Atos assessor 'forced to judge disabled fit for work'
A former nurse who was employed by the controversial capability assessor Atos has claimed she was forced to manipulate tests so that disabled people were deemed fit for work.
Joyce Drummond alleged she was warned by the French-owned firm she was being "too nice" to claimants. She said candidates were considered more able to work if they arrived for their interview with brushed hair, had a toddler with them, or wore make-up.
Ms Drummond, a former staff nurse at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, said bosses ignored her 20 years of medical experience. She told the Daily Record: "People trusted me and they confided in me. I felt I was having to stab them in the back."
A recent investigation by The Independent revealed that more than 40 doctors and nurses working for Atos have been reported to medical regulators for professional misconduct.
Anyone who claims employment and support allowance because they are too sick or disabled to work must pass a work capability test, designed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) but conducted by one of Atos's 1,400 staff. The company has £3.1bn of government contracts.
Ms Drummond, who resigned from the company three-and-a-half years ago, said: "If a woman was wearing make-up and was nicely dressed, she was deemed as functioning and capable.
"If someone came in with a toddler in tow, if they could manage a child, they could surely work. If someone had a pet, they were able to function and if they smiled while talking about a pet, I had to mark down that they smiled spontaneously and were therefore not depressed."
Atos healthcare said the claims were completely unfounded, and said Ms Drummond was not involved in conducting ESA assessments but worked on other "unrelated" assessments.
A spokesman said: "Our trained doctors, nurses and physiotherapists use their clinical knowledge and apply the Government's policy and criteria to each assessment. They look at a number of factors based on the individual and using the Government's questions and descriptors to provide detailed information to the DWP."
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
How the language you speak changes your view of the world
General election live: Russell Brand endorses Labour (except in Scotland and Brighton)
Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...