Archive for the ‘atos’ Category

Lies, Dam Lies and Statistics

With many thanks to the brilliant Benefits And Work.

Benefits and Work has obtained documents via the Freedom of Information Act that may undermine claims by Atos that its staff were the subject of nearly two thousand episodes of assault or abuse, including death threats, by claimants in 2013 alone. Atos used the claim to justify wanting to exit early from the contract to carry out work capability assessments (WCAs).

Atos claimed that they were experiencing around 1,956 incidents throughout the year.

This was, by any standards, a very serious accusation.

Characterising thousands of sick and disabled claimants as violent thugs that Atos could no longer expose its staff to is likely to have increased the level of prejudice against benefits claimants. It may even have contributed to a rise in the number of violent hate-crimes committed against disabled people.

Three of the most important figures from our point of view, are:

Security called/police called’ 215

Threat made to staff direct or implied 110

Staff assaulted 5

Readers can decide for themselves whether they believe Atos’ claims by downloading the whole year’s figures here.

Thanks to “same difference” for the original post.

Keep your health records private, here’s how …,

 Featured Image

Atos…yes, the French firm Atos have been awarded the very important contract to extract patient data!

A company who is responsible for the deaths of disabled people due to their disgraceful handling of ‘fit to work’ tests has been given even more responsibilities…I still can’t believe it, is it April 1st already?!

I won’t elaborate further than The Independent’s article, there’s no need…

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/atos-to-manage-nhs-caredata-project-despite-ongoing-mess-over-disability-benefit-assessments-9153885.html

If ever there was a good time to opt out of this disgraceful mess, it’s now!

Here’s the link to the opt out form, just fill it in for each member of your household and drop it in to the reception desk at your GP surgery. They will probably sell off our data anyway, but opting out is taking a stand and it’s always worth a try to protect our rights.

http://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out

NHS hospital data HAS been sold to insurance companies so they can raise their premiums for high risk patients. This is something that is apparently illegal and medical data should only be used for the purposes of research to better our lives. Hiking up insurance premiums certainly isn’t to better our lives!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10656893/Hospital-records-of-all-NHS-patients-sold-to-insurers.html

From Echo Britain

Starvation Strategy?

Longer than my usual but really worth the read!

Dear Mr Cameron,
I have taken the liberty to write to you following an article that appeared in the Guardian a few days ago. I have a specific question that I would be grateful if you could answer but first let me outline the reason for my writing.
I have just read of the tragic story of Mark Wood, who was a 44 year old man with a number of complex mental health conditions. Mr Wood starved to death at his home last August, months after an Atos fitness-for-work assessment found him fit for work. This assessment meant that the jobcentre stopped his sickness benefits, leaving him just £40 a week to live on. His housing benefits were stopped at around the same time. This was despite a plea from his GP not to stop or reduce his benefits as this would have ongoing, significant impacts on his mental health. Mr Wood’s doctor told the inquest that the Atos decision was an “accelerating factor” in Mr Wood’s eventual death. He was very distressed that his housing benefit had been cut off, and by letters about rising rent arrears and warnings from the electricity company his supply would be cut off.
I have no personal knowledge of Mr Wood but for 15 years I have worked, and continue to work in mental health and know that Mr Wood’s tragic circumstances are far from unique. Mr Wood had struggled with undiagnosed mental health issues all his life, which made it impossible for him to work. Although his family ‘worked for years to create a place for him to live safely, this stopped when his benefits were stopped. He tried so hard to survive’. Mr Wood’s sister was distressed that Atos did not seek medical evidence from her brother’s GP, and made the assessment that he was capable of preparing to return to work after a half-hour interview at his home. The Atos report concluded his mental state was “normal”.
Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at Mind confirmed that this tragic case was not an isolated incident for people ‘struggling to navigate a complex, and increasingly punitive, system.’
And now to my query. Mr Alan Budd, who in May 2010 came out of retirement to be the interim Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility was, as you know, a chief economic advisor to Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Mr Budd has since gone on record in an interview with the Observer in 1992 to confirm that
“…the 1980’s policies of attacking inflation by squeezing the economy and public spending were a cover to bash the workers. Raising unemployment was a very desirable way of reducing the strength of the working class. What was engineered –in Marxist terms-was a crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour, and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since” (pp 284-285).
At the time it was always assumed by most that any political activity was always in the interests of the population. This quote served as confirmation that the raising of unemployment during the Thatcher era was a deliberate tactic. As unthinkable as that might have been at the time, there was a clear decision to destroy lives for political capital. My question, and I ask this in all seriousness is whether your administration is currently also having a different set of private conversations to those that the public hear. Just as the Thatcher administration reassured the public they were trying to lower unemployment when they were intentionally increasing it, can I ask whether your cabinet has had conversations about how desirable it would be for a few vulnerable people to starve to death. It could be seen after all that a few examples of what can really happen when the safety net is removed might mobilise others who draw on benefits to stop ‘scrounging from hard working taxpayers’ and move toward the labour market. So my question is
a. Have you deliberately set out to drive a small number of British people to starvation as a political tactic?
The reason I moved to ask such an extreme question is because to make someone die of starvation in a western democracy in 2014 isn’t actually a very easy thing to do. It needs an awful lot of very specific activities to conflate at once in order for it to become possible for vulnerable people like Mr Wood to starve to death. You would need to put in place a systematic regime of wage stagnation, a raft of brutal benefits cuts that disproportionately attack the vulnerable and disabled. You’d need to develop and sustain an orchestrated campaign of misrepresenting vulnerable people through the media and you would need to put in place a privatised work assessment regime that rewards morally bankrupt companies who assess people as fit for work regardless of their circumstances. To achieve this you would need to make possible the most hideous and inhumane political coalition since Asquith’s feckless cabinet contributed to 1m deaths at the Somme.
Regardless of whether a starvation strategy has been deliberately orchestrated or is a tragic by-product of one of the most sustained political failures of modern times, I do wonder Mr Cameron whether you will see Mr Wood’s emaciated and desperate face when you close your eyes to go to sleep at night. For the sake of the many other people around the country approaching such extreme destitution, I genuinely hope that you do.
Yours sincerely,
Dr Carl Walker

From: Since 1545

Welfare Reforms Debate?

debate?

PIP / DLA News

atos_dr_nick

Being found entirely innocent of fraud will no longer be a defence against the loss of your DLA. Instead, the DWP has chosen to make anonymous hate campaigns against disabled neighbours and work colleagues potentially much more damaging.

The DWP have ruled that from next Monday, if you are investigated because of an allegation that you are fraudulently claiming DLA, you will automatically lose your DLA award and be assessed for PIP instead, regardless of the outcome of the investigation. The change in policy does not appear to be lawful, but that’s not a consideration that seems to trouble the DWP or the government these days.

It means that claimants with indefinite awards of DLA, who may not have been due to be assessed for PIP until 2017, could find themselves forced onto the much harder to claim PIP years early.

This could be especially awful for claimants with mobility awards, given the DWP’s confirmation this week that it is to entirely ignore the results of its hasty PIP consultation and stick with a 20 metre limit for the enhanced rate of the PIP mobility component.

By the DWP’s own estimates, over 400,000 claimants are likely to lose out as a result of the changes to the mobility component and the new disability minister, Mike Penning, has already confirmed that he expects spending on DLA and PIP to begin falling as early as next year.

However, plans to assess all DLA claimants for PIP by 2017 may already be in trouble. The Disability News Service has revealed that crisis meetings have taken place across the country because Atos has a serious shortage of doctors able to carry out disability benefits assessments.

During Prime Minister’s Question Time last week Labour’s Dennis Skinner called on the prime minister to “abolish this cruel heartless monster called Atos“.

from: http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk

Couldn’t resist this

atos

 

From: oopster74

It would be funny but … …

A Selection of Especially Stupid Benefit Sanctions

Cruel, arbitrary and ridiculous reasons why people have their benefits stopped

  •  Your gran dies during the night. The next morning your partner calls the job centre and asks if you can come in the following day instead. The centre agrees, and you sign in the next day. Then you get a letter stating that you failed to sign in and would be sanctioned if you don’t reply within seven days. You reply, explaining the situation. The job centre gives you a six-week sanction for not replying. Source: Mari-claire M at Netmums
  • You get a job interview. It’s at the same time as your job centre appointment, so you reschedule the job centre. You attend your rearranged appointment and then get a letter saying your benefits will be stopped because going to a job interview isn’t a good enough reason to miss an appointment. Source: Daily Mail
  • You’ve signed in on time, been to interviews and applied for work. Your job centre advisor suggests you make a two-line change to your CV, which you do, but fail to give the updated CV to the job centre (you weren’t told you had to). You are sanctioned for four weeks. Source: nciaw36 at MoneySavingExpert
  • You work for 20 years and then miss a job centre appointment because you haven’t had the process clearly explained. You are sanctioned for 3 weeks. Source: Councillor John O’Shea
  • You get a job that starts in two weeks time. You don’t look for work while you are waiting for the job to start. You’re sanctioned. Source: The Guardian
  • You are forced to retire due to a heart condition, and you claim Employment and Support Allowance. During your assessment you have a heart attack. You are sanctioned for not completing your assessment. Source: Debbie Abrahams MP
  •  It’s Christmas Day and you don’t fill in your job search evidence form to show that you’ve looked for all the new jobs that are advertised on Christmas Day. You are sanctioned. Merry Christmas.  Source: Poverty Alliance
  • You are given a training appointment that clashes with your job centre appointment. The job centre is unwilling to rearrange its appointment and tells you to get a letter from the training organisation. The training organisation says it doesn’t provide letters. Source: Russell Brown MP
  • You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the job centre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week. Source: Pontefract and Castleford Express (via Benefit Tales)
  • You miss your job centre appointment due to the funeral of a close family relative. You are sanctioned. Source: Derek Twigg MP
  • You’ve been unemployed for seven months and are forced onto a workfare scheme in a shop miles away, but can’t afford to travel. You offer to work in a nearer branch but are refused and get sanctioned for not attending your placement. Source: Caroline Lucas MP
  • You miss your job centre appointment as it clashes with your work programme interview. You get sanctioned. Source: Citizens Advice Bureau

from : http://stupidsanctions.tumblr.com/

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