Image by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty via Flickr
As promised to me in my last ATOSUni Campaign Update, today on Twitter @mgtmccartney has sounded the klaxon calling for nurses who have taken part in Derby University-Atos training to speak to her in confidence.
Margaret McCartneyis the GP who sensationally added to the Atos maelström with her British MedicalJournal feature “Well enough to work”in which she investigated the ethics and fairness of the disability assessment process. #ATOSuni will be part of a planned follow-up and Dr. McCartney can be contacted privately via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New to the blog: a Category for Facts & Figures. Factchecking prompted bydisablist Labour loyalists spouting right-wing tabloid rhetoric about benefit fraud. Especially disturbing as one fronts a Think Tank.
It’s important to note that tax credits have left half of working families dependent on welfare and stuck in menial, demoralising jobs that don’t pay a proper living wage.
Tax Credits, themselves a Benefit, are a subsidy for employers making it easy for them to maximise profits and perpetuates disenfranchisement that’s very difficult to escape.
The Coalition’s Secretary for Work & Pensions Iain Duncan-Smith & Disability Minister Maria Miller have been conspicuously quiet on this matter as have the Liberal Democrats and Labour Opposition. Again, only The Green Party has specifically addressed the growing concern of ATOS’s questionable practices and called for the French IT firm to be completely removed from benefits assessments.
The ATOS-Derby press release implied that ATOS Healthcare is fully in control of the methodology by which ESA & DLA medical assessments are carried out.
How is it that what really amounts to little more than corporate “in-house” training (namely medical “observation” at ATOS centres & getting to grips with the ATOS LIMA computer system ) can be
professionally accredited and
comprise 25%of a BSc (Hons)nursing degree (30 of 120 credits)
If the Department of Work & Pensions is in total control, then surely the process should be opened up to more than a single “Provider”, as with there other government-outsourced healthcare services? Proposed NHS reforms specifically come to mind along with existing Back To Work programmes (ESA WRAG & JSA)
On the basis noted above, would other Providers
have to adhere to ATOS methodology (including LIMA)
be required to have the ATOS-Derby Certificate
As ATOS has mandated this Certificate as a requirement for their nursing staff, who covers the cost of the programme – them or their employee?
Conversely, how would the same apply to other Providers and their employees if lumbered with ATOS as the official DWP overseer?
Even with the proposed amendments to the WRB, the deck is still being stacked against people with disabilities with this ATOS-Derby alliance and the related nursing certification. This in spite of Harrington himself finding ATOS-driven benefits assessments “unfit for purpose”. It is interesting to note that many universities around the globe offer either specialist disability training as part of a nursing degree or as a standalone specialist nursing qualification, so far not one them has partnered with a profiteering IT corporation influencing government policies which themselves are driven by anti-welfare disablist ideology.
Thank you to Mark Brown (@MarkOneInFour) for his feedback on Twitter and kotaatok for their comment. on my original post. I attempted to raise this with several media contacts; will be vigorously pursuing to raise awareness.
A very illuminating paper by Jonathan Rutherford published in 2007 examines the tenuous links between government and the insurance industry “in their joint project to reduce eligibility for sickness benefits.” For anyone not entirely clear on the role of private contractors like Atos Origin administering State welfare programmes, this is a useful primer.