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Disabled Scots spared Atos assessment after firm forced into retreat thanks to Record campaign

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					http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/disabled-scots-spared-atos-assessment-1370433




Disabled Scots spared Atos assessment
after firm forced into retreat thanks to
Record campaign
THE Record has been congratulated, by politicians and campaigners, for helping force Atos
into retreat by exposing the stories of disabled Scots who were denied benefits by the firm.




THOUSANDS of disabled Scots are to be spared Atos assessments after a
“humiliating climbdown” by the firm.
Atos had been set to rake in up to £40million of taxpayers’ money assessing Scots
for the new personal independence payment, which will replace disability living
allowance starting next year.
But after a Record campaign against their methods, they have now agreed to
subcontract the work to an NHS “social enterprise” who will handle all PIP
assessments north of the border.
We have been telling the stories of vulnerable Scots who were denied benefits
after “humiliating” Atos assessments.
Politicians and campaigners congratulated us last night for helping to force the
French company into retreat.
And dad-of-three Peter Leckie, who lost 11 weeks of benefit after an Atos
assessment despite not being able to walk more than 30 feet, said: “This is great
news.
“The quicker we get rid of that shower, the better.
“I take my hat off to the Record for standing up for ordinary people and giving
them a voice. Now we are seeing it make the difference.”




                                                Despite difficulties
                                                walking Peter Leckie
                                                went 11 weeks without
                                                any cash
Labour MP Tom Greatrex, a leading campaigner on the assessments scandal, said:
“This is a humiliating climbdown by Atos.
“By subcontracting this work to the NHS, Atos are effectively acknowledging that
the public don’t trust them to do the assessments fairly.”
A spokesman for Citizens Advice Scotland added: “We have always said the system
is unfit for purpose. It is good to see that the campaign by the voluntary sector
and the Daily Record is having some effect.”
Atos will continue to carry out “work capability assessments” in Scotland for
employment and support allowance, which replaced incapacity benefit.
But the PIP assessments due to begin next June will now be done by Salus, the
occupational health arm of NHS Lanarkshire. Atos signed a £22million deal for the
work with Salus last week.
Salus are a social enterprise, with profits from outside contracts ploughed back
into patient care.
NHS Lanarkshire promised yesterday: “We are committed to ensuring that
everyone assessed is treated with dignity and receives a professional service.
“It will be delivered in a compassionate and transparent manner, supported by
robust governance.”
But Atos remain involved as holders of the overall contract for the assessments.
And Greatrex warned: “We need reassurance from Atos that the views of
experienced NHS doctors and nurses will be given sufficient weight, rather than
being dismissed as often happens with work capability assessments.”
Atos have denied claims that the Con-Dems have given them targets to help get a
set number of people off benefits.
A company spokeswoman said the Salus deal was “a new approach, working in
partnership with NHS Lanarkshire”.
She added: “It means PIP consultations will take place where people feel most
comfortable – in the heart of their local community.
“They will be conducted by health practitioners with first-class expertise in
dealing with the needs of disabled people.”
Atos refused to say how much profit they will make from the new arrangement.
The Scottish Government said they had “ongoing concerns” about the effect of
Atos’s work on poor and vulnerable Scots.
Ministers would “continue to keep an eye on the impact of UK welfare reform on
Scotland’s citizens”.
Atos have been widely condemned for their approach to assessing the sick and
disabled.
Crawford Leask, a mortgage broker forced to give up work by two prolapsed discs
in his neck, was asked at his assessment whether he could write.
He also told how the assessor effectively called him a liar by claiming his condition
was unlikely to cause his symptoms.
Scots-based Royal Marine Aaron Moon, 25, was declared fit for work after losing a
leg in Afghanistan. The Atos assessor asked him to point at his non-existent right
foot, then asked if he could move his toes.




Aaron replied: “I’ve no leg.”
We told the story of former Atos nurse Joyce Drummond, who claimed bosses
made her “trick” disabled people out of benefits. She said she was told to mark
people as fit if they could write or were properly dressed.
And we revealed secret official figures which showed that 55 per cent of Atos
victims in a 2009 survey were left without any income after being declared “fit for
work”.


Some are petitioning the International Criminal Court for the prosecution of
David Cameron and the UK Government for the relentless persecution and abuse
of the sick, disabled and vulnerable citizens of the nation:
https://www.causes.com/causes/794515-stop-this-evil-government-petition-the-hague-to-prosecute-cameron/actions/1687133

Some are petitioning for Atos to be fined for failure:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/fine-atos-when-it-fails

				
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Description: THE Record has been congratulated, by politicians and campaigners, for helping force Atos into retreat by exposing the stories of disabled Scots who were denied benefits by the firm.