Atos threatens to call police after claimant questions PIP assessor’s mental health training

From Disability News Service: Staff working for discredited benefit assessments contractor Atos threatened to call the police after a claimant asked about the mental health qualifications of the nurse who was assessing his eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP).

She appears to have wrongly blamed the decision to refuse him a home assessment on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), when such decisions are taken by the assessment companies, Atos and Capita.

The assessor can then be heard leaving the room after Weston began asking about her experience and qualifications in mental health.

She told Weston that she was “not happy to sit in this room with you” because she said he had questioned her qualifications and was “being difficult for no reason”.

Weston, who did not raise his voice or threaten the assessor at any point in the conversation, told her: “You seem to have had a bit of an attitude from the start, a bit of a blasé attitude.

“You didn’t look at me, you didn’t say hello to me, you didn’t treat me like a human.”

Despite the lack of any aggression or threats from Weston, a colleague of the assessor then told him he needed to leave the building “or we’ll call the police”, before repeating: “We’ll call the police if you don’t leave.”

Weston tried to explain to Atos staff that he had “wanted to make sure that somebody understands my illness” and added: “When ill people come in you need to have compassion, not treat them with an attitude.”

A third member of staff then denied that they had threatened to call the police, before a colleague said: “He’s just wanting an argument… just shut the door.”

In other Atos cases…

– In January, an Atos nurse carrying out a PIP assessment fired questions at a disabled man’s wife while her husband was in the middle of a severe and prolonged series of epileptic seizures just a few feet away.

– In February, more than 160 Atos assessors had had at least four complaints about their behaviour, competence and honesty made against them in three-month periods in 2016.

– In June, a doctor working for Atos told a gay disabled man she was assessing that his sexuality meant he was “defective” and that God needed to fix him like a “broken” car.

[Read full article on Disability News Service…]