Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Atos kills! Join the Brighton protest taking place on the national day of action against Atos

Assemble 12 noon Friday September 30
Churchill Square, Brighton

- Performance of Dick Whittington & His Work Capability Assessment - join in & shout at the computer!
- Funeral procession for those who have died because of Atos. Wear black!
- Leafleting & picket of Atos Healthcare testing centre in Upper North Street.


Atos Healthcare, a division of IT giant Atos Origin, is the private provider employed to administer the Work Capability Assessment for the Department of Work & Pensions, testing sick and disabled people who apply for benefit.

In 2005 Atos introduced a computer system to assess claimants' incapacity to work. Almost immediately concerns were raised about assessments performed using the Logic Integrated Medical Assessment (LIMA) software. Advice agencies such as the CAB complained about the inflexibility and inaccuracy of the tests.

More recently the Harrington Report and the Work and Pensions Select Committee, found the Work Capability Assessment implemented by Atos Healthcare to be mechanistic and Atos’ ‘medical reports’ far too often did not reflect circumstances and discussions that had taken place during the assessments (Harrington Report, pp. 40-41).

A large number of those tested are told they are able to work, but many have the decision overturned on appeal. Yet even those who win their appeals are dragged back within a few months for another test. Small wonder that some have decided to commit suicide rather than continually go through this cat & mouse process. Seriously ill and even dying people have been called for assessment, and the recommendations of family doctors & specialists are apparently ignored.

In addition, twelve doctors working for Atos face being struck off for improper conduct, and other members of Atos’ staff are under investigation over allegations of obscene criticism of benefit claimants.

Over time sick and disabled people and their supporters have grown more militant and more vocal in their condemnations of Atos. In return Atos threatened legal action against the Internet hosting companies of three websites - 'Carerwatch', 'After Atos' and 'Atos Register of Shame', attempting to silence those claimants and their small organisations who have had the courage to speak up.

It's time for a more human medical assessment and the abolition of Atos’s mechanised methods. Time for the dismissal of Atos and the return to a professional medical service, publicly run, and not for profits!

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