Wednesday, 21 August 2013

“Why I blew the whistle on the government’s disability assessments” from former ATOS analyst.

We have argued in other articles on this Blog that ATOS work capability assessments are unethical. Now a former Navy Doctor and disability analyst at Atos reveals why he chose to blow the whistle on the government work capability assessment, on bmj.com today.

Dr Greg Wood explains that he made the decision to publicise his concerns about the Atos work capability assessment (WCA) because of interference with reports which he felt “encroached on my professional autonomy and crossed ethical boundaries”, in his BMJ opinion piece.

The system’s implementation, he says, makes it unduly hard for claimants to quality for benefits and therefore overlooks a number of limiting factors of the assessment method that might suggest otherwise.

Dr Wood argues that reports were finalised despite one in five lacking key written evidence, and also reveals that Atos auditors instructed clinicians to change their reports without having examined the patient themselves.

Contrary to the purpose of the WCA – to save money from the taxpayer being awarded in benefits to those who are in fact capable of working – Dr. Wood believes that the cost of successful tribunal appeals against the DWP from those unjustly forced to work was an additional waste of taxpayer money.

“Medical knowledge was being twisted [and] misery was being heaped on people with real disabilities”, he argues.

Since Dr Wood blew the whistle, the DWP made the decision to retrain all Atos assessors and call in external auditors to ensure accurate work capability assessments would take place in the future.

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