mrdee

Atos Health Care

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This French company is paid by the British Government to assess people on ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) or DLA (Disability Living Allowance), in other words, people who are off work due to illness or incapacity, and, in there own words "to separate the genuinely ill from the scroungers.", you can see the first part of video footage, which was broadcast some months ago on BBC in Panorama, let me also add that the payment of £100,000,000 a year to this company have now gone up to a grand total of £2,000,000,000 (yes, you are reading it right, two billion, or two thousand million British Pounds).

The footage for part one is here.

Let me also add that, after the fee to ATOS had gone up, and the assessments became even "stricter", a lot of people ended up taking their own lives.

The Government also do not mind increasing that fee, as the more they pay to ATOS, the more millions they will save the state by declaring people fit for work, and hence taking away or greatly reducing their benefits.

As you learn in this film, that system was started by the previous Labour Government, and is now continued and even tightened by the current Conservative Government.

 

As you can also see, they operate a "points" system where people have to get 15 or more to be declared unfit for work, and where most people, even the genuinely sick, obtain 0 points.

Like it says in the film clip, I too was asked if I could move an empty cradboard box, to which I obviously answered "yes", but, as someone in the film claims: "I do not know of any jobs that involve moving empty cardboard boxes".

 

Now, anyway, as you would expect, I too received 0 points and was declared completely fit and able to work, even wioth all the illnesses I have and I listed, and which ATOS did not question at any time.

 

However, what happens after ATOS is that people at the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions), who are not at all medically qualified go through a special book tat lists various medical symptoms, and, going by the ATOS "recommendations", they then declare people fit or unfit to work, going by things they do not even understand the first thing about.

 

Anyway, I received 0 points, and for a few weeks we had to live on no income at all, as they had stopped any benefit we had coming in.

 

I obviously appealed, and while my appeal was running they restored our benefits, and, ir seems they are doing exactly the opposite of what they claim they want to aqchieve, ie. separating the chaff from the wheat, as they do the things I just mentioned to genuinely sick people while I know two real spongers, one, a 23 year old who claims not to be able to work because of a kidney problem, but who can fill albums on Facebook with pictures where you can see her swilling vodka from a bottle.

Then I know another one, claiming to have severe panic attacks, which did not stop her from working behind a bar (cash in hand, of course), drinking her Bacardi and Coke every day, she has a man living with her who earns a full time work income, and she gets, just for herself, the same amount of benefits we receive as a couple. She also claims not to be able to go for a medical (due to her panic attacks) 20 miles away, but she can go on holiday more than 100 miles away three times a year.

 

Although my GP wrote me a strong letter, I still lost my appeal, they claimed I had not submitted any additional evidence (what about the GPs letter then?), so it has come to a tribunal now.

 

You also noticed the men, the one who could attack people and the police, and the one fit enough to run the London Marathon, but who still got their full benefit.

 

Also, make no mistake, Iove my work, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to go back to it, but I feel myself I am not up to it, the way my current physical condition is.

 

This brings us to the second part of the Panorama program, which can be found here, it starts with the case of a man who has the same disease as one of mine, and see how he was treated.

Just like me, his mental state of health was pulled off balance, and, even worse, shortly after the decision, he died.

 

Then there are the people with certain serious diseases, a great number of them died before they could even go to a tribunal.

The Government can also go on to claim there are no targets from them or ATOS, many people know better.

Then again, the Government members, Ministers and MPs, wikk not have to worry what to live on with their salaries of £150,000+ a year.

 

Now, should I win my appeal, they certainly will owe us a great deal of money in back payments, but how long will it take before I am called back for another ATOS assessment?

 

One thing the film does not mention is about the man with terminal cancer who was deemed fit for work.

Unfortunately he did not live to tell the story as he has died in the mean time.

 

No matter what, like one of the first speakers in the first film clip said: "The whole thing is despicable".

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For as long as the power to make decisions is classified into a black or white, there always will be cases that will be falsely denied. And with the system currently in place, you can only imagine what a topsy-turvy system that classifies into black and white can do. There are times when even doctors talk to patients and say, "We can find nothing wrong with you," even when a person is seriously ill, and when the person does die, the doctors claim that it was most likely of natural causes. There are some cases that cannot be proven, and the lack of evidence could either be because of an inability to procure the evidence or because of the expense involved in trying to present the evidence, so even if the case is the latter, the decision is made to indicate that there was no evidence.Many systems are formed in a rigid manner such that they do things that they have been doing all along, and that system was formed through a myopic view of how things should be run. In addition to that, if anything needs to be done that is not a part of the system, it takes a whole lot of effort, and people are not willing to put in the effort for something that gets them no additional reward when neither the work nor the values of the organization really matter to them. Think about it, most people are in it for the money, or they are truly over-worked and exhausted such that they cannot take on any more than they already have.

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Anyway, the thing is, I am going through something what is most probably the most important week of my life now.Unfortunately, due to the heavy snowfall and frost my sleep apnoea clinic was cancelled, so I will not be able to present any evidence from that at my tribunal which is coming up.The tribunal was set for Monday, January 28th, while my sleep apnoea clinic was re-booked for Saturday, February 2nd.During the coming week now, I shall be completing my file, and also get some extra written evidence in writing from various doctors to finalise that file, while I also have a final appointment at CAB (Citizen's Advice Bureau, an organisation that helps people with all sorts of problems, eg. financial, legal, rent, housing, and they also support representation for people at hearings and tribunals).As you can see, this is going to be a very stressful week for Nanna and me, while stress is exactly the thing I have been told to avoid.However, if I win my tribunal, at least justice will have been done, and the State will also end up owing us thousands of pounds, after they have made us struggle on a minimum income for nearly eleven months.At least I will then be able to lead a bit of a human life, and maybe find and afford the proper treatment which will either help me to feel better or (who knows) sort out most of my medical problems, although that might either be wishful thinking or could take a very long time to achieve.Anyway, wish us luck.

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Thank you for your kind wish, Jim.Maybe it might be a good idea to do what you said, depending of course on a) Will they let us change the date and B) How long will it take to get my results back, or how long will it take for them to re-book a tribunal.However, in the case of b, it might give me time to get more evidence together, but will also, inevitably, lead to more stress waiting for an outcome and being on the lowest income while waiting for a result.It is a case of the chicken and the egg, or a "no win" situation.Who knows, I might have a lucky brain flash or something, or something useful might come out of my talk at CAB.

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And yet another update, as things seem to be moving very fast except how they should.

And, no, they are certainly not making it easy for me.

 

As I mentioned before, the case is now partly with CAB (Citizen's Advice Bureau), or rather, its sister organisation Shelter,they are assisting me in the defense of my case at the Tribunal of Monday coming.

 

They are not attending the tribunal like a lawyer would, but they do prepare your whole defense, collect all the relevant information and evidence and advise you on what to say and not to say at the Tribunal.

 

I, obviously, already had some medical evidence, but, as I said before, the people at Shelter tell me what more I should present, and who to get in touch with for certain pieces of information.

 

I already had a letter from my GP, which he wrote in May 2012, but there have been developments since, and considerate changes in my situation have taken place.

 

I therefore needed my GP to elaborate a bit on his previous evidence and to present the new evidence in an additional letter.

 

Fairly simple, it seems, was it not for the fact we are talking about my Health Centre.

 

Nanna phoned them for an appointment with the doctor in question, and I was given a telephone appointment, but, guess what, the doctor never phoned.

 

Nanna phoned back to ask where that phone call was, but the doctor had already gone, yet I was on the system for a telephone appointment, so, they promised I will get the call tomorrow.

 

The problem is, every day of delay is a day wasted, and gives both Shelter and me less time to prepare the case.

(However, according to Shelter, if it suits the Tribunal people, they might put the Tribunal off if they do not have the evidence before a certain time, I can see me trying to get the Tribunal delayed because of a similar reason).

 

Then there is also the matter of a cardiologist I saw a few weeks back, and who gave very strong information which could work totally in my favour, but I obviously need his information in writing.

So, I emailed the secretary of the cardiology department at my local hospital, the lady passed on the letter immediately and stressed the urgency of the matter, that was about a week ago, but up to now: nothing.

 

As you can imagine, this is not exactly of the nature to do my stress any good.

 

Anyway, I'll see how things go and I will keep you posted.

 

I am honestly beginning to hope the Tribunal will be delayed.

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Well, folks,tomorrow is my big day.I have to attend my tribunal, where, so it appears, a doctor and a magistrate will consider whether my evidence (which they have already looked at long ago) outweighs the decision of the powers that be to decide if a) I am, or am not, fit for work and B) as a result of point a) I have to get the proper benefits which sick and disabled people get, or have to live on nothing, as if people can live on thin air.I am now going through all my evidence again, together with the letters that organisations and certain persons have written in support of me.I am, of course, not sure on how I will be allowed to present my evidence, will they make statements and will I have to try and refute them, or will they give me time to present my case, eg. by asking me "Could you outline on what evidence you base your claim that you are not able to work", or something similar?I have no idea, or will there be a totally different approach than what I am listing here?Either way, I do not feel very confident, it feels a bit to me that you, because of not being well, have to be treated like a criminal.I might have been told that I have a good case, but after all that has happened before, you might understand that I am not full of confidence.Anyway, I will know more tomorrow, in the mean time, keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck.I will certainly need it.

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I'm just getting back from vacation, and I'm really sorry I wasn't around to offer you at least some moral support with all the troubles you are currently going threw. I am really sorry for you. Sounds like one hell of a mess of garbage and red tape to make you suffer threw. And you of all people, I'm sure really need the help. Like you, I know of so many dead beats on public assistance, that always seem to skate right threw every thing and never get caught when we all know they are running one huge scam on the government, and making it tough for everybody else. I hope you get it all straightened out. I'm rooting for you!

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