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When fraud isn't fraud

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Quilp, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Quilp

    Quilp Senior Member

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    He was already half an hour late when he arrived at my doorstep.

    Within seconds he began writing copious quantities of notes. It felt strangely cathartic, listening and watching a doctor writing down the depths of one's suffering.

    The doctor in question was from ATOS and he’d come to ‘gather more information’ in respect to my application for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). (For future reference and for the uninitiated please read ‘gather more information’ as ‘ATOS doctor will do his best to end your claim’).

    What struck me throughout the interview was the fact that he had what appeared to be a singular inability to engage the whites of my eyes. It remained the case throughout my interview, but I was minded to believe that, having already being late, he was simply making up for lost time.

    I had never seen anybody write so fast; was this a gallant attempt to ascribe every last morsel, every detail effusing from the sick patient in front of him? Surely this was admirable! I can still hear his pen scrawling across his paper, alloyed with long pauses, though not uncomfortably so.

    Somewhere between rage and tears I pushed my suffering to the top of the hill before letting go. I began talking faster than his pen could write, not because I wanted to but because I needed to. Did he get that? Did he write down what I had just said? Please - that’s so very important to me. Like a lexicon whirlwind, the words thronged the air...but in hindsight, not his page.

    Despite years of neglect by the medical profession in the UK I allowed myself to believe that this time would be different. Why? Why would I think like that?

    Then he was gone, and in just a few weeks the verdict arrived. My application was refused. And all the things I had told them were dismissed. I felt rejected, disbelieved, and perhaps most of all there was a sense that I was being dishonest, even fraudulent.

    As I digested the ATOS report I was astonished to find that he had stated: ‘’he was able to sit comfortably on his bed for thirty minutes’’.

    Astonishing because by his own admission (he had put down his arrival and departure time and then signed it) he was in the house for just fifteen minutes.

    He stated that there were ‘’no signs of physical illness’’. I have M.E, what signs are you looking for exactly? You have listened to nothing I have said.

    He stated that ‘’he appears to be healthy’'. How does he know that? He barely looked at me throughout the interview.

    He stated that ‘’his major organs appear to be working normally’’. How does he know that? There was no examination of this nature, he never touched me once.

    The list goes on, and yes perhaps there was fraud in this case, but it is easy to surmise where the blame lies.

    If I put down on my application form the lies that this ATOS doctor put down on his I would be open to prosecution.

    Perhaps some of you are thinking that this thread is a consequence of the incoherent ramblings of an angry man who had lost his case for DLA. You’d only be half right, because I went on to win my case at a Tribunal (by unanimous verdict).

    Is this the right thinking society we really want to live in?
     
  2. Guido den Broeder

    Guido den Broeder *****

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    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    Sadly were I live, the tribunals act the same as this 'doctor'.
     
  3. Holmsey

    Holmsey Senior Member

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    Can't we take a class action of some sort against ATOS, DWP or even the NHS. We know that there are expensive tests which would show the level of our disabilities, surely to be denied those tests and then declared fit simply because there's no evidence to the contrary breaks some implicit contract of care.
    If it's innocent until proven guilty perhaps it should be ill until proved fit.
     
  4. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    It's extermination by bureacratic blanket
    Deliberate, cold blooded, murder.
    Go read up on the Soviet union and other historical horrors, where folk would tick boxes/do similar crap and condemn folk to deaht, because it was their job, they didn't make waves, they went with the flow, protected themselves etc etc...
     
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    After winning this tribunal, did you ever considere lodging a formal complaint against the doctor with the GMC?
     
  6. Quilp

    Quilp Senior Member

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    After I won my case I was minded to complain to the DWP; ostensibly the British Government who gave out this contract to the French company ATOS.

    It is extremely rare for the GMC to sanction one of it's own members. And I suspect that my complaint, rather than make it easier for others in my position, would actually make it harder because the doctors in question ( I do not believe this was an isolated incident, no-one is that unlucky ) would become more agile in the way they negotiate their way past the facts.

    ATOS are being paid to do exactly what the Government wants them to do. ATOS are the lightening rod for all the criticisms from little people like me. The British Government wouldn't have it any other way.
    As long as that pressure doesn't permeate into the political machinations of the coalition Government, nothing will change. When it does, the ATOS contract will be cancelled or discontinued in the future.
    ATOS as a company will be well rewarded, and the Goverment can then say, ''look we dealt with this, this is appalling, we won't allow this to ever happen again.''

    ATOS are under tremendous pressure, not least because there have been a number of high profile cases, where
    applicants with only weeks to live have been denied DLA. Some have been assessed as being fit enough for employment.
    The hypocrisy is morally repugnant. The question remains, just how bad to things have to get before ATOS are no more.

    No-one ever said life will always be fair, but everyone agrees life has to be fairer.
     
  7. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    alex3619 likes this.
  8. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    While I agree there are risks in making formal complaints against the doctors, the main impact will be minimal if nobody does it. If however each and every case of something going wrong were lodged as a complaint. the hundreds of thousands of complaints would overwelm the GMC and initiate a crisis. Crises get seen to, get press time, and some at least will start asking questions.

    Bye, Alex
     
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  9. Quilp

    Quilp Senior Member

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    Hello Alex, sorry, perhaps I could have structured my posting in a more exacting manner. Making a formal complaint against a G.P.( general practitioner ) would be perfectly logical, and I agree if nobody complained, nothing would change.
    The parameters in which the ATOS doctors are mandated to operate in, are completely different.
    If the GMC were to investigate ATOS doctors to the extent that ATOS lost their contract that wouldn't be an end to these hideously egregious practices.
    This is about cutting the welfare bill and it would be far more honest if the Government admitted as such. Instead, in the interests of political expediency the most vulnerable members of our society are left to fight for a subsistence living in a way that most right thinking people believe to be abhorrent.
    I'm sorry I don't have the answers. We are not helpless as a society, and social media sites can play a huge role as we have seen across the globe in recent times, but I don't know where we go from here.

    Kind regards, Mark
     
  10. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Hopefully things are improving, with some recognising that it's important to encourage patients who have been treated poorly to make complaints... I'm not holding my breath though. I remember reading some article in the BMJ that was saying doctors with patients who have made complaints should just try to brush them off and avoid them. I think that was from around 2000. I was pretty shocked at how acceptable it was to say those sorts of things. Also, doctors can choose to just get rid of patients from their lists, which can cause real trouble for those in rural areas or with limited mobility.

    'Self-regulation' seems rather self-interested for UK doctors.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with those complaints about ATOS staff. Hopefully it will be start of a real change in culture. Hopefully, but not probably.

    PS: I don't mean to put people off making complaints... people taking a stand can help improve things.
     
  11. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Mark, I have been following the ATOS saga for some time. I don't think its anywhere near done, there are lots of options, but most of the easier ones have been tried and failed. I agree that while ATOS is implementing these policies, its the government that mandated them. The British medical establishment is largely against ATOS but this doesn't seem to make a difference. This is not just a UK problem ... this is being watched by the world and there are probably other governments who are hoping it will work.

    The single most important thing is to campaign to get rid of the current government at the next election. However if too many people accept the spin then this might be hard to do. When governments show such a huge difference between what they are claiming and what they are doing it is time to worry. Both cold war Soviet Union and Nazi Germany did that. To some extent its seen elsewhere in democracies. It should never be considered acceptable in my view.

    Even if the current government is removed at the next election, it is not clear that things will improve, but its a start. These are dark days for citizens of the UK who are sick or disabled and financially dependent on government aid. The world is watching though, and I wonder how historians will regard this current episode in British politics.

    They want to claim too many are getting benefits due to disabilty, but that its the disabled who are at fault. Other causes never seem to get discussed, even by media internationally. Does it not occur to people that more and more are becoming disabled by illness because something is very wrong, and the medical research being done to address this is pathetically inadequate?

    Bye, Alex
     
  12. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    This is only my impression... but it seems like more complaints about ATOS are coming from GPs, votes at conferences, etc, rather than more top-down, establishment representatives of the British medicine.
     
  13. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Pity they cant take up a class action claim over the pain and suffering (and also worsening on certain conditions) this has caused.

    I guess seeing they are determined to equate CFS to psychological issues.. it may also be easier to prove there that one has got sicker due to stress of this whole process of having disability payments cut off unfairly..

    A group legal claim for causing people to become sicker.. may have that gov rethinking what they are doing there. (or would they then deny that stress cant trigger off CFS or it worst? .. surely there is enough wessely school stuff about the place which could support that stress worsens CFS?).
     
  14. Shell

    Shell Senior Member

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    When you consider that Atos is being paid in the region of £100 million a year I have to question how this persecution of disabled and sick people is saving any money. Even if there was a glimmer of ethics involved - and there isn't - it would make better sense to provide better health care (or any health care), and hope some people actually got well enough to legitimately come off the benefits. Dreamin'...
     

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