recording of the assessment, and an indication that this would be sent to me forthwith.
I have received nothing since then, which again has added to my anxiety and stress considerably, but there is a chance it has been misplaced in the post, perhaps?
I have made a FOI (freedom of information) request regarding the dreadful rumours that Atos receive more money for every person who is denied benefit, as I am sure that this is not the case.It would not fit with the statement on your website "Our clients come first. We respond to and anticipate client needs and expectations. Working in partnership we aim to write business history together.“ As it would seem to be incongruent with those aims.
I am deeply concerned that my experience with yourselves seems to be at odds with that, and can only put this down to stress and overload within your organisation. I only have experience at Chatham, but sadly there appear to be others claiming similar experiences on the many websites and bulletin boards that I am able to access when my back pain and depression allow me to.
This I am sure you will agree is extremely undesirable, and could lead to more public scapegoating and perhaps even loss of contract for yourselves in the current political climate.Something that is no-ones desire, in fact I look forward to being as instrumental as I can in alleviating these misunderstandings very soon.
I heartily agree that the wellbeing of all concerned, especially the very ill and disabled vulnerable people who are referred by the DWP for assessment must be above concerns of money and anything else, something I am sure that will be uppermost of concern to you at the moment.
There would appear to be more criticism levelled at yourselves at the moment due to the BMA convention voting for the WCA to be scrapped. I believe that we can work together to start to show publicly Atos Health care to be the caring and professional company that it is.
As the FOI request and your policy copy may take longer to reach me than the 18th of June, I would suggest the following - re scheduling the appointment. I will record the assessment myself, and request that you also record for your own purposes. This will be evidence of the open and caring nature of Atos, and show that there is nothing to fear when I make it available for public perusal.
I will also video the whole process at no extra cost to you, from entry to the centre till leaving. Again once this is on line it will assure the many doubting people of Atos' genuine concern and care for its vulnerable and very sick assessees.
I would like the full medical qualifications of the doctor who will be carrying out the assessment including BMA number and work history including the areas of special mention in the DWP agreement, mental health and muscular-skeletal specialties. This will again show the great levels that Atos are prepared to go to, to ensure patients wellbeing.
If you require access to my medical records prior to this for more accurate diagnosis, I believe I can have them made available. There will however be a cost involved to yourselves, but I am sure that this can be authorised as we are creating a great positive publicity opportunity here.
I have invited, by way of copying this letter to them, members of the press,(local and national), radio media (local and national) MIND the mental health charity, Shelter, my local MP, the BMA, my GP and community lawyers, Neves Scott of Dartford; and will be sending copies to the Rt hons Chris Grayling and Ian Duncan Smith.
I hope together we can all work to reassure the public that any fears over the WCA and Atos are greatly exaggerated and any confusion is down to pressure of work from above.
May I further suggest a way that the ongoing training and internal awareness within Atos can be added to, something I am sure that you as a company will be more than keen to do.
There are many millions of people who, like me are "experts" in their own illnesses who would be a great resource to help clarify the obviously diverse and literally millions of ways in which chronic illness can manifest it in us.We could establish a working relationship, perhaps as consultants?
This would work on many levels as all people like me are unable to commit to full time work due to the complications of chronic illness, but would greatly love to be able to help out and get paid for that.This again would be a fantastic opportunity to show that Atos Health care really do care about their role in the wellbeing of all the people it works with. I look forward to a long and mutually rewarding working relationship with you.
Paul Barnard (Enc)C.c.-Maidstone DWP office, malling health- Gillingham, BBC, BMA, Guardian lifestyle et al"
next step - appointment from Atos - 3rd July.
3 days later, letter arrived saying that due to "unforeseen/unavoidable" circumstances my appt had been canceled...go figure?
Thanks for taking the time to read this.stay strong.