Parliamentary Question: DWP and ATOS benefits guidance for ME, 17 May 2011

May 18, 2011


In a written question, Mrs Annette Brooke, acting chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME, asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to carry out a review of the guidance offered to staff who carry out Employment and Support Allowance assessments for people with ME.

Mrs Brooke, the Liberal Democrat MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, asked the Work and Pensions Secretary to initiate a review of the guidance on ME provided to new and existing assessors and other staff in both his Department and at ATOS Healthcare, who have the contract to provide medical assessments for the benefit.

In his answer on 17 May 2011, Minister of State for Employment Chris Grayling replied:

Guidance on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis is already kept under regular review. The guidance for decision-makers is updated in light of relevant developments. For Atos health care professionals there are a range of training and information products which are reviewed on an ongoing regular basis, such as a learning set which is reviewed annually.

3 thoughts on “Parliamentary Question: DWP and ATOS benefits guidance for ME, 17 May 2011”

  1. Go Mrs Brooke! 🙂

    Be interested to see an up-to-date version of the Atos and DWP training manual…

    I know the one that was made available under FOI requests but it may no longer be relevant I suppose.

  2. There might be guidance, but no one is applying it. The Harrington report on ESA found that Decision Makers overturned less than 2% of the recommendations given by the ATOS “medical” staff.

    As to their training, I understand the pass mark is 50% across all modules, not exactly tough, I wonder how many fail?

  3. This is a real case of smoke and mirrors on the part of the DWP. Their fine words deliberately mask the truth of a very different reality, which anyone with ME/cfs who has been subjected to a WCA will attest to.

    No amount of fine words and useless training manuals can legitimise the persecution of very sick people.

    Atos are well aware that despite the repeated denials to the contrary, they must not exceed targets for certifying people unfit for work, if they want to have their contract renewed by the DWP.

    ME/cfs sufferers are all too frequently just the collateral damage of that cosy arrangement.

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