John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington, Labour)
Yesterday, I met constituents who have gone through the system. They call themselves victims of Atos, and I promised them that I would briefly set out the experience that they described. The assessment was exactly as others have said. Applicants are often met by an assessor with no expertise or specialist knowledge of their condition; it is a tick-box exercise—my constituents completely agree with the BMA about that. Despite the Harrington recommendations for improvements, the test bears no relationship to the real-world challenges that people with disabilities face. There is no recognition of fluctuating conditions, as has been said—particularly in connection with mental health. The procedure largely ignores the assessments and advice of applicants’ own GPs.