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Medacs
Unit 29
Kingsway House
Team Valley Trading Estate
Gateshead
Tyne and Wear
NE11 0HW

Can you tell other claimants anything about travel and facilities for this PIP face-to-face assessment centre?

Please post in the comments section below if you can.

Things like:

  • Distance to nearest bus stop or rail station.
  • Nearest parking, any disabled parking.
  • Distance to walk if you’re dropped as close to the door as possible.
  • Wheelchair access.
  • Toilets, including disabled toilets.
  • Ground floor or first floor.
  • Lift available.
  • Anything else you think might be helpful.

Please don’t comment on the staff though – we won’t be able to publish your comments if you do.

Comments  

#6 carruthers 2017-04-10 08:20
[Part 3]

[Details of assessment omitted, but seemingly carried out in a professional way. Report not (yet!) seen.]

My companion was treated courteously.

Whether all of this will result in a sympathetic report I shall not know until I get a result from the DWP. I am paranoid enough to imagine a system where all the friendliness was designed to disarm you and get you to incriminate yourself. I am sensible enough to believe that my recorded session might have been what it seemed.

The biggest problems that I noted with this centre were:

(a) Finding the centre if you did not have a clear map. It’s not difficult, once you know what you’re doing, but I do recommend using Google maps with pictures to work out where it is. At the turning into the group of buildings, there is a map which shows you where the individual businesses are to be found.

(b) Lack of blue-badge parking spaces – or indeed any parking spaces allocated for a facility which, given its location and nature, really needed them.

(c) Spartan furnishings which could be very uncomfortable if you have any physical problems when sitting. The “examination couch” was very high and I don’t think I could have got on to without a step (none visible) even if I were more mobile. It had no raising and lowering facilities.

(d) I had no problems, but I can see that other rooms might have been too close to the traffic of a (fairly) busy industrial estate.
#5 carruthers 2017-04-10 08:08
[Part 2]

The front door is directly in front of a WC with a wheelchair symbol on it (I didn’t use it, so can’t say if it had the common curse of the accessible toilet – being used as a storage facility by cleaning staff!).

The entrance to the reception area is immediately to your left and all the examination rooms (I reckon there were 3 of them) were within c.15 metres of the reception desk. There were no steps and everything was level access, though the area just inside the door might be too tight a turning circle for someone in a large custom wheelchair or even a chunky mobility scooter. If this describes you, then do check with Atos if you are allocated to this centre – you might need extra help or an alternative venue.

When I arrived reception staff were friendly and helpful – including urging us to claim the travelling expenses. We were kept waiting for about 15 minutes – the waiting area was not luxurious, but certainly no worse than many a hospital waiting room. When I asked for a cup, someone instantly produced a plastic cup and offered to fill it with water (I had my own, but the thought was appreciated).

I’m submitting notes on recording separately, but can report that once I demonstrated that I was sticking by the dual recording rules, no one raised any objections or made things difficult for me. (I had been sure 1. to say I wanted to record on the original claim form (PIP2) and 2. to ring in advance).

I imagine that the chairs in the interview room would seem very uncomfortable after quarter of an hour – especially if you have any stiffness or any need for additional support. I was in my wheelchair throughout.

I neglected to ask about the medical background of my assessor, but she did say that she knew about MS – I am too cautious to make a point about understanding ME/CFS unless it is necessary.
#4 carruthers 2017-04-10 08:02
Maps seem to show bus stops within 200m. A long way if you have mobility problems, but not what would usually be considered a long walk. (Note: there are shortcuts for people on foot/wheelchair not available to those in cars – look at the picture versions of the Google map.)

We arrived by car (9 miles, but we could have got a nearer centre), Car access for many involves the A1 close to the river Tyne crossings, so allow for lots of extra time near rush hours. We were given an appointment at that centre when my original appointment was re-arranged at very short notice (10 minutes before we left the house!).

The Team Valley centre was chosen because it had “lots of parking” after I’d requested access to a blue badge space. That was a miscalculation by someone at Atos customer service centre who was, I think, trying to be helpful. There was hardly any parking within the circle of the buildings at 3.10 p.m., but we passed several free spaces just outside that circle, which would have added 40-50m to the distance to the door.
You can get up a Google map/picture at the reference:

https://goo.gl/maps/ceYC9P7wZ1E2

I think that should show a red pointer which I have placed exactly at the correct entrance to the building. This map also shows bus stops on Kingsway South and Eastern Avenue.
#3 redrosedave 2016-10-13 14:28
#3 Redrosed
Let down by own transport so I phoned to say I might be late, informed 10 min leeway or re- arranged app needed. Made it on time DOOR DOES NOT OPEN TILL 9AM. Staff very helpful replacement chair provide and I think the toilets were near by. I agree with the other reports about access, parking and transport etc. Blue badge holders could probably park outside on double yellow lines. My own taxi driver (needed at short notice) waited outside for me (25 mile round trip, £30). The examination room windows were wide open (hot weather) and outside was a busy main road with noisy traffic.
Couldn't believe it was an ATOS assessment centre
#2 Alonsticks 2016-01-28 00:10
Echo the above comments whole-heartedly . My only transport is an old 4x4, as I can't physically get into anything smaller these days, and parking was a complete nightmare. We found a space, but had to drive to one side of it to let my Wife/Carer disembark, then pull over to the other side of the space to give me enough room to get assistance to exit the vehicle myself. The entrance door was "sticky" meaning it had to be pushed hard and held open for me to enter, then, as previously mentioned, Rather low ordinary Chairs and ropey Settee to perch on while waiting. On the occasion I attended, they were running over an hour behind, so I was told I would either have to re-arrange for another date, or find some way of killing time for two hours! I drove to the Main Shopping Area, and lay on my mattress in the back of the car, while my Wife did a bit of shopping and had a coffee. Drove back at the allotted time, and simply took the chance of getting a Fine by oarking illegally, as didn't want to be penalised for being late for my rearranged appointment. Ushered into a small room with two of the most uncomfortable chairs in the history of the world, and constant traffic outside the (open) windows meant having to say "pardon" numerous time during the questions. (I'm dreadfully hard of hearing) Cobbled together facility at best.
#1 ronbo212 2016-01-13 16:32
no bus stop near by so it would mean a long walk. The building is a unit in a circular layout shared with other companies so parking is tight if you are lucky to find a space, no disabled parking whatsoever as parking is shared with all the other units and parking spaces are tight so there is no easy way of getting in and out of a car if you are lucky to find a space. as all the business units are all the same the access for wheelchairs would be tight, they have just installed an intercom system on the door so waiting to get into the building means having to wait to be let in. it is all ground floor access a basic waiting room with a few basic chairs and a basic settee. no toilets on view from the waiting room so they would be located down one of the passage ways, this would mean having to ask where the toilets are The assessment room consists of a desk with 2 basic chairs for the claimant and another person, .and a basic medical bed and a eye wall chart on the wall..the unit is hard to find for a person not knowing the area so best way to get there is by getting a taxi or to have a good sat nav for the car.

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