Monday, 25 July 2011


The Virtual Gherkin On Facebook

With all the reports of Failures in The Assessments Made By ATOS, The Fear And Loathing Its Creating, and the awful catastrophies being reported throughout the press...

It was suggested that we run an event where everyone could call on their MP to STOP ATOS NOW.

The Following Letter is written as an example letter that you can send to your MP

Dear (MP)

I and many others are calling for the Government to STOP THE ATOS FARCE NOW.

I and many others have read, in recent months and with deep sense of real disgust, at the lack of organisation and failure to tackle the difficulties with fitness for work assessments provided by ATOS at the approval of the government.

The stories that emerge from the press and the Government's own publications are disturbing to say the least. I and many others have read that the design of the WCA test is deeply flawed. I and many others have watched or read about select committee meetings where ATOS heads have received much criticism for their poor administration of the tests. The tests having been described as ‘mechanistic’, ATOS workers were according to feedback from claimants given in the select committee, loathed and hated.

MP’s, it seems, are becoming increasingly worried about ATOS. In the Guardian, Amelia Gentleman reports that:

‘The company said it was paid per assessment, with no sanction if the decision was overturned on appeal. Anne Begg, Labour chair of the committee, responded: "That adds to the suspicion that you are a private company, you are driven by a profit motive, and the incentive is to get the assessments done, but not necessarily to get the assessments right."’


The above article also mentions that:

‘More than 400,000 appeals have been lodged against decisions not to grant the benefit since it was launched in October 2008, and 39% have been successful. The tribunals service has been forced to double the number of staff handling appeals, to accommodate the huge volume of complaints. The cost of tribunals is estimated at well over £30m a year.’

£30m a year! How,you should ask in all sincerity, is this cost effective?

But what is more concerning is what I and many others have recently read. And that is the human cost of these reforms A recent report by the Guardian reveals that ‘changes to the welfare system are having ‘devastating’ impact.’ The quote below is particularly alarming:

Julie Tipping, an appeals officer for the charity Disability Solutions, said Woollard's case was not unusual. She said many people with mental health problems had had their benefits cancelled and appealed successfully, only to be told their case needed to be reassessed again. "This is having a devastating impact on people with mental health issues," said Tipping. "It is a constant reassessment process which is just absolutely relentless. It is almost like they want to assess you to death or reassess you until you can't face it any longer and drop out of the system altogether. It is like a deliberate grinding down process. It is devastating to see."


This, many feel, begins to reveal the true cost of these reforms. Ms Tipping refers to a case (Ms Woollard who suffers from anxiety and depression) and despite having the medical evidence from four health professionals, she failed her WCA. Does medical evidence count for nothing? Does the welfare of a sick or disabled person mean so little? Is their right to human dignity being lost? I fear that it may be. And then I read this, and quite frankly, I was appalled.

Amelia Gentleman of the Guardian tells us of the case of a Mr Larry Newman who suffered with a ‘degenerative lung condition’ who after failing his assessment died from his illness not long after. The following comments by his wife really brought home to many people the disastrous effects on an individuals life:

‘His widow, Sylvia Newman, recalls that one of the last things he said to her, as doctors put him on a ventilator, was: "It's a good job I'm fit for work." He was trying to make her laugh, she says, but it was also a reflection of how upset he had been by the conclusion of the medical test.

"He was so hurt by it. It made him so upset that they thought he was lying, and he wasn't," she says. "I think it added to him just giving up."’


Is this the way the government wishes sick people to be treated? A person who, on his death bed, is plagued by thoughts of being fit for work, of hurt and his honesty questioned? I and many others ask you now, would you wish to spend your last days in such an emotional state? Many, personally, would not. No-one with even the slightest shred of human kindness would wish to see their loved ones spend their last days in this manner. It is utterly shameful, is it not? These assessments should be stopped, we cannot allow ill people to undergo such damaging experiences. As a nation of people, we should seek to protect the sick, the vulnerable and the dying. It is the job of the government to make sure this is upheld.

So Please stop this now and make the views of many known in the House Of Commons and make a DELIBERATE effort to stop this NOW.

Yours (name address)


The event is running till end of September.
Please take part.

The above letter is an example letter. You may change it how you wish to portray this to your own MP. We think we've highlighted the main impetus of what any letter should be like.

Please share this event.

We cannot allow this situation to continue.

Many Thanks.

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