This is the Landing Page for ATOS Healthcare Information

Currently there are several sub pages available depending on the information you require

These pages are:

ATOS, The WCA & Fibromyalgia
The contract between ATOS & DWP

Controversy

There is a huge amount of controversy surrounding benefit reform and ESA and for good reason. The whole process takes a long time to complete and there are huge amounts of appeals and tribunals because of decisions that are not correct. This then puts more strain on the system and takes it even longer. For example The Right Honourable Chris Grayling MP Minister for Employment told The House of Commons on 12th March 2012 that between November 2010 and March 2011 the Jobcentre Plus recorded 1,854 complaints, relating to ESA and between the periods of April 2007 and 7th March 2012 1,322 complaints, relating to ESA were recorded.

These reforms have been brought into place by the Labour Government and have carried on under the Coalition Government. At the end of the day the new system is designed to make it harder for people who fake conditions, or who are workshy, to get benefits. However in practice people with real conditions and real problems have to go through exactly the same process. Unfortunately the legislators do not seem to realise that if people lie, they don’t just lie to the job centre, if they want this money they will lie to doctors and consultants and use conditions that have no firm diagnostic test to do so. Which condition are we familiar with that has no firm diagnostic test? You guessed it, “Fibromyalgia!” They don’t seem to realise that those who lie will be able to generate the same, if not more evidence, to support their claim, than the people who genuinely need this benefit.


Citizens Advice Bureau simply say it’s “Not working”

The most controversial part of the process is the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which many believe is not fit for purpose. The Citizens Advice Bureau some it up quite well, in a report entitled “Not working” CAB evidence on the ESA work capability assessment. This report is endorsed by some of the most well know charities and organisations for disabled people. Unfortunately the WCA does not effectively measure fitness for work and the critereas for ESA are not all encompassing of the reasons some people with Fibromyalgia and other conditions can not work. If you want to read up on the ATOS Training manual for performing the WCA then you can view it here.

It has taken me two and a half years to claim ESA and I am still not in the correct group for the severity of my medical problems. I spend most of my life in bed and simply could not function without the help and support of my family. This website would simply not exist, if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs and his iPad, as I am not well enough to sit and type into a laptop all the time, anymore. I am swamped by my claims for ESA & DLA, so much so, that I have to spend any good days I have dealing with the latest letter, mistake or unlawful decision. It’s just not right.

The variable nature of Fibromyalgia is totally incompatible with this system as well. It seems to only be able to cater for those who have a statically defined medical condition and not a variable one. It seems that if you can pick up something from a desk once, during a WCA, then the government believe that you’re fit to pick things up from desks for 40 hours a week every week of the year and this is simply not the case. We all know that there are investigation teams that go around video taping claimants walking into a shop. I spent about six months being unable to walk into a shop, so imagine my fury if I had been taped going into a shop for the first time in six months.

Under these welfare reforms disabled people have to hide away, they are in fear of leaving the house on a good day in case they are seen outside and get taken to court for fraud. People with Fibromyalgia need to manage their condition, doing what they can when they can and not doing it when they can not. Unfortunately this lifestyle is totally incomparable with these welfare reforms and they are ruining many lives, of people with unfortunate conditions, like fibromyalgia. I am yet to come across anyone who ‘asked for fibromyalgia’.