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In written evidence to the work and pensions committee, Atos have said that they ‘would fully support’ the recording of personal independence payment (PIP) assessments. They also revealed that an average of one third of their health professionals leaves every year and that 40% of requests for medical evidence from GPs and consultants are ignored.

Capita failed to return any evidence to the committee within the deadline.

Recording assessments
In a written reply to the work and pensions committee last month, Atos - now known as Independent Assessment Services – explained to the committee the current regime for recording medicals. This includes:

  • Giving three working days’ notice that you intend to record the assessment;
  • Signing a ‘recording agreement’ which seeks to limit how you can use the recording;
  • Providing your own simultaneous recording equipment which can produce two copies and which must not include laptops, tablets, smartphones or MP3 players.

However Atos went on to say that they “would fully support introducing a simple, straightforward process for the recording of assessments if the DWP select to introduce this facility”.

The chances of the DWP agreeing to this seem exceedingly small, however.

Staff turnover
Atos lose a lot of health professionals every year

In January to December 2015, out of 803 staff a total of 298 (37%) left.

In both 2016 and 2017 a total of 33% left.

This means that, on average, the entire health professional team has to be recruited and trained all over again every three years. It’s not surprising that the quality of assessments is as low as it is.

Further medical evidence
Atos do sometimes request further medical evidence from GPs and consultants in the form of ‘factual report forms’ as well as sending out DS1500 (terminal illness) forms.

However, in 2015 just 59% of these were actually returned.

In 2016 62% were returned.

In 2017 the figure had dropped to just 57%.

Given that DS1500 forms are always likely to be returned, the failure rate for other requests is probably much higher than 40%

Home visits and paper based reviews
The percentage of PIP assessments done just on the paper evidence is falling year on year, but home visits are rising.

In 2015 19% of assessments were done on the papers alone. This fell to 17% in 2016 and 14% in 2017.

In 2015 13.5% of claimants had a home assessment. In 2016 this had risen to 14.5% and in 2017 it was 16%.

You can read the full written submissions on the work and pensions committee web page.

Comments  

#4 Sara 2018-01-18 13:28
Bogus tip-off
This happened to me a few years ago re. ESA. I am in the support group. I got a letter saying an investigator was coming to visit me. I had to call them and change the appointment as my husband had to travel for work and as he can't leave me I had to go with him. The message I gave to the bloke in the office was not passed on to the investigator who turned up at the original time. He then called me to ask where I was. I told him I had called and left a message with the man in the office, gave the guy's name and date and time of my message. He was fuming but arranged for another appointment to be made a month or so later. When the time came for that one he accused me of being out of the country for months (not true - I was away a week) as my car had no valid tax disc - this was about 6 months after tax discs were phased out which he didn't believe when I told him. All in all he was very unbelieving of anything I said, insisted on taking my husband's financial details and was rude and almost aggressive. In the end it all came to nothing as there was no reason for it but they never bothered to tell me - I had to ring them. We don't know who gave them the tip-off but believe it was my husband's ex-wife. The whole thing dragged on for months in total and caused me endless sleepless nights and worry even though I knew I hadn't done anything wrong.
+2 #3 Appletart 2018-01-17 23:59
The DWP are like the third reitch in Hitler's Germany Nazi Rule, no matter what you do they have the upper hand. They can take you're life away just like that. There is no complaint, even that goes against you. They have too much power over people's lives, especially those who can't fight back. Sick disabled people have short life expectancy some never reach retirement and its ruined by this evil government.
#2 Julie Fettler 2018-01-17 14:12
My husband was subject to a fraud investigation including surveillance. It has been going on since August 2016 and we are still waiting for a tribunal date for the loss of his DLA. It was apparently an anonymous call to the fraud hotline. It has been absolutely horrendous and because he worked for the DWP, he was also sacked from his job in May 2017. The DM said he didn't dispute the pain he was in and in the next comment said that he can't be in pain as he doesn't show it on his face. It has been a complete shambles. The fraud officers made assumptions that were completely untrue. As my husband can't find another job because of the sacking and because of his health issues we are on the verge of losing our house. It has totally destroyed my husband and he hasn't done anything wrong!
+3 #1 mrfibrospondodysthmatic 2018-01-16 15:22
All these statistics may bring to light what in some respect is going on or not going on. But the truth of the matter the DWP's and other bodies working under their umbrella. They have a black canvass, on which they can paint whatever picture they feel fit to, of a claimant.

Whereas, the claimants picture is disregarded. Nothing seems to be getting done about any of this. The Tories are hell bent on causing many more thousands of deaths, through deteriorated illnesses through the WCA's etc, hence claimants commiting suicide.

Many upon or most, are realistically not fit for work. No employer would employ them, they are non productive, and would always be going off sick.

Subsequently causing the person or persons in question to start this inhumane process all over again.

Severe illnesses and degenerative illnesses do not get better, so why in gods name would you deem people fit for work.

As Mcvey states illnesses sort of miraculously get better, hence your like a spring chicken again.

This as we all know and so do employers and health specialist, know this is all a load of b*o*l*l*o*x*s.

But the HCP's & DWP don't. Ironic isn't it.

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