How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’


12:56 pm - November 19th 2011

by Paul Cotterill    


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So the same GPs who are to be entrusted with the £80bn NHS budget from April 2013 may be stripped of their role in telling people whether they are too sick to work or not:

A new body could decide whether people are fit to work, according to drafts of the Government’s Independent Review into Sickness Absence. Employers would be able to ask the assessment panel, rather than GPs, to make independent decisions.

It is likely to say that family doctors can be too quick to sign people off on sick leave because there is no incentive for them to help people stay inwork.

“No incentive,” eh?

Perhaps the now well-developed and successful Quality & Outcomes Framework doesn’t count, even though it is specifically designed to “reward practices for the provision of ‘quality care’”.

It also includes financial rewards for care which promotes people getting into work (e.g. see p.97), as well as explicitly recognising the general link between employment and good health (e.g. p.125).

This new review has been co-chairedby Dame Carol Black, a NHS director for health and work. I’m sure this briefing from the Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association (COHPA) is entirely coincidental:

COHPA has been active politically in trying to represent the interests of commercial OH providers to Dame Carol Black, Government and key bodies in the industry.

We have met with Dame Carol and Ministers from DWP /senior HSE (etc) to put our views across about the future of OH. We hold seats on Dame Carol’s select committee for OH and the Council for Work and Health.

And we’re sure it’s entirely coincidental that COHPA was founded by ATOS Healthcare, which owns ATOS origin, which already has a £500m contract to conduct incapacity assessments, but which doesn’t necessarily do them very well.

In any event, we’re sure, should it comes to pass, that a key element of primary care provision will be safe in ATOS’s hands.

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About the author
Paul Cotterill is a regular contributor, and blogs more regularly at Though Cowards Flinch, an established leftwing blog and emergent think-tank. He currently has fingers in more pies than he has fingers, including disability caselaw, childcare social enterprise, and cricket.
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Reader comments


My workplace uses ATOS for their Occupational Health needs. I asked for a referral to discuss strategies that would keep me in work. They conducted a telephone box-ticking exercise at the end of which they said “you are fit to work”.
I know this, but am concerned that without appropriate support I will reach a point where I am no longer fit for work. When I stated this, they said there was nothing they could offer and that they were closing my case but to get in touch if there were any problems in future.
If they are unable to help people who are already in work, with strategies to stay in work, how on earth will they deal with those whose health condition has kept them out of the workplace for an amount of time?
My GP has been the only real source of advice and practical help. I worry for anyone with a mental or physical health condition if GPs are excluded from, and ATOS do become responsible for, assessing their fitness for work.

Box-ticking is efficient and cost-effective. Almost anyone can be trained to follow questions on a form, whether that form be a piece of paper, or a program. Getting a human being to relate to another human being, understand their complex issues, and work with them to find a solution, is much more expensive both in training costs and in employment costs.

If your only concern was maximising the profit on your contract, which would you choose? Who cares what the results are, as long as the government keeps stumping up the cash.

Brilliant timing.
The on-going train crash known as “welfare reforms” and especially the DWP’s Work Capability Assessment carried out be its equally criminally fraudulent medical abusers Atos, ought to confirm how utterly incompetent in practice this new proposed body is going to be.

GPs and NHS specialists are ignored by the DWP and Atos in finding chronically diseased and disabled people fit for work. Yet tens of thousands of such patients found by the DWP to be fit for work are having the DWP’s decision over-ruled on appeal when evidence from their own GPs and the NHS isn’t ignored and is given proper consideration.

There are nearly 170,000 active appeals lodged by chronically diseased and disabled patients disputing the DWP and Atos decisions that they are fit for work.
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2011-10-24b.75748.h&s=speaker%3A10517#g75748.q0

This proposed new body is just another neoliberal device designed to prevent taxpayers and national insurance contributors from accessing the British medical-welfare state in their time of need.

You missed the bits about how people signed off sick will be pushed onto JSA for 3 months.

Never mind that often what the person needs is LESS stress for a period, after which they’d be able to return to work. Nope gotta make sure they have a good and proper breakdown from which they’ll never be able to properly recover.

It’s downright evil.

5. Mike Killingworth

[2] More or less covers it, I feel.

[4] The intention clearly is that people won’t claim and so don’t show up in the statistics.

More generally – and I could probably copy the following remarks to most of the posts LC is likely to run in next three (or, Gawdelpus, eight) years:

imagine the following scenario. Osborne wakes up to-morrow to find that the country is populated only by the richest 1% (or 2% of if you’re feeling generous, 5%) of its citizens and by migrant workers. What do you suppose his intitial emotion would be? Sorrow? Or intense satisfaction?

The other thing I didn’t mention in this quick piece bashed out last night is that the research published so far by DWP in no way supports the proposals. See http://t.co/02Es0cgy

Essentially this says that there are some issues with the new (from April 2010) ‘fitness for work’ statement which replaced the old sick notes, but that a lot of these are related to GP preparation/training for new system, which is aimed at assisting people back towards work where this is appropriate, but not coercively. It should also be noted that the evaluation research started just 9 months after the introduction,so it’s hardly suprising that it wasn’t fully bedded in.

It will be interesting to see to what extent this research is referred to when the full findings and plan are published (I guess on Monday). I suspect there will be a lot of cherrypicking.

@4 – That’s your reading. I’m reading it as genuinely sick people being forced onto JSA, (which means their job is gone, note) deliberately creating stress for them. When you consider the rising tide of stress-related illness because of the weak worker protection in this country and hence the ability for bosses to bully workers into putting in huge amounts of unpaid overtime…

If someone in a medical profession is working for ATOS, it’s my belief they need to be struck off as a danger to the public.

Hold on…GPs can have long-term and quite personal relatilonships with patients, which can lead to GPs signing off people who are fit to work. Meanwhile, in every sink estate (all a triumph of socialist planning), there are plenty of people – sorry, hominids – signed off because the unfortunate GP feels intimidated. My wife is a Dr and she says abuse is widespread. And Labour will never achieve power until it deals with the culture of welfare dependency and entitlement to something-for-nothing that so pisses off the working class!

“Hold on…GPs can have long-term and quite personal relatilonships with patients, which can lead to GPs signing off people who are fit to work”

Really? Cite cases.

“culture of welfare dependency”

Oh yes, 4000 long-term JSA claimants. A “culture”.

And right, you don’t even think the the poor are Human. You’re a lovely example of the ATOS supporter – Neo-Fascist scum.

10. claimantsfightback

God forbid that a trained medical professional may be left in charge of officiating over medical matters. These things are best left to Tory vermin and their lackeys, lest a ‘wrong’ decision be come to without a political parasite having input into a complex medical assessment.

These people are not ‘mistaken’ or ‘wrong’, they are motivated by sheer hatred of people.

Once again the tories show they don’t trust the people.

Only doctors loyal to the regime will be trusted. How very brownshirt of them.

What is even more funny is that these are the same vermin that continue to repeat self regulation for elite bankers.

And once again one has to ask where are the lie dems on this? Do they get a say? Or are they just carboard cut outs?

8
The sink estates which you mention are actually thriving in a capitalist society not a socialist one, just mentioning.
And surely employees of ATOS could be in a position of feeling intimidated if they are dealing with someone they know, family, friends etc, as the GP has more to lose, I would suggest that the abuse is more likely to occur at ATOS.

15. So Much For Subtlety

Doctors have largely given up on their social responsibilities, they have thrown away their professional obligations, in part by signing pretty much anything for anyone.

It is sad that the government feels it can no longer rely on their professionalism but they are probably right. I am not sure this is the right solution. It would be better if doctors took their professional responsibilities more seriously. But if they won’t, they won’t and so they will have to be replaced by someone who will.

Sad, but there you go.

15 classic brownshirt troll.

Slag off the doctors. Trolls are so boring. They would murder their own grand mothers if their political masters demanded it.

17. So Much For Subtlety

3. joe kane

The on-going train crash known as “welfare reforms” and especially the DWP’s Work Capability Assessment carried out be its equally criminally fraudulent medical abusers Atos, ought to confirm how utterly incompetent in practice this new proposed body is going to be.

In what way is the new WCA a train crash? It seems to be working well to me. As for Atos, as you have no evidence of these claims at all, it is not really worth responding, is it? You are just kicking your credibility out of the park.

GPs and NHS specialists are ignored by the DWP and Atos in finding chronically diseased and disabled people fit for work. Yet tens of thousands of such patients found by the DWP to be fit for work are having the DWP’s decision over-ruled on appeal when evidence from their own GPs and the NHS isn’t ignored and is given proper consideration.

Atos employs doctors too. Doctors with more spine. It is true that some of their decisions are over turned on appeal. But let’s be clear – the majority of people who have come before Atos in trials so far have been moved off Disability. The majority of those have not objected. Of those that have objected this decision, the majority have failed in their appeals. Atos is doing a vastly better job than Britain’s GP. Vastly more accurate. Which shows the problems – doctors are not doing their jobs.

15
I would suggest that the reason the government is taking sick notes out of the hands of doctors is because they can rely on their (doctors) professionalism.
Doctors practice against the backdrop of an ethical code unlike the tick-box system carried-out by clerks, who do not understand the subject they are asking about, or have the ability to extract relevant information based on knowledge.

@17 Doctors with more spine? Have you ever been to one of these assessments? I have. You really do not have the faintest idea, have you?

http://thosebigwords.forumcommunity.net/?t=45811145&p=335698083

Of course they have no idea. They are trolls.Their only skill is obeying orders. Their loyalty is to the rich.

It is fascinating how their mantras about small govt and self regulation can be so easily dumped and replaced by big govt, and state spying on the people. These people can spin on a sixpence if their masters demand it.

21. So Much For Subtlety

18. steveb

I would suggest that the reason the government is taking sick notes out of the hands of doctors is because they can rely on their (doctors) professionalism.
Doctors practice against the backdrop of an ethical code unlike the tick-box system carried-out by clerks, who do not understand the subject they are asking about, or have the ability to extract relevant information based on knowledge.

The doctors who work for Atos are bound by exactly the same ethical code. The problem is that clearly too many doctors are ignoring it. They are erring on the side of treatment when they should not be. They are signing too many notes when they should not. They are turning a blind eye to abuses in the system.

We know this with specific reference to Atos because Atos does such a better job. As can be seen by their decisions. We know this in general because of things like Repetitive Strain Injury. Or the fact that one in four American women will be medicated for “mental illness” at some point in their lives. Or just the explosion of people on various forms of Disability since the 1980s.

Fiona

Doctors with more spine? Have you ever been to one of these assessments? I have. You really do not have the faintest idea, have you?

So you’re upset because they turned you down? Anecdote, even personal anecdote, is not data. What we know is that the majority of people on this form of Disability, in the trials so far, no longer get Disability. Of those, the majority of the minority that appeal have their appeals rejected. Doctors clearly are not doing their jobs properly.

@21. No, I am not upset because they turned me down. I am upset because they are incompetent and inefficient and they cost a great deal of money. I am upset because they are treating people with no respect whatsoever and are mere jobsworths. As to anecdote not being evidence: precisely what evidence is there in support of Mr Frost’s statement that ” when people were off sick for longer than four weeks they started “to lose the will to work”.”? Oh, that is right. None. At. All. Not even anecdote. What evidence do you have that there is no distinction between being sick and being disabled, as these clowns think? And while you are about it, what evidence do you have that ATOS are right and doctors are wrong? The fact that they put people off benefits does not count,btw: it is kind of loaded as a measure, you know?

I read this new policy with puzzlement because these assessments will be be done after someone has been off sick only a month. Not everybody who is sick for a month is out of work as a result. Many companies have sick pay schemes and even after employees exhaust that and are on Statutory Sickness Benefit they may still have a job to go back to.

A few months ago my daughterwas seriously injured in a road accident. A month after the accident she was still had stitches and staples in her wounds and was visiting the hospital every two days to have her dressings changed. The idea that she could return to work, or do any work a month after the accident is laughable. I I doubt she could even have managed to attend an assessment centre unless it was in the same town she lived in and it had lifts, she was still very ill. There are many people receiving treatment for critical illnesses and after accidents who are still seriously ill after a month, possibly still in hospital and probably unable to travel to an assessment centre. What will happen to those people?

In my daughter’s case she had a job to return to so any Assessment at one month would have been superfluous. Her return to work was far better handled by the company’s occupational health department who understood the demands of the job she did and the restrictions of her injuries than any outside assessment body.

I am not totally opposed in principle to external assessment but I think to introduce them for those who have been off work for less than three months is likely to cost more money in superfluous and unnecessary assessments of people clearly too ill to work or who have jobs to return to than it saves in sickness pay.

24. Leon Wolfson

@21 – “The doctors who work for Atos are bound by exactly the same ethical code.”

Doctors are NOT handling this. A computer is.

Moreover, given the clear abuses at ATOS, any medical professionals working for them are in clear breach of their professional obligations. ATOS does a better job at forcing sick people to work, which is of course the choice of evil little shits like you.

“It is true that some of their decisions are over turned on appeal”

3% would be a disaster. 70%, with proper representation? That’s criminal. As is your continued incitement to hatred against disabled people.

21
Do you have any evidence to back-up the assertion that doctors are giving out too many sick notes.?
One thing that has become clear to me is that the ATOS doctors have little or no knowledge about mental illness and the implication of the Mental Health Act on diagnosis and benefits. Unfortunately, people with serious mental health problems have always found it difficult gaining benefits because the questions are usually based on physical ability and mobility rather than on cognitive and psychomotor problems.
No doubt our prisons can accomodate the ones that fall through the net.

26. So Much For Subtlety

22. Fiona

No, I am not upset because they turned me down. I am upset because they are incompetent and inefficient and they cost a great deal of money. I am upset because they are treating people with no respect whatsoever and are mere jobsworths.

They have a more accurate set of outcomes than Britain’s GPs. The costs of welfare dwarf the costs of Atos. There is no reason why they should treat anyone with respect. And they are doing a difficult and thankless task. That is not what jobsworths do.

As to anecdote not being evidence: precisely what evidence is there in support of Mr Frost’s statement that ” when people were off sick for longer than four weeks they started “to lose the will to work”.”? Oh, that is right. None. At. All. Not even anecdote.

Actually there is a reasonably large body of evidence that shows the relationship between time off work and the chances of re-entering the workforce. As there is between the effects of welfare and illness. It is not anecdote.

What evidence do you have that there is no distinction between being sick and being disabled, as these clowns think? And while you are about it, what evidence do you have that ATOS are right and doctors are wrong? The fact that they put people off benefits does not count,btw: it is kind of loaded as a measure, you know?

They are making a distinction between sick and disabled. You can be found to be sick but still able to work and hence not entitled to welfare designed for the disabled. Atos’ decisions are not being overturned. In fact is many cases they are not even being challenged. They are examining cases with doctors’ opinions behind them and rejecting the majority. That is pretty convincing.

They are not putting them off benefits. They move them from one to another.

27. So Much For Subtlety

25. steveb

Do you have any evidence to back-up the assertion that doctors are giving out too many sick notes.?

The explosion in numbers on Disability and the fact the majority are now being removed is not evidence enough? Nor the explosion in SSRI use? Nor things like ADHD? None of this convinces you?

One thing that has become clear to me is that the ATOS doctors have little or no knowledge about mental illness and the implication of the Mental Health Act on diagnosis and benefits.

Good. This is part of a wider problem that deserves another thread, but when the West is less successful in treating people with serious mental illness than India or Nigeria – who seem to do nothing but leave people in their villages – we have a problem. Our medical services have failed utterly with mental illness. We have focused too much on trying to be nice and not enough on doing them some good. So we have pharmaceutical companies producing drugs that don’t work – and seem to make most people worse – while self interested lobby groups try to persuade us we all have a problem.

If Atos has no experience, that can only be a good thing and perhaps we can do as well as Nigeria.

Unfortunately, people with serious mental health problems have always found it difficult gaining benefits because the questions are usually based on physical ability and mobility rather than on cognitive and psychomotor problems.
No doubt our prisons can accomodate the ones that fall through the net.

They will just stay on benefits. But no doubt they will end up in prison as well. When they need to be in a hospital. A pity about Care in the Community.

27
Agreed, we do worse than Nigeria and third world and developing countries and that’s because people with mental health problems remain part of the community and work. Unfortunately, there is little that medicine can do to solve the problem in the western world because it’s about acceptance and normalization and that still doesn’t happen, Employers are still reluctant to employ people with enduring mental health problems and there is still a stigma surrounding it.
Meanwhile, we have to address what is rather than some ideal situation which most of us, including those with mental illness, would like to see.

29. Leon Wolfson

@27 – Nope, because we now know more about medicine that we did in the past. Of course, you deny mental illness exists, so it’s not bothersome to you that people with severe mental illness are being forced into work, when it’s dangerous for them and others.

“If Atos has no experience, that can only be a good thing and perhaps we can do as well as Nigeria.”

Oh yes, we can burn people with mental problems as witches. That’s your speed. As usual, you’re engaging in illegal incitement against disabled people.

“Atos’ decisions are not being overturned.”

70%. SEVEN-ZERO.

What did you sell your soul for, SMFS, a shiny coin? Your master is clear.

30. So Much For Subtlety

28. steveb

Agreed, we do worse than Nigeria and third world and developing countries and that’s because people with mental health problems remain part of the community and work. Unfortunately, there is little that medicine can do to solve the problem in the western world because it’s about acceptance and normalization and that still doesn’t happen, Employers are still reluctant to employ people with enduring mental health problems and there is still a stigma surrounding it.

So surely Atos, by forcing the mentally ill closer to the world of work, is doing them a favour? This is what we both want isn’t it? Not providing some dead end which will trap them forever in mental illness on drugs that don’t help, but a gradual and slow move back to normality and well being – through work among other things?

There are good programmes for people with serious mental illnesses. The Finns, of all people, have an excellent programme that consists of little more than talking to them and their families in a group. Seems to work. Acceptance is not the issue. The failure of the medical profession is.

Always nice to see the torys scum trolls showing their love of the jackboot.

I hope the sick are ready to be put in camps. Only the fit will survive in brownshirt Britain.

32. Leon Wolfson

@30 – “on drugs that don’t help”

Ah yes, your absolute denial of their being mental health problems. They just need punishing for being weak.

Moreover, that’s a gross slander on the Finnish program, and as usual illegal incitement to hatred against the disabled. Moreover, your contempt for the medical profession is notable, I hope you receive *precisely* the standard of care you advocate for others.

The Nordic Model works, and well, because it stops a lot of the mental illness you deny exists before it occurs. Because people, in general, don’t need to worry as much about how they’ll feed themselves. Or pay for shelter, heating and lighting.

The things you’d deny to the poor.

33. SpiderComeHome

Eventual slavery by tip-toe totalitarian alert.

Civilised and prosperous, ancient nation denies the diagnoses of highly trained professionals for a rabble of integrity deficit goons hell bent/ brain-washed/ brain dead in the pursuit of (the master’s) personal gain – in a world convulsing with greed and ideological pursuits/ power.

It is hideous.

@21

You said:

“They have a more accurate set of outcomes than Britain’s GPs.”

Can you cite for this please?

” The costs of welfare dwarf the costs of Atos.”

So what?

” There is no reason why they should treat anyone with respect.”

You may think that: it is clear that you at least practice what you preach

“And they are doing a difficult and thankless task. That is not what jobsworths do.”

No: they are getting money for old rope. Which is precisely what jobsworths do, using the job itself as a substitute for their integrity.

“Actually there is a reasonably large body of evidence that shows the relationship between time off work and the chances of re-entering the workforce. As there is between the effects of welfare and illness. It is not anecdote.”

Neither anecdote nor evidence: not even good red herring

“They are making a distinction between sick and disabled.”

No they are not. Very few people would be characterised as “disabled” within 4 weeks of accident or illness: certainly the extent of any disability is unlikely to be assessable in that time frame.

” You can be found to be sick but still able to work and hence not entitled to welfare designed for the disabled.”

Since there are no benefits designed for the sick who are unable to work you make my previous point.

” Atos’ decisions are not being overturned.”

Since the criteria are carefully designed to prevent those who are quite obviously disabled from passing the test, that is no measure at all. Since they completely exclude any consideration of pain or other effects of achieving the things said to render one fit for work they are not fit for the stated purpose. Since, even with all of that going for them, their decisions are indeed regularly overturned at a rate which would be obviously shocking if it applied to the criminal court you assertion is not even true

“In fact is many cases they are not even being challenged.”

That is certainly true: there is absolutely no point in challenging them in many cases. How can one deny that “you can move more than 200 metres on flat ground (moving can include walking, using crutches, or a wheelchair)”; or “you can raise at least one of your arms above head height” when what is rendering you unfit for work is a broken shoulder?

” They are examining cases with doctors’ opinions behind them and rejecting the majority. That is pretty convincing.”

Well it convinces you: people who speak english, however…

“They are not putting them off benefits. They move them from one to another.”

Untrue.

@15 – so GPs cannot be trusted to provide evidence that somebody is not fit for work, but can be trusted to handle 80 billion of public money through GP commissioning?

Hypocrite.

36. the a&e charge nurse

[15] “Doctors have largely given up on their social responsibilities” – you do realise that whatever else you might have said (after this opening gambit) has been entirely lost amongst howls of laughter, or mass outbreak of head shaking?

“Doctors have largely given up on their social responsibilities” – I know I’m probably going to regret this, but can you tell us what these responsibilities are, or would it just be easier to stick with the Fail’s pronouncement on scroungers, and the like?

There are a lot of comments here but not a lot of evidence.

I have spent two years researching Atos Healthcare and Unum Insurance as the UK move ever closer to the American style health system, funded by insurance, and my research is quoted during the ongoing welfare reform debates in the House of Lords.

40% of Atos decisions are overturned at Appeal, and this number rises to 70% when the victim of this gvt funded medical tyranny have professional representation, so that means that the majority of Atos decisions are incorrect…

Perhaps, if you looked at some evidence, you’d be better informed:

http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html/#report

I am a disabled veteran, a retired healthcare professional and my research wasn’t funded by anyone else and was conducted voluntarily for the greater good.

Mo Stewart

@29 “70%. SEVEN-ZERO.”

Unfortunately this statistic is misleading and I do not advocate people using it. Only 70% of appealed decision are overturned.

The ATOS system is a disgrace for other reasons.

@30 “but a gradual and slow move back to normality and well being ”

Bullshit. After a failed ATOS assessment benefit is immediately stopped and the person is left to fend for themselves, whether able to find a job or not. There is no help to find a job or any “slow move back” to anything.

40. Leon Wolfson

@37 – 70% is completely true. The non-intimidated faction of people who appeal have a stunningly high success rate.

But a lot of people will not have any grounds for appeal, because the criteria are now so harsh that it is very difficult to meet them. The appeal looks at the same criteria.

To say that 70% of decisions are wrongly made is to miss the point to that extent. If 70% of ill people chucked off ESA could just appeal and be all right after all, things would be a lot better than they are.

a & e @ 36

but can you tell us what these responsibilities are

To be fair to the vermin like SMFS, you are not asking him a fair question. He is a Tory and finds concepts like ‘compassion’, ‘empathy’ and the like completely alien to him. They simply do not appear in the Tory vocabulary.

Even the language used by the think tank in the opening piece betrays their own mentality. According to this so called ‘independent review’ apparently, there is ‘is no incentive for them to help people stay inwork’. The idea that that a public servant in any capacity would simply do a job, to the best of their ability, with the information available is a complete anathema to them. The idea that a doctor would need an incentive to put anything other that the his patient’s treatment first is a pretty revolting one to most decent people, but the Tories are not decent people.

They find the very concept of the NHS nauseating and find the concept that a poor person be given medical help they could not ordinarily afford nauseating too.

SMFS deliberately stays ignorant about the WCA because that’s the only way a half-reasonable person can support it. The rest of his case for it is built on gigantic presumptions and somehow he’s managed to insert ADHD into it now.

The numbers ‘on disability’(whatever that means these days, please specify what benefit you are actually talking about from now on) have not exploded. The rise in DLA was predictable and expected because of the artificial mechanism the Conservatives put in to inflate it. Incapacity Benefit didn’t rise at all over the course of it’s 13-year run. Keep pulling tabloid myths out your ass.

More than half of all ESA claimants are in the Assessment Phase, some of these claims are years old. That is what a ruin the system is in. Atos were supposed to increase their workload when the nationwide IB-ESA transition began in February and it was predicted they would be assessing 11,000 people per week. Instead their productivity collapsed and it’s closer to 11,000 people per month. They are still getting paid the same amount for some strange reason though.

Scores of genuine claimants are being abused and SMFS couldn’t give a flying fuck.

Im HIV+, cronnic depression, ulcerative collitus.

Im in support of ATOS,

I don’t do sick days, I even had a breakdown and still worked to the end of my shift, flu.. Ill go to work, what ever the illness I’ve had I still work, lots of people can still work they just refuse to

30
No, you will see that my position is that the environment is different, I would suggest that people with a mental illness in Nigeria would do even better with the appropriate medications plus their care by the community, note not care in the community, this is totally different.
Pushing people into a hostile environment would do nobody’s mental health any good never mind those who already have a problem.
44
Let’s hope that you don’t need surgery and the staff who carry it out don’t pass on a nasty infection.

This is really worrying. I really resent this idea that GPs just sign people off at the drop of a hat, on request even. It’s not true in my experience. Many people don’t have any kind of ‘personal relationship’ with their GP, and even if a GP did know a patient well, why would this automatically mean they would forget the responsibilities of their job? It’s a bit of a slight against GPs to say the least.

What a good GP has that an Atos panel might not have (not least because panels are a lot more impersonal than a one-to-one meeting) is basic human sympathy and compassion, which would hopefully lead to them listening and taking on board what their patient is telling them about how they’re feeling. I’ve found in my own experience of ill health that the more a GP showed those qualities, the more likely I was to get a sick note for a longer period of time, and that went *hand in hand* with appropriate referrals, treatment, and so forth.

Because GPs generally don’t say ‘here’s a sick note, go and sit on your arse at home, enjoy’. They actually want to get to the bottom of what’s wrong with you, and treat you so you will hopefully get better. Rest and time off work is often an essential part of that.

(Because bear in mind that when you first approach your GP feeling ill, etc, you usually don’t know what’s wrong with you, you just know you have symptoms. Often it takes time to find out the root cause.)

Atos on the other hand simply want to assess fitness for work – which they don’t exactly have a great track record of doing given the ESA assessments (and the appeals statistics that other commenters have posted). They don’t care what’s wrong with the patient, they don’t care about their treatment. They don’t care that rest may actually be a *form* of treatment, or a good way of stopping things getting worse.

To put this important part of a patient’s needs in the hands of an outside, independent company is scary to say the least.

Atos can’t be trusted with our data.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7704611.stm

Something that genuinely puzzles me about this debate: if the staff of ATOSS are just box ticking automata, isn’t the obvious solution to simply lie? Q. “can you…[whatever]?” A. “no”. What am I missing?

50. Steve Martell

Think it’s great people in pain are subjected to ATOS assessments. It is high time that all disabled are treated like scum, the idiots in wheelchairs make me sick, and walking sticks in public are a nuisance. As for diseases like Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, lung disease etc etc, there is no excuse make them work until they drop dead. Hitlers sons (oops) sorry I mean Cameron, Osborne, Iain Duncan Smith, lord Fraud, Harrington are right you know, they have made a good decision in punishing the disabled, after all they should not have been born at all. Britain wants only the perfect humans, and of course they have to be schooled at Eton, Harrow, Oxford, and be at least two million in credit in the bank… if your not perfect it will be the Atos gas chambers next…

Sally and Leon seem very active here. Would I be right in thinking you both suffer from some debilitating depression that leaves you fit only to call people cunts over the internet all day?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Sick? No you’re not! | A Latent Existence

    [...] is pointed out by Paul Cotterill at Liberal Conspiracy, Atos founded the Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association (COHPA) which has seats on [...]

  2. TheCreativeCrip

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/TJAVEX4M

  3. Anna Hayward

    Evidence that ATOS are behind the whole thing – RT: @libcon: How ATOS could be put in charge of GP 'sick notes' http://t.co/qyO8EHee

  4. sunny hundal

    @bengoldacre Did you see this? ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ – http://t.co/PETgBzTz

  5. Lauren G

    *brain melts* *doesn't get sick leave for it* RT @sunny_hundal: ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ – http://t.co/1m4RRtIH

  6. Zara Lockwood

    MT @sunny_hundal: This is really worrying > How ATOS could be put in charge of GP 'sick notes' http://t.co/e4UpmBwE (by @bickerrecord)

  7. Lee Oh

    @bengoldacre Did you see this? ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ – http://t.co/PETgBzTz

  8. Kayleigh Anne

    *brain melts* *doesn't get sick leave for it* RT @sunny_hundal: ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ – http://t.co/1m4RRtIH

  9. Michael Atkinson

    @bengoldacre Did you see this? ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ – http://t.co/PETgBzTz

  10. Richard

    Holy fuck! This is as wrong as it gets. RT @libcon How ATOS could be put in charge of GP 'sick notes' http://t.co/DAwmlm85

  11. Molly

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP 'sick notes' http://t.co/CyFYNA8B

  12. IpswichCAB

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ ~ http://t.co/zHmOGzma

  13. Claire Ladbrook

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ ~ http://t.co/zHmOGzma

  14. Eastbourne CAB

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ ~ http://t.co/zHmOGzma

  15. Alex Braithwaite

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/MSMsIFma via @libcon

  16. Laurence Robb

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/NbxFCwbI via @libcon #MS #MultScler #Disabled

  17. Chris Nicholson

    It's looking more and more likely that GP's "sick notes" are going to be handed to ATOS. Beyond evil. http://t.co/OCu8rYXf

  18. mikeyG

    Evidence that ATOS are behind the whole thing – RT: @libcon: How ATOS could be put in charge of GP 'sick notes' http://t.co/qyO8EHee

  19. TheCreativeCrip

    It's looking more and more likely that GP's "sick notes" are going to be handed to ATOS. Beyond evil. http://t.co/OCu8rYXf

  20. Paul Cardin

    It's looking more and more likely that GP's "sick notes" are going to be handed to ATOS. Beyond evil. http://t.co/OCu8rYXf

  21. Nigel Watson

    Sick notes or sick lobbying ATOS had seat on committee producing sick note policy and guess who might get the contract http://t.co/A8MxohZl

  22. Diane Lawrence

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/HanYCEJI via @libcon

  23. Paul

    It's looking more and more likely that GP's "sick notes" are going to be handed to ATOS. Beyond evil. http://t.co/OCu8rYXf

  24. Andreas Baader

    It's looking more and more likely that GP's "sick notes" are going to be handed to ATOS. Beyond evil. http://t.co/OCu8rYXf

  25. Andreas Baader

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/P5AaKuIB via @libcon looks like atos wii get contract

  26. David Gillon

    #Sicknote, supposed 'independent' review's Black has links to #ATOS http://t.co/zjtwlkE0

  27. Hilary Marmot

    Sick notes or sick lobbying ATOS had seat on committee producing sick note policy and guess who might get the contract http://t.co/A8MxohZl

  28. Heather Sanborn

    http://t.co/Nwx4XmNO How ATOS could be put in charge of GP 'sick notes' | Liberal …

  29. No Sheds

    RT @LudditeWebDev: It's looking more and more likely that GP's "sick notes" are going to be handed to ATOS. http://t.co/luxrXgLX

  30. susan roberts

    RT @LudditeWebDev: It's looking more and more likely that GP's "sick notes" are going to be handed to ATOS. http://t.co/luxrXgLX

  31. Tia Junior

    #ATOS could be put in charge of GP sick notes | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/z5J2pNB7 via @libcon
    Similar thinking: http://t.co/eyxHBiRn

  32. Sam Downie

    #ATOS could be put in charge of GP sick notes | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/z5J2pNB7 via @libcon
    Similar thinking: http://t.co/eyxHBiRn

  33. steve conway

    #ATOS could be put in charge of GP sick notes | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/z5J2pNB7 via @libcon
    Similar thinking: http://t.co/eyxHBiRn

  34. Les Tricoteuses

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/IhJ1aieQ

  35. Les Tricoteuses

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/6fjIzQIS

  36. VirtualResistance

    http://t.co/PZvfBdOa How #ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’

  37. Flake

    The fire sale is actually starting to make me laugh. It's good theatre if nothing else. #NHS #DestroyYourGovernment http://t.co/sYahRInj

  38. FRED WILLIAMS

    http://t.co/p0qn0pza http://t.co/0RcbBltS

  39. Annie Bishop

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/J3FaQCwP via @libcon

  40. Foxy52

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/LyJWkpOl via @libcon #wrb #GP's #braveheart #nhs

  41. House of Ill-Repute

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/J3FaQCwP via @libcon

  42. Keith Watermelon

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/64DKhr1U SERIOUSLY WTF?

  43. Delia Mattis

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/64DKhr1U SERIOUSLY WTF?

  44. Roddy Shippin

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/64DKhr1U SERIOUSLY WTF?

  45. TERRY RUDD

    RT @libcon: How ATOS could be put in charge of GP 'sick notes' http://t.co/xY4cNSqy

  46. Wendy MacKenzie

    Confused? You will be!! http://t.co/qhne9XNS

  47. nico phillips

    How #ATOS could be put in charge of #GP sick notes http://t.co/eBCrz3DI #ThereIsNoRecovery #hascb #saveournhs #repealthebill

  48. christina sosseh

    How ATOS could be put in charge of GP ‘sick notes’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/PxVbuMzV via @libcon





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