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AN OPEN LETTER TO ATOS HEALTHCARE

September 12, 2011

The following letter has been sent to Atos Healthcare. Copies have also been sent to The Guardian, The Independent, The Morning Star, The Times, The Financial Times, Newsweek & the Daily Mail. It is written in response to Atos Healthcare’s misuse of the libel laws in a bid to silence their many many critics, especially those who have spoken openly about their bad experiences of the Work Capability Assessment.

The original post Atos objected to can be found at
http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/atos-mach-frei-atos-origin-team-up-with-gas-chamber-firm/

AN OPEN LETTER TO ATOS HEALTHCARE

Lisa Coleman
General Manager for the DWP Contracts
Atos Healthcare
4 Triton Square
Regent’s Place
London, NW1 3HG

Dear Ms Coleman,

We the undersigned individuals and groups are seriously concerned by the fact that Atos Healthcare, the provider of the Work Capability Assessment for sickness benefits, has threatened legal action against the Internet hosting companies of three websites which circulated letters from sickness benefit claimants – ‘Carerwatch’, ‘After Atos’ and ‘Atos Register of Shame’ (now relaunched as ‘A### the Truth’).

These websites have given members of society who are often isolated and have traditionally found it difficult to take joint action, the chance to come together and share their experiences. We find it unacceptable that a large IT company, which receives £100m per year for their assessment of claimants, has deployed their legal department against individuals or small organisations who dared to circulate people’s comments and concerns about their treatment at Atos’ hands.

As acknowledged by both the recent Harrington Report and the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the Work Capability Assessment implemented by Atos Healthcare was found to be mechanistic and Atos’ ‘medical reports’ far too often did not reflect circumstances and discussions that had taken place during the assessments (Harrington Report, pp. 40-41). In addition, ESA claimants have now been told that twelve doctors working for Atos face being struck off for improper conduct, and other members of Atos’ staff are under investigation over allegations of obscene criticism of benefit claimants.

Atos Healthcare has given assurances that the shortcomings identified by the Harrington Report are being addressed. Yet many claimants are still experiencing the distress of poor and rushed medical assessments based on Atos Healthcare’s computer programme.

Amid growing concern that Atos Healthcare is failing to raise its methods and professionalism to acceptable standards, the company is now attempting to silence those claimants and their small organisations who have had the courage to speak up. At a time when we see that major corporations such as News International are able to use the threat of legal action to hide their wrongdoings, it is important that Atos’ actions are brought to account.

It is also the case that government bodies are unable to sue for libel. Atos’ argument is that they are taking legal action to protect their business reputation, but in this case they are performing the work of the DWP, and receiving public money for doing it.

For these reasons, we ask that Atos withdraw all threats of libel action, that they publicly guarantee that they will not in future use the libel laws to close down criticism of their practices, and that they make a public apology to those individuals and websites which they have tried to silence.

Yours truly

Brighton Benefits Campaign
Brighton & Hove TUC Unemployed Centre
Caroline Lucas MP
Amanda Sebestyen Writer
Paul Smith Atos Victims Group
Holly Smith (President) Brighton and Hove Trades Union Council
Brighton Keep Our NHS Public
Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition
Brighton Disabled People Against Cuts
Ipswich Unemployed Action
Disabled People Against Cuts
False Economy
Southampton United for Pensions and Public Services
National Coalition for Independent Action
Redhill Coalition Against Cuts
Lewes Stop the Cuts
Art Uncut
DLA Help Group
The Broken of Britain
WinVisible (Women With Visible and Invisible Disabilities)
Suffolk Coalition for Public Services
Queer Resistance
Newport Trades Union Council
Cornwall Anti Cuts Alliance
Cornwall Disabled People Against Cuts
Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group

6 comments

  1. Well Done, Good Luck. After Atos here, relaunched but a bit slower as don’t have a webmaster. We must all work at this, each in their own way. After Atos Assessment is about allowing people to record their experience of Atos assessments on a rolling survey. It is organised in the way and questions that a real qualified medical or nursing professional would ask and gather evidence as to the patient and their condition, how it affects them and what happened next. Therefore, it answers all the questions that need to be answered as it asks the questions that any medic or nurse or govt or corporation needs to know. What happened to the patient/customer after they left our intervention and how did our decisions affect their lives.

    Good luck, Well Done. I take it like me and many you know this is not going to be easy. but After Atos is still there but now at http://www.afteratos.com/ and the post that brought us down http://www.afteratos.com/category/auntys-blog/ Bit of histoyr after that. but we are still here.

    Bit slow as not a webmaster but the main thing is the opportunity to give and record the experience and feedback. The Vad Vashem of our time. The abuse and wickedness against the disabled.

    Aunty Admin – also known as Kevin as some little shit keeps trying to report off Facebook and reports and exposes the disabled and vulnerable who try and keep safe and anon.

    Take care and good luck.


  2. Well Done, Good Luck. After Atos here, relaunched but a bit slower as don’t have a webmaster. We must all work at this, each in their own way. After Atos Assessment is about allowing people to record their experience of Atos assessments on a rolling survey. It is organised in the way and questions that a real qualified medical or nursing professional would ask and gather evidence as to the patient and their condition, how it affects them and what happened next. Therefore, it answers all the questions that need to be answered as it asks the questions that any medic or nurse or govt or corporation needs to know. What happened to the patient/customer after they left our intervention and how did our decisions affect their lives.

    Good luck, Well Done. I take it like me and many you know this is not going to be easy. but After Atos is still there but now at http://www.afteratos.com/ and the post that brought us down http://www.afteratos.com/category/auntys-blog/ Bit of histoyr after that. but we are still here.

    Bit slow as not a webmaster but the main thing is the opportunity to give and record the experience and feedback. The Vad Vashem of our time. The abuse and wickedness against the disabled.

    Aunty Admin – also known as Kevin as some little shit keeps trying to report off Facebook and reports and exposes the disabled and vulnerable who try and keep safe and anon.

    Take care and good luck.


  3. The Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights, (www.blacktrianglecampaign.org), fully supports this letter.


  4. My Friend was searched by ATOS to see if he had recording device at his medical ? I thought this would have been illegal !!!


  5. @Gill Mcs noticed and raised your concern regarding searches. Everyone on to it. suggested the After Atos Hornets. If we see a problem we all go in with our emails and indignation and write complaint to problem town mps and councillors etc and our own raising our extreme concern and wish that they check and confirm the local Atos centres does not have such a policy.


  6. I am a working person so haven`t had any direct experience of this atrocious organisation but a very sick friend of mine endured appalling treatment from some jumped up Atos` healthcare professional ` who determined that she was fit to job seeking sessions when she is crippled with scoliosis and has severe mental health problems. Clearly it is not within their remit to employ real professionals, such as, for example, psychiatrists, rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons etc. etc. I wonder why on earth that could be…?



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