Atos Medical Services

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 19th July 2006.

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Photo of Terry Rooney Terry Rooney Labour, Bradford North

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to review (a) the contract with Atos Medical Services as part of the Welfare Reform Programme and the Disability Equality Duty scheme and (b) the training requirements for Atos medical staff.

Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Work)

holding answer 12 July 2006

The contract between the Department and Atos Origin is reviewed on an on-going basis to ensure it delivers services that are fully compliant with all current relevant legislation.

Each year a programme of continuing medical education is agreed with Atos Origin that identifies training need priorities for all Atos medical practitioners. Participation is mandatory and ensures medical knowledge and expertise is kept up to date. Implementation is monitored through an established governance framework. Any changes or amendments to the contracted service arising from changes in business requirements include a review of the training requirements for doctors.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes3 people think so

No55 people think not

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James Allison
Posted on 20 Jul 2006 5:27 pm (Report this annotation)

Mr Murphy should know that Aotos Origin's contract to provide medical services to the DWP has only recently been renewed and has about another 5 years to run.

Or is he deliberately misleading Parliament ?

Atos Origin's record on medical examinations is appalling, yet despite severe criticism from the Work & Pensions Select Committee, they were
reawarded the contract ?

Jim Allison
retired Welfare Rights Specialist
DLA Tribunal Member (1994 - 2004)

Nicola Thurlow
Posted on 9 Feb 2007 5:57 pm (Report this annotation)

Just a note on the 'appalling' medical examinations provided by Atos.

How this company retains their contract is beyond me. I personally know of one case where a lady lost her DLA which was instantly suspended due to a medical report from this company. The report stated that he could find no problems with her legs or feet. The fact that she has 18 inch long 1 inch wide scars down both sides of both legs escaped his notice, as well as the fact that she has had a foot amputed due to MRSA

I myself have been on the recieving end of a totally fabricated report and am now awaiting to go to a tribunal for my own DLA. The doctor did not believe I could have a syndrome that he had never heard of, besides getting basic physical facts about me completely wrong, like the fact that my joints dislocate at will. His 'cure' use a stick. Sure I can, if I want to dislocate my wrists every time I go down the concrete steps outside my house that have no handrails, probably dislocating my knees and hips at the same time when I fall. Its a catchphrase used on most of their reports, Can be remedied with use of a stick.

I dont think this company has the vaquest consideration to the fact the the reports written by their doctors can devastate someones life. People with disabilities rely on the fact that the reports are correctly written for their livelyhood. The supposed 20 minutes - 1 hour time scale for the medical is usually done in roughly 15 minutes. including the report writing (which are usually illegable even to the DLA officers)

I was once told 'in confidence' by one of the assessors that I seen for Incapacity benifit medical that the doctors recieve less than half a days actual training in how disabilities affect everyday lives of those affected. Yes he was a qualified doctor, he left medical school less than 6 months proir. He was working part time for ATOS so that he could learn about different disabilties. Please explain to me how a newly qualified doctor with little or no experience of disabiltiies has the knowlege or expertise to make an assessment of how my dissability affects my life.

The fact the the nearest parking to their medical assesment centre was over a mile away in a tesco carpark also seemed to escape their notice. Medical report states. No carer needed as none present at medical, sorry he was outside in the car trying to prevent it from getting clamped due to lack of legal parking at the centre. Lack of parking is a common practice at these centres to see if people coming to the centre can actually get there, if they park up in the remote carparks then they cant be disabled enough to get DLA or they wouldnt be able to actually walk / or get to the centre. So to get to the medical its probably going to cost genuine disabled people a fine and 'clamping removal fee' Pure trickery on their part.

At what point is the government going to actually take notice of the gross negligence being shown by this company and revoke their contract.

If members of the DLA Tribunal service (Thank you Jim Allison for seeing through these reports) can see the damage that these reports are doing why does it fall to the 'man in the street' to have to fight for years to get some help while living in poverty through no fault of our own.

All we ask for from the benifits and medical services is a 'fair trial' and thats what it comes down to, a trial. It falls to us to virtually legally prove our case at a tribunal rather than the system helping us to make our lives easier. We have to run around ( I wish I could walk properly let alone run) putting facts together and trying to find 'angles' that disprove the reports from this company. Some even go the the point of paying for an independant medical assesment of their own to try and disprove the 'holy grail' of reports sent to the DLA by Atos, that they believe beyond all doubt, even if they are completely illegable.

Just my 2p worth, as currently, until I get invalidity benifit in a week again, thats pretty much every penny I have.

Support the government, live in poverty is the message many with a disability is currently getting. Its time this was looked into and the facts found rather than the 'spin' that can be put onto it to make the government look good. Is ATOS the only company the government can think of in any situation? Not only undisputed medical services but also IT solutions for the entire government departments? Makes me wonder why the 'computer is down' every time I phone any department that has the remotest access to a computer.

I know this will be totally ignored by anybody who could do anything about it, but alas, us lowly working class have to try make some sort of lives for ourselves as this government gives with one hand and takes twice back with the other.

Those that have it will gain more, those that havent will contantly be trodden on. New slogan for this government

sort out your house Blair

Baden Baldry
Posted on 14 Sep 2007 2:13 pm (Report this annotation)

Hurrah. Criticism of atos with regard to its professionalism is commonplace. In many ways it is a reflection on what is happening within the public service (indeed society) as a whole. Within Royal Mail there medical 'help' is causing similiar unrest. However to paraphrase an old saying 'the silence is deafening' regarding criticism. This is a most complex matter, as a few issues are ongoing within the next few weeks I will try to contextualise this and explain what the situation.