#ATOSuni update no. 5: Derby U. sleight of hand

The Masters of the Universe running French IT firm Atos Origin are quite an ambitious lot. Continue reading


ATOS Meltdown Continued: Dark Night of the Soul (#DWPPressOffice #workfare #ESA #disabilityUK #ukmh #mhuk #a4e)




Sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and mentor you through things.

This is one of those times.

Continue reading

ATOS Meltdown Continued: Dark Night of the Soul

Image Source: “Gloria Steinem Quote.” Image. Ephemera-Inc.com 01 Jun. 2011..

NEW POST at thecreativecrip.com:

Sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and mentor you through things.

This is one of those times.

Read the full article here:  http://thecreativecrip.com/2012/02/atos-meltdown-continued-dark-night-of-the-soul/

STORIFY – “After ATOS Calls: Mental Health Meltdown”

Just published my first Twitter-based Storify “After #ATOS Calls: Mental Health Meltdown”.

I’ve decided to carry on doing these as long as the DisabilityUK Community is under threat. Please share your #ukmh #mhuk stories and opinions with me via Twitter for next ones. Use as many Tweets as you need.  Continue reading

#ATOSUni Campaign Update No. 4: Enter Margaret McCartney


Image by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty via Flickr


Great news!

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.

M. McCartney Twitter Screenshot
@mgtmccartney, Twitter

Margaret McCartney is the GP who sensationally added to the Atos maelström with her British Medical Journal 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 margaret@margaretmccartney.com.

#ATOSUni has yet to hit mainstream consciousness even with the Machiavellian farce that is the House of Lords Welfare Reform Bill discussions and voting lead by Investment Banker Lord Freud. A testament to just how badly the decks are stacked against people with disabilities and benefits recipients in general are the Welfare and Employment Conference 2012, featuring Department of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, which takes place on 26th January and Lord Freud’s “Of Mutual Benefit Launch” Demos event held in March 2011. The latter is all the more odious as it was “a privte, invitation-only roundtable taking place under Chatham House rule in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons”.

I can but hope that Dr. McCartney is able to make inroads where I have not.

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#ATOSUni Update 3 – Some good news at last!


Image by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty via Flickr

In early September 2011, ATOS Healthcare, a subsidiary of French IT firm Atos Origin, quietly made it known that they had joined forces with University of Derby – Corporate to accredit training for Atos Nurses. Since then there has been nary a whisper on the subject; not from anyone other than the few disability campaigners and some of our supporters. Most disturbing of all is that the medical establishment itself has been heartbreakingly silent along with the media.

I was able to raise the issue via email with Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson around the time of the last discussion of the Welfare Reform Bill. She is keen to bring this up in the Lords, but unfortunately the nature of the process is such that the “ideal” moment to query Lord Freud about this has yet to arrive. In the meantime, Atos continues to add to its already sizeable coffers with more government contracts – now inclusive of digitising NHS records.

The lives of people with disabilities is hard enough with Atos & the WRB; but this programme is just the latest insidious manoeuvring by the coalition government & opposition to *not* help as many people as possible. Staying quiet or low-key makes medical establishment complicit in what’s going on. My own personal concerns aside, Atos is gathering strength in taking over responsibilities and functions best left under the auspices of the NHS: the NHS which is jettisoning much-needed hospitals, doctors and nurses no thanks to David Cameron & Andrew Lansley‘s austerity cuts; the NHS which also now has our Big Society Prime Minister peddling charity-driven measures to “improve NHS Nursing”; the NHS that the coalition government is privatising despite the outcry against “reforms” that weren’t on the agenda during the General Election.

As if the hatemongering rhetoric against disabled people wasn’t enough, anti-NHS muckraking has reached epic proportions in some parts of the media. It surely can’t be a coincidence that the tabloids only now seem to care about disabled patients being “let down” by the system when not otherwise castigating us as scroungers and frauds? As usual the great and the good in the great British public rush to agree with incessant horror stories, failing to understand the implications of the NHS being able turning over 50% of its beds to private care in England. Of course this has the enthusiastic backing of private health insurers and big charities salivating as they pontificate about the necessity of overhauling medical and social care, with the latter being little more than a sequel to the already inadequate “Care in the Community” model.

The good news is that least two prominent Twitteratti in the medical establishment don’t seem to think much of #ATOSUni a good sign! One is GP and recent Twitter connection @PeteDeveson. Dr. Deveson was kind enough follow my account and share my last #ATOSUni Update post with his colleagues Anne-Marie Cunningham and Mary McCartney. Dr. McCartney is the GP who sensationally added to the Atos maelström with her British Medical Journal feature “Well enough to work” in which she investigated the ethics and fairness of the disability assessment process.

In addition to the support of Dr. Deveson, Dr. McCartney assured me via Twitter today that she will be looking into the #ATOSUni programme next month. Suffice it to say that as the next Lords sitting of the WRB is 11th January and the Welfare and Employment Conference 2012, featuring Department of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, takes place on 26th January, Dr. McCartney’s much-needed investigation will be not a moment too soon.

Mary McCartney - Twitter

Mary McCartney - Twitter

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NEWS – #FunFriday epicness: #DWP #ATOS fail

It’s not often that people with disabilities have much to laugh about, even on a #FunFriday.

Rejoice and make merry friends – for the Department for Work & Pensions has finally done us a good turn!

Fellow Spoonie Warrior Tim Abbott of  Light Chronicals Info and Producer of the Technical Difficulties show on Reasonance FM pointed me and @BendyGirl in the direction of this gem.

Have a good weekend!



DWP: Atos Healthcare Contact Details for "Clinicians". DO NOT GIVE TO PATIENTS! Seriously .... LOL

@CreativeCrip #ATOSUni Campaign Update

Earlier this month ATOS Healthcare, a subsidiary of French IT firm Atos Origin, quietly made it known that they had joined forces with University of Derby – Corporate to accredit training for Atos Nurses. Their Certificate of Achievement – Disability Analysis will give Nurses 30 of 120 credits required for a BSC (Hons) in Nursing.

It is important to note that just a few days after the ATOS-Derby announcement, The Green Party called for the removal of ATOS from benefits assessments.

There are many concerns about this alliance and  programme that need addressing. It is even more imperative in the aftermath of the Second Reading of the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords and subsequent push by the Liberal Democrats to amend the WRB time-limiting ESA stipulation at this year’s Party Conference that we get much-needed answers.

  • 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
    1. professionally accredited and
    2. 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
    1. have to  adhere to ATOS methodology (including LIMA)
    2. 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.

Pushing for answers re #ATOS Uni Accreditation!

#ESA #WCA – I am pushing for answers from RCN / GMC re their
position on #ATOS Uni Accred http://t.co/2Dffs2Nh – #disability #ukcare #ukmh

(note: mobile post from bed; will elaborate & update later…)

Green Party calls for the removal of #ATOS from benefits assessments #ukpoli #wrb

Green Party members yesterday voted to pass an emergency motion calling on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to stop using IT firm ATOS as its assessor of benefit claimants.

Concerns have been raised over the company’s suitability to conduct assessments, ranging from the lack of disabled access at their assessment centres to the shocking fact that 40% of their decisions have been found to be wrong on appeal [1].

Source: Green Party

Read more here: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/09-09-2011-green-party-remove-atos-from-incapacity-testing.html