UPDATE 3/5/13: According to @Soniapoulton EMAP, publishers of Nursing Times, claim Atos are ‘100%’ not sponsoring any awards this year, and seem to have removed some of the references to Atos as sponsors on their website. No apology has been forthcoming so far from the magazine about accepting money from the company last year when they did sponsor an award.
UPDATE: Confirmation is needed urgently from the Nursing Times about whether this sponsorship refers to 2012 or 2013. Atos definitely sponsored an award at the event in 2012 (how’d we miss that!). Either way that doesn’t get them off the hook and pressure needs to be maintained to ensure Atos are not invited back and ensure that Nursing Times apologise.
In the week in which nurses at the annual Royal College of Nursing conference passed a resolution that disability assessments in the UK are discriminatory and unfit for purpose, widely read journal the Nursing Times seem to have accepted Atos Healthcare as a sponsor of their annual awards.
This shocking decision (spotted by @WNSnews) is a slap in the face for all those sick and disabled people who have been abused by the company who carry out the notorious Work Capability Assessment. This is the short computer based test designed to find sick and disabled people ‘fit for work’ in order to justify slashing their benefits.
Figures released this week by the DWP show that huge numbers of people have been wrongly assessed by the company and plunged into desperate poverty as a result. Despite this, the Nursing Times have decided they are only too happy to take money from the Atos, even giving them space on the award’s website to claim: “The sensitivity of the Disability Assessment process calls for enormous skill in a non-traditional healthcare setting as well as a broad range of medical knowledge. Atos is proud to sponsor the Nursing in the Community category of the Nursing Times Awards and we wish all entrants the best of luck.”
The awards ceremony will be held on the 3oth October this year at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. If Atos are sponsors the event could draw fierce protests from benefit claimants and disabled people who have previously picketed the British Medical Journal’s annual recruitment fair over the presence of Atos Healthcare.
In the meantime Nursing Times are on twitter @NursingTimes whilst a separate account exists for the awards @NT_awards. They can also be found on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/EMAP.NT
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid