British Lung Foundation
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Anyone had an assesment by Atos Healthcare

Hi folks I'm Mick from Chesterfield new to the site. I have received an appointment to attend an assessment with Atos, I was diagnosed with COPD around 5 years ago and no doubt like many of yourselves was determined with the aid of the right medication to fight it to the last breath. I have been off a couple of times previously (the odd1 week) with chest infections etc over the last few years but never had a bad attendance record at work. Last June I was moving a heavy object at work and over exherted myself hence the shortness of breath and panic set in and ended up on my hands and knees gasping for breath. No one was available to assist me and I hadn't got an inhaler with me. This was later discovered on CCTV and was taken before management to see what had happened. With lone working this could be critical if I was on site alone. H.R. have been involved and I havn't worked since. They have now terminated my employment because of 'incapability to do my job'. (Not bad for 15 years dedication to Derbyshire County Council) I now have to attend an assessment with Atos on the 13 March on behalf of the D.W.P. has anyone any been through a simular experience as I have never attended anything like this before.

Many thanks.


22 Replies

Hi Mick, sorry to hear about your job, i wish you luck with your assesment, I have been to 2 and an appeal, still been turned down, saying i am fit for work, though i have copd with emphasema clearly showing on my lungs now, severe anxiety, depression and migraines. Last assesment i took in a letter from my community mental health nurse, a list of medication, a hospital letter showing an appointment with a lung specialist and a letter about pulmonary rehab, i was still passed fit for work. I also told them i was on lower rate DLA and have a blue disability badge for the car and that i often have to resort to using a walking stick when i am out.

Good luck with it, i hope all goes well for you at yours. Mine was for ESA by the way



Hello Mick,welcome to the site,I'm sure some people will be able to answer your question soon, I myself have not had an interview with Atos but have heard nothing but bad about them! ( sorry to say) hope it goes alright for you, I paid for membership of work and Benefits and the advice was second to none, hope you get some help, Carol :)


Evidence, ammunition, whatever you can get to support your claim will help. If you were part of a union, contact them for advice too.

These assessments are to determine which group to put you in, work or support. There's loads of info on the Internet if you Google for "DWP ATOS Assessment". Mainly other people's experiences, some of which may not be very helpful.

A lot will depend on how bad your COPD is and if you have the medical evidence to support that. If your GP say's mild or moderate then you'll probably end up in the work group for ESA and will be expected to get another job. There are people on here who are classed as having severe COPD but still manage to work full time. There's no automatic entitlement and no set rules on how the final decision is reached as every case is different.

It may be worthwhile exploring the unfair dismissal route too, if you have a known disability then your employer cannot just terminate your employment, they are supposed to try and assist the best they can. Again, a union would be helpful in sorting that out, or talk to the local CAB office - If the council decided that you were unfit to do the job you'd been doing for years, and have put that in writing, it could be used in the ATOS assessment in your favour.

Get expert advice and try to help yourself as best you can - here's some phrases to google :

+ ESA WCA Descriptors click on ESA work capability descriptors +

+ LiMA V3 technical manual med IBPW001e +

+ ESA Handbook 1 Finalmed-esahb-01 +

cut/paste each line between the plus signs and see what comes back ;) Lots of bedtime reading to understand the process. :D

I had a home visit by a doctor employed by ATOS late last year for my DLA application, not quite the same thing but I was horrified by how little he did while he was here yet he turned it into a long document that was used for the DWP to make a decision. I'm heading for a tribunal later in the year as I simply don't accept what he's put as being correct.

I wrote about it just after he had been, read my story here :- - I mentioned that he had me walk to the window, all of 2 yeards from my chair, and that I was short of breath (SOB) just doing that - yet the report stated that 'in his opinion' I would be able to manage 80 metres !

They have to work to a set of rules they are given, and are very keen to ignore the benefit of the doubt it seems.


I to had to attend atos last year,, my female interviewer was neither a nurse nor a doctor,,had me walk across the room and lay on a bed and see if i could raise my leg 3 in of it,,what a waste of time,,at that time i could just about breathe which was noted but was still pased fit for work,,am just re-applying for dla thru age concern as i have now serious issues with rhumatoid arthritis mostly hand,,cannot grip now,,so fingers crossed this time,,will go to tribunal if necessary,,i wish you good luck,and as gordon says read up on it all,,,


mine was same cos i didn t sit rocking i wasn t stressed no thats why doc keeps raising my anti depressents am on more medication at mo doc has to see me every 2 wks got 14 items on repeat script


Never been to an ATOS assessment but it sounds like you have been treated unfairly by your employer. Are you a union member? If not I'd try and speak to CAB.

Good luck

Marie x


atos sucks i got severe emphasema grade 1 respirotory faliure glaucoma fluid in lungs have all on wakiing to toilet on a bad day i have to crawl on my hands and knees to go to toilet i have wet myself before i got there how embassesing is that even if it is your partener they still say i m fit for work


Same As Above My Experience .... Doctor Said There Was Nothing Wrong With Me Total Disgrace Going To Report Her To GMC ...


Thanks for your comments folks, this sounds like it's going to be a fun day out.... Keep pushing the ones who are too ill to work let alone fight back eh? I wouldn't mind but I have been in employment and paid my dues for the last 45 years and now heading for 60 years old the first time I need help I have the DWP on my back. These tosspots next door to me, 6 of them now the youngest has left school everyone in the household all claiming benefit and never done a days work in their life. If you know how to fiddle the system you're made. I'll get some reading done and see if reports could be made available from the specialist from my CT scan. I will let you good people know the outcome.

Many thanks for your replies,



I was going to give you the benefit of my experience with ATOS but won't now because of your judgemental attitude towards your neighbours. Don't worry about other people Mick. You are not in competition with them. And there are many people on here on benefits such as myself on Job Seekers Allowance. If you judge people then you have to accept being judged yourself. And who wants that? Just concentrate your energy on sorting your own life out! Thats my advice.

1 like

Sorry, dpcaretaker, but have to agree with hypercat about judging other people... we live on benefits, yet are in fact SAVING 'the taxpayer' an absolute minimum of £250,000 a year. No, I haven't made a mistake. My wife and I save the 'taxpayer' a conservative minimum of a quarter of a million pounds a year, just by having one of the 14 grandkids living with us. Yet we have been branded and vilified as 'scroungers'.

My wife is an absolute angel, yet she has a looming appointment with ATOS too. Some of our neighbours comment in our village that we live the 'life of Riley' on benefits, but they have no idea of the reality of our situation. She cares for me and the 13 year-old youngster [and it has been so hard for her the last week... me with a bad exacerbation of my lung conditions and our grandson having multiple seizures at the same time].

We don't complain [too much].

There is also the other side of the coin to consider for those who are able to work. Just one example can be found here... It is reported elsewhere as well.

I always seem to feel that I write negative posts, but I genuinely hope that you do well with your ATOS encounter.

Good luck



Let me try to explain myself better Hypercat and westwalespaul,

There are many types of benefit claims, the ones who genuinly can't find work, the ones who are in the jobcentre DAILY looking for work. Then the ones who can't work through ill health / disablement which is no fault of their own.Then the ones who DON'T want work as those mentioned in my last reply, the ones who breed it into their children that you are better off on benefits, they are the ones I was talking about, He's ok delivering pizza every night for the local pizza shop, he's ok repairing washing machines in the daytime. All back pocket money, This is the problem with the benefits system, they are tightening up on benefit claims but hitting the genuine claimants more that the 'won't have work brigade'.

I've done lots of different types of work through my life, I was made redundant from British coal in 1990. I found work at a double glazing company until it closed 1 year later, Then found work at a local sign writer for a six months, I was set on at a local health club on a temp contract of three months, this ended up laasting for another year. I obtained my hackney licence and was a taxi driver for two years working seventy hours a week for little more than £100. then onto my last post as caretaker in a school. I may have been lucky because I found work.

As I said before Guys it's not the genuine cases that irritate people, it's the fraud cases that get people's backs up.


Mick - what is being said above is 'be careful what you say' - it could be that you are assessed as too ill to work any more and could be on benefits - but then people around you will be talking, behind your back, pointing the finger, calling YOU a scrounger. Maybe you don't deserve it, but life is cruel, and so are people.

The more you read on here, the more you realise that a lot of people are being accused of benefit fraud, but most are genuine cases. They just don't 'look' disabled. There was a topic yesterday about someone with an oxygen cannister, being asked what was wrong with them out in the street. Because they are in a buggy, being supplied with oxygen, they may appear to be OK. But people can't see the illness inside, just the fact that the person does not 'look' disabled, so in their eyes it's OK to be nosey and ask.

If you are so sure that someone is fiddling the system then it's up to you to report that and let the authorities sort it out. Someone will do it to you one day, and you'll be accused of cheating the system, even if you're not doing any work on the side. You don't 'look' ill, it's as simple as that. You can't afford to have any bias towards others, not matter how much you think they deserve it. If you feel that strongly then perhaps a job working for the JobCentre, investigating claims, would be a good career move ? :)


well mick best of luck,you must understand,they are not your friends,you will be various questions,how it affects you medication ,consultants and dr reports ,how it affects your walking etc'and your hobbies,what ever you do! dont go marching in with you chest out with a spring in your step,you are ill ,and if you dont look it you have had it ,if you get refused appeal 40% are of luck


I was wondering if anyone on here has actually passed a atos medical and been passed as unfit for work or does copd account for nothing regardless of how bad you are.


I passed an ATOS medical and was put into the support group in January 2011 at the age of 64. Having heard of ATOS before I decided to go fully armed with a timeline showing my various illnesses and a complete list of medication. I had been having problems at work lifting.

I had a triple bypass in 2009, had been diagnosed COPD (Moderate) 6 months earlier, Angina, Hypertension, Diabetic on insulin, Replacement shoulder and an under-active Thyroid.

He signed me off and said kindly - make sure that you keep on top of that underactive thyroid before it gets out of hand. Ironically, the thyroid was the least of my problems as I was almost properly medicated at the time.

A month before I was due to retire at 65 I received a letter to attend another medical. When I rang ATOS to tell them I did not think there was any point since I was retiring in a month , they insisted I had to go. It took 5 phone calls to find someone in DWP with some sense who cancelled the medical. Bloody civil servants and their lackies!




i have just watched channel 4 programme on benefits and assessments by atos if u can watch it at 9pm on 4plus1 or on demand its worth a look


Dp I don't think you can claim to know these neighbours intimately. Are you so certain they are not genuine? Or are you judging them by their manner and attitudes? In other words by stereotypes? The real scandal is rich individuals and companies who don't pay full tax. We should sort those out first. Save your anger for them.....

I have worked full time all my life and I was never out of work in London. Now I live in a very depressed area of the country, am getting older, and have health problems. Its easy to be in work when you live in a city, are young, and fully fit. Or a professional. The trouble is some people judge me as lazy and workshy because I have been out of work for nearly 3 years now. Judging others, no matter how certain of your facts you are, is the sort of attitude that is applied to people like me as well. Its playing the political game of setting sections of the working class against other groups. Its united we suceed and divided we fall. This is what I object to mainly (apart from being slagged off) by others passing judgement on me.

Despite what many people seem to think benefit levels are set very low. On JSA I get 71 pound something a week to pay all my bills (apart from council tax) and food, clothing any anything else I need. I will admit I have worked a bit on the side in the the past because the benefits you get are not enough to keep a roof over your head or food in your mouth. If its a choice of surviving or not and you can't survive on benefits most people will have to break the law. The law is an ASS.

I am not saying that there are not people taking the mickey out of the system but like I said a lot do it not just the easy targets like the unemployed.

If you are so sure these neighbours are fraudsters why don't you report them? Would it make you feel better?

Good luck with your ATOS.

Bev x


Hi Mick,welcome to the site!! You certainly opened a can of worms!

Good luck with the Atos,never experienced that. Let us know how you get on.We are not a bad bunch, you will find a lot of help here.

Cheers Wendells xx


i've just had my Esa stopped after Atos medical woman scored me 0 out of 15 even though i took proof of all my medication etc...

she acted so nice & pretended she fully understood how i was suffering day after day.

her report stated that i can reach & open cupboards & wash & take care of myself (i never indicated i was disabled or wheel chair reliant.)

she then added my peak flow was very poor but then added these are unreliable lol.

she also stated i'd travelled to my appointment by bus mmmmmm sorry but how else could i get there as i can't afford taxi's & don't drive.

i've got to appeal but am left feeling more depressed now than how all my illnesses make me feel.

hope you have better luck than me :)


Sorry to all I have upset on this thread but in my view those that are cheating the system are causing you genuine people hardship with atos cutting what you so rightly deserve. Also saving this corrupt Govt. money.

Best wishes to you all.



I agree with you, there ARE whole families around who don't work & some who never have, I know of one myself, dad, 2 adult sons & all their respective girlfriends all living in the same house, all claiming JSA & working on the side where they can. But unless you want to go down the road of reporting such people it's best not to let it get to you, and remember the vast majority of benefit claimants (99.5% by the Office of National Statistics' own estimate) are genuine.

However, just wanted to wish you luck with your atos visit on Wed - remember they'll be wanting to know exactly how you got there and watching you as soon as you enter the room but don't be intimidated. Try and take someone with you if you can, a friend or support worker.

ff x


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