Atos medical examination, re ESA


A

AL_z

I'm suffering from the twin illnesses of severe depression and generalised
anxiety disorder. I've been claiming ESA for about 8 weeks. I recently had
my DWP medical exam, courtesy of Atos Healthcare.

I was amazed at the strange line of questioning fired at me:

How did you get here?
Did you enter the building alone?
Do you drive?
Where do you shop for food?
How often do you shop for food?
Do you ever visit your neigbours?
How often?
Do they ever visit you?
Do you own a mobile phone?
Who calls you on your mobile phone?

Most of the questions seemed irrelevant to the issue of whether I am fit
for work.

One of the several reasons I am unable to consider employment right now is
that I cannot stay awake for long, due to extreme fatigue symptoms
associated with my illness. However, no questions were asked about my
ability to stay awake.

After 20 minutes or so of the questions, I was getting mentally tired,
forgetful and confused. Then came another seemingly odd question: "How do
you get on when you have to stand in a long queue?" I told the examiner: "I
never have to stand in a long queue; my local supermarket never has long
queues". However, he pressed me to make a definitive answer, so I told the
simple truth: "I don't have problems with long queues". It was all I could
think of to say.

After the examination was over and after I'd gone home and taken a long
nap, I reflected on the interview and realised that if I was forced to
stand in a long queue, I probably would have serious problems - especially
if I was currently suffering from a bout of extreme fatigue, as I
frequently do, due to my illness.

I'm worried now that they will pronounce me fit for work. If I am put under
pressure to find employment at this stage of my illness, I am certain it
will make me worse and wreck my chances of recovery. I have only recently
been suicidal, and I fear I'll go back to that state if put under pressure
to get employment (or else).

Is it too late to emend my comment about queues not being a problem? Should
I phone or write to Atos, or would I be wasting my time?

It seemed to me that the questions I was asked were mainly designed to
assess a person's physical ability to do productive work, but none of the
questions seemed designed to assess a person's psychological ability to
cope with employment and/or carry on employment safely or effectively, or
for sustained periods. Something seems wrong here.


Al
 
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M

mart2306

I'm suffering from the twin illnesses of severe depression and generalised
anxiety disorder. I've been claiming ESA for about 8 weeks. I recently had
my DWP medical exam, courtesy of Atos Healthcare.

I was amazed at the strange line of questioning fired at me:

How did you get here?
Did you enter the building alone?
Do you drive?
Where do you shop for food?
How often do you shop for food?
Do you ever visit your neigbours?
How often?
Do they ever visit you?
Do you own a mobile phone?
Who calls you on your mobile phone?

Most of the questions seemed irrelevant to the issue of whether I am fit
for work.

One of the several reasons I am unable to consider employment right now is
that I cannot stay awake for long, due to extreme fatigue symptoms
associated with my illness. However, no questions were asked about my
ability to stay awake.

After 20 minutes or so of the questions, I was getting mentally tired,
forgetful and confused. Then came another seemingly odd question: "How do
you get on when you have to stand in a long queue?" I told the examiner: "I
never have to stand in a long queue; my local supermarket never has long
queues". However, he pressed me to make a definitive answer, so I told the
simple truth: "I don't have problems with long queues". It was all I could
think of to say.

After the examination was over and after I'd gone home and taken a long
nap,  I reflected on the interview and realised that if I was forced to
stand in a long queue, I probably would have serious problems - especially
if I was currently suffering from a bout of extreme fatigue, as I
frequently do, due to my illness.

I'm worried now that they will pronounce me fit for work. If I am put under
pressure to find employment at this stage of my illness, I am certain it
will make me worse and wreck my chances of recovery. I have only recently
been suicidal, and I fear I'll go back to that state if put under pressure
to get employment (or else).

Is it too late to emend my comment about queues not being a problem? Should
I phone or write to Atos, or would I be wasting my time?

It seemed to me that the questions I was asked were mainly designed to
assess a person's physical ability to do productive work, but none of the
questions seemed designed to assess a person's psychological ability to
cope with employment and/or carry on employment safely or effectively, or
for sustained periods. Something seems wrong here.

Al
Hi Al.
Those questions seem OK regarding fit for work.
Able to get around by yourself or not.
Able to get out and go among strangers. or not.
Able to interact with people you know. Or not.
Able to handle phone calls. Or not.

Just based on those questions you gave, if able to do them then could
theoretically work in a call centre or office job.

Depending on the job, staying awake isn't always an issue. Some night
work employers don't care about staff being awake so long as they can
wake up to do the job.
Not the most common of jobs though - lot less work needs doing at
night than during day.
Even extreme fatigue itself isn't necessarily a barrier from all work.
Limits things a lot, even non-extreme fatigue will limit the work that
can be done. But with home working, flexi time and decent management
there may be something. Or not.

Problem with long queues question I suspect is to do with ability to
stand still for a time. Some can do it - I can't, doesn't affect all
jobs but would make jobs requiring standing for a while more
difficult.

And from what you've said, some of the questions relate to
psychological ability to cope with employment. Just not covering all
eventualities.
Safely and effectively I wouldn't expect to be an issue - thats for
employers to deal with, not for whether someone is able to work.
Employers can get grants towards safety equipment or specialist
equipment that allow people to do the job safely and effectively. Can
be something as simple as a pager up to more complex issues like safe
rooms or different computer system.

Not sure if its too late now to change your answer with Atos. Can't
hurt to try.

Martin <><
 
N

nonanon

I'm suffering from the twin illnesses of severe depression and
generalised anxiety disorder. I've been claiming ESA for about 8 weeks.
I recently had my DWP medical exam, courtesy of Atos Healthcare.

I was amazed at the strange line of questioning fired at me:

How did you get here?
Did you enter the building alone?
Do you drive?
Where do you shop for food?
How often do you shop for food?
Do you ever visit your neigbours?
How often?
Do they ever visit you?
Do you own a mobile phone?
Who calls you on your mobile phone?

Most of the questions seemed irrelevant to the issue of whether I am fit
for work.
This is the mental health assessment. You need to be MENTAL; were you
wearing a vomit stained shirt? You get a point. Were you wearing a clean
shirt? You don't get a point.
One of the several reasons I am unable to consider employment right now
is that I cannot stay awake for long, due to extreme fatigue symptoms
associated with my illness. However, no questions were asked about my
ability to stay awake.

After 20 minutes or so of the questions, I was getting mentally tired,
forgetful and confused. Then came another seemingly odd question: "How
do you get on when you have to stand in a long queue?" I told the
examiner: "I never have to stand in a long queue; my local supermarket
never has long queues". However, he pressed me to make a definitive
answer, so I told the simple truth: "I don't have problems with long
queues". It was all I could think of to say.

After the examination was over and after I'd gone home and taken a long
nap, I reflected on the interview and realised that if I was forced to
stand in a long queue, I probably would have serious problems -
especially if I was currently suffering from a bout of extreme fatigue,
as I frequently do, due to my illness.

I'm worried now that they will pronounce me fit for work. If I am put
under pressure to find employment at this stage of my illness, I am
certain it will make me worse and wreck my chances of recovery. I have
only recently been suicidal, and I fear I'll go back to that state if
put under pressure to get employment (or else).

They *will* find you fit for work. You now have a straightforward course
of action -

1) Ask for an appeal. This sends the paperwork back in front of a
decision maker, who will look at what has already been said, and who
will make the same decision.

2) Ask for an appeal at tribunal / panel. This will involve going in
front of a new independant doctor and someone else for a different type
of interview, where you put your case. YOU NEED TO SAY WHAT SITUATIONS
CAUSE SUICIDALITY.

Is it too late to emend my comment about queues not being a problem?
Should I phone or write to Atos, or would I be wasting my time?
Yes, it is too late, yes, you would be wasting your time. You could try
it, but don't expect it to make any difference.
It seemed to me that the questions I was asked were mainly designed to
assess a person's physical ability to do productive work, but none of
the questions seemed designed to assess a person's psychological ability
to cope with employment and/or carry on employment safely or
effectively, or for sustained periods. Something seems wrong here.
"Do you drive?" - some people with MH problems are told not to drive
ecause they would be a danger to themselves or others. A good answer
here is "No, I do not drive. A doctor told me to return my driving
licence to DVLA, which I have done, and I will be re-assessed in 6
months". Obviously, a person could meet this criteria but either n ever
have had a driving licence (and thus be unaware that they're missing ATOS
points) or not have been told to return their licence.

"How did you make your way here today?" - A person with a MH problem may
have severe anxiety about leaving the house, or travelling, etc. A good
answer is "I needed a carer to bring me, I'm taking diazepam to get m e
out of the house" etc.

Apply this type of reasoning to the rest of the questions.

You could try applying to ATOS for all your information under DPA. It's
a *huge* file.
 
N

nonanon

On Wed, 30 Jun 2010 23:01:13 -0700, (e-mail address removed) wrote:

[snip]
Those questions seem OK regarding fit for work. Able to get around by
yourself or not. Able to get out and go among strangers. or not. Able to
interact with people you know. Or not. Able to handle phone calls. Or
not.

Just based on those questions you gave, if able to do them then could
theoretically work in a call centre or office job.

Depending on the job, staying awake isn't always an issue. Some night
work employers don't care about staff being awake so long as they can
wake up to do the job.
Not the most common of jobs though - lot less work needs doing at night
than during day.
Even extreme fatigue itself isn't necessarily a barrier from all work.
Limits things a lot, even non-extreme fatigue will limit the work that
can be done. But with home working, flexi time and decent management
there may be something. Or not.
This is the problem with disability benefits. Most people claiming them
could do 'some' work. Show me someone claiming Incapacity Benefit or ESA
and I can find work that they could do in probably 96% of cases.

Does this mean that 96% of people claiming IB / ESA are lazy spongers who
should be on different benefits?

I'd be interested to see quality research on types of people claiming IB/
ESA and how many should be claiming more appropriate benefits.
 
M

mart2306

Hi Martin,
Thanks for your comments. I will try phoning/writing to Atos.

If things like ability to stay awake don't preclude someone from being
fit for work (in the government's view), then what does? I guess one
could argue that everyone is fit for work, provided they are alive, and
able to cummunicate to some extent - even if they have a serious illness.
Perhaps that is exactly the governments stance on this matter! The
unfairness seems to me to be in the expectation that disabled or sick
people should have to find work (despite any adverse efffect on their
health) or else face loss of benefits. This surely must cause an extra
burden on the NHS, and cause people to turn to crime as the only way to
survive. I can envisage people making a concerted effort to get sent to
prison, where they will receive free meals, free clothing, free heating,
TV, and health care.

Al- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
Hard to say what government wants.
I need to rest during the day (usually sleep 3 - 4 hours during
daytime), can push on without resting but pay for it later. Occasional
very long days I can just about handle, not on a weekly basis though.
Someone I know with similar symptoms to me cannot push past his rest
requirement at all, simply collapses. Two different limits for two
different people, treated the same by government and NHS.

There is however a difference between government department deciding
that someone is fit to work and that someone actually getting a job.
Part of the exercise being done by the government (and previous
governments) is I suspect is simply to move people from one benefit to
another. Saving some money for them, not really helping people who
have benefit income reduced.
Means unemployment will be higher but government can point out part of
the problem is them providing a solution to a bigger problem.

Martin <><
 
M

mart2306

On Wed, 30 Jun 2010 23:01:13 -0700, (e-mail address removed) wrote:

[snip]




Those questions seem OK regarding fit for work. Able to get around by
yourself or not. Able to get out and go among strangers. or not. Able to
interact with people you know. Or not. Able to handle phone calls. Or
not.
Just based on those questions you gave, if able to do them then could
theoretically work in a call centre or office job.
Depending on the job, staying awake isn't always an issue. Some night
work employers don't care about staff being awake so long as they can
wake up to do the job.
Not the most common of jobs though - lot less work needs doing at night
than during day.
Even extreme fatigue itself isn't necessarily a barrier from all work.
Limits things a lot, even non-extreme fatigue will limit the work that
can be done. But with home working, flexi time and decent management
there may be something. Or not.
This is the problem with disability benefits.  Most people claiming them
could do 'some' work.  Show me someone claiming Incapacity Benefit or ESA
and I can find work that they could do in probably 96% of cases.

Does this mean that 96% of people claiming IB / ESA are lazy spongers who
should be on different benefits?

I'd be interested to see quality research on types of people claiming IB/
ESA and how many should be claiming more appropriate benefits.- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
Probably right about the 96%. Not lazy spongers - indeed, in the past
couple of decades many would have been told by benefits staff to apply
for incapacity benefit. Not for being unable to work at all, merely
being unable to do a certain job.
Or simply be off sick from work that much that a claim to incapacity
benefit is required to get sick pay still.

Yes, there's some research around. Whether its any good I've no idea.
http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/9951/
http://www2.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2006/Incapacity_Benefit_Reform.aspx

Just a couple I found in a quick search - look for .ac in the web
address for academic stuff.

Martin <><
 
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A

AL_z

They *will* find you fit for work. You now have a straightforward
course of action -

1) Ask for an appeal. This sends the paperwork back in front of a
decision maker, who will look at what has already been said, and who
will make the same decision.

2) Ask for an appeal at tribunal / panel. This will involve going in
front of a new independant doctor and someone else for a different
type of interview, where you put your case. YOU NEED TO SAY WHAT
SITUATIONS CAUSE SUICIDALITY.



Yes, it is too late, yes, you would be wasting your time. You could
try it, but don't expect it to make any difference.


"Do you drive?" - some people with MH problems are told not to drive
ecause they would be a danger to themselves or others. A good answer
here is "No, I do not drive. A doctor told me to return my driving
licence to DVLA, which I have done, and I will be re-assessed in 6
months". Obviously, a person could meet this criteria but either n
ever have had a driving licence (and thus be unaware that they're
missing ATOS points) or not have been told to return their licence.

"How did you make your way here today?" - A person with a MH problem
may have severe anxiety about leaving the house, or travelling, etc.
A good answer is "I needed a carer to bring me, I'm taking diazepam to
get m e out of the house" etc.

Apply this type of reasoning to the rest of the questions.

You could try applying to ATOS for all your information under DPA.
It's a *huge* file.
Hi,
Thanks for clarifying these issues. I'm wondering how Atos could compile
a "huge" file on a person after one short medical exam. Where else do
they find the material for the huge file?

Al
 
N

Niteawk

AL_z said:
I'm suffering from the twin illnesses of severe depression and generalised
anxiety disorder. I've been claiming ESA for about 8 weeks. I recently had
my DWP medical exam, courtesy of Atos Healthcare.

I was amazed at the strange line of questioning fired at me:
Nothing strange about it at all, that is the ATOS MH assessment.

How did you get here?
Did you enter the building alone?
Do you drive?
Where do you shop for food?
How often do you shop for food?
Do you ever visit your neigbours?
How often?
Do they ever visit you?
Do you own a mobile phone?
Who calls you on your mobile phone?

Most of the questions seemed irrelevant to the issue of whether I am fit
for work.
Someone with sever MH problems would have great difficulty meeting any of
the above criteria.

One of the several reasons I am unable to consider employment right now is
that I cannot stay awake for long, due to extreme fatigue symptoms
associated with my illness. However, no questions were asked about my
ability to stay awake.

After 20 minutes or so of the questions, I was getting mentally tired,
forgetful and confused. Then came another seemingly odd question: "How do
you get on when you have to stand in a long queue?" I told the examiner:
"I
never have to stand in a long queue; my local supermarket never has long
queues". However, he pressed me to make a definitive answer, so I told the
simple truth: "I don't have problems with long queues". It was all I could
think of to say.

After the examination was over and after I'd gone home and taken a long
nap, I reflected on the interview and realised that if I was forced to
stand in a long queue, I probably would have serious problems - especially
if I was currently suffering from a bout of extreme fatigue, as I
frequently do, due to my illness.

I'm worried now that they will pronounce me fit for work.

Depends on the answers you gave, going by you said so far you will be
declared fit for work.




If I am put under
pressure to find employment at this stage of my illness, I am certain it
will make me worse and wreck my chances of recovery. I have only recently
been suicidal, and I fear I'll go back to that state if put under pressure
to get employment (or else).

Is it too late to emend my comment about queues not being a problem?
Should
I phone or write to Atos, or would I be wasting my time?
You have had your medical, thats it finished, they dont keep assessing you
to see if you can come up with better answers.

It seemed to me that the questions I was asked were mainly designed to
assess a person's physical ability to do productive work, but none of the
questions seemed designed to assess a person's psychological ability
What? physical ability is assessed by getting you to move your arms and legs
etc.


to
cope with employment and/or carry on employment safely or effectively, or
for sustained periods. Something seems wrong here.
Yes there is, you cant tell the difference between a physical and MH
examination.
 
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How did you get here?
> Did you enter the building alone?
> Do you drive?
> Where do you shop for food?
> How often do you shop for food?
> Do you ever visit your neigbours?
> How often?
> Do they ever visit you?
> Do you own a mobile phone?
> Who calls you on your mobile phone?

I have my assessment in 2 weeks time and hope I get asked these questions! I suffer from depression and anxiety and I can tell you now, No way can I go in a shop, let alone stand in a queue. I have one neighbour that comes to see me but she knows to send me a text a good hour before - no point ringing me as I can't answer a phone with getting an anxiety attack. Same with answering the door. If someone knocks at my door and I am not expecting them, I will make a dash for the upstairs and hide in my room.

As soon as I read those questions I could see they were aimed at someone with a mental disability .
 
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Hi.just had appeal heard..nil points from atos..21 from the tribunal...i had broken both legs and had external fixator..atos claimed i was able to stand for 30 mins..having assessed such from seeing me stand for one minute..also claimed i could walk 200m as i said i could get around my flat ok....judgement made after just ten mins ....still waiting for dwp to payout tho...slow payers even after winning appeal....
on 1 july, 02:34, "al_z" <[email protected]> wrote:
> i'm suffering from the twin illnesses of severe depression and generalised
> anxiety disorder. I've been claiming esa for about 8 weeks. I recently had
> my dwp medical exam, courtesy of atos healthcare.
>
> i was amazed at the strange line of questioning fired at me:
>
> how did you get here?
> did you enter the building alone?
> do you drive?
> where do you shop for food?
> how often do you shop for food?
> do you ever visit your neigbours?
> how often?
> do they ever visit you?
> do you own a mobile phone?
> who calls you on your mobile phone?
>
> most of the questions seemed irrelevant to the issue of whether i am fit
> for work.
>
> one of the several reasons i am unable to consider employment right now is
> that i cannot stay awake for long, due to extreme fatigue symptoms
> associated with my illness. However, no questions were asked about my
> ability to stay awake.
>
> after 20 minutes or so of the questions, i was getting mentally tired,
> forgetful and confused. Then came another seemingly odd question: "how do
> you get on when you have to stand in a long queue?" i told the examiner: "i
> never have to stand in a long queue; my local supermarket never has long
> queues". However, he pressed me to make a definitive answer, so i told the
> simple truth: "i don't have problems with long queues". It was all i could
> think of to say.
>
> after the examination was over and after i'd gone home and taken a long
> nap, *i reflected on the interview and realised that if i was forced to
> stand in a long queue, i probably would have serious problems - especially
> if i was currently suffering from a bout of extreme fatigue, as i
> frequently do, due to my illness.
>
> i'm worried now that they will pronounce me fit for work. If i am put under
> pressure to find employment at this stage of my illness, i am certain it
> will make me worse and wreck my chances of recovery. I have only recently
> been suicidal, and i fear i'll go back to that state if put under pressure
> to get employment (or else).
>
> is it too late to emend my comment about queues not being a problem? Should
> i phone or write to atos, or would i be wasting my time?
>
> it seemed to me that the questions i was asked were mainly designed to
> assess a person's physical ability to do productive work, but none of the
> questions seemed designed to assess a person's psychological ability to
> cope with employment and/or carry on employment safely or effectively, or
> for sustained periods. Something seems wrong here.
>
> al


hi al.
Those questions seem ok regarding fit for work.
Able to get around by yourself or not.
Able to get out and go among strangers. Or not.
Able to interact with people you know. Or not.
Able to handle phone calls. Or not.

Just based on those questions you gave, if able to do them then could
theoretically work in a call centre or office job.

Depending on the job, staying awake isn't always an issue. Some night
work employers don't care about staff being awake so long as they can
wake up to do the job.
Not the most common of jobs though - lot less work needs doing at
night than during day.
Even extreme fatigue itself isn't necessarily a barrier from all work.
Limits things a lot, even non-extreme fatigue will limit the work that
can be done. But with home working, flexi time and decent management
there may be something. Or not.

Problem with long queues question i suspect is to do with ability to
stand still for a time. Some can do it - i can't, doesn't affect all
jobs but would make jobs requiring standing for a while more
difficult.

And from what you've said, some of the questions relate to
psychological ability to cope with employment. Just not covering all
eventualities.
Safely and effectively i wouldn't expect to be an issue - thats for
employers to deal with, not for whether someone is able to work.
Employers can get grants towards safety equipment or specialist
equipment that allow people to do the job safely and effectively. Can
be something as simple as a pager up to more complex issues like safe
rooms or different computer system.

Not sure if its too late now to change your answer with atos. Can't
hurt to try.

Martin <><
 

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