Disabled need help but Atos is failing
them in the worst way possible
TOM GREATREX, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, says Atos is making patients feel
punished for being ill.
I AM not surprised that the Daily Record’s exposure of the failings of Atos has had
such a strong response from people across Britain.
I have been campaigning about this chaotic process for nearly two years, and know
from my own surgeries just how much anger and frustration there is about the
The principle of checking whether someone is fit for work is a sound one. The
benefits of work are clear, not just to the individual’s health, social and family
life, but for wider society too.
So people who can work should be helped to work. But those who can’t should not
be hounded by a process that is not working properly.
Like many of the cases the Record has reported over the past few days, I have
heard from constituents who have found themselves unable to work but trapped in
a chaotic system of assessment, appeal and
It is not their fault, but they feel like they are being punished for being ill.
The test as it stands fails to properly take into account the complex circumstances
of those with Parkinson’s disease, mental health problems or patients recovering
from cancer. People are left concerned, confused
and anxious about their own experience.
When the Labour government introduced an assessment, it was designed to help
people get back to work. The Tory-LibDem Government have turned it into a
They renegotiated the contract, ignored the trials and accelerated people moving
from incapacity benefit without fixing the problems.
The resulting chaos of delays in assessment, triple booking appointments, a
backlog of appeals and thousands of those decisions being overturned is down to
the Government’s failure to get a grip of this mess.
As well as wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, behind every statistic is
somebody whose life has been made a misery through no fault of their own.
The system must be changed to work for those who need support at a time in their
lives when they are vulnerable, as well as those whose taxes are paying for it.
The process was designed to help, not hound, those unable to work.
At the moment, it is failing the sick and disabled in the most shameful way