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Atos - your life in their hands

I am fortunate in that I am still able to work, know many on here are not (but would love to) I read all the blogs about the stress caused by reviews for benefits, isnt it about time that ATOS are made to explain themselves or the contract moved elsewhwere?

Surely someone in power should be suitable ashamed that this is the state of things. From news items the only thing to do is appeal, appeal, appeal as it appears the standard line is for first refusal in the hopes that you wont be bothered to follow up. Stay strong, use CAB, NRAS advice, here for support. May you all get the help you need. Linda x

12 Replies

Linda, i got made redundant nov. 2009 and i haven't been able to work since, i would love to be able to work,but who would take me on with this bloody disease(sorry about the swearing) but thats how i feel about it.

I am pleased to hear that you are still able to work and long may it continue for you. My advice to you at this time is to see if there are any adjustments that can be made to make your working life a lot easier.Sylvi. xx


Am (very) lucky in that have required relatively few adjustments at work, ergonomic mouse, phone headset, that sort of things. My post wasn't regarding me as such but more my frustration at constantly seeing this firm at the centre of injustice. Time and time again we see examples of people with legitimate issues (such as the lady in the article) being put through the wringer and denied assistance and the idiotic guidelines say she will need reassessment in two years (when if she is lucky she will have the mental age of a 12yr old aside from all the permenant issues, epilepsy, autism, scoliosis) if they can refuse her what hope do the rest of you have..?


I too am lucky enough to be in work, albeit I am signed off at prsent due to complications with my health. My workplace insisted I take time off (can only work if GP writes to say I am fit to work, and he has been trying to get me to take time off since August, so no way can I work....)having been pretty unwell since start of August, but I have been so stubborn and thought they couldn't do without me (how self rightous am I, oh and very stupid!!). Was asked if I would allow ATOS, our Occy Health, to be contacted in regard to assisting making decisions about my work pattern, which obviously I agreed to and signed the necessary paperwork. ATOS contacted me within 2 days of receiving the papers, really positive I thought - they then said I could have a telephone appointment with one of the 'nurses',...... but they would ring back after the 22nd - yes 22nd October, to arrange a date for a 30/45 minute call to discuss!!!! In the meantime, well guess I will be off sick.

Really missing work and only been off since Wednesday!!! GP signed me off for 2 weeks, saying yes only 2 weeks now, but be prepared it's going to be quite a while longer - oh heck, hate enforced sick leave..

Hazel x


Hazel, my advise is to be very cautious with ATOS.

They do occ health assessments for a lot of public sector and have said people are unfit to continue in their job and finished them on health grounds, when the person then claims ESA and has to have a medical with ATOS they say that person is fit for work.

Hence my advice, to be very careful and do not trust them to be on your side. x


Bless, hopefully your extended 'vacation' is not too long and that you will be well enough to go back to work, no point going back early tho cos you will only end up off again. Use your time for some serious R and R, with two small children going to work is a holiday for me lol x Atos do appear to be doing a rubbish at what they have been tasked, tho mebbe any agency tasked with administering this sorry set of circumstances wouldn be in the same boat. Am just thankful that I dont (and wont hopefully) ever have to find out for myself...Lindax


I work for a charity in the welfare to work sector (& am long term RA). In my sober opinion the primary fault lies with DWP directives Atos is working to. Don't get me wrong, from what I have seen Atos is delivering an appalling service in their own right, but the repeated experiences we are seeing with service users is that most people previously on Incapacity benefit are denied Employment Support Allowance & are having to appeal.

The cynical view is that it is expected many are not able to pursue their appeal because of their own vulnerability & lack of advocacy support so will slip off the radar. Recent headlines were gloatingly horrifed at the amout of 'benefit cheats' unearthed with the revision of Incap benefit. The stats on numbers appealing doesn't seem to be making the same kind of headlines.

I had some time on Incap 15 years ago & was advised by doctors to not take meds for a period before assessment so as to show my condition at it's worst, god forbid I had the misfortune to have a 'good day' at assessment. Disappointingly services do not seem to have progressed.

A few years ago I was at a conference where ESA was introduced; a benefit that recognised no one was 'incapable' of contributing usefully to society but would work with health care to support everyone to have access to meaningful activties & move closer to work & financial independance. Funny how it sounded pretty good at the time.


Indeedy, reality we live with now seems a world away from the laudable and humble beginnings. I wish i could say that the changes they are planning will be fairer but I suspect we will end up on the wrong side of them as well, here's hoping am pleasantly surprised but its hard to imagine when the changes are mainly cost/savings driven that it will be any fairer than that which we have now.

At least forums such as these and organisations such as NRAS, CAB (although from what I understand they are pretty squeezed in this economy)etc can go someway to helping those with little or no support network.

Linda x


i lost my job due to ill health. was on esa contribution base atos said i could work.inew i couldnt atos again this year fit for work but just lost my job.cant even get early retirement specialists doctors occupational health says not fit for work appealing but they keep telling me not entitled after year contribution based .not even stamp paid.said havent recevived medical pappers etc should have still been in support group .i did gaurenteed delevery they still dont know were they are three times ive sent it its bad enough loosing job know its my independence i do get dla thankgod at least i can get hair done and help with house work.


See..My point exactly, it shouldn't be this hard. Hopefully your appeal is successful and you can get what you're entitled to. It appears that perseverence is the only way to get anywhere which can be hard with a debilitating condition. Keep at it and hope it sorts itself out soon, Linda x


best one yet the job center said i would still have to go to back to work intervies .whilst im appealing when ive just lost job due to ill health.its so frustrating .if ive just been told by occupational health not fit to work .i even sent copys of those letters.whats wrong with them im so tired as it is with fatigue .dla have been relly good ive asked for help and theyve given it to me it was taken away from me a year ago its now been reinstated.why are they aloud to treat us this way .job center that is and atos.its wrong its degrading especially when ive tryed to work and been worse beacause of working


Try not to take it personally, people in the jobcentre are primarily box-checkers. For whatever reason you're on their list for the 'back to work' interviews and unfortunately until all the other stuff is sorted likely to stay that way. I hear you with the fatigue, I exist on energy borrowed from 2020 I think, that said am in a far more fortunate position than yourself. Will just have to try and humour them for the duration of the appeal, if you're up to it. If not presume your doctor (GP) can sort you a note to cover any appointments missed because of it. Stress is well known to exacerbate our condition and whilst its easier said than done obviously its important that you try not to get too worked up about it all. Good luck Linda x


Thank you for all the comments. I have heard so much about ATOS much of it a mixed bag, but rarely on the side if the individual. I find it hard to understand that a person can assess you via a telelphone conversation lasting 30/45 minutes. Where is the reading of the body language, the physical presentation etc etc. In my job I assess people on a daily basis and to to do this effectively it is a MUST to see the person (I am a social worker).

I spoke to a lady a few years ago when I had an issue regarding my RA, yes on the phone, and no disrespect to her, but English was not her first language and I had to keep asking her to repeat the questions, I then asked her specialism and knowledge of my condition, she was general nurse with little knowledge of rheumatoid arthritis let alone any other auto immune disease, but was the making recommendations about my return to work pattern!!

Let's hope I feel well enough quite soon to return to work, and maybe with my own Manager can negotiate a sensible return to work regime, suitable to me, my manager and the needs of the service.

Thanks again for all the comments.



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