Yes ATOS, I recently had an assessment myself and despite informing the doctor I had just days earlier undergone a spinal procedure (Facet joint injections) and I was in pain, the pushy doctor insisted I go through the assessment and despite the fact I couldn’t lay on the couch for the physical assessment, injured myself in the agility side of things, I was signed fit for work.
It was during my time at the assessment I had noticed something that I think that all assesses should know is that the moment you walk in that waiting room your being assessed. The waiting rooms in the assessment centre I attend have security cameras and I think I have identified a covert camera.
I was kept waiting a while, some 35 minutes after the appointed time. I could just make out someone between the tiny gaps of the venetian blinds a figure that appeared to be sat at a table watching a monitor. It was my assessment doctor. It wasn’t until I was on my way out the door that I actually caught what the monitor was and sure enough it was the overview of the waiting room and it appeared to have two views but I could only see one camera! It would be wise to inform people that your ATOS medical actually starts the moment you walk in the door to the point you walk out the door as the contents of my ESA85 form that ATOS completes indicates that they’re assessing you outside of the assessment room in addition to in the assessment room.
It became apparent that the staff notes where you sit and also watch what you do and also take any opportunity as they have done in the past to not deal with you if you kick off as I had done in the past when messed around. My medical assessment of 27 pages long was miraculously completed in 12 minutes flat. I said to my assessor that I had a prior engagement and that I will be leaving at a certain time, he didn’t like being told that he is not a priority and that I will be leaving when my alarm on my phone advises me.
Even that was used against me in the ESA85 he noted I had no problem using my phone… I still left the assessment centre 10 minutes later than anticipated but still the assessment after the 7 minutes of arguing prior to the beginning of the assessment ate in to the assessment time and the questioning I was subjected to, most of it was twisted in favour of not awarding points on the paperwork.
I scored 0 out of 15 points and having been through the process several times before with 11 points and 14 points, appealed and won the appeal, I stated as a matter of fact that they (ATOS) and I referred to them as twATOS were merely meeting targets and not assessing people and that my prior InCap claim still stood, my position had not changed as I was still in pain and it is likely that the industrial injury has evolved in to arthritis of the spine which has other complications that I had been experiencing.
Anyway, I am now being treated for pain management and have to now take 120mg of codeine a day which is half the maximum daily dose. So I am largely dependent on taking medications to get out of the bed. What I can say about ATOS is that they do record, I noted that in one assessment I was videoed via a web camera, another I was audio recorded but not made aware yet sussed it as I tried to look at the screen which met with objection and a frantic fiddling of keys to hide the recorder.
SO… I return the favour, I use my mobile phone‘s voice recorder to record the assessment as well as a backup of an Olympus VH8700PC digital voice recorder, the best £60 I have ever spent. The way I see this is simple, if they are not telling you that the assessment is recorded, why should I tell them that I am recording the assessment, well they should know because I told the DWP once that I know exactly what was said and done in the interview as I recorded the assessment myself which I think was the only reason why one of my claims was successful. I am currently in appeal at the moment, I am betting that his goes to tribunal. Really is not enough room here to properly type comments so I will leave it at that for now, if you want to know more, drop me an email.
Mr. Spinal Headcase