Protest Against ATOS wk begins
Dear Chris Grayling……I am writing to express my support for the week of protests against Atos Origin.
Atos Origin has recently begun a £300 million contract, awarded by the Conservative-led Government, to carry out ‘work capability assessments’ on all of those claiming Incapacity Benefit.
It is claimed assessments are to test what people can do rather than what they can’t.
However, I believe the real purpose is to strip benefits from as many people as possible.
These tough tests for sickness benefit are ‘all about saving lives not saving money’ claims Employment Minister, Chris Grayling.
I fail to see how that can be the case especially as this system of testing has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut.
Disability charities have heard reports of people so distressed that they will have benefits cut that they feel life is not worth continuing and have stated that they have had people say they will end their lives because of this set of health and benefit cuts.
GPs are being ignored in favour of decisions made by Atos Origin.
Many many conditions, change on a daily basis and the future of people unfortunate enough to be suffering from these kind of conditions should not be decided by profit-making companies such as ATOS but by medical specialists.
We are constantly told by the gutter press about the ‘sicknote fakers’ who are cheating the system. But we rarely hear about the tens of thousand of genuinely sick people who are turned down for the Employment Support Allowance but go on to appeal and win. Two thirds of applicants are found ‘fit to work’, yet 40% successfully appeal.
Plans announced for the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance have also revealed that this intrusive testing is likely to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit.
Disabled people, their friends and families have a lot to fear. There is real fear and concern about the outcomes of these assessments being carried out by this kind of company rather than specialist medical professionals. Atos Origin do not just do health related testing. They are a global IT and Consultancy company with offices around the UK. One speciality they boast of on their website is having: ‘a team of Organisation and HR professionals who undertake the analysis, design and execution of headcount reduction.’
Assessment of the sick and vulnerable should be removed from ATOS and handed to medical professionals with specialist knowledge who can help the most vulnerable of our society instead of hindering them and placing them on the scrap heap.