The benefit system in the UK is to undergo a major change in April 2013, with a Universal credit system replacing the variety of options at the minute. However a bigger change is also underway, the way in which disabled people are tested for work. Atos, a French company, have been given the contract to review every disabled person the UK, whether they are on ESA (Employment Support Allowance), or DLA (Disabled Living Allowance).
“The French multinational Atos was brought in by Labour in 2008 to assess 2.5 million people on incapacity benefit to see if they were fit for work, for which it was to be paid £110m a year. To do this, it used a so-called “logic integrated medical assessment”, which critics claim makes it very difficult for health professionals to exercise their professional judgment. It’s computer-based and has little or no regard to the complexity of the needs of severely disabled or sick persons.
This is why the British Medical Association has condemned the WCA as unfit for purpose. Those who have been assessed often feel the opinion of their own health professionals have been overridden or ignored. As Iain McKenzie, Labour MP for Inverclyde, put it: “It is ridiculous to have people making an assessment based on a tick-list that looks like it should be used for an MOT on a car.”
You could dismiss this as conjecture: but these are the facts. There are 1.6 million claimants on incapacity benefit, assessed at a rate of 11,000 every week. On average 40 per cent of challenged decisions are overturned at tribunal – one in ten of the total assessed. It has cost £60m thus far to assess the appeals. Some 1,300 people have died after being placed in the “work-related activity group” for those expected to start preparing for an eventual return – 2,200 died before the assessment process was completed.” (Bold emphasis by me).
Read more from this New Statesman article by Alan White here.
Shockingly Atos were also the sponsors of the London 2012 Paralympic games. You can’t make this shit up.