Invitation: "silent observer" Atos medical assessment for IB (19 Feb 2011)

drjohn

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LETTER, Invitation to be "silent observer" at Atos medical assessment for Incapacity Benefit (19 February 2011)

To read a letter from Dr John Greensmith
click http://www.mefreeforall.org/index.php?id=2694#c10314

Invitation to Professor Harrington to witness first hand a medical assessment for the Work Capability Test, conducted by Atos, on behalf of the DWP. I hope that he, or an appointed representative accept. Or maybe a local journalist, or independent observer will offer. I also hope that local people, due for an assessment, will volunteer to follow my example, so that we cover every political constituency and involve every MP. If you are willing to volunteer,write to your local paper and send me an e-mail. People in other countries should watch with interest to see how the UK system compares with their own and are very welcome to join in our debate.

Cheers
John
drjohngreensmith@mefreeforall.org
Dr John H Greensmith
ME Free For All. org
 

Esther12

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Thanks for doing this John.

I find those medical nerve racking enough as it is. I've yet to start the reassessment process, but I'm not looking foreward to it.
 

Sasha

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I've considered taking an audio recording of my next assessment for my own protection and am wondering what the legal position is if the interviewer refuses to agree to be recorded. I would want to make it clear to them that they are being recorded, both because I wouldn't want to be on dodgy legal grounds if I later needed to use it, and also because I think it would be clear that if they later lied about what had gone on they would have to face the music.

My last DLA interview (done via Atos, presumably) was by a very humane doctor who phoned me after the interview to ask whether I had considered getting a wheelchair! And I got awarded DLA without need for review for the next three years. Nevertheless, things are clearly getting extremely bad now and we need to protect ourselves.
 

Esther12

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They try pretty hard to stop you recording the interviews. Legally, you're free to do so covertly, but they may not accept it later on. There's all sorts of nonsense about the requiring you to hire a professional auido engineer in order to record your interviews... anyone would think they have something to hide.
 

Sasha

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They try pretty hard to stop you recording the interviews. Legally, you're free to do so covertly, but they may not accept it later on. There's all sorts of nonsense about the requiring you to hire a professional auido engineer in order to record your interviews... anyone would think they have something to hide.
Professional audio engineer!!! How ridiculous.

Actually I just did a quick google on "can your record your Atos medical" and got this, dated 4 October 2010 from here:

On a more positive note, DWP resistance may be crumbling when it comes to recording medicals.

Normally a claimant who wishes to record their benefits medical has to agree to pay for a sound engineer and professional tape equipment . . . and then gets refused permission anyway. But in a major breakthrough a Benefits and Work member has forced agreement right from the very top of Jobcentre Plus that the DWP will provide a dual recorder and someone to operate it, so that he can have a recording of his ESA medical. Find out how he did it and use our sample letter to try the same. (Members only)
I also found a comment elsewhere from someone saying that if they needed an audio-to-text record because of their disability, Atos couldn't refuse. I wonder if one could argue for the same treatment because of cognitive impairment issues; certainly it's a long interview and I was losing concentration and having trouble with my words towards the end of my last one.

Here's some interesting discussion of the recording issue on the BBC website.

Sorry, John, I've hijacked your thread! Back to John's first post, everybody!
 

Sean

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In Australia we have been allowed to bring an observer of our choice to medical and other formal welfare assessments and hearings for a long time.

I have done so and highly recommend it. The various assessors tend to behave better when they are being watched. No question about that. A pretty sad and savage indictment of the system and the individual hacks, bullies and frauds within it.

(Not all assessors are incompetent, unreasonable or unethical, but enough of them are.)

Don't know what the legal situation is in Australia about recording those kind of hearings. But it should be a minimum mandatory requirement for the authorities to do so and to supply the person being assessed with a full, unedited copy, IMHO.

I have always thought it pretty disgusting that much of psychiatry fights so hard to avoid medico-legal assessments being objectively recorded. Their excuse is that patients will be reluctant to say some things if it is on record. Well that is just complete BS. A objective record of any formal medico-legal interview or assessment is in everybody's interest, except the hacks, bullies and frauds, of course. Which is the point.

The police have to do it, and they are dealing with material and situations as intimate, serious and potentially explosive as anything psychs deal with.