Below is the account of a caller to LBC 97.3fm on 27/7/13 to Petrie Hosken.
From LBC - "A caller who claims to be a former nurse at ATOS - the company tasked
with assessing people for Disability Living Allowance* by the government
- gives Petrie Hosken an uncomfortable insight into how assessments are
Nurse: Worst position I ever worked in - more like factory work. Had daily quotas
of 26 bundles of files - 18 files of clients to a bundle. I worked on
my own on the computer. Results were quantified before started -
results were what they predicted.
Nurse: Questioned why can't DWP employ its own nurses & doctors?
Doctors employed by Atos are 95% foreign doctors, who cannot get work in
NHS. Others are retired/ semi retired GPs. All doctors are very well
paid. Doctors are not allowed to examine patients. Shambolic.
Petrie: Are you surprised by number of Appeals?
Nurse : Not surprised. The result is told to you before you look at the files. Everything is predetermined
Petrie: Are you encouraged to turn clients away from the benefits system?
Nurse: Nurses did the file work - did not meet the patients. Told how many had to be turned down.
If not you had a kind of disciplinary. The doctors did not examine the
patients. Nurses and doctors are workers with no regard to their
clinical skills. You belong to Atos, who treat their staff horrendously.
Petrie: This is appalling. You have to have Targets?
Petrie: You turn people away despite their health conditions?
Nurse: uh huh
Petrie: How does it make you feel?
Nurse: Awful ( She left after 9 months working for Atos, having been a nurse for 30 years)
It is the most unsatisfying job. Joined to make a difference.
Petrie: So decent people leave - replaced by others who need a job and don't have your moral compass?
Nurse: I was told by Deputy Director at the Atos centre, who is a
doctor " Sally if you want to work here you'd better throw your
principles out the window."
Nurse: Said she left Atos after 9 months, having been a nurse for 30 years.
*Atos currently carry out the Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the Government for Employment and Support Allowance claims and have recently been awarded a contract to assess disabled people for the new Personal Independence Payments.
Transcript of Audio by @FordCarole [with thanks to @tinkerkitten4 ]
As many political observers and analysts will tell you, it is very rare that announcements from political parties or Members of Parliament come unannounced. In the age of internet rumours, blogs and news delivered in 140 characters on Twitter, it is extremely rare that people are surprised. But surprised is exactly how disability and Social Security campaigners were left feeling this past Friday when Liam Byrne, Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill and Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, announced out of the blue that Labour would have an Opposition Day debate on the effect of government policy and disabled people next Wednesday (tomorrow, July 10).
Pat's Petition welcome this debate on Wednesday 10th July 2013 regarding 'The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People.' Over 62,000 people signed Pat's Petition calling for this debate. And 48,905 people have now signed the WOW Petition . Please add your name if not already done so and then share asking as many others to do the same. ( 5 months remaining ). We, along with many others, have continuously asked the government to conduct a Cumulative Impact Study to assess the cumulative effects of the myriad of changes in policy falling on disabled people and carers. The government refuses on the grounds that this is too difficult. It is totally irresponsible to conduct an enormous experiment like this on disabled people without attempting to predict or measure the effects on disabled people and carers. It wouldn't be allowed in any kind of building project - so why is it possible to experiment on disabled people without checking that it is safe. With recess 18th July - 2nd Sept, followed by Party conferences 13th Sept to 8th October , this will be one of the last opportunities to get disabled peoples' voices heard for some time. Here at Pat's Petition we will be sending briefing papers to MPs from all parties, but it is vital you contact them too. It is personal stories about how these changes to benefits and services are affecting you and your families, that they need hear. This will help them understand why a Cumulative Impact Assessment is a necessity.
Actions you can take1. Write to your MP and ask them to back the motion. Contact your MP via this link Here’s the motion in full:
That this House believes that the Government should publish a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by this Government that affect disabled people (to be published by October 2013).Ask them to attend and speak on your behalf 2. Watch the debate live on the day using this link 3. Share the information with all your friends, family, work colleagues, local media. 4. Don't forget to use social media to raise awareness of this Disability debate. Share the details on Facebook, and if you use Twitter we will be using the hashtag #CiaDisability Times are hard for everyone, employment, housing, cost of living - are problems for us all. We are all supposed to be in this together. But disabled people are not in this together because they often have far fewer options.