I have now received several more letters from around the country which illustrate the ruthlessness with which Atos Healthcare is dismissing all the medical evidence as ‘irrelevant’ and then cavalierly awarding people with patently serious disabilities 0 points.
* “He is aged 50, long-term unemployed and has been receiving ESA. He is taking anti-depressants and 8 different types of medication for his various physical problems. In order to be mobile, he uses a crutch. He is in constant pain when moving around and unable to bend down to pick things up without the greatest of difficulties, or to stnd or sit for any length of time. He feels quite wretched about himself, and has expressed that he would be better off dead than alive, and would consider doing away with his life. But he was awarded 0 points, and his ESA benefit has been stopped”.
* Another issue raised with me, which has so far had little attention, is that someone can win an appeal, thus have their benefit claim reinstated, but then within a few weeks be required to undergo another assessment. It smacks of hounding and harassing people who have been shown by tribunals to be incapacitated. “She was told by the DWP that it was not a medical but a fit-to-work assessment. At her assessment the medical practitioner refused to accept 4 separate medical statements and deemed them ‘not necessary’. On appeal, however, she won her case. Then just 2 months later she was called to undergo yet another assessment. She has been told she may have to be assessed every 6 months”.
* Another device being used, which is a flagrant denial of hitherto inalienable rights, concerns people who are actually employed, but are having their (statutory!) sick pay removed after work capability assessment and prior to their returning to work. “He is in late middle age, and says he has worked for a long time. He went on the sick because he was waiting for a hip replacement, but had every intention of returning to work when the operation was done and he had had time to recuperate. He was then assessed the next monthand 2 months later received a letter from the DWP saying his sick pay was to be stopped because he had been found fit to work. He had undergone however 4 days earlier his hip replacement surgery, and obviously could not work for at least another 3 months”. So why is he being persecuted? It’s not about getting people back to work because he already has a job. It’s about denying someone who has worked and paid into the system the right to claim sick pay when he desperately needs it.
I’m taking up these cases with IDS (for what that’s worth), and will be raising them in the House as soon as I can get a debate.