An Ex Atos Nurse contacted me with her account of what she was expected to do during her employment carrying out Assessments. Her account confirms what we’ve known for years in that the system is target driven, her account also reveals that those running the Atos contract care not one bit about the wellbeing of those they call for assessment.
As this Nurse say’s at the end of her account, “ This is not a job any nurse should do, if their NMC registration means anything to them.”.
J.Stoker is an alias that this Nurse has used for her own protection
Paul Smith – Founder Atos Victims Group News
I resigned from Atos in 2012.
As a nurse, I was taught to care and be compassionate about the people I was in contact with. This was not the case with Atos.
It was very much a target driven role and you were under constant pressure to meet these targets. We had to see a minimum of 6 clients per day, some nurses were managing 10 and I often wondered how. I was warned, on a number of occasions, about this. If another nurse asked for help, I was more than happy to help or discuss a difficult case. My manager had a firm, but polite, word with me in a quiet corner, and reminded me of my role, which was to meet targets, not have general chit chat with colleagues. We were not allowed to offer any advice to our clients and we were not supposed to engage in a conversation, unless it was about the assessment. This was extremely hard to avoid, especially with a client with learning difficulties, who would often love to chat!
The doctors would ‘cherry pick’ the easy clients, as they were paid per case and often saw, on average, 14 cases per day. Very good, considering they worked office hours.
We were monitored closely on how many clients we put into Support Group . If our totals were above the national average, we would have to ask an ‘experienced’ member of staff for permission to put a client into a support group, even if it was plainly obvious they could not return to work. Those members of staff who had a low number of support group additions, were praised.
I assessed a client with mental health issues who I entered into the support group. I was so concerned about her I stayed with her, in the waiting room, until a family member came to collect her to take her home. I was instructed to attend a meeting with my manager and was given a verbal warning for costing Atos money – when I asked how this was possible, I was informed that during the time I was with this client in the waiting room, I could have assessed somebody else.
I assessed a client with visual problems, due to her diabetes, who could not read 16 point print, nor could she see hazards in the street. Although not registered blind, she was under the care of a consultant, was receiving treatment and needed constant support from her family. Although there was not a suitable support group for her, I put her in a higher group and recommended she was recalled in 18 months, after she had received treatment from her consultant, to assess her condition. I was instructed, by my manager, to downgrade her. I was told to add her to a lower group and recall her in 6 months. I strongly disagreed, due to her current condition and underlying medical problems, but was told, in no uncertain terms, not to question my managers judgement. It was at this point I decided to resign.
I could not live with the knowledge of what I was doing and the effect this could have on somebody’s life. Although there are a number of people who are more than capable of work, the majority are genuine, sick people who need our help, not to be demoralised in this way. I saw so many people who would cry in front of me, because they want to work so much, but couldn’t.
Atos Healthcare do not care about their staff and more importantly, do not care about their clients. They are more interested in making money and I believe they should be stripped of this contact with DWP. This is not a job any nurse should do, if their NMC registration means anything to them.
J. Stoker. RGN