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ATOS (one day this could be you)

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

supercrutch

supercrutch Report 28 Sep 2012 01:03

Well my fuse has reached the explosive so here goes..........................

The medical person you sit in front of during your ATOS medical has a set list of movements he/she assesses you on, none of the movements on this list take into account the subsequent pain you will experience. (I refuse to attempt them). The questions are loaded in favour of the DWP (I refuse to answer them in the way they expect).

They watch you from the moment you arrive at the place the medical is held, they may drop their pen (accidentally) to see if you pick it up. (I don't - I can't). They provide a very low chair (I can't sit on it and ask for a higher chair).They look to see if you are clean with your hair brushed - if you are then it is assumed you managed that all on your own (most of us don't).

They have NO idea what some illnesses entail, my hemiplegic migraine is one such,. as only 1 in 400 migraine sufferers have this and I do not get a headache. Therefore do not present as a typical clinical case. When you explain that the blood supply to my brain stem is interrupted they look confused!!!

My consultants are specialists not general practitioners, they have examined, diagnosed and are treating me, NOT MY GP, he/she only follows the medical instructions as given by the specialist. You expect the person assessing me to understand all my conditions and how each may exacerbate each other. GET REAL JOHN.

ATOS are not qualified to make clinical judgements during a 20 minutes medical with pre-set questions.



JustJohn

JustJohn Report 28 Sep 2012 01:17

An article began this thread. It included :"A NURSE has revealed how her own life was ruined after under-fire benefits firm Atos forced her to “trick” disabled people out of cash.

Joyce Drummond’s medical training meant she knew claimants were unfit to work.

But she was told to mark people as fit if they could write or show up for an interview properly dressed."

I know this is happening. Many on this thread have explained how it has affected them. I think some very good points have been made. I am not the slightest bothered if you think I am hogging things or I am wrong. I often am. Debate is about being right and wrong, respecting other views and learning.

If I don't answer someone, I am accused of being rude and ignoring the question. If I try to reply, I am an egotist and full of my own importance.

But I am upset if you think I don't live in the real world and am not entitled to give an opinion. And that I do not have a great deal of sympathy for those caught up - those being assessed and those assessing.

Guinevere

Guinevere Report 28 Sep 2012 06:30

It's unfortunate that because a small percentage of people know how to work the system that the majority of genuine claimants have to go through the process.

There is anecdotal evidence of doctors feeling pressured or even threatened by patients which is why there has to be some kind of independent assessment. When my mother in law had to retire early she was assessed by an independent doctor and was happy for that to happen. Maybe that's a system we should revert to.

Playing devil's advocate I ask does being unfit for some work mean unfit for all work? I trained with a man who had one leg amputated in childhood. There were some jobs he certainly was unfit for but he was training to be a teacher so his artificial leg was no impediment to that.

I know of a few people who would be fit for some kind of work if only it was available but stay on disabilty benefits because they get more money than on jobseeker's allowance.

My belief is that disability benefits are meant to pay for the extra expense that disability brings with it and I'm happy that my taxed pension pays towards that. I'm not so happy to support people who don't actually need it. I don't think anyone is.

It's taken some years for liberal lefty me to come round to this way of thinking, I used to believe that most people only claimed what they needed and were basically honest. Experience has shown me that a lot of people will claim everything they can and are prepared to lie to get it.

It's because of this that ATOS exists. Are they doing their job properly? Most would say not and that there have to be changes made so that genuine people have an easier ride through the system. The number of successful appeals show that they are getting it wrong far too often.

Gwynne

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 28 Sep 2012 10:59

I promised myself last night I would not add any more to this thread, but...

I don't think many doctors are intimidated by patients to sign off 'long term', and certainly no consultant/specialist I ever met was intimidated by anyone...you don't get to that position if you are easily browbeaten.

Pain is often unquantifiable, one lady of my acquaintance is in constant pain , you would not know it because she is what I call 'stoic' , she's retired but if she turned up at ATOS she would be able to walk in ( slowly and in pain but she would do it because she's a tryer) , look presentable, neat hair, but dressing would have taken two hours not 20 minutes, she can no longer use her hands and arms without pain and is restricted in what she can do, Her clothes are easy to put on, no fiddly bits,..her hair is done by the hairdresser, it has to be she can't reach up to it for longer than a minute, she can't pick up anything BUT she would try if asked out of a need to not seem useless, she would get into a chair that was too low rather than complain or be a 'nuisance' to anyone ( this happened recently...lol took three people to get her off it again)

Sorry! It's a an obvious comment, what is needed is jobs,, then those that are fit and wanting to work can do so and that will pull up more work for those who are not fit but still want to work ...and then the ones who ARE fit but don't want to work can be tackled.

But first work MUST be there, otherwise this is a cynical cost cutting exercise by a ..... ok that's where I stop lol, my lefty liberal , working class, Labour voting roots are showing ;-)

But I will draw attention once again. to the money that is NOT claimed by many who are entitled to it, and that the larger part of the benefits bill goes on pensions not 'handouts'...and that for all the people one knows or sees or reads about, the majority of benefits are claimed by honest people not fraudsters, and would in most cases rather be fit and able, and in a job, rather than ill and/or worrying about whether they will keep the roof above their heads and pay their bills.

" Never judge an Indian ( Native American) until you've walked a mile in his moccassins"...

it's not a bad philosophy, I think DC and IDS etc ( all politicians in fact, at least 2 months living in the poorest conditions of their constituency/country before they are allowed to run for govt') should at least give it a go and take along some of the 'generalisers' with them, there but for the Grace of God go I :-D

TheBlackKnight

TheBlackKnight Report 28 Sep 2012 11:08

does being unfit for some work mean unfit for all work?

Let me try to answer that question for you. but it maybe with another question.
Lets say for a moment a person has epilepsy late 40s early 50s, that person is told by his GP he/she can't do the following...
If you have seizures, there are some jobs that are not likely to be suitable for you, for health and safety reasons. These include working:
1. at heights
2. near open water
3. with high voltage or open circuit electricity
4. on or near moving vehicles
5. with unguarded fires, ovens and hot plates
6. on isolated sites.
7. in small areas
8. with sharp objects around you
9. on your own
10.driving
11.with chemicals aound you
12 lifting heavy goods

What job is there that does not involve at least one of the above? (if a job was ever available) I can't think of any & if I could would an employer employ that person or a younger fitter person? That leads me into another question...
When are the DWP & ATOS going to take heads out of the sand & admitt what they are doing & it's one big mess up that the sick & disabled are suffering more from & costing lives?
Sorry if the last bit sounds harsh but it's true.

Gins

Gins Report 28 Sep 2012 11:39

I’ve been doing a bit of digging into how a disability is assessed and I have to say, I am appalled at the 'tactics' used by these 'assessors'

On reading some of the assessment criteria, it’s nothing shorter than 'entrapment'

Disgusting


And Rose, there is nothing(Edit wrong) with your political 'roots'............in my mind ;-)



PS Sue......I know you didnt aim your comment at me, I was referring it back to John :-)

Guinevere

Guinevere Report 28 Sep 2012 12:24

Ron, I used an example of someone fit for some kinds of work but not for other kinds - that doesn't mean everyone is - that's fairly obvious and should go without saying.

Epilepsy is a good case in point. When controlled by drugs it is no barrier to most kinds of work. I've worked with and taught several people with epilepsy and they'd be horrified to be told they can't/won't ever work. One of them rigs lights in theatres, he knows there's a slight risk but everyone up there wears a harness anyway - so if he did suddenly have his first seizure for years he thinks he'd be ok and is happy to take that small risk for a job he enjoys. He makes sure no one else is at risk and they all know he has epilepsy.

Even when not fully controlled it shouldn't be a barrier to someone who can find suitable work - I know one ex-pupil who works in a shop and enjoys her job very much. She has sympathetic employers and workmates who know what to do should she have a seizure. The firm's health and safety department have no problem with her continued employment.

Sadly, some people's epilepsy cannot be controlled yet but they shouldn't have to give up hope that one day it will be. And that maybe one day they'll be able to work. Plenty of people diagnosed with epilepsy are driving around in cars today - should we deprive them all of their licences in case they have a fit? The law says that 2 years with no seizures means you can drive - and quite right too.

Rose, I'm only going by an old Guardian article where some GPs said they did feel intimidated and didn't want the responsibilty of declaring people fit or unfit, they wanted to pass the buck. An independent doctor looking over consultants' records should maybe be the first stage in the process. If it's obvious that the person is unfit then it need go no further than that.

People get more money on sickness benefit than on jobseeker's allowance. So people will do what they can to claim it even though they aren't really entitled - and that really isn't fair. I'd say most of us know someone who does just that, I know I do. That money should be going to those who really need it.

Yes, there is a lot wrong in the country and more available work would be wonderful but that's no excuse (in my mind) for people to dishonestly claim benefits to which they aren't entitled, when the entitled are struggling to get by. I want it to go where it's needed.

Gwynne

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 28 Sep 2012 12:55

Gwynne "An independent doctor looking over consultants' records should maybe be the first stage in the process. If it's obvious that the person is unfit then it need go no further than that."

fair enough, I don't think anyone would quibble with that.

Nor with regular reviews per se, as medical conditions change, for better or worse over time...it is the methods used by ATOS that appear to be flawed, not the actual premise.

I don't want to see anyone get benefits they are not entitled to...or dishonestly claiming any benefit, though I don't know anyone personally who is doing so, but I do see a real danger in branding the innocent and guilty alike, with no proper means in place of deciding which is which.

By the same token ALL generalisations worry me, .and there ARE a lot of generalisations which regularly fly around, whether that is directed at scroungers, migrants, unemployed, council tenants, single mums lol, etc. I wade in when I can to balance the argument, sometimes I tip it slightly more one way in my passion for a 'fair deal'.
;-)... maybe it's a Sagittarian/Libra thing lolol.

Guinevere

Guinevere Report 28 Sep 2012 13:08

I don't think we are that far apart in our views, Rose. I said from the start that it's only a small number claiming illegitimately but that doesn't mean they should get away with it in my view. I think most people know that it's only a few but still want it stopped.

The saddest thing is that those in real need of extra benefits are having to go to appeals while the ones who play the system often sail through, having done their homework.

ATOS is useless without the input of proper medical knowledge.

There's only a small pot of money available because of all sorts of reasons - like an expensive and unnecessary war - what there is should go to those who legitimately need it.

Gwynne

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 28 Sep 2012 19:07

Have come in from work tonight and expected I would have been flamed. But I look at Gwynne's post and Rose's reply and the bits in between and I am thinking - that was exactly what I said!!

Yes, I used emotive language. Yes, I generalised a bit. But what Gwynne said was very similar to what I THOUGHT I had said. And I got told I was out of touch etc etc. I was asked what a socialist republican was and told I was an antagonist by someone who was possibly bevvied up.

I believe that a lot of this hard line approach from ATOS is because the Government is worried that the huge welfare budget needs to be reigned in. There is going to be emotional story after emotional story in the next few months that will make us all weep - and, yes, I weep a lot. Don't think we are in a competition about who has most sympathy for people who genuinely need financial help.

I think using doctors as a second opinion is a very good idea, but it would cost a fortune and where do you get the doctors from. I am tempted to ask - are you for real? are you living in the real world? :-) ;-)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would feel very angry about the Government and ATOS if I was needing benefits and had been told by the doctor I was unable to work. But the Opposition (Ed Balls) has said today that the Labour Party will have to review the welfare budget if they get back in power (because of financial mismanagement of the Coalition, acording to him). So nothing is likely to change with a change in Government. And I do feel that we should all be angry too about these people (and I bet we have all got at least one in our family) who openly and wantonly abuse the benefits system.

Guinevere

Guinevere Report 28 Sep 2012 19:18

Can't say I agree with much of what you said, John, so I have to disagree.

Gwynne

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 28 Sep 2012 19:25

Good job I am not a politician :-D :-D

Several times I have contributed to threads and been told I am out of touch, don't understand real word, am a prat, an antagonist.

Yet often someone says virtually the same thing as me and everyone says "that is a good point" Obviously doing something very wrong, but I don't mind being cast as a villain - as long as points I make eventually contribute to the debate. I cannot find one thing to disagree with Gwynne about, and feel confident I have made those points.

Sue "You expect the person assessing me to understand all my conditions and how each may exacerbate each other. GET REAL JOHN.

ATOS are not qualified to make clinical judgements during a 20 minutes medical with pre-set questions."

I have NEVER said any of that. I have never thought any of that. My blood is now boiling
:-( :-(

Gins

Gins Report 28 Sep 2012 19:30

Dear John


You really confuse me with your 'conflicting' opinions! One minute, I get you, the next.....off yer t@ts?

I will be away with the mates in about 10mins..............and shall not post, due to' wine' consumption :-D

~~~~~~~~~~~~good luck girls ;-)

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 28 Sep 2012 19:37

John i really think you must be doomed to insult people (even the people you are not intending to insult by terming them " possibly bevvied up" :-0).

"these people (and I bet we have all got at least one in our family) who openly and wantonly abuse the benefits "..NO John you have lost your bet entirely ,I don't have one in my family.

Re "I think using doctors as a second opinion is a very good idea, but it would cost a fortune and where do you get the doctors from."

BUT any GP who is not 100% sure of a diagnosis and/ or possible effects of an illness CAN refer their patient to a consultant... it's done every day, and that consultant/specialists opinion should , as I have already said, count.

I'll hold my hands up and say that some of my comments re generalising are as a result of comments on my now defunct thread re the recession... but it certainly applies here too.

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 28 Sep 2012 19:50

John, I fiind reading what you are about to post aloud is a good indicator of how it 'may' read to others ( I recommend this when you write your book) ...sometimes it is only when one does that that one realises that the words don't quite match the thoughts you are trying to express .

Likewise reading it back once more before posting, to edit a word here and there or rephrase... yes it may lack some of the spontanaeity, but it does cut down the chances of saying something in an ill-considered way, or in a moment of temper perhaps...

I am working on that one constantly these days! I have a multi pack of gaffer tape on order to put across my mouth and wrap around my fingers when needed, to prevent me exploding!

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 28 Sep 2012 19:56

Have looked back at what seems to have lit the fuse against me on this thread. Sue took great exception and then others piled in:

"I reckon I can tell a benefit fraud and a genuine case within seconds - most of us could. I do think some of the genuine cases need to be counselled by a body like ATOS (or a Parish Relief Board) who can really find out what people can do and if there is any way the authorities can help with training, finance, marketing etc."

I can clearly see that ATOS are doing a bully boy job for the DWP. I am suggesting that genuine claimants can be identified and treated in a different way ( a caring and humane way) compared to those who may be manipulating system and need to go down quite another route.

If genuine claimants were reviewed properly, some may well want to explore the possibility of having a job eventually. And locally we should be able to set up help for them.

The only time in my life I have been inside 10 Downing St was when I was guest of a lady who had won "Businesswoman of the Year" about 15 years ago. She had no job and set up her company to help people mutually to establish new businesses in Shropshire area. She did very well, and so did many of her clients. All the advice and training was very specific to the ideas of the budding entrepreneurs and her organisation "hand held" for at least 2 years and provided support a long time after that. It was brilliant networking, and quite a lot had felt they were unemployable at start of course.

JoyBoroAngel

JoyBoroAngel Report 28 Sep 2012 20:02

what about the dying John or those diagnosed as terminal
what job would you give them


sometimes common sense prevails sometimes not :-(

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 28 Sep 2012 20:06

Rose :-D :-D :-D

Reckon I am not the only one on this thread who needs to take a tablet and bring out gaffer tape.

I quite enjoy the spontaneity now, I must admit. I quite enjoy stirring occasionally. It is not always a bad thing when people get angry about something - at least we care and it is "real". And I never lose my temper (honest). I quite like everyone on this thread, even when I am told I am an antagonist (Classical painter?) :-D :-D ;-)

SueMaid

SueMaid Report 28 Sep 2012 20:17

John - having the stirred the pot you are now crying 'poor me'. Again I believe you know exactly what you are doing - you have said before that you like a good 'debate'....or was that argument?

Accusing people of being 'bevvied up' is not a good way to make friends :-0 And I personally don't have a benefits cheat in my family.

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 28 Sep 2012 20:19

Joy Good question. I guess we are all dying. My dad was just 60 and died whilst he was working. Sure he would have preferred to have a diagnosis that he had a year to live, so he could have planned things better.

Those actually in the very last stages of their lives (hospice, MacMillan nurse visits) can be very different to those given, say, a maximum of 5 years to live. There is a huge range and each person needs to be assessed individually, I would have thought. Each individual has different plans and ideas for the rest of their life however long or short, and you can do an awful lot even in one day.
You are just trying to generalise - not a good idea, surely :-( :-(

Sue Think bevvied up may have been pretty accurate. Due legal process will take effect if I am wrong :-( I did think he/she was on a different thread, but possibly they thought the same about me :-D If the poster comes back on and says they never had a drink last night, I will apologise profusely to them. But I would like to know what on earth they were on about :-S