Atos to Sub-Contract PIP Contract Back to NHS!

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the new benefit regime set to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA), has descended into farce before it even gets started.  Atos ‘Healthcare’, the company who have been contracted to manage the new disability assessments, are to sub-contract the work in Scotland back to an NHS based social enterprise.

Salus, who provide occupational health services and plough all profits back into the NHS, will now run the new assessment system on behalf of Atos says the Daily Record today.  This follows a determined campaign by disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters in Scotland to end the involvement of IT firm Atos in benefit assessments.

Atos carry out the notorious Work Capability Assessment (WCA), a crude computer based system which has been used to strip vital benefits from hundreds of thousands of sick or disabled claimants.  An increasing number of suicides have been directly linked to the humiliating and traumatic assessment regime.  A recent investigation found 23 people a week die after being declared able to work by the company and forced into endless ‘Work Related Activity’ with charities and welfare to work companies.  According to plans floated by the DWP these people may soon face unlimited workfare should they have the cheek to live long enough.

The Government is planning to use the same model to re-assess all working age claimants on Disability Living Allowance when it becomes Personal Independence Payment (PIP)  next year.  The stated aim is to strip disability benefits from 20% of disabled people.  Atos were given the UK wide contract to carry out the assessments earlier in the year.

Today’s announcement means that Atos will take the huge cash payments available under PIP, pocket a cut and then sub-contract the work to an NHS based organisation.  This humiliating announcement for the Government will mean Atos are basically being paid to do nothing in Scotland.

Atos have seen protests outside their Scotland HQ in Livingston due to their involvement in benefit assessments, as well as regular protests at their premises in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and elsewhere.  Similar protests have taken place throughout England and Wales.

The Black Triangle Disability Campaign have been at the forefront of the struggle against Atos and successfully lobbied  Scottish GPs  to denounce the testing regime, a move soon followed by the UK wide BMA.

Predictably the Daily Record, a Scottish tabloid owned by Mirror Group Newspapers (who in fairness have been carrying extensive coverage of the brutal Atos farce) are taking the credit for Atos’ decision.  Campaigners from Black Triangle and elsewhere will know the truth.  It was disabled people and benefit claimants what won it.

Unfortunately it remains to be seen if anything will change in practice.  Whilst Atos will no longer carry out the assessments, the model of assessments will be the same flawed model as the one currently use to harass, torment and impoverish Employment Support Allowance claimants.

Of perhaps most concern is that Salus, who will now carry out the assessments,  boast on their website that they: “are one of the very few organisations in the UK which utilise the bio psychosocial model as recommended by Dame Carol Black in her report ‘Working for a Healthier Tomorrow’ (2008). “

This report was commissioned by the DWP and used as justification for the Work Capability Assessment.  The bio-psychosocial model is a piece of pseudo-scientific bullshit constructed by the private health and income/disability insurance companies in an effort to minimise paying insurance claims.  Dame Carol Black is known to have met several times with Income Protection scum Unum, the company many have suspected of driving welfare reforms in the UK behind the scenes.

So whilst this announcement by Atos is a victory for campaigners and a bloody nose for the Government, disabled people may yet find themselves facing just another bunch of bastards, this time acting under a cloak of NHS respectability.

12 responses to “Atos to Sub-Contract PIP Contract Back to NHS!

  1. Bio-psychosocial = 21st. Century phrenology.
    What are we to do? Organize and destroy. If this is the kind of shit we are expected to swallow there is nothing left to do except go to war. They will not listen to reason and they are willing to kill to further their insane ideas.

  2. Interesting point is made near bottom of article about income/disability insurance companies. The word insurance is the factor. Just say you intend to travel abroad on holiday, this exercise is hypothetical, go to post office website and go to their travel insurance page. If genuinely disabled and you complete the application, the website will inform you the post-office will not insure you and forward you to another website to claim if you want. On completing appication on this other Website they will most likely offer you travel insurance for somewhere in the region of £1200 whereas equivalent cover for able bodied non-disabled will be about £90. There is a good point in explaining this. This (pretend-bogus) application could in fact reinforce any application for DLA/PIP/ESA in so far as the excess costs indicate that you are seen as a “risky proposition” for travel. The insurance companies draw their own lines as it suits them. It is evidence that “those in the insurance industry” in reality know it is risky to put you into situations (including work as well as travel, work usually involves travel) which will be detrimental to your well being. The DWP cannot have it all ways, or can they?

  3. ah atos it gets better they now pay the nhs to do its dodgy test but wait for it now they get the reports off the nhs ready to doctor them so to speak thus keeping their bonuses up from dwp and 1in8 pass again who thought that up unum with the help of mps who let this happen ready to say the nhs is not helping those who are sick and lo and behold virgin care unum atos carve the nhs up between them and that is the way forward with this lot nah nhs whots that they be saying standing outside the hospital not being allowed in as you sick and disabled and cant afford to pay and that will happen with this lost no nhs jeff3

  4. Pingback: Black Triangle Campaign Statement in response to the news that AtoS has sub-contracted Salus to carry out PIP assessments across Scotland under N.H.S. Lanarkshire’s auspices | Black Triangle Campaign

  5. “Dame Carol Black is known to have met several times with Income Protection scum Unum, the company many have suspected of driving welfare reforms in the UK behind the scenes.”

    Unum have been regularly showing their “Everyone needs a back up plan” adverts recently “Income Protection pays a replacement income if you’re unable to work due to long-term illness or injury.” The problem is, going by their track record in the US, when folks do try to claim Unum will likely do everything they can to not pay out – this is why in the USA they have been accused of running “disability denial factories”. There are still numerous bad faith court cases being heard over their refusal to pay out and the tactics they’ve used to deny payments. A class action against them alleges that the US company “has illegally victimized, and continues to victimize, many thousands of disabled Americans.”

    I think the facts about Unum’s activities in the US should be more widely known in the UK to enable people to make a better informed choice.

  6. something survived...

    This is sick. The NHS should not be doing the government’s dirty work, they are meant to be helping people. Also it could mess up people getting their treatment on the NHS/at all, for instance if one part of the NHS has you scheduled for treatments/listed as disabled or sick, another part (the one working for Atos) lies to the DWP that you are NOT sick or disabled. So then the main part of the NHS could say ‘the government says you are not sick or disabled, so we are cancelling your treatment, stopping your medication, and/or taking you off the waiting list’. Even if your own doctor disagreed, they’d be going against Atos etc and could be struck off for ‘lying’ (telling the truth).

    Did anyone see the recent story in the Guardian about Ruth Anim?
    She is a black woman in the UK, who was ordered to go on Jobseekers’ Allowance/Work Programme/work Placement and kicked off disability benefits. She is 27 but looks 10, has a mental age of a little child, has severe learning difficulties, communication problems, sight problems, physical disabilities and other conditions. Her mum is her carer. Ruth needs 24/7 supervision and care. She can’t go out unsupervised because she doesn’t understand about cars running you over. She attends a life skills course on how to put on your shoes and how to make a cup of tea, how to make a sandwich. When they sent her to the Atos assessment she couldn’t answer the doctor’s questions or concentrate on anything. The Atos report was a big pile of lies and most importantly (if legal aid for these cases hadn’t been removed, they could use it as evidence in a case against Atos and DWP), it said Ruth Anim is “a male client”. If their ‘doctors’ (sic) are so stupid they can’t even get your sex right, they can obviously not be trusted to write a report about even the most basic details of your health and disability. They can’t even be trusted to boil an egg, tie their shoelaces, make a cup of tea, or make a sandwich…

    [The people who ‘purge the voter rolls’ in the USA, i.e. who ban hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters from voting, as happened a lot in the 2000 and 2004 US elections – sources include several books by Michael Moore, Al Franken, and others – ; particularly targeted for removal, black people. They mostly claimed people were convicted felons, though actually most were not guilty of anything. Sometimes they picked people who LOOKED LIKE a known criminal or had a similar birthdate or name. However they also picked people with disabilities or in hospital at the time of the alleged crimes, people who were children or not yet born, people with the same name but different birthdate, people with the same birthdate but different name. Also people of a totally different address or even state. They also ‘purged’ voters they insisted were specific named felons, which INCLUDED voters who differed from the felon in one/more/all of the following respects: age, height, weight, build, job, income, housing/family status, sexual orientation, diet, religion, politics, ethnic group, and sex! So a female white nonfelon could be told she cannot vote because the government says she is a male black criminal. A black Protestant or Muslim man could be called a criminal even if the real criminal is Hispanic and Catholic and the other side of the USA. A person in a wheelchair could be accused of being a burglar who climbs into buildings, somebody with no legs could be ‘kicked police officers and ran away’. A vegetarian who is maybe only 30 could be told they had served 25 years in jail for a major crime, got out of jail and then got arrested stealing some meat! A person without arms could be accused of being a convicted car-thief.
    Also where felons were named, quite often the felon in question was dead or in jail at the time of the nonfelon’s attempt to vote! The reason for the policy was to keep people who were Republican voters and kick out black/poor/Democrat voters. To get Republicans to win. Of course in Dade County in Florida whole ballot boxes went mysteriously missing… And in both the last 2 elections they turned off or removed voting machines when people were still waiting to vote, or the machine ‘stopped working’. Mostly they did this “in Black neighborhoods”. Some people, mostly black, were stopped from going in to vote though they hadn’t done anything wrong. And there are all the machines that when you pressed the bit that said it was to vote for the Democrats, it actually was a vote for the Republicans and gave a message saying ‘Thankyou for voting for BUSH’. It then didn’t let you change, go back and do it again, complain, etc. When black people first got the vote there were a lot of places that made them take IQ and other tests first! These were tough for educated middle class white people to pass, and designed so black people failed, if somebody managed to get 100% on the test, the examiner then asked questions like ‘What is my favourite colour?’ or ‘What is my wife’s middle name?’ They put down hundreds of thousands of black people as ineligible to vote due to being ‘retarded’. To be fair on those white men, and their white male replacements since, they did not block any office up to and including the post of president, especially in 2000-2008, for applicants who were white males with genuine mental deficiencies. If your shoe size is bigger than your IQ, should you have 8 years running the world?]

    When Ruth Anim was refused benefit the Atos and DWP people sent her to Jobcentre Plus to sign on. Her mother says she didn’t get her own name right at the jobcentre ‘interview’, didn’t know what day of the week it was, didn’t know why she was there or what a jobcentre is! (That could be said of the staff, come to think of it…) She was asked how old she is and gave the wrong answer. Even the Jobcentre person noticed a massive mistake had been made in sending Ruth there and telling her to apply for jobs. Her mum says, what possible job could she do? She can’t even look after herself and needs help getting dressed etc. But, the jobcentre person had no authority to actually stop the process or intervene or report it, and so she has been told to sign on at the jobcentre on JSA and go on Work Programme and Work Placement.

    Another thing about Atos working with NHS: Your main medical records are confidential, so this seems to be a breach of that.

  7. Pingback: Atos to Sub-Contract PIP Contract Back to NHS! | Mental Health, Politics and LGBT issues |

  8. I read the original paper from the 70s on the BPS Model several weeks ago. If I can I’ll reproduce a few paragraphs I wrote about that, on this blog. Meanwhile, be assured that its use by Atos is a perversion of the inventor’s intention. Briefly, the idea was to have a scheme for good medical practice that encompasses the biomedical, psychological, and social aspects of a patient’s actual situation. Although the social aspect includes many factors, Atos focusses only on work, minimises the biomedical and psychological aspects in any real-life situation, and then uses a UK politico’s notion of ‘good work’ so broadly that almost any job can be deemed good (for a given ill person). This makes being found ‘fit for work’ quite easy. The inventor, an American physician, would turn over in his grave if he could see this. Well, more details later, I hope.

  9. Here is what I wrote a week or two ago.

    42 minutes ago near Upsala, Stockholms Län · ..I read the original article on the biopsychosocial (BPS) model and decided that its writer, Dr George Engel, would not like its present use. Let me explain. Engel holds that any effective healthcare professional should consider biomedical, psychological, and social aspects of a ‘client’s problem. They contribute jointly to a person’s illness and to the healing process. The social aspect covers many components, say, family, social support, friends, and work. But Atos selects the latter, forgets about the others, and considers what one Atos Lackey calls ‘good work’ as the sole necessary component of the ATOS BPS model. I doubt that Dr Engel would approve of this. Now, the notion of *good* work is not specified in what I have read about Atos. If so, a ‘good’ job can be chosen at will, in this case by simple tests of ‘functions’ a person can carry out and neglect of the biomedical (Engel’s term) diagnostic facts and the person’s social context. Engel understands, I’m sure, that this is wrong, since it over-simplifies a complex personal situation. Yet Atos does just this, and it’s the reason a non-medical person is used to carry out some assessments. This almost guarantees medically and/or socially harmful assessment results. I guess Engel would agree that a person should be assessed by at least a GP, a specialist, and a social psychologist with lots of clinical knowledge, all working together. Atos can’t allow that, since it would probably result in so many persons being correctly declared unfit for work, that the government-mandated statistical norms, aka targets, would be exceeded.
    OOPS. The final sentence should end with ‘would not be attained.’
    PS The original paper is “The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biomedicine,” by George L. Engel, SCIENCE, 8 April 1977, Volume 196, Number 4286 (pp 129-136). Do excuse my sloppiness with tenses.

  10. Pingback: 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 2 | the void

  11. So the tax payer is paying twice…how can this be right?

    This company were kicked out of the USA for sharp practises, why did IDS think it okay for them to come here and literally destroy peoples’ lives?

  12. Pip is handled by CAPITA in Wales. I received a paper assessment and qualified as, in the words of the DWP, severely disabled and thus receive enhanced PIP. All this before ATOS finally get round to conducting my WCA.

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