‘ATOS assessments not fit for purpose’, blasts Brady
Newry Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has said that the evidence of a whistle-blowing GP on the anti-claimant bias in ATOS assessments has further undermined their credibility.
Speaking to Newry Times, Brady stated, “Last year the British Medical Association called for these tests to be scrapped to prevent harm to the most vulnerable in society.
“A GP who worked for ATOS as a senior advisor on mental health issues has said that claimants were not assessed in “an even-handed” way.
“Evidence for claims was never put forward by the company in question for doctors to use and that medical staff were told to change reports if they were too favourable to claimants.
“The work Capability Assessment is used to assess entitlement to Employment Support Allowance. The whistle blower claims that assessors were trained in such a way that they expected claimants to score too few points to qualify for ESA.
“He also stated that if ATOS Assessors show deviation from the official line they are instructed to change the report. In roughly a quarter of assessments important documentary evidence such as the claimants own GP assessment is missing but the assessments go ahead regardless,” insisted Brady.
“There have been repeated claims that people with terminal cancer have been denied benefits as a result of ATOS assessments and that the tests are arduous and degrading. This is all unacceptable and must be ended.
Brady added, “We in Sinn Féin have consistently argued that these ATOS Assessments were and are not fit for purpose and these new revelations vindicate our position.
“These particular tests and their format should never have been introduced by DSD and there has always been the opportunity for alternative, fairer and more accurate assessments to be put in place.”
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