Friday, 31 August 2012

You couldn't make this stuff up

They have got a French company Atos sponsoring the Paralympics. These are the people who have been charged by the Government with deciding whether sick and disabled people are fit and able and suitable for work.

Atos hold more than £3 billion of government contracts across 10 different departments. The contract with the Department of Work and Pensions is annually worth more than £100 million alone and it is that which is provoking the most ire. What Atos are doing is carrying out what are called Work Capability Assessments.

Anyone who claims Employment Support Allowance must pass a WCA, conducted by one of Atos's 1400 staff. At the time of writing, more than 40 of Atos's doctors and nurses have been reported to medical authorities for alleged misconduct.

Paddy Murphy of Disabled People Against Cuts described the firm's sponsorship of the Paralympics as "beyond a joke". One of DPAC's co-founders; Linda Burnip commented: "The fact is that Atos is getting all the credit for the Paralympics and at the same time it is destroying disabled people's lives through Work Capability Assessments."

40% of people who are deemed fit for work by Atos apppeal. Of these, 70% of claimants who attend an appeal with the support of  the Citizen's Advice Bureau successfully overturn the decision. The figure for those who go it alone is 40%.

I just think that the whole business is a very cruel irony.