Dear Ms Willott,
I am not a constituent of your but have picked up your question to Chris Grayling below.
Given Atos Healthcare’s past performance, no one has faith in the ability of the current work capability assessment or Atos fairly to assess fluctuating conditions in particular. Will the Minister work with Atos to ensure that the new descriptors are implemented as soon as possible and that Atos staff receive additional training to improve their performance and restore the faith of claimants and the general public in the assessment process?
In pressing for the implementation of the new descriptors there are a few things you need to appreciate, as the devil is as usual in the detail. I can only talk about the physical elements of a WCA as the debacle has not yet substantially affected my mental capabilities.
Significant changes have already been implemented:
1. Bending and kneeling has evidently been eliminated from the modern workplace so no longer features in an assessment. Please read more about this at http://tia-junior.blogspot.com/2011/10/wca-descriptors-no-need-to-bend-or.html
2. Even though one has never been suggested by a medical expert or indeed an Atos HCP, there are certain muscular-skeletal conditions where one’s “mobilisation” improves when in a wheelchair and allows one to work when without the wheelchair work would not be possible. This is dictated by DWP decision makers – see http://tia-junior.blogspot.com/2011/10/foi-act-request-interpretation-of-new.html
3. There is a great deal more going on in the background than you could possibly imagine unless you are unfortunate enough to be disabled and have seen it for yourself – a potted summary is at http://tia-junior.blogspot.com/2011/10/wca-mess-view-in-1000-words.html
4. A whole load of other outrageous stuff I have come across is at http://tia-junior.blogspot.com/ which now seems to be growing daily and http://twitter.com/Tiajunior
The Atos WCA manual is far from perfect but in many ways is not a bad reference document. Their HCPs drift well away from it, but the worrying thing is that nobody cares – Atos or DWP – as by fair means or foul, it is producing the desired result. The real evil here is in DWP as they have the power to straighten this out. Atos will do whatever they are told, so you might like to reset your sights accordingly.
The damage that the Tories are slipping through now will take years to unravel and some will be irreparable, so they have to be stopped now.
I will happily provide you with whatever I can to help this cause – in fact I would be overjoyed.