bigleyma is thinking…

Ex-Atos HCP exposes WCA’s bias against the sick

with 10 comments

This January I wrote what turned out to be quite an extended piece about the conceptual basis underpinning the WCA; about the ideas that were pushed from certain quarters in order that the WCA could be carried out in the way it has been. Which has been towards the end of denying people their legitimate entitlement to health related benefits. It was published here on the International Green Socialist site , (*link no longer working, pdf available here) and attracted a large number of comments, many of which expanded on points and introduced material which the limitations of the article prohibited, such as the involvement of Big Insurance Company, Unum in these ‘reforms’ – to what they evidently anticipated would be their eventual gain.

One of the aspects of my analysis, that I thought very important to point out, was the glaring bias among the wide documentation underpinning the whole process, from Atos’ own advice to their ‘disability analysts’, to the government’s Employment and Support Allowance regulations, and even to guidelines for GPs assessing conditions. This bias which initially grabbed my attention through scrutinising my own and others’ WCA reports, expanded into a pattern permeating these other instruments/literature. The form it takes, that of deliberately undermining the claims a person makes about how their illness/disability affects their capacity to work, is to the discredit of  not only Atos, but also the DWP and the government.

It has been very gratifying, then, to come across this account by one of Atos’ ex Healthcare Professionals, which bears out my own, and others’, observations that the process underlying the WCA is a ‘sham’.

“I worked for Atos as a ‘disability analyst’ thinking I would be helping vulnerable people to access their benefits,” she said.

“I soon discovered that nothing could be further from the truth. The rules laid down by the bosses are designed to catch people out.”

Jean worked for Atos Healthcare in Scotland, but found she was unable to continue in a role which went against her professional, and personal, ethics.

“The job was making me sick,” she said. “It’s against my principles to treat people with long term illnesses in such a disgusting way, so I had to give it up.

“People go into those interviews and talk openly to you because you are a nurse and they trust you.

“Then your skills are used against them, to take away their benefits and destroy their lives.

“I can’t be a part of that.”

Its to be hoped that, similarly to the A4e scandal, more and more Atos Healthcare personnel will have the courage to tell the truth about this shameful process.


10 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on ATOS REGISTER OF SHAME.


    March 28, 2012 at 6:55 am

  2. Thank you for raising this issue. I hope you dont mind that I have shared this post on our website.

    Steven Preece.


    March 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    • Spot on, Steve. We should share everything as widely as possible. Try and get to that ‘tipping point’ 😀


      March 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm

  3. This was old news actually, I remember reading it some time ago. I think it was first published in something Scottish and it’s only recently found its way South, as it were. By the way, the International Green socialist site has gone so your material needs to be published elsewhere.

    Kay Fabe

    April 2, 2012 at 9:04 am

    • I’m less concerned with the ‘age’ of the news than its relevance, Kay. Also the International Green Socialist site is still there, as of right now when I checked. They have a new issue out, but the link still works to my article. Perhaps you are thinking of the ‘old’ site which was the Democratic Green Socialist one, which now appears to have gone. I had adjusted my link to direct to the new one, so I don’t know how you ended up at the previous site!

      Sorry Kay, realised the full implication of the link being ‘dead’ when someone else contacted me about it. Hadn’t thought about the fact that the ‘old’ link was scattered widely about the forums and such! The webmaster has sorted it now and it should redirect properly.


      April 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm

  4. I would like to thank you for highlighting the quite frankly scandalous injustices that are occuring as a result of the DWP and ATOS assessments. I am myself currently in the midst of a terrible fight with the DWP regarding my assessment and their ludicrous attempts to ‘force’ me into the ‘Work Related’ Group even though I suffer from a degenrative spinal disease, have previously been declared unfit for work and have been in receipt of both DLA and Incapacity Benefit for over 11 years. The tactics they have employed over the previous five months have been shameful at best. The additional stress this has caused my family and I has been immense and continues to build as there is no sight of the ‘finishing line’ yet!!! Part of me wonders if talking about this situation whilst my particular case is ongoing would be harmful to its outcome, however as I have been treated with scant regard for my wellbeing, continue to be spoken to with nothing less than stupidity by the DWP and also see how many people this is damaging feel that the only way forward is to speak out.


    July 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    • Sorry for the tardiness of approving your comment, Richard. And even more sorry to read about what you’re going through. Its an increasingly familiar account, and its no real comfort to discover that countless others are experiencing the same tortuous process. But they are, and they are a constantly growing group. It is a scandal. And it is a gross state abuse of the vulnerable. Its taken the immense efforts of disabled activists both on and offline to begin to have this recognised, as happened with the recent Panorama and Dispatches programmes that were broadcast. But it has often been at great cost to them, since they’re already burdened by illness. That is the issue isn’t it? Its very hard to ‘fight your corner’ when you’re already disadvantaged by illness or impairment of some kind. That’s what makes it such an outrage. I hope your case is resolved fairly, but getting a good outcome doesn’t compensate for the great personal cost of all you’ve had to go through to get there, does it? Lets hope that those TV programmes are only the start. Good luck and take care.
      Gill x


      August 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

  5. In 1990-91 under the Conservative’s (again) I was called in for a so-called medical and after answering a few questions was found fit for work, I immediately appealed and was told that I would have to go to same place for second so-called medical, but not to worry as second ‘doctor’ would not know I had had a previous ‘medical’, when I arrived the person was sitting there with a copy of the first one’s report and me asked me what sort of work I was interested in, needless to say I did not stop and take part in the farce, so it just goes to show that nothing has changed 2 years.

    Thom A. McKay

    January 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm

  6. Sorry that last part should read NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN THE LAST 22 YEARS.

    Thom A. McKay

    January 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm

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