Tag Archives: ATOS

Lord Mike German writes…ATOS contract scrapped, two requests for its replacement

stethoscopeThe previous Labour Government’s 2005 contract awarded to Atos Healthcare has been a long term thorn in the side of the policy of fairly assessing people on Invalidity Benefit for transferring to Employment and Support Allowance. The contract has been dogged by decisions taken which have been overturned on appeal, and longer and longer queues as people wait for their assessments.

At the root of the problem was Labour’s decision to award the contract to a single supplier for the whole of Great Britain. Now, we know Labour loves monopolies and centralising …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

A reply to Matt on welfare by Lib Dem ministers Norman Lamb and Steve Webb: “We believe in standing up for the vulnerable”

This week, Lib Dem Voice published a deeply personal account by one of our readers, Matt: I need the Liberal Democrats to stand up for me when Conservative ministers denigrate me. It was read by many in the party, including two Lib Dem ministers in the Coalition — Norman Lamb MP (Department of Health) and Steve Webb MP (Department for Work and Pensions) — who have co-authored the following response.

lamb and webb

When we read the article posted on Lib Dem Voice on Wednesday by Matt, setting out very personally the distressing and painful experiences he has faced over the past few years in trying to access the welfare and health support he needs, we felt it was important that we respond properly to what he had said.

As Liberal Democrats, we instinctively understand that divisive rhetoric is both unhelpful and inaccurate, and for both of these reasons we should all remain constantly vigilant in challenging those who use this type of language to denigrate any member of our society. We believe in standing up for the vulnerable and providing support to those who are facing personal difficulties in their lives.

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ATOS lose monopoly on work capability assessments after audit shows up “unacceptable” standards

Those of us who are concerned about the fairness of the welfare system often cite the Work Capability Assessment, which claimants of Employment and Support Allowance are required to take. It seems that every few days there’s a story in the press reporting how someone has been marked fit for work when it is clearly inappropriate to do so. Yesterday the Daily Record carried the story of a woman who lived just a couple of miles away from me who was told she was fit for work weeks before she died of a brain tumour.

Concerns about the WCA appear …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Jenny Willott MP writes: Harrington – better assessments, better outcomes

At our Conference in September, the Liberal Democrats unanimously supported a motion calling for changes to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which accompanies it.

Speaker after speaker stood up to condemn the system left by Labour which subjected sick and disabled people to an ineffective, demeaning assessment process that was not fit for purpose. Many will remember the powerful speech by Shana Pezaro who condemned the WCA process as ‘utterly failing many people’.

The motion welcomed the first annual review of the WCA by Professor Malcolm Harrington, and the progress the Coalition Government has already …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

A Radical Activist Grandma writes… Lib Dems must make their voice heard on mental health and disability issues

Suzanne Fletcher had an experience many Lib Dems have experienced at the party’s conference: she’d prepared a speech but there was not time to call her during the debate. However, Lib Dem Voice is delighted, with Suzanne’s permission, to share her thoughts with our readers…

The speech I didn’t make at Lib Dem conference on the Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) and Work Capability Assessments
First of all congratulations to the Disability Consortium for their well-run campaign to get people to come and vote in this debate, although I was certainly going to be here anyway, along with my colleagues from Stockton, …

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The Independent View: Coerced, bullied and fighting back: living with Multiple Sclerosis and Welfare Reform

I am a 54 year old woman who has had Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis for around 6 years. It involves increasing pain and loss of mobility and, as there is no remission, only progression, it takes me all of my energies to manage.

After the legion of neurological symptoms forced me to give up work I have had to endure the trauma of an Employment and Support Allowance “medical assessment” by ATOS Healthcare (a French private contractor), I have struggled to attend the mandatory Work Related Activity Group, which was not a safe place in my worsening condition.

I waited months for an appeal and won, but live in fear of the brown Department of Work & Pensions envelope that indicates that the whole sorry process will start again, as appears to be the case for many who win their appeals.

If the Welfare Reform Bill is agreed this week, I face the same stress and anxiety in yet another assessment, to test for an already proven condition, in order to retain high rate mobility Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in its new guise as Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 35 Comments

Opinion: Must do better – Why benefit reforms are in need of reform

Over the last week, more and more articles have emerged regarding disability benefit (Employment Support Allowance) and Work Capability Assessments. I say articles – they read like horror stories. People with degenerative conditions being told to get themselves to the Jobcentre. People being asked to come to assessments in rooms that aren’t accessible to the disabled. It makes the blood run cold.

We have failed to show the public that this is not a cost-cutting exercise. They feel that this is purely a convenient way to squeeze a little more out of those already worst affected. Claimants are terrified that …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 73 Comments
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