Atos are still doing (re)assessments despite what Gov and Press say..

Discussion in 'benefits and housing' started by Chris.H.1961, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    All this talk of ATOS not doing reassessments because of this or that reason are driving me insane. I was awarded ESA May 2013 after being moved from IB and was placed in support group.

    I was originally told I wouldn't be reassessed for at least 12 months so imagine my surprise to get another form to fill in in mid Jan this year. I didn't do it right away so they sent me a reminder that it was due before 13th Feb, which it was, just. So imagine how thrilled, like everyone else, I was to hear all the news that they were losing their contract because they are 'unfit for purpose' etc and no-one on the benefit already would be reassessed if they sent forms back after 20th Jan.

    It's all bollocks. I got a letter from Atos at start of August calling me in to be reassessed 1st Sept.(I went today but no doctor to see me so it has been put back until 17th)

    Believing all the stories that had circulated I phoned them - Atos, the DWP, Welfare Rights and the TUC only to be told by all of them that I would have to go and that Atos were continuing with their contract until Aug 2015.

    How can this be right/just/fair? There has been no change of circumstances. I'm not a new claimant. I'm not waiting to be moved from IB and my form was sent after the supposed Jan 20th deadline.

    I wish I could just get some straight answers from someone
    Paul007 and Pickman's model like this.
  2. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

  3. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Greebo but nothing there answers my questions.

    1) The gov stood up in Parliament and told everyone Atos were unfit for purpose and were having their contract terminated early. They clearly aren't. They are continuing until Aug 2015.

    2) The DWP leaked memo said anyone who is already in receipt of ESA were to be left alone until a new provider was found.

    3)Even Atos themselves said in a statement the in line with DWP only new claimants and people moving from DLA to PIP would be called in.

    All the reports on websites and in the press had people believing Atos were finished when they clearly aren't
    Paul007 likes this.
  4. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank We kill the flame

    It seems like the DWP decided to stop Atos from doing reassessments back in February because of the huge backlog of new claims and people moving to ESA from IB. It was described as an 'operational decision' rather than a policy decision, meaning that they could change their minds again in the future if the backlog cleared up which, if they're finding time to harass existing ESA claimants, I suppose it must have done.
    muscovyduck, Greebo and Chris.H.1961 like this.
  5. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    welcome aboard :)
    Greebo likes this.
  6. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned by the government, or by the ATOSsers if I recall correctly, is the date from when their disengagement from their contract takes place. I suspect they'll be obliged to continue providing services until the new winning bidder comes on-stream and/or their staff are TUPEd across to the new contractor.
    Back in the day, I used to think "no-one can fuck up worse than the DWP". How wrong I was!
    Greebo likes this.
  7. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    I submitted my ESA50 in August last year (so-called "transfer" from Incapacity Benefit to ESA), and have an appointm,ent for assessment a couple of days after the OP. If they're only dealing with ESA50s submitted over a year ago now, then they've still got a way to go in clearing that backlog, even if they've taken on no new assessments since Feb.
    SpookyFrank and Greebo like this.
  8. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    I was told by one of the Atos staff when I phoned that they are carrying on until contract was due to originally end, ie Aug 2015, so where is the early termination?

    If they are still dealing with ESA50s from over a year ago why did I get seen when mine was sent in Feb this year?

    Maybe I have a red flag against my name for some reason?
  9. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    Moved to the Benefits forum which will probably help.
    Greebo likes this.
  10. 8115

    8115 sitting down is bad for you

    Would it be worth contacting your MP if they're likely to be at all sympathetic?
    Greebo likes this.
  11. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Dinnae sweat it - this is probably more cock up than conspiracy.
    SpookyFrank and Libertad like this.
  12. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    ((thanks for redirect FridgeMagnet..))

    My MP is a waste of space and a closet Tory in disguise - so called Poverty Tzar Labours Frank Field
  13. 8115

    8115 sitting down is bad for you

    Yeah, might not be the man for the job.
  14. andysays

    andysays Defiantly non-premium member

    Not sure if the backlog of new claims has been cleared up - I started a new claim for ESA almost exactly a year ago and have yet to hear anything from DWP/ATOS/anyone else about being assessed.

    And welcome Chris.H.1961
    Greebo likes this.
  15. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank We kill the flame

    Sounds like ATOS' method for prioritising their workload involves a dartboard and a blindfold.

    Of course there could be some areas where the backlog is better or worse than others. If the ATOS office in Glasgow is ten thousand claims behind schedule they can't exactly phone the Guildford office and get them to do the assesments instead. The OP might just be unfortunate enough to live in a place where the local ATOS people have got enough spare time on their hands to do repeat assesments.

    What sort of area do you live in Chris.H.1961 ? Might be worth looking to see if disability benefit claims are lower than average near where you live, in which case they're maybe just assessing you over and over again to create busy work for themselves and meet some target or whatever.
  16. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    You may have a point there SF, though I would have thought where I am it would have been in one of the high claims areas(if you believe certain parts of the media). I'm from Birkenhead - near Liverpool
    Greebo likes this.
  17. Pingu

    Pingu Credo

    ATOS round here (i live not too far from you) are seemingly quite bad but sadly quick...

    know of a few people who have fallen foul of them including a mate who has half a lung had a heart attack plus various other bits who apparently is fit for work...

    however you may get lucky and get the person who another mate nearly threw out of a 2nd floor window when he was told that PTSD was an "imaginary illness"
    kittyP, Celyn, tufty79 and 2 others like this.
  18. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Woollyback!!! :p

    Having had a scout around since my last reply, it seems that waiting times vary by area, with the south-east and bits of the north-west having the ropiest waiting times
    Greebo and Chris.H.1961 like this.
  19. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    They're even more useless than the old system (helped by their crap decision-making program). They don't seem to be able to handle any sort of fluctuating health problem, or people with multiple health issues. I'm so looking forward to my assessment!
    Paul007 and Greebo like this.
  20. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    Never understood why we get called woollybacks, considering we are closer to Liverpool than we are to the sheep infested hillsides of Wales? but whatever. Sticks n stones :)

    If any of the Political Parties wanted to really help sick/disabled people they would listen to and use genuinely qualified members of the medical profession instead of data entry drones. But we all know whoever is in power it's about cutting pennies from the already poor
    muscovyduck, Celyn and Greebo like this.
  21. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    My wife's a woollyback too. I only bring it up 'cos it annoys her! ;)

    To be fair, even back when they had only doctors doing Incapacity Benefit and DLA assessments, some of them were fucking shocking. I had one gibbering cretin who came to do a DLA assessment, was here for 15 minutes, couldn't get out the door fast enough, and then basically wrote a load of bullshit AND scrawled a signature that wasn't mine onto the form to say I'd read it through and agreed with it!
    But yeah, since New Labour's "Benefits Integrity Project", all "reform" has been along the lines of saving money and punishing people for being ill. It doesn't matter if we got fucked up because we worked too hard, got injured doing our job, or got exposed to noxious crap at work - we're still scroungers to those gold-plated tossers in Parliament, most of whom wouldn't be able to manage a days-worth of manual work if their life depended on it.
  22. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    What I meant was why the F can't they accept the findings of your own GP/Specialist? They are the ones who know you best and how your illness/disability impacts on your life.

    I fully accept some people play the system and need to be weeded out, just like 'some MPs fiddle their exs' but tarring everyone with the same brush is cruel.
    Paul007 and Greebo like this.
  23. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    Well, it's almost 4.30am as I start this, and so after another wonderfully long -3hr- twice disturbed attempt to sleep I thought I'd update you with where things stand at the moment, and what my intentions are.

    My reassessment was originally scheduled for 27th Aug but they expected me to go to a centre miles away from where I live so I phoned them and demanded a change of venue as there is a perfectly adequate one 800 metres from where I live. They rearranged it for Mon 1st Sept only for me to be sent away after 1/2hr because there was no doctor to see me. Unfortunately it's only a temporary reprieve as I now have to go again on the 17th Sept.

    I'm going to use this extra time getting in contact with my local councilor(?) and maybe even my MP and complain about what I put in my original post, but also about what went on on Mon 1st.

    Having got a taxi to the Medical Centre - inside the job centre - I was forced to wait outside in the pissing down rain for 10 mins with nowhere to sit until one of the G4S goons opened the door I was waiting by only to tell me I'd have to use the main entrance, even though the sign on the main entrance door said anyone wanting ATOS had to wait where I was.

    I was first to give my info in in the waiting area followed by 5 other people who all got called in to see someone before me. After about 20mins past my appointment time I asked why everyone else was being called before me. 'That's just the way it goes lad' - G4S goon no2

    Eventually the woman who was seeing me called me and introduced herself as (xx) who then only after I questioned her authority/skill to assess me agreed I should be seeing a Doctor. Guess what? No doctor there that day? The app was then rearranged for the 17th sept and I was sent on my way.

    WTF?? 5 others had been called to see people and not one of them was being seen by a Doctor??

    It is wrong on so many levels. Not least of which is people who being diagnosed for illness/diabillity etc should be seen by a Doctor not a data entry robot who's favourite saying is [​IMG]

    My first point of call later today will be phoning the DWP to tell them I intend to raise a complaint, and depending on what they say I will take it further...

    update: As far as DWP are concerned the ball had started rolling the minute my form was sent to me ((on 14th Jan so I was told after speaking to the most senior of 4 members of staff)) so I'm not exempt via that ruling. They can also, if they see fit, call people in every week without having to justify themselves. They said if I refuse to attend ((I'm unwell not stupid)) they will stop my benefit.

    As for what went on on Mon they said 'Not our problem. Take it up with ATOS'
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
    Paul007 likes this.
  24. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    Hello fellow woollyback! Chris.H.1961 we must be the same age too.

    Really sorry to hear they are mucking you about. Good luck with the complaint, and do keep complaining. I was accompaning someone to an ATOS assessment (she could not go on her own and I'd booked time off work to go) that was cancelled twice, at very short notice and I managed to get my loss of earnings re embursed from ATOS together with an apology for the distress to her. It was all ok in the end and she is still in support group.

    Really recomend you don't try to go alone - even if you can struggle there on your own - don't struggle - take some help - even if only for moral support and more importantly to be a witness. I found lots of really useful links on

    Wishing you all the best
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
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  25. Libertad

    Libertad Would it help?

    friendofdorothy 's post has appeared before the op's last post which was posted yesterday morning. :confused:
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  26. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    That's weird. His post was on screen when I posted that.
  27. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    Hi FoD, I appreciate the thoughts but there's not much more I can do.

    My local Councilor said he doesn't think I have enough cause to complain to my MP. And as you can see from my last message the DWP said they sent the forms prior to Jan 20th and all ATOS say is they only assess people DWP send them. ATOS btw proved yet again today that they are unfit for purpose, by sending me a new date at the wrong centre, again.
  28. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    Hang on in there and don't let them wear you down, and do keep on insisting that you see a doc for the assessment if your condition requires it.

    Must say I thought media hype about ATOS losing the contract meant it would happen soon - didn't realise they could go on so long. What was all that rubbish about them being in crisis and unable to provide enough staff to do assessments? Anyone who knows anyone who has suffered these useless 'medicals' know how shit ATOS is - shame most of the public has no idea. If figures for recall vary around the country might it be something local news/media would be interested in?
    Greebo and Libertad like this.
  29. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    friendofdorothy, post: 13379884, member: 60326"]Hang on in there and don't let them wear you down, and do keep on insisting that you see a doc for the assessment if your condition requires it.

    Oh Don't worry about that, I am doing. That's why Mon 1st was ended abruptly as there was no Doc there that day to see me(or anyone for that matter)

    Tried to contact a couple of newspapers to tell them they had their facts wrong over stories they printed but have so far been ignored.

    And I still can't get an adequate answer as to why the head honcho's of DWP, having stood up in parliament and said ATOS were unfit for purpose and were having their contract terminated early, are allowing them to continue
    Greebo and friendofdorothy like this.
  30. Chris.H.1961

    Chris.H.1961 Well-Known Member

    After another restless night I have decided as a last resort to email my MP. Despite our differences of opinion in the past I feel as my MP he has a duty to help in whatever way he can. Not sure it will do any good, but got nothing to lose
    Greebo and friendofdorothy like this.

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