British poem on ATOS witch hunt of disabled people

This video from the British Parliament says about itself:

10,600 ATOS Related Deaths – Michael Meacher MP – speech on Atos and Work Capability

Michael Meacher speech on ATOS Work Capability Assessments

January 17th, 2013

The first example concerns a constituent of mine who was epileptic almost from birth and was subject to grand mal seizures. At the age of 24, he was called in by Atos, classified as fit for work and had his benefit cut by £70 a week. He appealed, but became agitated and depressed and lost weight, fearing that he could not pay his rent or buy food. Three months later, he had a major seizure that killed him. A month after he died, the DWP rang his parents to say that it had made a mistake and his benefit was being restored.

The second example, also from the Oldham area, concerns a middle-aged woman who was registered blind and in an advanced stage of retinitis pigmentosa. She was assessed at 9 points—well short of the 15 that are needed—and her incapacity benefit was withdrawn. On review by a tribunal, the Atos rating of 9 points was increased to 24.

The third case—I could have chosen from hundreds of others—also comes from the north-west and concerns an insulin-dependent diabetic with squamous cell cancer, Hughes syndrome, which involves a failed immune system, peripheral neuropathy, which meant that he had no feeling in his feet or legs, heart disease, depression and anxiety. Despite his life-threatening condition, he was placed in the work-related activity group.

Those and myriad other examples illustrate incontrovertibly that Atos’s current work capability assessment system is drastically flawed, and for several reasons.

First, Atos is an IT firm and it uses the so-called Logic Integrated Medical Assessment, which is often described as “rigid” and “tick-box” because computer-based systems make it difficult for health professionals to exercise their professional judgment. Because such a mechanistic system has little or no regard for the complexity of the needs of severely disabled or sick persons, the British Medical Association and others have condemned the current WCA as “not fit for purpose”.

Secondly, assessed persons regularly felt that the opinion of their own doctor or of other specialist medical personnel who were treating them was either ignored or overridden. That is all the more serious when Atos’s practices simply do not adhere to the guidance for doctors set down by the General Medical Council.

Thirdly, because of the failure of so many initial assessments, the appeal procedure is grossly overloaded and hugely expensive. No less than 41% of decisions are appealed, of which 38% are won. At £60 million in a single year, the appeals have cost the taxpayer more than half of the £110 million that was spent on the original assessments. Moreover, the National Audit Office has castigated the Department for failing to penalise Atos for what it politely calls its “underperformance” and for not setting “sufficiently challenging” targets.

Fourthly, there are concerns about the responsibility for work capability assessments, in particular that of the Atos chief medical officer. Professor Michael O’Donnell joined Atos from the American company, Unum, formerly UnumProvident, which had a very poor reputation in the US, where it was described as an “outlaw company” by the US authorities, partly because it was regarded as a “disability denial factory”. In that situation, the responsibilities of the Minister and the Secretary of State need to be established clearly.

Against that background, it is frankly not good enough for the Minister to respond to the debate by saying that there have been three Harrington reviews, and that the Department is doing the best it can to improve procedures. The fundamental issue is this: how can pursuing with such insensitive rigour 1.6 million claimants on incapacity benefit, at a rate of 11,000 assessments every week, be justified when it has led, according to the Government’s own figures, to 1,300 persons dying after being put into the work-related activity group, 2,200 people dying before their assessment is complete, and 7,100 people dying after being put into the support group? Is it reasonable to pressurise seriously disabled persons into work so ruthlessly when there are 2.5 million unemployed, and when on average eight persons chase every vacancy, unless they are provided with the active and extensive support they obviously need to get and hold down work, which is certainly not the case currently?

Please sign and Share this petition for a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE!!!

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Nelly Giulien – Sick: An ATOS Doctor Embraces Reforms of His Calling

Tuesday 02 July 2013

edited by Jody Porter

Smart doctors think Hippocrates
a sentimentalist.
A chance of making money is
a chance not to be missed.

Tough ATOS Healthcare targets are
the right way to ensure
shareholders are kept satisfied
and I can earn some more.

A patient’s there to profit from,
not pander to with care.
The weak must learn they should be strong:
that’s how you get somewhere.

The sick, depressed, disabled, mad
can gain success and wealth
by having the right attitude
to money-making health.

But they phone us with sob stories:
they’re housebound, bedbound, dying
and can’t come for a medical.
We know they’re just not trying.

We calmly send a letter:
if they choose not to attend
the medical we’ve booked for them,
their handout-life will end.

For ones who come, when they arrive
we’ve got CCTV.
As they walk in to wait for us,
if they look well, we’ll see.

Reception desks make useful posts
for further observation,
where watchful staff can help achieve
more claim elimination.

A nurse or physio can do
the comprehensive test,
although a trained physician will
tick through the checklist best.

The questions are kept simple –
– is it a or b or c? –
to make sure we don’t waste our time
on false complexity.

This system works, I’m pleased to say,
as most the claimants fail.
We then declare them Fit to Work.
Of course they weep and wail

and fuss with our appeals process,
which can go on a year.
Lax specialists support their case:
the papers disappear.

When they decide to kill themselves
or die along the way,
that gets the claimant numbers down
and shows strong measures pay.

This poem was written by Nelly Giulien, a pseudonym.

Glasgow disability activists breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as prosecutors dropped charges against the Atos Two: here.

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