Scotland's GPs Call for an End to ATOS Assessments
Scotland’s GP’s have called for to an end to the Government’s controversial, computer-based ‘Work Capability Assessments’ carried out by French IT multinational Atos Origin for the DWP with “immediate effect”:
The following motion was passed at the Scottish Local Medical Committee Conference this week:
60. That this conference, in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by ATOS Healthcare, believes that:
i. the inadequate computer-based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons
ii. the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society
The Scottish-based disability rights and advocacy group Black Triangle was instrumental in getting this motion tabled at the SLMC conference in Clydebank.
Dr. Stephen Carty, who works as a GP in the Leith area of Edinburgh and who is an active member of the campaign, said:
“I welcome the support of the Scottish LMC conference on this matter.
This sends a ray of hope to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society. It also sends a clear message to other representative bodies, including the General Medical Council (GMC), of the significant concerns shared by many GPs across the country.”
He said that “In my opinion, the current contractual arrangements between the DWP and General Practice are unsustainable. The WCA, as performed by ATOS, is not an effective or safe method of determining “fitness to work”, and this must be addressed.”
He continued: “All doctors are duty-bound by the GMC to report any system or process that may be harmful to patients. The WCA is a harmful process. Scottish GPs have spoken: the GMC cannot remain silent on this matter any longer.”
John McArdle, a founding member of Black Triangle said:
“The scandal of these assessments has gone on far too long. As a grassroots disabled people’s organisation, we are over the moon that Scotland’s GPs have spoken out so clearly and unequivocally in their condemnation. Our GPs recognise the severe and avoidable damage that is being done to sick and disabled people through this brutal, draconian and profoundly unjust testing regime as they see it every single day. It must be halted now – “with immediate effect” – before any further harm results and whilst the GMC launches a thorough investigation. They can no longer remain silent. They must act.”