Sunday, 5 May 2013

Atos comes under attack in emotional Commons debate

The private contractor Atos, which administers the government's work capability assessments, has come under sustained criticism from MPs as they told stories of constituents who had died shortly after being ruled fit for work by the firm.

During a powerful Commons debate that united politicians from all parties, MPs gave emotional accounts of how very sick individuals had been incorrectly assessed and told to return to work. Some of them later died, they said, and MPs told of others who had killed themselves or become suicidal following such decisions.

Labour MP Michael Meacher described the death of a young man with epilepsy shortly after he was classified fit for work and saw his benefit cut by £70 a week.

Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP, condemned the "humiliating and demeaning" process which "makes sick people even sicker". 

Labour's Pamela Nash said: "Nothing has shocked me more as an MP … than the sheer scale of anxiety and hardship caused by the flawed work capability assessments." She described seeing constituents developing mental health problems as a result of the stress the process caused. 

Then you have this story of how ATOS workers talk about the individuals they are supposedly assessing, calling them down and outs ... Read more here.

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