PIP, DLA and AA
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Fighting Back

FireWalkerUKFireWalkerUK Member Posts: 4 Listener
I have been doing some deep thinking with regards to assessments made by Capita here in Northern Ireland and I suppose this also applies to the rest of the UK and Atos who are also contracted to make assessments of disabled people.

Firstly I was wondering why we are no able to make an assessment of the people who are engaged to do the face to face assessments at Atos/Capita. In our particular case I was able to discover that the assessor who interviewed my wife was a registered midwife and while I appreciate her training my wife's DLA to PIP assessment was based on mental health issues. I won't go into those issues here but suffice it to say that she had been receiving treatment for many years and was on medication at the time of the interview.
Now if my heating system is leaking I will call a plumber/heating engineer, I wouldn't look up google and hire a bricklayer to come and check my pipes. While both men work in the building trade and a bricklayer would have a passing knowledge of what a plumber can do but he, the bricklayer, has never served his time as a plumber nor has he sat any exams or spent years with blowtorch soldering pipes.

This then brings me to my second point. To try and circumvent the above issue assessors are given a period of training before they are let out into the wild. Capita/Atos claim that they provide training over a various number of weeks which then qualifies there assessors to become capable of gathering and providing information. Now I don't know about you but I know that there are evening classes in car mechanics which teach the like of you and I to change a battery or change an oil filter or even if you feel confident enough to change the brake pads on your brakes. However I for one would never try to do an engine rebore or change the timing belt on my engine. I believe that these jobs are best left to a qualified motor mechanic who has spent several years learning his trade. In addition, I would never be arrogant enough to suggest that my few evenings at night class give me the capability to challenge him if he told me my big end had gone.
How then can Atos/Capita's assessors then have the audacity to overrule medical investigations and treatment which have been done by doctors who have spent many years in education and who specialise in their fields?

The other issue I have become aware of is that while an assessor may actually make a pretty fair assessment there have been recorded cases of some higher authority amending those reports without they themselves having seen an applicant. I cannot for one moment believe that this is any sort of fair assessment or that if an assessor has been incompetent then surely a fresh assessment should be made before any decision is made.

This brings me to my final and perhaps most valid point. How have we arrived at a state of affairs where a private company who operate on a profit-making basis be allowed to determine who is fit t receive a benefit and who should be denied? As it transpires the companies involved are paid by results and the results, it has become apparent, are to reduce the numbers of people receiving benefits or the amount of benefits payable.
I have heard, although I cannot verify this, that the assessors themselves are paid bonuses which relate to the number of people rejected for PIP/ESA. There is even a channel 4 documentary where one such assessor claimed in excess of £30,000.00 in excess of his wages doing this very thing. I will leave it to you to search for that but if you are interested I suggest youtude.

So my question is this, why do we sit back and take this kind of treatment? I know that I for one cannot sit back and allow this to continue but I am one person. Perhaps it is time to organise a Union of disabled people who can fight for our right and who can engage legal resources to be used when and where appropriate. Now is the time and if you think this is a good idea then let me know.

Replies

  • FireWalkerUKFireWalkerUK Member Posts: 4 Listener
    I have been doing some deep thinking with regards to assessments made by Capita here in Northern Ireland and I suppose this also applies to the rest of the UK and Atos who are also contracted to make assessments of disabled people.

    Firstly I was wondering why we are no able to make an assessment of the people who are engaged to do the face to face assessments at Atos/Capita. In our particular case I was able to discover that the assessor who interviewed my wife was a registered midwife and while I appreciate her training my wife's DLA to PIP assessment was based on mental health issues. I won't go into those issues here but suffice it to say that she had been receiving treatment for many years and was on medication at the time of the interview.
    Now if my heating system is leaking I will call a plumber/heating engineer, I wouldn't look up google and hire a bricklayer to come and check my pipes. While both men work in the building trade and a bricklayer would have a passing knowledge of what a plumber can do but he, the bricklayer, has never served his time as a plumber nor has he sat any exams or spent years with blowtorch soldering pipes.

    This then brings me to my second point. To try and circumvent the above issue assessors are given a period of training before they are let out into the wild. Capita/Atos claim that they provide training over a various number of weeks which then qualifies there assessors to become capable of gathering and providing information. Now I don't know about you but I know that there are evening classes in car mechanics which teach the like of you and I to change a battery or change an oil filter or even if you feel confident enough to change the brake pads on your brakes. However I for one would never try to do an engine rebore or change the timing belt on my engine. I believe that these jobs are best left to a qualified motor mechanic who has spent several years learning his trade. In addition, I would never be arrogant enough to suggest that my few evenings at night class give me the capability to challenge him if he told me my big end had gone.
    How then can Atos/Capita's assessors then have the audacity to overrule medical investigations and treatment which have been done by doctors who have spent many years in education and who specialise in their fields?

    The other issue I have become aware of is that while an assessor may actually make a pretty fair assessment there have been recorded cases of some higher authority amending those reports without they themselves having seen an applicant. I cannot for one moment believe that this is any sort of fair assessment or that if an assessor has been incompetent then surely a fresh assessment should be made before any decision is made.

    This brings me to my final and perhaps most valid point. How have we arrived at a state of affairs where a private company who operate on a profit-making basis be allowed to determine who is fit t receive a benefit and who should be denied? As it transpires the companies involved are paid by results and the results, it has become apparent, are to reduce the numbers of people receiving benefits or the amount of benefits payable.
    I have heard, although I cannot verify this, that the assessors themselves are paid bonuses which relate to the number of people rejected for PIP/ESA. There is even a channel 4 documentary where one such assessor claimed in excess of £30,000.00 in excess of his wages doing this very thing. I will leave it to you to search for that but if you are interested I suggest Youtube.

    So my question is this, why do we sit back and take this kind of treatment? I know that I for one cannot sit back and allow this to continue but I am one person. Perhaps it is time to organise a Union of disabled people who can fight for our right and who can engage legal resources to be used when and where appropriate. Now is the time and if you think this is a good idea then let me know.
  • Government_needs_reformGovernment_needs_reform Member Posts: 858 Pioneering
    @FireWalkerUK

    The person you was referring to is a Capita assessor? His name was John. He worked at the Walsall centre, he did indeed get loads of extra money for doing corrupt assessments. He also filled his PIP assessments paperwork in, even before the claimant had even been seen by him. He lived near me and was a disgrace and was sacked by Capita.

    Your theory with a mechanic is quite good. 

    But our consultants, GPs etc are indeed qualified to diagnose us. But what you are missing is, the so called assessments is all done as a functional level, and how this affects you on a daily basis, and not having a diagnosis and a diagnosis is not really needed? But would advise having one is better than not.


    ⬇️
    I created one of the campaign election videos for Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn,
    This is a new version of Emeli Sande, Hope "You Are Not Alone
    I highlighted everything that's wrong with this country from benefits, NHS, UC etc, but now we have to put up with the hate now that is the Tories. 

    You can see the video here.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P5o8hRHh9IY


  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 966 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2019
    @firewalkerUK - I have only had one assessment so my opinion is based on fairly limited experience...

    My assessment was poor but I don't really blame the assessor. It was obvious that she hadn't been properly trained in the basic of interviewing - when to ask open/closed questions, accurately summarising information, not to ask leading questions, not make assumptions...

    What was worse was the assessment companies response when I raised this. Essentially they were just evasive - despite my offering to let them use a recording to improve their training. I even offered to help them do this!!

    I disagree with you comment that they "have the audacity to overrule medical investigations and treatment which have been done by doctors who have spent many years in education and who specialise in their fields?"

    There is absolutely no way that assessors can 'overrule' investigations. I'm diagnosed with prostate cancer and arthritis in the hips - this in not, and can never be, in dispute.

    What an assessor may disagree with is the functional effect that these conditions have on me - this is what they are  assessing.

    To use your analogy if your heating doesn't work, the car doesn't start and the electric has gone off the assessor would accept the diagnosis of the mechanic/plumber/electrician and assess the impact that having no electric, hot water and a car has on you. They don't need to be a specialist to be able to do this...

    Edit ++ I've just noticed a similar reply from @Government_needs_reform on your other post..sorry..
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,289 Disability Gamechanger
    @FireWalkerUK, the PIP assessment is based on the claiments abilities to preform the PIP descriptiors in a repeatable, safe and timely manner. The fact that the claiments have a diagnosis, illness or a disability as long as they can or cannot preform the required criteria of the PIP descriptiors a person with a medical background can and do assessments using their knowledge and experience to assess claiments of their abilities to preform the PIP descriptiors as they had stated in their application form. 
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