Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Apology from an Atos Assessor

Please read the following article. I am going to cover it briefly, but it is a really nice piece.

This is an article about a nurse who took a job with Atos, but felt compelled to leave the post after five months. She describes parts of the process and how much it upset her. She makes a heart felt apology to any claimants that she assessed, whom she may have prevented from receiving benefits through having her hands tied.

She explains that candidates were marked down if they looked well-presented, with neat hair and make-up, turned up with a toddler, or could sign the application form. She wasn't marking them down, she simply knew that by saying candidates were thus the computer marked them down. She had candidates sat in front of her whom she could see were unfit for work, yet the system would say that they were.

She says “We also had to assess their appearance. If a woman was wearing make-up and was nicely dressed, she was deemed as functioning and capable." I personally know that when I went for my medical that I was not nicely dressed; my hair was not neat, it was greasy, I wore no make up, and my clothes had holes in them (the perils of having pet rats). I was going through an extremely bad, stressful patch at the time, and finding it very difficult to keep on top of personal grooming. Yet the nurse who assessed me marked me down as being well presented. So, there are assessors who deliberately set out to make you fail.

It is nurses like Joyce Drummond, the lady in this article, who should be doing assessments. We should be assessed by people who genuinely care, and want to help, not vindictive cows who like to wave their power wands around. I believe she probably originally took the post thinking she could help the genuinely sick and disabled, naively thinking she would be weeding out those committing fraud, but then had expectations placed on her that in no way helped genuine candidates at all.

It is a shame that she felt compelled to leave the post, but I am grateful to her for speaking up.

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