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go.oot.by.dog last won the day on September 18 2013

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  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26766345 Fit-to-work tests: Atos quits contract Atos is to quit its contract to assess whether benefits claimants are fit to work, the government has announced. It follows government criticism over "significant quality failures". Disabilities Minister Mike Penning said a new company would be appointed in early 2015, and Atos would not receive "a single penny of compensation". Atos, whose contract had been due to end in August 2015, had previously said it would carry on with the tests until a new company could be put in place. Claimants applying for employment and support allowance must take a work-capability assessment to see how their disability or illness affects their ability to work. Disability campaigners have described the work tests as "ridiculously harsh and extremely unfair". Last summer, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) identified "significant quality failures" in the written reports Atos produced after tests and put a plan for improvement in place. But in February, the DWP said standards had declined unacceptably. Mr Penning said the government was looking for a provider to replace Atos "with the view to increasing the number of assessments and reducing waiting times". He said: "I am pleased to confirm that Atos will not receive a single penny of compensation from the taxpayer for the early termination of their contract. "Quite the contrary, Atos has made a substantial financial settlement to the department." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Over and Out go.oot.by.dog
  2. UN now looking into WCAhttp://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2013/september/un-now-looking-wca
  3. GP Glyn Phillips replies to Dr Greg Woods article in the British Medical Journal which i posted earlier. Re: I blew the whistle on the government’s disability assessments Dr Wood deserves to be thanked for his publicising of what lies behind the seemingly dark and at times Kafkaesque outcomes of Atos WCAs. Over the past few years I (and many others) have seen a growing number of patients becoming victims of mind-boggingly cruel and unfair assessments which have led to stoppage of their ESA payments. How can a patient with a quite profound depressive illness somehow manage to score zero points at an Atos WCA but 27 in a PHQ-9 assessment in the same week? In their defence they would cite that they do not actually make that final decision, it is made by an adjudication officer, a clerical worker, back at the DWP. Thus they can sanitise their tainted and increasingly cruel and unfair judgements. Atos and the DWP seem to deny the existence of a target driven culture. However, their methods and tactics cannot be explained by any other logical reason. In 1996 I spent 6 months doing two sessions per week with the then Benefits Advisory Medical Service. The assessment tool was the All Work Test, not totally dissimilar to the WCA. Available to assessors were two exclusion clauses for those occasions where a ‘client’ clearly would not achieve the magic score of descriptor points to retain their benefit but equally clearly was not fit for work. This facility remains present in the WCA assessment. This option to apply exceptions, without restriction from management, was what allowed latitude for commonsense, experience, empathy and compassion. The recent marked increase in grossly unfair decisions by Atos/DWP is, in my view, solely due into the fact that doctors and nurses performing the assessments have had those four safety valve qualities blocked in an over-bearing and bullying fashion by their employer Atos. The DWP, as the commissioning public body, carries equal responsibility for this. Atos employed doctors and nurses (especially those in managerial roles) should be examining their consciences in these matters. They should be reminded that the decision will be based largely, if not entirely, on their assessment. They are answerable to their governing body. They are also answerable to their ‘client’ who is our patient and therefore answerable to us. When they see somebody who has not scored enough descriptor points, but who they must know is not fit, it is their duty to apply an exception clause. It is their duty not only to our patient but also to their governing body. This past year I have been involved with supporting appeals for increasing numbers of patients who have had their ESA stopped. One example is a significantly unwell man with complex multiple medical conditions including SLE and ‘shrinking lung syndrome’. He walks very slowly with difficulty and is significantly short of breath after just a few metres. I am convinced that a child would have come up with a more appropriate decision regarding his fitness. Working with a like-minded local lawyer our success rate is currently 100%. There are more to come. This is a frustrating waste of time for me as it is so unnecessary. What is more frustrating is the total lack of transparency following such a successful appeal. The appeal is successful, the ESA is restored but there appears to be no other outcome. No acknowledgement of accountability on the part of Atos or its employee. The misery and extra unwelcome stress put upon our patient seem not to matter. Apologies do not exist. The tremendous waste of public money expended in dealing with the dramatic increase in levels of appeals is a disgrace. Making unwell patients more unwell is a disgrace too http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5009/rr/659023
  4. Yet it is ok for MPs to claim on their expenses for a TV license in their second home.........
  5. Dr Greg Wood who resigned from Atos has an article in the British Medical Journal I blew the whistle on the government’s disability assessments Greg Wood, former naval doctor and Atos disability analyst, London dr.greg.wood.wca@gmail.com Greg Wood went to the media with concerns about the ethics surrounding tests for fitness to work—and eligibility for benefits—that the UK government outsourced to Atos Actually, two whistleblowers went public before me, and several other doctors have raised concerns anonymously. I am a former general practitioner in the Royal Navy, where work related assessments are bread and butter stuff. The UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) devised the work capability assessment (WCA) to judge whether people who receive out of work sickness benefits could, in fact, cope with most forms of work. A more stringent test came into use in 2011, and the government made no secret of the fact that it hoped this would boost the labour market, improve people’s self esteem and personal income, and, of course, reduce government debt. For many years the information technology and “business process outsourcing†company Atos has had a contract, now worth £100m (€116m; $155.4m) a year, to carry out several social security benefit assessments, including the WCA, for the Department for Work and Pensions. In my view this risks tension between doctors’ professional concerns on the one hand and business imperatives on the other. The WCA had a troubled childhood. From early on, claimants and disability groups were reporting problems. They felt the assessment was a box ticking process, where medical assessors spent most of their time punching superfluous lifestyle data into the computer. And the likely outcome as they saw it? Computer says no. In fact, the test, on paper at least, isn’t too bad, though it isn’t going to win anyone a Nobel prize. But it cannot adequately take into account health conditions that fluctuate unpredictably, and it tries to include too broad a range of jobs. Driving, call handling, shelf stacking, data entry, and cleaning, for example, are all theoretically covered. And although the test is nominally a pre-employment medical test of sorts, it is really still about measuring the person’s level of disability. In early 2013 the WCA was still causing a rumpus in public, despite a series of external reviews. One problem that dawned on me over time was the widespread use of five ill conceived so called rules of thumb that were promulgated during the training of new assessors. On one, manual dexterity, the guidance was just plain wrong. The training said that this all boiled down to an inability to press a button, whereas the regulations allow points to be awarded when there are difficulties forming a pinch grip, holding a pen, or operating a computer. The other “rules of thumb†showed a combination of discrepancies and questionable interpretations of medical knowledge—for example, moving from one room to another at home was supposed to be equivalent to moving 200 metres. The effect was to reduce a claimant’s likelihood of entitlement to financial help. Another concern was the absence of documentary evidence, which, in my experience, occurred in about a fifth of assessments. This was a simple failure to move important pieces of paper from one building to another but the assessment was expected to go ahead regardless. And my third concern was that there was an implicit assumption that the most likely outcome of an individual face to face assessment was that the person would be found fit for work. I have no reason to believe that this was deliberate; it was probably more a question of wishful thinking and a misunderstanding of basic statistical principles. You can’t expect the proportions of claimants who are fit to work who are seen by an individual doctor to correspond to national trends. The general culture was one where, at the point when their file was being opened for the first time by the assessor, it was broadly assumed that an individual claimant was more likely than not to be found fit for work. My fourth concern was that Atos auditors, for quality assurance purposes, were in the habit of demanding that healthcare professionals change their reports without seeing the patients themselves. This seemed fairly reasonable if the amendment could be justified, but not so reasonable when the doctor who had seen the patient thought otherwise. For instance, auditors supposed that they could tell that a patient with a chronic and only part treated psychotic illness had adequate mental focus, despite not assessing the patient for themselves, and using solely a report. The position of the General Medical Council is that doctors should not alter such reports if they think that it would make a report less accurate, or would render it misleading to the body commissioning it—that is, the DWP. I resigned from Atos primarily over this widespread interference with reports, which I felt encroached on my professional autonomy and crossed ethical boundaries. So I blew the whistle and found myself talking to parliamentarians and journalists, and then making an appearance on BBC news. It was nerve wracking trying to choose my words carefully while keeping the message clear and simple. Obviously I worried about the repercussions, but what had tipped it for me was that the DWP had stonewalled on this for more than two years; medical knowledge was being twisted; misery was being heaped on people with real disabilities; and the cost to the taxpayer of these flawed assessments and the subsequent successful tribunal appeals was going up and up. Three months after I blew the whistle, the DWP announced that all Atos assessors were to be retrained and that external auditors had been called in to improve the quality of the WCA. To others considering blowing the whistle, I would say this: if it is important enough to you and you do not believe that the problem can be fixed by more conventional means; if you can back up your assertions with evidence; if you are prepared to risk alienating your colleagues; and if you are robust enough to deal with the slings and arrows that might come your way; then blow your whistle loud and blow it proud. http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5009
  6. Bedroom Tax costing more than it saves as housing benefit bill soars by £1.5bn 24 Aug 2013 Figures from the Commons library show the amount of housing benefit paid to private landlords will rise from £7.9billion to £9.4billion The cost of welfare is set to soar by an extra £1.5billion a year – because of rocketing rents and the hated Bedroom Tax. Figures from the Commons library show the amount of housing benefit paid to private landlords will rise from £7.9billion to £9.4billion. And it is forecast to increase still further over the next three years. Full article here - http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-costing-more-saves-2214198 Well done our MP! Not only did he vote in favour of this dreadful tax which is causing untold misery to some of the least well off and in some cases sick and disabled people with no option of moving to a smaller property. It is now costing all off us (taxpayers) more money
  7. Really not sure what to make of that Can it be any worse than Atos?
  8. Whistleblower tells the inside story of Atos The many disabled people who tell stories of heartbreaking WCA judgements will be both heartened and outraged by Dr Wood’s testimony In February of this year, Dr Greg Wood received an email from his employer, Atos. He had filed a Work Capacity Assessment report on a benefits claimant with chronic and serious mental health ­problems – including psychosis – saying she was unfit for work. “I was told to amend the report,†he says. A former navy doctor who had served in Iraq, 48-year-old Dr Wood had been promoted by Atos as a Mental Health ­Champion – one of only a few assessors in the company who mentored others. “The claimant was in and out of psychiatric hospital,†he says. “She was completely distracted in our interview. I could see she was not fit for work.†WCA assessors work on a points system. Claimants need to gather 15 or above points to be declared unfit for work and eligible for Employment Support ­Allowance. Dr Wood claims he was told to amend the report to show fewer points. “I thought, they haven’t even seen the patient, how can they know whether she is fit for work?†he says. It was not uncommon for reports to be reviewed and amendments asked for, but in this case Dr Wood felt so strongly about the claimant’s case that he resigned. Full article here - http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/whistleblower-tells-inside-story-atos-2194951
  9. Taxpayer Foots £7m Bill For Subsidising Commons Bars And Restuarants Taxpayers coughed up more than £7m last year helping to subsidise Parliament's bars and restaurants, a Freedom of Information request has found. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/13/parliament-bill-bar-taxpayer-subsidy_n_3748073.html MPs need a no-questions-asked £20,000 'allowance' because claiming expenses is too much hassle, John Bercow says Commons Speaker lobbying for new allowance for food and living costs Suggests claiming expenses takes too long and is 'complicated' Raises fears of a return to the bad old days of MPs' expenses http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2389774/Claiming-expenses-hassle-MPs-claims-John-Bercow-questions-asked-20-000-lump-sum.html#ixzz2brwmGzZb And back in the real world - Summer of hunger: Huge rise in food bank use as demand linked to 'welfare reform' Trust running country’s largest network says some branches have had double the number of requests for emergency parcels since start of school holidays Food banks across Britain are being inundated with requests for emergency meals as families struggle to feed their children through the school holidays. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/summer-of-hunger-huge-rise-in-food-bank-use-as-demand-linked-to-welfare-reform-8755101.html But remember "We are all in this together"
  10. I never actually said i would "grass" anyone up as you call it and perhaps most people do know someone who "is at it" and like you they would not "grass them up" which is their choice but it does seem to be a little hypocritical to keep quiet about them and then to go on and voice your concerns about the rest of the genuine claimants and tar them with the same brush. This constant rhetoric is partly to blame for a rise in Disability hate crime and there is no need for it. I also agree with you about the checks on someones ability and that is exactly the point i am trying to make the current Work Capability Assessment carried out by Atos under instruction of the DWP is an absolute disgrace. I also agree with most of your other points as well and i have already shared my thoughts on our benefit system. Regarding the 10600 deaths there was a link in the same post and if you want to look back through this thread you will find out more or alternatively just "Google it" Or you could watch this previously posted clip - My claim regarding people dying early was directly linked to this thread "Atos" as the reason they are dying early and also because of the cuts the Government are implementing on the most vulnerable whilst lining the pockets of the rich. I believe there is a figure quoted recently that says - "Disabled people with the greatest needs make up 2% of the population, and yet they are weathering 15% of the cuts" Does that seem fair to you?
  11. The real cost of benefits squeeze: £1,600 per family Devastating research finds only one in eight households facing cuts will be able to find work Full article here - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-real-cost-of-benefits-squeeze-1600-per-family-8756554.html
  12. Westminster must end silence on welfare reforms Sun, 11/08/2013 The SNP have called on the Westminster Government to tear down its wall of silence on the impact of welfare reforms in Scotland after it emerged that the UK Government is consistently failing to provide information on the effect of its policies. In a Parliamentary Answer to Jamie Hepburn MSP this week, it was revealed that despite requests from the Scottish Government, the UK Government has failed to produce any robust assessment of the cumulative impact of the welfare reforms it has introduced. This has left the Scottish Government in the position of having to develop its own picture of the cumulative impact of welfare reforms as the Westminster Government has proved unwilling to conduct its own analysis. It was further revealed that the Scottish Government is not the only body to be denied information on the impact of welfare reforms, as answers to Parliamentary Questions at Westminster, responses to MSP correspondence and FOI requests have all been met with a refusal by UK Government departments to answer questions related to benefit changes and how they will affect the people of Scotland. MSPs who attempt to write to the DWP on behalf of their constituents who are suffering as a result of Westminster’s unforgiving reforms are now being refused any information on the grounds that the issue related to their constituents’ matters is not devolved. Meanwhile two Parliamentary Questions from Eilidh Whiteford MP to the Scotland Office asking them to disclose the number of meetings the department’s ministers have had with the Department of Work and Pensions to discuss the impact of the welfare reforms since they were introduced, were brushed off without a meaningful answer. An FOI request seeking similar information was also met with refusal after months of delay. Mr Hepburn, who is the Deputy Convenor of the Welfare Reform Committee, said: “Not only has the UK Government hammered disabled people, the young, pensioners and hard-working families, but it seems they haven’t even been responsible enough to assess the full impact of their unjust welfare reforms. “Not to have undertaken any kind of robust assessment of the impact their changes are having is simply beyond belief and speaks volumes about how little the Westminster Government seems to care about the effect its actions are having. “As if that wasn’t bad enough, they now appear to be trying to duck questions, whether they are from MPs, MSPs or members of the public. The wall of silence that the Westminster Government appears to be building is simply unacceptable. They cannot just duck their responsibilities because the questions are tough. “The SNP Government has stepped in to protect people in Scotland by mitigating some of the worst of these reforms where we have been able to do so, but they are still having a devastating impact on many people. “An independent Scotland would be able to set its own course when it comes to welfare and create a system that reflects the priorities and values of people in Scotland rather than those of a Tory Government determined to wield the axe on the most vulnerable. “Only a Yes vote in next year’s referendum will give us the opportunity to do that and ensure that no more damage is done by Westminster’s mismanagement of the welfare system.†From here - http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/aug/westminster-must-end-silence-welfare-reforms
  13. Have you ever thought about doing stand up comedy? As they say "when your time comes" the problem is these people are going before their time. Your last post said "The welfare system in this country is better than most of the rest of the planet" Make your mind up which is it? Maybes aye maybes naw How observant of you.....Likewise you never shared your thoughts on Atos
  14. http://i1359.photobucket.com/albums/q799/magnacube/5ae37ae1-89b5-4b66-aa2d-6c7a9d177b0e_zpscc631dc5.jpg https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223050/incap_decd_recips_0712.pdf
  15. HASLAND: Man collapsed but still ‘fit for work’ http://i1359.photobucket.com/albums/q799/magnacube/9e3e3313-2770-44cc-92b4-6d4cecdea483_zpsaf978800.jpg A man who became so unwell during an assessment by benefit inspectors that he was asked if he ‘needed an ambulance’ - was still declared fit to work. John Flanagan, 64, has a degenerating spine, is unable to stand or walk far, heart disease and problems with his nervous system but was told by benefits test firm Atos that he could do a job. Six weeks after the assessment Mr Flanagan collapsed due to problems with his nervous system and was rushed to hospital. He said: “I wasn’t feeling well at all when I went for the assessment, due to stress. They just made me feel worthless. These people don’t have a heart they have a cash machine.†Mr Flanagan, of Talbot Steet, Hasland worked at Chesterfield Tube Works for 25 years until problems with his back meant he needed a less manual job. He then worked in security for ten years, but seven years ago two cardiac arrests and severe problems with his nervous system saw him give up work. The dad-of-two is now appealing Atos’s decision but has had his benefits cut and told he must seek work. Wife Joyce, 63, added: “My husband was getting so unwell and stressed during the assessment they asked if he needed an ambulance. I can’t believe they think he’s fit for work. He has worked all his life but now must go through more stress with the appeals process.†MP says case ‘crosses the line of basic decency’ Mr Flanagan’s case has been taken up by Colin Hampton of Derbyshire unemployed workers centre in Chesterfield and MP Toby Perkins. Mr Hampton said: “The government is effectively killing its own citizens and labelling everyone on benefits as scroungers. How many more people have to suffer or how many more deaths will there be before this is changed.†Mr Perkins added: “This situation crosses the line of basic British decency. “Mr Flanagan is an extremely unwell man, who has worked for most of his life and is being made more unwell by this unfair and inconsistent process.†The Derbyshire Times approached Atos for a comment, but had not received a response as it went to press. http://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/news/health/hasland-man-collapsed-but-still-fit-for-work-1-5940386
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