Joint Statement on the Bizarre ATOS Exit Strategy
Several years of campaigning have paid off in making more and more people realise that ATOS, the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) policies imposed by the ConDems are completely toxic, inhuman and abhorrent.
DPAC have been leading campaigns against ATOS, the WCA and DWP since 2010 including: visits to Trinton Square (shiny headquarters of ATOS), with our local DPAC groups repeatedly protesting outside their local assessment centres and feeding in to the day of protest on the 19th of February. DPAC also fed into the channel 4 program Dispatches: ‘Britain on the Sick’ which revealed the horrendous system of getting as many people removed from support as possible, has exposed the devastation and misery and led the highly successful ATOS games in 2012 which saw ATOS shares drop in value and an increase in media attention against them. DPAC have occupied Caxton House (home of the DWP) and gathered outside the entrance of the DWP on many occasions, most recently in the 7 days of action ‘Reclaiming our Futures’.
Our sister group Black Triangle have fought tirelessly with us. Black Triangle has worked with us for over 3 years fighting and exposing continuous wrong doing and working on publicising regulations that can be used by GPs to prevent further harm to thousands of disabled people under the WCA regime. Our allies at WOW have successfully raised the issue of a cumulative impact assessment, abolishing the WCA with the Wow petition, and secured a debate in Parliament on February 27th. This month also saw a UK wide protest outside local ATOS centres organised by local groups. We’ve all been clear that it is the WCA itself that needs to be scrapped immediately.
The bizarre exit strategy ATOS have developed in identifying apparent physical threats on Facebook despite the growing lists of real deaths caused by the WCA regime is an outrageous insult to all those that have died and all those that have lost family members through this regime. It is an insult to those left without their homes, without money and needing to go to foodbanks. It is an insult to every person who has suffered worsening physical and mental health through this inhuman regime.
ATOS attempting to pull out of its contact represents only a partial victory. The alphabet corporations (G4S, A4E, SERCO, CAPITA) are already lining up to take over the multi-million profits and the mantle of the new Grim Reapers. The misery imposed by this Government and the DWP will continue as long as its heinous policies continue.
Goodbye to ATOS -but the WCA must also end. The reign of terror by this unelected Coalition Government which has awarded itself pay rises, cut taxes for those earning over £150,000 while piling punishment, poverty, misery and premature death on everyone else in its policies of rich against poor must end.
Make no mistake- We will continue to demonstrate against ATOS, now delivering the complete failure of PIP in which claims are being delayed by up to a year. We will demonstrate against any other company that takes over the WCA contract. We will continue to demand the immediate removal of the WCA, and the removal of this Government.
DPAC, Black Triangle and WOW demand:
1. That the WCA be ended with immediate effect to be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to disabled people, those with chronic health issues, terminal illnesses or long term health issues. It is the WCA - the assessment itself - that is fundamentally flawed and must end now as called for by the British Medical Association (BMA), the Royal College of Nursing and the 104,725 people who signed the WOW Petition.
2. That the UK Government at Westminster and the opposition follow the Scottish Government's pledge that private for-profit companies are removed entirely from having anything to do with the assessment of disabled people. This area of public policy belongs firmly within the NHS and the public sector.
3. That all support and commend the initiative being led by Black Triangle in union with DPAC and WOW to work together with the BMA to ensure that GPs are able to flag up a substantial risk of harm to disabled people, those with chronic health issues, terminal illnesses or long term health issues at the very outset of the WCA process. The complete lack of any such mechanism to assess and flag up complex risk under the current regime has given rise to countless tragedies which could thereby have been avoided.
4. That the PIP contract be removed from ATOS with immediate effect-they have shown errors beyond incompetence affecting thousands of disabled people, leading to waits of up to a year and leaving people without income or food
We’ll celebrate Atos’ realisation that the WCA contract has always been poisonous, but we won’t rest or stay quiet. Atos’ absence from the WCA regime will not allow us forget the evil we have endured:
- Fear of fitness to work tests driving disabled patients to suicide, say 6% of GPs
- The tragedy of Alice, How the Work Capability Assessment costs lives
- Former bodybuilder from Willington who can barely walk contemplated suicide after nurse ruled him fit to work
- Benefits withdrawal led to man’s suicide
- Benefits row dad takes his own life and is found dead in his flat by his fiancee
- Sneinton man overdoses after benefits stopped
- Heartbroken dad reveals agony as decision to axe his son's benefits is overturned.. weeks after his boy killed himself
- Benefit Cuts Caused Disabled Yorkshire Man Nicholas Barker To Take His Life, Rules Coroner
- Back problems led to fatal dose
- Benefits man found hanged, inquest heard
- Author's suicide 'due to slash in benefits'
- Woman who drowned in drain was upset about health check
- Norwich man killed himself ‘over back-to-work fears’
- Inquest hears of Cumbrian dad's health benefits worries
- Fears over benefits led to tragedy
- Benefits withdrawal led to man’s suicide
- Unemployed Gravesend man hanged himself after sickness benefits were cut
- Grandfather Shaun Pilkington Found Dead After Receiving Letter Saying Benefits Will Be Stopped
- Disabled Kinver man killed himself after being left "almost destitute" when his state benefits were axed
- Bristol woman 'killed herself after benefits were stopped'
- John McDonnell MP speaking up for Atos Healthcare victims
- BBC South East Today 13th December 2013 on the WCA
- Cancer killed my husband, but Atos took his dignity a long time before his death
- Islington Council passes vote of no confidence in disabled assessing company Atos
- Grieving son blasts benefit cuts: My dad looked like a concentration camp prisoner before he died
- Amy Jones, Woman With Cerebral Palsy, Given Prognosis By ATOS That Her Disability 'Expected To Improve'
- Atos fit-to-work assessments branded 'farcical' as nearly half of people with progressive diseases like Parkinson's told they'll RECOVER
- Disabled benefits claimants test: Atos reports found 'unacceptably poor'
- Atos assessors told to keep disability benefit approvals low, film suggests
- Linda Wootton: Double heart and lung transplant dies nine days after she has benefits stopped
- Blind in one eye, partially deaf and facing major spinal surgery but Thalidomide mother is STILL found fit to work
- Atos scandal: Man found fit to work despite peeling bones
- This brutal new system': a GP's take on Atos and work capability assessments
- Atos told incontinent woman to ‘wear nappy’
- Get ready for work: what woman who needs constant care was told
Quoting the targets from the trainer in the dispatches show – just 13% expected to keep ESA
Atos have £3bn pounds in public contracts, yet pay no tax here.
- Atos and G4S pay no corporation tax despite profiting from billions pounds worth of public sector contracts, as auditors warn of ‘crisis of confidence’ over private contractors
- Claimants 'tricked' out of benefits, says Jobcentre whistleblower
- Whistleblower former Atos doctor talks to BBC News (May 2013)
The complete failure around people presenting with MH Diagnosis.
- Work assessments unfair on mentally ill, says court
- How are those with mental health problems treated by Atos?
- Why can’t we find out more about Atos mental function champions? Man having heart attack during assessment and getting marked as walking out
Claimants left out in the cold
Police called on Welfare Advisors
- Police called after welfare experts offer advice to disabled ahead of Atos sickness benefit assessments
and Atos boss accused of 'living in a parallel universe' after claiming hated benefits assessor is popular with public - Mirror Online
Goodbye ATOS-We’ll be back…. This statement is also supported in Solidarity by:
- Inclusion London
- Pat's Petition