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IAS say assessors can write what they want on reports

wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
I am sharing this extract from my final letter from ATOS following their so called investigation of my complaint regarding the standard of my report. It appears, from what they are saying, that the assessor can choose what data to submit to DWP from your medical history and from what was said and done at the assessment. So even if they don't lie they are still not giving DWP the full picture. It is easy for them to include minor conditions and leave out crucial information that would indicate that help was needed with a particular activity. The word "fair" therefore does not apply. During training assessor's are told they are not there to make medical diagnoses but to assess how a person's disability affects them in everyday life. So why are they talking about "medical opinion" and "medical knowledge and experience". Are they then saying any evidence from other more qualified sources can be over ridden or simply ignored? "Clinical knowledge and experience of the reported conditions". They would have had to work in every field of medicine to cover this. The judgements they are making about the amount of help a person needs normally requires an OT to visit a person's home and take them to every room to go through all that is necessary to even do the basic tasks. That's when decisions are made about whether aids or help from another person is made. Not by someone sitting in an office far from the claimant's home. Even if a home assessment is done they stay in the one room and refuse to be shown anything or even given a photograph to illustrate the layout of the bathroom for example. While ever assessor's are given this sort of freedom to disbelieve what they're being told by the claimant and the people who know them best and ignore or change the opinion of GP's and Specialists nothing will change. I welcome your thoughts.....


Replies

  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Posts: 400Member Pioneering
    "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

    The rules are: there are no rules. Other than to reduce the welfare bill, naturally.

    Thank goodness for Tribunals.
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Courageous
    @wildlife
    Thanks for sharing this, mate. I have not been assessed for Work Capability nor PIP yet, but I'm speaking to people who have almost daily, and this 'reinterpretation' thang is a recurring, common theme in all of those conversations.
    I suppose they have to have the freedom to lie and misrepresent ad infinitum so that a physiotherapist can easily make decisions on how a person's day to day life is stymied by, say, mental illness, or hearing and seeing disability, for instance. I know a lot of these 'assessors' are physios; I had physio for a year in 2015/16, and during that time, I met three different physios who were all bullying, dismissive blokes, who thought that any ailment under the Sun - whether physical or mental - could be cured by increasing physical activity, or exerting yourself more. I've said this on here before, but, everywhere I have ever worked, if you give false facts or misreport incidences and/or events in any report or irims etc., you get sacked, and/or prosecuted, and the same rule should apply to the soldiers of IAS/ATOS etc. Theyre more than likely "self-employed contractors", for the most part, which is a different kettle of fish when it comes to professional responsibility.
    I hope your own case gets sorted out and has a good outcome for you.
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    @Markmywords Yes but why should people have to wait months on end and suffer the added stress of a Tribunal making the process so long drawn out. They might as well scrap the assessment process altogether and put the money they would save into financing an impartial panel of experts in the first place working closely with Decision Makers who could have previously decided on the benefit history and evidence whether a face2face was necessary.  
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Posts: 609Member Pioneering
    Right, so if I provide false information to DWP (whether that's about my health, money situation or whatever) I get into trouble for; why is it ok for ATOS to lie? They even sat there and called my GP and ENT doctors liars. Obviously, neither have any idea what they're on about and ATOS know better...

    They really should scrap these assessments. I don't see the point of them at all. What really was wrong with the way DLA was done?
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    @Barrylad1957 I'm taking them ICO who regulate the Data Protection Act. The assessor's work for IAS so not self employed. They also come under the regulations for their governing body. So Far all governing bodies are refusing to investigate misconduct out side their profession saying there is a complaint's procedure in place. But I've exhausted that so there's no reason why a fitness to practice case can't be brought against my assessor. I'm trying to find out if she was a qualified Paramedic. If not, bingo I've cracked it. I've come a long way since last January and am not giving up till I meet a brick wall..   
  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Posts: 400Member Pioneering
    wildlife said:
    @Markmywords Yes but why should people have to wait months on end and suffer the added stress of a Tribunal making the process so long drawn out. They might as well scrap the assessment process altogether and put the money they would save into financing an impartial panel of experts in the first place working closely with Decision Makers who could have previously decided on the benefit history and evidence whether a face2face was necessary.  

    Oh the gov/dwp don't want accurate decisions @wildlife. They want cheap decisions without taking responsibility.

    The default position is "No, you don't qualify."

    It's across all gov departments too. I'm now dealing with the HMRC operating a 25% claw back of annual Tax Credits for the second year running. They don't answer to a Tribunal and they don't publish their calculations or formulae.

    Anyone would think I'm trying to finance my second yacht with the proceeds!
  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 2,616Member Disability Gamechanger
    @wildlife

    An 'impartial' panel working closely with Decision Makers would not be impartial as they would be their close colleagues and funded by the DWP.  The point of Tribunals is that they are independent of the DWP and not funded by them.
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Courageous
    @wildlife
    It will, hopefully, soon become apparent to even the hubris ridden dwp that this exercise is not cost effective, and, indeed, may end up as a financial 'negative equity' sort of deal. Almost everyone I have spoken to both on here, and in life, who have been to either a wc or pip assessment have the same story behind their plight; assessment, claim denied, and then, if not turned over at MR stage, a massive number of the people I know of get granted benefit due by an appeal; this means that the programme isnt working properly, and that a lot of their staff are liars. I've been told by friends working in the nhs that they have heard of some of these so-called 'assessors' earning literally thousands of pounds a month: that camel's back will break, eventually - this 'government' of clerks will do their sums, and pull the plug. Making a few physios and mental health 'nurses' rich was almost certainly not a part of Blair's plan when he unleashed this little known firm upon the disabled in the UK, and not getting vfm is something that we all know will enrage the tories. A half decent accountant would have seen through them by now. The reason, I reckon, that the majority of the hcp's at assessment behave like its the Last Days Of Rome is because they know that it is.
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    @Matilda  A panel similar to a Tribunal would have to be impartial. I didn't explain it very well. DWP could still do all the paperwork as they do now but instead of having assessment companies with 1 assessor's personal opinion being the key factor, claimants could be given an assessment by 3 people as at Appeal. They wouldn't be employed by DWP but by the courts so even if a claimant disagreed with the outcome at least it would be legal and above board. I'm not sure who decides whether a face2face is necessary but they could cut down drastically on the number needing to be seen if, like yourself,  they've got a permanent  long term disability with strong medical evidence. The Doctor's and Specialists have already done the work of diagnosing the condition therefore medical evidence should be accepted with no question. Further medical evidence, social services reports, OT home assessment reports and if people were believed once all that was in place the process would be much fairer and much less stressful.
                The only thing that's missing from my ideas for change is an appeal process but there would be far more claims handled correctly in the beginning, so the need for this would be greatly reduced. Has anyone else thought about how they would improve the claim process? maybe @Scope could formulate  suggestions for change at the next government review ?
  • DanielDaniel Posts: 21Member Connected
    First Face to Face for PIP was carried out by an Occupational Therapist, which was granted straight away. She was so professional and understood everything I told her regarding my conditions. The reassessment was carried out by a nurse who blatantly did not understand my illnesses and how they effect me, the PIP was removed. Having gone through their so called appeal system, they believed everything she reported, disregarding professional supportive evidence, right up to Tribunal level. I had no choice but to put in another claim, again the assessor was a nurse who clearly did not understand my conditions and despite me having aids to help me, she dotted all the boxes stating I could manage 100%. She reported I had managed movements impossible for me to do because of cervical metal fitted in one of many operations and I did not have any kind of physical exam at all! I eventually managed to take this to mandatory reconsideration and my PIP has just been reinstated but only backdated to the second assessment, losing me 11 months benefit from when it was removed!  Low and behold, I now am entering the next stage where my ESA support group is being reassessed - part of the huge plan to hope people will give up - not a chance!!
  • DanielDaniel Posts: 21Member Connected
    I think the backlog needs to be sorted. People should not have to wait so long for decisions. Why are they reassessing more and more people instead of clearing up all these unacceptable queues of claimants? Why don't they believe and take notice of the professionals and family GPs who are more familiar with the claimant? Sick people are not the ones receiving the huge pay!  It must be costing a fortune, especially if people do not give up without a fight.
  • ChrisGChrisG Posts: 23Member Connected
    How do you think the Government is able to find the extra billions to fund their policies? They know that for at least a whole year they will not have to fork out peoples benefits and then they can pay the backdated money from the savings they make from denying the new lot of claims that they also control the date of “inviting” them to claim.  Why else would you need to set a target for denying mandatory reconsiderations? It’s just a massive pyramid scheme that allows the government to divert funds.
  • DanielDaniel Posts: 21Member Connected
    I agree just a pity they pick on the ill who cannot fight back in this so called civilised country?
  • WaylayWaylay Posts: 875Member Pioneering
    @ChrisG Funny thing: they're not actually making any savings! They're spending money to do this to us....
  • WaylayWaylay Posts: 875Member Pioneering
    @Daniel Agree that they should stop reassessing until backlog is cleared! They won't because the backlog almost certainly causes some claimants not to appeal, or to drop their appeal. More people off benefits....
  • clarabelleclarabelle Posts: 71Member Connected
    wildlife said:
    I am sharing this extract from my final letter from ATOS following their so called investigation of my complaint regarding the standard of my report. It appears, from what they are saying, that the assessor can choose what data to submit to DWP from your medical history and from what was said and done at the assessment. So even if they don't lie they are still not giving DWP the full picture. It is easy for them to include minor conditions and leave out crucial information that would indicate that help was needed with a particular activity. The word "fair" therefore does not apply. During training assessor's are told they are not there to make medical diagnoses but to assess how a person's disability affects them in everyday life. So why are they talking about "medical opinion" and "medical knowledge and experience". Are they then saying any evidence from other more qualified sources can be over ridden or simply ignored? "Clinical knowledge and experience of the reported conditions". They would have had to work in every field of medicine to cover this. The judgements they are making about the amount of help a person needs normally requires an OT to visit a person's home and take them to every room to go through all that is necessary to even do the basic tasks. That's when decisions are made about whether aids or help from another person is made. Not by someone sitting in an office far from the claimant's home. Even if a home assessment is done they stay in the one room and refuse to be shown anything or even given a photograph to illustrate the layout of the bathroom for example. While ever assessor's are given this sort of freedom to disbelieve what they're being told by the claimant and the people who know them best and ignore or change the opinion of GP's and Specialists nothing will change. I welcome your thoughts.....


    Sorry to hear you've had this experience. You aren't alone. 

    The Pip assessors manual is quite clear - they must list all medical evidence submitted with the claim and any additional evidence you hand in on the day. 

    They must also reference it against your comments on daiky living and take into account reg 4 ( repeatedly, reliably, to sn scceptable standard, as often as necessary), the effects of pain, the risk of harm and the cumulative impact of activities on your functioning. 
    They must also take into account your esa scoring if you have one. 

    When making recommendations for length of award there is a clear criteria and they must consider all diagnosis.  

    Of couse they don't actually do any of these. 

    There oi 's case law regarding the probation value of any non expert in making a judgement on your functioning.   So a general nurse or a physio commrnts have no probatI've value in relation to mental health. 

    Of you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint make a written request via the online form to the dwp for a subject access request to both your Pip file and ATOS file. 

    Make a complaint to the assessors professional body and esculate your complainterest to Independant case examiner, details of which are in the atos complaints leaflet. 

    Copy all of it to dwp so they are aware. 

    They'll probably ignore it. If you can get your go to write a letter detailing your diagnosis, treatment plan,  prognosis and get him to score you on the descriptors. Send that to the DWP and a copy to the ICE.

    Good luck 


  • Cheshire2Cheshire2 Posts: 12Member Connected
    You never know your luck:

    I was disgusted with my wife's health "professional"'s report, so I wrote a complaint to IAS ("a trading name of Atos").  

    We received a 7 page reply.   The first 3-4 are an endorsement of the wonderful, experienced, highly-trained, expert HP.   They then recommend an extra 4 points because of deficiencies in 2 descriptors, admit she should have looked into something in more detail and promise to give her feedback on proof-reading!

    Not everything we wanted, but very nice to send to the Tribunal.   Helps to devalue the rest of the report as well.

    Incidentally, one of the paragraphs in our letter starts with the same wording as your quote, the rest of that paragraph being broadly similar.  
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