What you need to know about Atos assessments.


Courageous whistleblower, Scottish nurse and ex-Atos employee, Joyce Drummond, who recently made a heartfelt apology to Atos assessment victims, has submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament Select Committee on Welfare Reform.

Joyce forwarded some of her notes to me, containing this information about Atos assessments. We had some dialogue about the content. I have edited where needed, organised the notes and added some information to the text. I’ve included the contents from Joyce’s notes in full.

Both Joyce and I share this information in the hope that people going through Atos assessments will find it helpful.

Joyce told me: 

“I knew nothing about Atos when I joined, and left as soon as I realised that there was no way to ‘fight from the inside.’  I stated at my interview for the job that I believed in social inclusion and social justice.

I attended 4 weeks training in England. The training did not prepare me for what I was expected to do in real life.

The forms that are completed prior to assessment, I have recently found out, are actually opened by Royal Mail Staff. They are then sent for “scrutiny” where nurses decide whether or not a face to face assessment is required. I was not involved in this and do not know what criteria are used.  

 It is made clear throughout training and working that we are not nurses – we are disability analysts.  Also, we do not carry out “medical assessments” – we carry out “functional assessments”. We did not even need a diagnosis to carry out assessments. I had reservations around consent, as we were expected to assess patients – sorry, we didn’t have patients, we had ‘claimants’ – who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or other substances. 

We were also consistently told that we did not make benefit decisions. The final decision was made by a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision maker with no medical qualification. If our assessment was overturned at appeal we never knew about it. There was no accountability for assessments overruled.”

Please note that assessment starts on the day of your appointment with the Health Care Professional (HCP) reading the form you completed when you applied for disability support. Remember that every single question you are asked is designed to justify ending your claim for ESA and passing you as “fit for work”. That is what Atos are contracted to do by the Government.  This is not a genuine medical assessment, but rather, an opportunity for the DWP to take away the financial support that you are entitled to.

Things that are carefully noted at this stage are:

  • Did you complete the form yourself?
  • Is the handwriting legible?
  • Are the contents coherent?

These observations are already used in assessing your hand function, vision, your cognitive state and concentration.

Further observations made:

  • Do the things you have written ‘add up’? Are there any ‘discrepancies’?
  • Does your medication support your diagnosis?
  • What tests have you had to confirm diagnosis? For example a diagnosis of sciatica is not accepted unless diagnosed by MRI scan.
  • Do you have supporting medical evidence from your GP or consultants? If you do, it shows that you are able to organise getting this information

Joyce observes:

“This is also a hidden cost to the NHS. I believe that if ATOS request information there is a charge levied by GP’s. However claimants are expected to source medical evidence themselves. It uses valuable NHS time for medical staff to write supporting statements. 

There were no hidden cameras, at least in Glasgow, to watch people arriving for assessment or sitting in waiting room. This may not be true in other areas.”

When the HCP has read your form they input some data into the computer system. The assessment properly begins when they call your name in the waiting room.

At this point the HCP assesses:

  • Did you hear your name being called?
  • Did you rise from your chair unaided, did the chair have support arms or not?
  • Were you accompanied? – assessing your ability to go out alone
  • Were you reading a paper while waiting? – assessing your concentration
  • Did you walk to the assessment room unaided, did you use any aids correctly? Did you navigate any obstacles safely? – assessing sight.

The HCP will shake your hand on introduction – assessing your handshake, noting if are you trembling, sweating – signs of anxiety. The HCP carefully scrutinises everything you do and say. The HCP will often ask on the way to waiting room:

  • How long you’ve been waiting – assessing ability to sit, physically, and appraising your mental state
  • How you got to the appointment – assessing ability to drive or use public transport

Formal assessment begins by listing medical conditions/complaints. For each complaint you will be asked:

  • How long have you had it, have you seen a specialist?
  • Have you had any tests, what treatments have you had?
  • What’s your current treatment? Have you had any other specialist input e.g. physiotherapy, CPN?

The HCP will use lack of specialist input/ hospital admissions to justify assessing your condition as “less severe”. Medications will be listed and it will be noted if they are prescribed or bought. Dates will be checked on boxes to assess compliance with dosage and treatment regime. Any allergies or side-effects should be noted.

  • A brief note is made of how you feel each condition affects your life
  • A brief social history will be taken – who you live with, if have you stairs in your house or steps outside your house
  • Employment history taken – asking when you last worked, what you work entailed, and the reason for leaving employment.

Your typical day – this is the part of the assessment where how you function on a day to day basis is used to justify the HCP decisions. Anything you say here is what is most likely to be used to justify you failing your assessment and being passed as “fit for work”. Along side this, the HCP records their observations.

Starting with your sleep pattern, questions are asked around your ability to function. This will include:

  • Lower limb problems – ability to mobilise to shops, around the house, drive, use public transport, dress, shower
  • Upper limb – ability to wash, dress, cook, shop, complete ESA form
  • Vision – did you manage to navigate safely to the assessment room
  • Hearing – did you hear your name being called in the waiting room
  • Speech – could the HCP understand you at assessment
  • Continence – do you describe incontinence NOT ‘CONTROLLED’ by pads, medication. Do you mention its effects on your life when describing your typical day
  • Consciousness – Do you suffer seizures – with loss of continence, possible injury, witnessed, or uncontrolled diabetes
  • HCP observations include – how far did you walk to the examination room, did you remove your coat independently, did you handle medications without difficulty, did you bend to pick up your handbag.

Formal examination consists of simple movements to assess limited function. Things the HCP also looks at:

  • Are you well presented, hair done, wearing make-up, eyebrows waxed
  • Do you have any pets – this can be linked with ability to bend to feed and walk
  • Do you look after someone else – as a parent or carer – if you do, this will be taken as evidence of functioning
  • Any training, voluntary work, socialising – this will be used as evidence of functioning
  • Do you watch TV – this may be used as evidence of being able to sit unaided or as evidence of being able to concentrate
  • If you wear jewelry it will be assumed you have sufficient dexterity to open and close the clasps on chains and so on.

This is not a comprehensive list, but it gives you an idea of how seemingly innocent questions are used to justify HCP decisions to pass you as “fit for work.” For example, “Do you watch soaps on TV?” is translated as “Can sit unaided for at least half an hour” on the report.

Mental Health:

  • Learning tasks – Can you use a phone, computer, washing machine
  • Hazards – Can you safely make tea, if claiming accident, there must have been some emergency services involvement, e.g. fire service. Near miss accidents do not count.

Personal Actions:

  • Can you wash, dress, gather evidence for assessment
  • Do you manage bills

Further observations made by the HCP – appearance and presentation:

  • Coping with assessment interview – any abnormal thoughts, hallucinations, confusion
  • Coping with change – ability to attend assessment, attend GP or hospital appointments, shopping and socialising

More HCP observations:

  • Appearance, eye contact, rapport, any signs/symptoms that are abnormal mood/thoughts/perceptions. Any suicidal thoughts
  • Coping with social engagement/appropriateness of behaviour – any inappropriate behaviour must have involved police to be considered significant
  • Ability to attend assessment, engage with assessor, behave appropriately

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, merely some examples.

Further information: 

At present to qualify for ESA you need to score 15 points, unless the Exceptional Circumstances Regulations apply to you. The 15 points can be from a combination of scores from physical and mental health descriptors.

To qualify for the Support Group you must score 15 points in one section. As long as you are claiming income-based ESA then your award can be renewed at each assessment, if you gain 15 points.

You may also qualify without meeting the 15 points criterion, even if you don’t score any points, because of Exceptional Circumstances (Regulation 29 and Regulation 35, (or 25 and 31 for Universal Credit – see link at the foot of article) if there would be a substantial risk to your mental or physical health if you were found not to have limited capability for work. Regulation 29 is about exceptional circumstances for being assessed as having limited capability for work (Work Related Activity Group), and Regulation 35 is about being assessed as having limited capability for work-related activity (Support Group).

Special cases – exemptions from assessment include those people having: terminal illness, intravenous chemotherapy treatment and those considered a danger to self or others if found fit to work.

Contribution-based ESA lasts for one year only, unless you are in the support group. After one year in the work-related activity group, you may only get income-based ESA if your household income is below a certain threshold. It makes no difference how long you have previously paid National Insurance.

Joyce told me:

“For clarity, as far as I know in the real world, doctors carry out medical assessments, nurses carry out nursing assessments and physios carry out physiotherapy assessments. In the world of Atos, people from each of these separate professions are employed as disability analysts, carrying out functional assessments.

Nurses are employable for these posts if they have been qualified for at least 3 years, are registered to practice with the NMC, and have basic computer skills.

My interview consisted of:

  • Face to face interview with medical director and nurse team leader.
  • A written paper assessing a scenario, in my case someone with back pain
  • A 10 minute basic computer test

“In order to be approved as a disability analyst I had to complete 4 weeks of Atos disability training, reach a certain standard of assessment reports – as decided by audit of all cases seen (I don’t know what criteria was) and was finally approval to carry out Work Capability Assessments (WCA) from the Secretary for Work and Pensions.

In my opinion the money given to Atos and spent on tribunals should be given to NHS GPs. They are best placed to make assessments regarding patients’ work capability. They have access to all medical reports, knowledge of past history, specialist input and they know their patients. My concern would be about what criteria the DWP would impose on GPs risking the doctor/patient relationship. GPs already assess patients for “fit notes”, which have to be submitted to DWP during assessment phase of ESA.

While I worked at Atos, sessional medical staff were being paid £40 per assessment, as far as I am aware. I have no idea of wages of permanent medical staff. Nurses were on a salary, which, based on 10 assessments a day (Atos target), equalled around £10 per assessment. These are approximate figures but may give a clue as to why Atos are employing nurses rather than doctors.”


Most Atos HCPs are not doctors, they are usually nurses or occupational therapists. There are some conditions that will mean you need to be assessed by a qualified specialist nurse, or a doctor and you can ask for this.

List of conditions judged suitable for assessment by neuro trained nurses/any health care profession:

Prolapsed intervertebral disc
Lumbar nerve root compression
Slipped disc
Lumbar spondylosis
Lumbar spondylolisthesis
Lumbar spondylolysis
Cauda equina syndrome
Spinal stenosis
Peripheral neuropathy
Drop foot
Meralgia paraesthetica
Cervical spondylosis
Cervical nerve root compression
Nerve entrapment syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Trapped nerve
Brachial plexus injury
Essential Tremor

List of conditions judged by the DWP and Atos Healthcare as suitable only for assessment by doctors:

Head injury with neuro sequelae
Brain haemorrhage/Sub Arachnoid Haemorrhage
Brain tumour
Acoustic Neuroma
Multiple Sclerosis
Motor Neurone Disease
Parkinson’s disease
Bulbar Palsy
Myasthenia Gravis
Muscular Dystrophy
Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Spina bifida
Fits (secondary to brain tumour)
Learning difficulties (with physical problems)
Nystagmus Myelitis
Bells Palsy
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Huntington’s Chorea
Huntington’s Disease

Further information:

Special exemptions from the 15 points criteria: The New Regulation 25
Useful updated information about Regulations 25 & 31: Exceptional Circumstances and Universal Credit.
Exceptional Circumstances:
Employment and Support Regulation 31

Employment and Support Allowance: 2013 Regulations in full
The Amendments to ESA Regulations: as laid before Parliament
Clause 99 and important changes to the appeal process: Clause 99, Catch 22 – The ESA Mandatory Second Revision and Appeals
Questions you may be asked at assessment: dwpexamination forum 
How to deal with Benefits medical examinations: A Useful Guide to Benefit Claimants when up against ATOS Doctors
More support and helpful advice here: How to deal with Benefits medical examinations

Essential information for ESA claims, assessments and appeals

Previous related articles: 

Joyce’s campaign:  The Daily Record 
Joyce Drummond and Sue Jones:  After Atos

Further reading:

Targets in Atos contract

7 out of 8 targeted to lose ESA

Amnesty condemns erosion of human rights of disabled in UK

Whistleblower says Atos Work Capability Assessments are unfair

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Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his excellent artwork. Many thanks to Joyce for the information she has provided, and for her courage and integrity, which is so strongly evident in her outstanding campaign work.

I don’t make any money from my work. I am disabled because of illness and have a very limited income. But you can help by making a donation to help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you. 


297 thoughts on “What you need to know about Atos assessments.

  1. hi all i just wanted to update you all that i had my medical in may and i was an extreme nervous wreck. suprisingly the woman was very nice to me. i managed to pass and ive been placed in the support group. i just wanted to give a massive thanks to everybody who wrote to me. i really appreciate it xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well done Claire, very glad to hear that. Not all of the assessors are so bad, the same thing happened to me back in 2012, after the previous assessment in 2011 had concluded I was fit for work. The report was rubbish and had little bearing on either my illness or what was actually discussed during the assessment. I had to appeal, of course, I won and got another assessment date just 3 months after winning the appeal… but the doctor I saw was very good, and assured me he’d recommend I was placed in the support group, he kept his word.

      Hopefully now, you will have a break from the revolving door of assessments and reassessments XXX

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I am having my assessment next week. I suffer from asthma, diabetes, sciatica, spondylosis, depression, arhritis, Ibs and stomach problems. I am 66 and have been on DLA for many years. I feel that I will not be passed for PIP. I thought that ATOS had ended their contract, but my letter shows ATOS at the top of the page.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not really a reply to the previous question but Ihave a question to ask. I was assessed about 3 weeks ago for PIP and according to the assessor scored 0 points so no PIP. In 2009 I was diagnosed with a malignant incurable brain tumour. Was medically retired from Civil Servide after 30 years employment for this reason I am in process of submitting a request for a mandatory reconsideration totally supported by the clinical oncology team in whose care I gave been placed. I have also sent a complaint to ATOS for several reasons re. The actual assessment and other issues. It seems to be the case for ESA assessments for brain tumour patients that the assessor should be a qualified doctor. Don’t know if the same applies for PIP assessments but if the ESA assessment should be carried out by a doctor I wouldn’t have thought PIP assessments should be any different. I suspect the woman who carried out my assessment is classed as a disability analyst – a term which I has been believe concocted by DWP and ATOS to cover assessors with no professional qualifications whatsoever.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. my wife has her ATOS appointment in two weeks, she has dilated cardiomyopathy, raynauds syndrome and carpul tunnel syndrome.
    She is already very nervous about the appointment, she has heard so many horror stories about them, your advice will be welcome

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know the situation is scary, and reading about people’s horrible experiences can add to the sense of trepidation, but knowing what to expect at the assessment, even though it’s unpleasant, can work in your favour, that’s why I write – to share these experiences so that people can use them.

      I wrote this a couple of years ago, but it is still pretty much up to date, and hope your wife will find it helpful. Best wishes – https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/1560/

      Liked by 1 person

  3. esa pip and ATOS are definitely disgusting ..to actually think some1 we will only ever meet once in our lives and no nothing of our condition can over rule your own dr who has known seen and treated us week in week out for years and signed us off sick !!!! ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL is all i can say 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve only just joined this blog but have questions about certain issues. ATOS state they use “Healthcare Professionals” and in statements say they use doctors, nurses etc. At an ESA assessment 5 months ago the assessor introduced herself as a doctor. At a friend’s PIP assessment more recently my friend was advised by the assessor that she was a qualified orthopaedic nurse. About 4 weeks my PIP assessor stated she was a Disability Analyst( although I couldn’t make out at the time I now believe this is what she said).With an incurable malignant brain tumour diagnosis (amongst other illnesses) I scored 0 points so no PIP. Am submitting request for mandatory reconsideration and have submitted a formal ncomplaint to ATOS. I am attempting to establish wether or not my PIP assessor holds any actual professional qualifications since from what I have been reading brain tumour patients should be assessed by doctors (albeit for ESA claims – but I would imagine PIP should be the same) . Whoever carries out these assessments – doctors or nurses – for ATOS purposes are called Disability Analysts I believe. Since the doctor and nurse identified themselves by their professional qualifications I am suspicious that, perhaps my PIP assessor has none. I could be completely wrong but does anyone know if ATOS are employing assessors with no medical training or am I just talking nonsense?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many assessors are occupational therapists, paramedics or nurses, there are very few doctors, and of course these have no specialist knowledge of the wide array of conditions they are assessing. This said, you are right in that they are “retrained” as “disability analysts” and they claim to look at how your illness impacts on your “functional capacity” and your everyday life. They look for “discrepancy” in what you say and how you present yourself. If you look smart and tidy, for example, it will be assumed that you can manage personal hygiene and grooming with no problems, regardless of how long it took you to make the effort.

        I’m so sorry, and disgusted that you have had to ask for a mandatory review, despite being so clearly ill due to your condition. That is unforgivable.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi thanks for your response. I am currently waiting for the response from ATOS re. my complaint. I fully expect them to deny everything I have said and state the assessment was carried out correctly. If/when my mandatory reconsideration is unsuccessful I will use the ATOS complaint to go to Appeal Tribunal I am now aware that brain tumour patients in general are being dealt with in exactly the same manner as myself. Given that it seems this government has not been able to prevent constituents approaching their MPs re. benefits issues as they had wished if unsuccessful at appeal I will then be contacting my MP and if necessary the newspapers,
        Many Thanks
        Mary Spowart

        Sent from my iPad

        Liked by 2 people

      3. In light of Dr.xxxxx letter dated the 14th October, 2016, I would confirm his remarks are consistent with the information I provided on the ESA50 form and the statements made to the JobCentre, December, 2015 and January. 2016 – during the medical assessment, the Mandatory Reconsideration and the telephone conversation made on the 19th April, 2016.
        At no point did I say I was suffering from depression or I was taking medication for IBS – I did say “I am soiled and dirty daily. Why the DWP should trust the HCP over me is their problem – evidence now supplied proves I have told the truth throughout the past two years.
        The DWP’s “mistreatment” is unforgiveable

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Received the response from ATOS to the complaint I submitted re. The assessment which was carried out. Just as I had expected they insist everything was done correctly. Needless to say I refute this completely. From the “full Musculoskeletal Observation ” she allegedly carried out to the length of time spent on the assessment. I had asked about the medical evidence they had requested from my doctors etc but this question was not answered except that they stated they would request this if they considered it to be beneficial. In a later paragraph, however, the assessor stated ” she had no information from any of these specialists at any time commenting on my diagnosis or current condition/ symptoms “. In other words although a letter was sent to me stating they were going to contact these specialists, clearly they did not do so. They tell me I can send in evidence and information to support my claim but of course I did not do this since they advised me they were doing so. The Decision Maker, therefore, had no medical evidence to consider and my doctors have told me they would have been more than happy to provide such if requested. The assessor stated she did not discuss company targets or personal issues so we are now down to complete lies on her part. She spoke of issues I could not have known about unless told by her. These included her health problems and that ATOS were not following proper Attendance Management Procedures.
        I realise she is unlikely to admit to this since it puts her in a very bad light with her employer but when we left my home these were the first issues I brought up with my husband and my daughter. I do not intend responding to ATOS since this would be pointless. They will continue to maintain she did everything correctly which is clearly not the case. I intend waiting for the result of the Mandatory Reconsideration request and if, as I suspect, the outcome is unchanged will use this correspondence in any subsequent appeal.
        Feel free to let me know your views,
        Many Thanks

        Sent from my iPad

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Hi Mary

        I am disabled with degenerative disc disease (getting worse) i have lost by mobility because i can mentally plan a car journey and sign read signs?? i asked for a mandatory reconsideration and was told it didnt matter about might physical disability i am mentally ok, how can i take it to appeal with that argument she also lied at the assessment she said i walk with a balanced gait?? i have a bad limp and was walking with a stick and holding on to my dad. it’s horrible but i dont have the energy to appeal think thats how they plan it

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Today I had my ESA review assessment, I suffer with bipolar disorder and paroxysmal artrial fibrillation. I was extremely nervous and of course the anxiety kicked in and I was a mess. My daughter who is my lifeline came with me, and was on hand to help with the questions and support. We explained my daughter helps with lots of my everyday tasks herself and my mum help with school runs for my youngest, we do get take always 2-3 times a week as sometimes it is just easier for me but my fridge is always full and plenty of fruit and fresh food, the assessor very loudly said “I AM VERY CONCERNED THAT U R NOT DOING ANYTHING FOR YOUR CHILDREN, YOU DONT LOOK AFTER YOURSELF HOW CAN U LOOK AFTER YOUR CHILDREN”….. At this point between tears and anger I explained that if I didn’t have the help from my family who knows where I would be, and who knows where my children would be, they may not even have a mother. I am so disgusted on how this man behaved as he doesn’t no me and my family and he doesn’t know how well looked after my children are. Good days or very bad days my children are looked after by their Family. Needless to say we will be putting in a formal complaint…….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi i went for an assessment on the 30 June I am a diabetic with type two diabetes I have complications with it 1 cold foot circulation problems I also have sicatica asthma high blood pressure high cholesterol bad back and a ulcer and my blood sugar levels never fall below 10 mmols I nearly set fire to my house twice as I forgot I had the cooker on with a pot on I also left my cooker on all night i was turns down for pip as they can’t assess the way way you live with your condition they need to reasses there criteria and look at your medical records to see your medical condition and not there one

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i also have sciatica, asthma and type 2 diabetes. tramadol helps with pain and asthma pumps help with asthma but if you cant control your sugar levels then you really need to be put on proper medication especially if you have high blood pressure too. that in itself wont qualify for PIP as its not seen as a disability. you can’t be looking after yourself with regular diabetic clinic and lifestyle changes.
      my dad didn’t take his diabetes serious and he has bad circulation and glycoma in both eyes. he also has a bad heart now too.
      seriously talk with your GP and get proper help and advice and if you are struggling (trust me its not an easy condition no matter what anybody else thinks), don’t be ashamed to admit it.
      a proper GP will support you and sit you with a nutritionist/dietitian for starters who can advice you on the diet part. i can understand you ain’t mobile enough to do exercise so with the right diet and medication atleast should help you because type 2 diabetes is very manageable when you know the in’s and out’s and how to look after yourself. it took me 2 years before i took my diagnosis serious. i only looked at my dad and that gave me motivation to change.
      good luck

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I disagree, I have been a type 2 diabetic for 11 years and the last three my blood sugars have failed to come down despite endless medications. Finally and only after I pleaded I was put on insulin 18 weeks ago, but still with three injections of insulin a day my BS are still over 10 mmol even after an overnight fasting. So some people when compliant with meds and diet still can’t win.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I guess one size approaches don’t fit all. I have hypoglycaemia but no diabetes. No-one seems to know what to do with me and doctors have no idea why my blood sugar is so low. It’s likely to be autoimmune though, as all my other medical problems are.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. had an assesment recently at northampton by a margaret abaandou,be warned this person is an absolute liar,in the process of reporting her to nmc.am totally gobsmacked at what she reported,but the good old dwp were satisfied with the accuracy and integrity of her report

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My husband had a ESA assessment in July he suffers from Post Polio syndrome he has osteo arthritus in every joint and circulation problems just to name a couple. He uses a mobility scooter like a wheelchair but was refused to have access to it inside due to health and safety (does this mean a wheelchair bound person would need to crawl) they left him waiting nearly two hours looks like the also filmed him as he moved once as he was getting bad cramps in his legs (obviously not in enough pain) the doctor was rude refused to listen to us told us to shut up she was talking even though we were polite. He gets middle rate care high rate mobility. He was refused they said he got 0 points they stated his condition which is degenerative had improved as he no longer needed a stairlift “no my husband answered we moved to a bungalow” oh said the decision maker then continued to gloat that he was not eligible for ESA and his money will stop soon. Doctor lied if we lie we would be in trouble how can they lie she said she did a physical examination she didn’t not even a handshake. We are not going to leave this we will fight his condition may kill him but not before we win our case.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. i have totaly had enough now of pips while awaiting tribuneral i have now indicated my intention to sue for fraud my misrepresentation according to the fraud act 2000, so do not think the tribuneral service is all you can do its not i have supplied medical evidence which disproves every point the hcp assessed usually you dont get the chance to instigate court proceedings but if everyone did it would cause a meltdown and people would be scared of being sued for misrepresentation of their proffession they are personally responsible for their wrritten report i am expecting this desision to be overturned iminently as the evidence is overwhelmind on legal basis the easiest way would be to get legal aid to cover patients who cant afford legal fees if this alone was achieved it would totaly destroy the uncountability they beleive they have if you get your desision overturned and you have evidence i have gp record spirometry records mental health records prescription evidence all in writing and all proof of fraud by misrepresentation help others take them to court and affect their careers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Paul and we disabled have to make a stand and what you suggest seems the only option , i do not understand these HCP’s who are doing this because as nurses failing to accuratley record a claiments illnesses is against the code of practice set out by the Nursing and Midwifery council of the UK and the Royal colledge of Nursing , .I believe this is misrepresentaion at the least and may well be malpractice .I also think it may have more impact if this was done as a group and not singularly , may well be cheaper for we claiments

      Liked by 1 person

        “Thank you for your letter, dated 16th November, 2016.
        This is the fourth letter I have received from the Review Team, all of which, state similar facts. However, they do not explain, why I was told, in February, 2015, “I have no responsibility to my sons” and I should stop the family support to their mother. I had no objections in paying her (their mother) the £ 120.00 per week, after I retired in December, 2012. It allowed me to see, my boys, once a fortnight.
        With my savings running low and no prospect of selling my home – any help and support from the Department for Work and Pensions would be very welcome.
        I became – no longer, the devoted parent, more the absent father.
        I can “cope” with the broken pin in my ankle; the scars on my chest; the 12 hours sleep per day and I can even tolerate the diarrhoea – although September was a particularly bad month – when I could not get appointment to see the consultant – spending most nights with a towel round me.
        The prostate cancer is a minor thing! (Well done, sons for raising £ 1300.00 for Cancer Research).
        I do have difficulty, with not being allowed to drive – obviously, I cannot see my sons, but I am also restricted in so many other ways and forced to walk or use the local bus.
        Dr. Chowcdhary did not mention this in his report and I firmly believe once I have sold my 3 bedroom; four storey home, life will change for the better. Although, the report maybe in accordance with the current guidelines, it is empty of the any essential facts:

        Namely, using the word “occasional” rather than “most” – I am “dirty” most days
        Stating the MRI scan was normal – Certificate of Vision Impairment attached – along with the results.
        Irritable bowel syndrome for which he takes medication regularly – severe variant inflammatory disease, difficult to treat. It appears to be exacerbated by stress. Stopped medication April / May 2015.

        The desire to seek employment in the Tewkesbury area is confirmed by the attached leaflet, “picked-up” from Cheltenham Job-Centre – December, 2015. The offer of employment in the Boston area was refused, after the Medical Assessment.
        Unfortunately, the “system” does not work for me. But, I am grateful I have my house to sell and two amazing sons – I will survive. Sadly, there are too many other people who will not be able to conquer the barriers put in place by the DWP and take what they consider the easy way out.
        I have completed the (UT1) form for the Upper Tribunal – not that I am entitled to the “support group” – but, I am still waiting answers, from my e-mail of the 6th October:
        Would someone please explain to me – why after 18 months of waiting I still have:
        NO JOB
        NO MONEY
        Despite the promise from the DWP
        Knowing I had the small income of my pension and rental income.

        And my letters dated17th & 22nd November, 2016:
        Why did the Department for Work & Pensions, insist on the Medical Assessment – knowing I was not entitled to any benefits – with the work-related group?
        Why did the Department for Work & Pensions advise me, on the 19th April, 2016, to appeal my case – knowing I was not a suitable candidate for the “Support Group” – I was not terminally ill?

        In conclusion, is the Department for Work & Pensions prepared to waste more finances, more resources and time defending this case – or would it be better to “pay-me-off”.


        Good Morning,


        Would you please “copy” your response to the offices, detailed in the attached document :

        Please note, my rental income does not “cover” the interest on my credit-card and I have reached my limit.
        Should my medical condition deteriorate any further I will DEMAND the withdrawal of Dr Ranjan Chowdhary licence
        ( GMC 3632255 )

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have a suggestion for those of us who have went through this failing illegal process , i say ilegal as i have proof and going by the many stories on this and other websites , disabled people are being willfully and deliberatley being misrepresented by Atos HCP ,s ,where there is evidence of this , get a copy of your assesment ,, go through it and highlight mistakes then report that person who carried out the assesment not just to their pro body ,Atos, local MP ,DWP , but most importantly the CPS in England or procurator fiscal in Scotland , where criminal action has taken place they are duty bound to investigate these claims of fraud through misrepresentation. Before taking this action try and get some legal advice and don’t just do it because you can , be sure that you have a reason for doing so , if nothing else it will annoy this government the DWP and Atos and if proven will see an end to this disfuctional ilegal process. Not only do i believe what i have writen to be fact but i also believe that Atos HCP’s are guilty of commiting malpractice in many of these cases .

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Just had a PIP assessment today and made to feel like a criminal. am 62 and was asked what qualifications i gained at school did i have English and Maths amongst many other rapid fired questions that seemed to be a smoke screen for the catch out questions. Know it wont pass last one didn’t went through hell and eventually overturned by Appeal and won. Here we go again am sure – this assessment was the worst. Rotten system with rotten people – ex RGN, according to her, assessing me for arthritis but would have been better working for a terrorist interview unit – brings shame on the nursing profession.


  9. i just stumbled across this page and i never knew you could have a specialist doc/nurse who actually knows about your condition, (rather than the unqualified pepole, even more suprised to my find my condition of Trigeminal Neuralgia (plus my spine condition) on that list! i had a atos medical in august and i have just received ANOTHER form for a medical, just 4 months! i am on esa in support group, i thought if you are in support group that they don’t call you up for 2 years? i have been in support group for as long as i can remember. is this a mistake on their part? should i ring and tell them that i have only just had a medical? i don’t know what to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Louise,

      How did you get on? Usually you are left longer than 4 months in the support group – that’s a bit much after you’ve been put in a group where you’re not likely to be able to work or carry out work – related activities in the near future. It’s accepted that most people in the support group are unlikely to recover in just 4 months. I would have rang them and explained about the assessment in August, and said there was no change in my condition from then.

      Sorry I’ve just seen your comment.

      You have to ask for the doctor or nurse who is specialised in those conditions. If you don’t, you’ll just get an occupational therapist or nurse as a rule.

      Let us know how you got on, and sorry I only just saw this X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have just sent an e mail to your website and had an immediate response that you cannot see the content . My question was re. the lists provided by Joyce Drummond relating to the illnesses which should be assessed by a doctor or a nurse – appears to be for ESA assessments but would imagine this should also apply to PIP. I have been unable to find these lists apart from in the article from Joyce herself. I have a brain tumour and am replying to your answer to another post that you can ask for a doctor or nurse specialised in these conditions. Not sure that I was aware this was an option and when exactly do they provide you with this option? I have established that my PIP assessor was a nurse (no mention if any experience in the area of brain tumours) and as I have advised in other communications I was awarded 0 points.


        There is no rely tab on this comment, for some reason,so I have added a response here. The details of which conditions warrant a request to see a qualified doctor for your assessment came from government guidelines, which Robert Livingstone and I found for another article about claiming ESA. The guidelines are linked onto both articles.

        Best wishes, Kitty.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. There is also another aspect to this unfair system , as i will explain , I went back to college to get qualifications to improve my chances of employment and then reapplied to the same college for a course , and was accepted , at that time i made no mention of the medications i was prescribed ,although took them openly in front of others , just did not think it would be relevant and besides the college already Knew , i thought ,due to the previous course . So you can imagine my surprise when it was discovered that i was taking prescribed medications , by my tutor,i was told i could not be on the course and was asked to leave , the reason given ,the college could not get insurance for me because of certain medications i take , point being , if this is true ,have no reason to believe that it’s not , what chance does any prospective employer have of getting employee insurance for me . Now it has to be assumed that the DWP/Jobcentre staff are aware of this ,So how can they jusify removing benefits from a person in this position . I have tried to find out if there is a list of medications that this situations apply to but have had no success . the medications where DF118 , DHC continus, Amitriptyline, Zirtek The system is not about fairness it is about cost cutting and providing tax breaks for the chosen namely the already wealthy.. .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi 3 years ago i was put in support group with Degenerative disc disease (degenerative means will go worse doesn’t it). also other things wrong with me.
      I have just had my assessment for pip, I walk with a bad limp can no longer drive my manual car (need automatic), i limped in helped by my dad and walking stick after been sat in waiting area for 55 mins and made to walk to furthest room. because i walked??? 21 metres without stopping i am now in the 20 to 50 metres group and apparently i walked with a balanced gait without help?? but more upsetting i have lost my mobility money because are you ready for this i have cognation and can mentally plan a journey I have asked for reconsideration as i need to plan all my movements and journeys, but i have no chance because i can mentally plan one oh and apparently because i am capable of reading i can read road signs, i only go on good days 1.5 miles down the road to my parents house, i have driven for 36 years and done the short journey for 20 twenty years but still need to plan it, even if i had no legs, no arms, 1 eye, 1 ear etc doesn’t everyone plan a journey i am physically disabled not mentally so wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi

    I have just been taken off support group and put on WRAG after they completely took my benefit off me as i didnt answer the phone on one ring after an assessment that i have actually filmed. The DWP decision maker refused to take what was said as even being included according to the HA they did sent the information to the DWP and they chose to ignore what was put. Ive suffered a breakdown in 2014 – 15 and have had two discs in my spine removed and now suffer with Neuropathic pain that is unbearable. They are ringing me on 21 Feb and i am at my witts end with it and feel so low and depressed i just dont think i can cope at all with this after fighting to get fiot they are just not giving me the time to get proper pain relief at all. My ESA has dropped 200 a month and this means i can not attend hydro anymore as it costs too much. I just dont know where to turn anymore I live in Lancashire and due to move to cumbria for more support from family..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi went through a similar ordeal, if you need some guidance let me know and we could corrospond through email I contacted my local MP for help and he intervened straight away and had a successful outcome. Hope this helps….. and Good luck! Stay strong.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Tracie,

      I haven’t seen your comment until now, as I was in hospital when you posted, and it’s taking me a while to recover and catch up with everything properly.

      I am so sorry to hear about the way you have been treated.

      There are DWP benefit safeguards that are designed to ensure that vulnerable people, including those with mental health conditions are safeguarded before any decision is taken to stop or sanction their Employment and Support Allowance. You have had your ESA Support stopped and been placed in the WRAG. You have a previous history of mental ill health, and if the benefit safeguards have not been applied, contacting the Benefit Delivery Centre to make them aware that they should have been applied should lead to your benefit being reinstated immediately.

      If they do not already have it, the DWP are likely to ask for evidence of the condition. This could take
      the form of a medical certificate from your GP, previous medical reports, and so on. You can ask your GP to print of correspondence with other doctors, if possible. As soon as the DWP are aware of a mental health condition, they should apply benefit safeguards, retrospectively if necessary.

      This is lengthy, but has some useful info that you may be able to use. Hope it will be of some help – http://walkthetalk2015.org/sites/default/files/DWP%20Benefit%20Safeguards%20notes%20-%20Dan%20Norris.pdf

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi I have been ion touch today in a right state as no one seems to be getting back to me and my anxiety about missing the call again has sent me west to be honest. They have denied my return to the support group they have said they made the decision on 17 Feb and that a letter has been sent through. I have yet to receive it. They didnt apply any safe guarding measures at all. This is just all too much. Im trying to move to get near my son for better support and so i have level access due to steps at my current address. I have just about had enough of everything. They said they will extend my ESA WRAG for 18mths and they accept that i have deterioated but NO they wont put me in the support group. Im just beside myself as now i have all the Appeal stuff to try and do whicjh is just too much to try and cope with. Trying to get help from and ORg but if i move not sure they have one in Cumbria i can turn to.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi again.

    I am just reading the advice for appeals and have seen the section on clause 99. I am now having to go to the appeals court because my mandatory reconsideration to be returned to the support group has failed. On reading this artical it says that you cant get benefit during the appeal!!! Is this right?

    Its also says that your housing benefir wont be paid either? I am due to move to a new flat near family that is slightly more costly than the LHA Rate and the information reads like they wont pay my rent at all at the slightly higher rate as i am in the lower ESA group payment group. Please can someone tell me if this is the case? I am worried sick I now wont be able to move near my family and its taken a year for me to get near to be able to bid on something.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear Kitty, I agree with your position, I have donated and would like to share your posts and blog – but…, I think that the artwork, whilst clever and pointed, detracts from the message and I don’t feel able to. This isn’t necessarily of any importance to you, except that I suggest that it limits your message to only “preaching to the converted” and limits your reach – including to those who may benefit from the information.
    I have a few acquaintances who would simply dismiss the post on the strength of the pictures that FacePlant puts in the share. The information speaks for itself and condemns on its own, without the pictures which distract from the message – again, only in my opinion. It is a long conversation, but I know some decent people, ignorant perhaps, but kind – do voluntary and charity work – but who vote (wait for it) Tory. I know, it doesn’t seem to make sense, but they used to vote LibDem under Alan Beith, can’t stand Labour and don’t think the new candidate is capable of delivering anything to this area. – So Tory it is for them. Anyway I am only taking the time out of my day to write this because I think it’s important, I think it matters and I really appreciate the amount of work you’ve put into it.
    Imagine if you voted Labour and saw a post on a friend’s page that said “Incompetent Party”, and saw a pasted up image of Corbyn that (from you point of view) misrepresented what you felt he stood for? – I suggest you’d be alienated and would ignore the post, hide it and/or elect not to receive similar.
    Again, I completely agree with you and I’m not criticising your position or anything – it’s just an observation. I think your message is too important to limit it’s appeal.
    Very Best


  14. The E.S.A. people just phoned me to say that my appointment today 12th of April at 3.30 pm has been cancelled because they are short on “doctors”They will send me notice of another appointment by post but don’t know when.I had been waiting since the 12th of Jan for this appointment.I have Post Polio Syndrome plus other doo dahs..I guess they just read my form a few hours before my appointment and realised I need a qualified doctor to assess me because of my condition.. bastards . 🙂 (nerd) 😡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The same thing happen to me last year – Although I completed my application ESA50 form 13th March 2015.
      Medical Assessment took place 27th February, 2016 and I’m still fighting my case to be placed within the support group. Been offered to take the assessment again but, I refused.

      I left school years ago – If I don’t pass the first time – I’m not trying again HCP gave report to the DWP riddled with lies and omissions

      I’ve proved I have been honest over the past two years and have letters from 4 different consultants to confirm this

      Liked by 1 person


    May I please refer you to the attached letter, from Dr. H. Sharafzadeh, dated the 7th December, 2016, where he states?

    “Digital rectal examination revealed moderately enlarged benign feeling prostate. No nodule or hard area on the prostate but he is having diarrhoea at the moment (30.11.16)
    I see the notes from 27th June, when my colleague Mr. Nissar performed a DRE and he confirmed also that he had diarrhoea at that time.
    I have arranged to see him again in three months time with further PSA reading.”

    This is the same condition I reported to Tony Townsend, the Disability Employment Advisor of Boston Job Centre, with Louise Stocks, Occupational Therapist of Pilgrim Hospital in attendance, during the months of December, 2015 and January, 2016 – before the Medical Assessment of the 27th February, 2016.
    The same condition I reported to Dr. Ranjan Chowdhary, (GMC Licence 3632255), where I confirm I was “dirty” most days and reported again, whilst I was in the office of Boston’s Citizens Advice Bureau, on the 31st March, 2016, taking the Mandatory Reconsideration. (Witness “Vicki” – I think).
    Further reports were made to the Department for Work and Pensions on the 19th April, 2016, for which I hold an audio CD and statements were made; what do I need to do – take photographs; I can’t help my body; this man, ( Dr. Chowdhary), told lies – I stopped my medication April / May 2015; I have no history of depression. This kind person realised the seriousness of the situation and advised me to appeal and appreciated I needed to be placed within the support group.
    Formal complaints started on the 17th July, 2016, to the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments, with their “final response” issued on the 4th October, 2016. Their conclusions did not resolve anything – I am still mystified why, Dr. Chowdhary gave “evidence” to the Department for Work and Pensions and the appeal court of:

    Extract of letter to Natalie Vickers of the C.H.D.A dated 16th July, 2016.
    Asked about my typical day, I answered “It starts with me waking-up dirty, so first thing I have a shower, dress then come down stairs to do some work, with my lap-top. Whilst sitting at the table I have moments of urgency of needing the toilet, sometimes I make it, sometimes I do not “!! Further into the assessment he asked did the medication work, to which I replied, I still have bowel incontinence. At this stage, I sat back in my chair when he said “DONT MENTION THE INCONTINENCE AGAIN, WE’VE DEALT WITH THAT MATTER”! I then realised he was answering his own questions and he could have written the report without me. He certainly did not take any notice of Dr.Mangions’s remarks, when he said “long standing diarrhoea with episodes of faecal incontinence” nor the statements made within my NHS History explaining I have problems since 2012. I appreciate this is a case of “he said, I said” and maybe I have not quoted word-for-word.
    In short, he glossed-over my bowel problems by saying “investigations indicate I.B.S for which he takes medication regularly”.
    This last declaration is incorrect on both accounts: Investigations for I.B.S. stopped prior to July, 2014 and the “Mebeverine” soon after January, 2015. This can be confirmed within the pages supplied by the Upper Tribunal – Pages 216 and 217 – letter dated 14th October, 2016, to the HM Courts & Tribunals Service, Birmingham from Dr.S.K.Jain – Consultant Physician / Gastroenterologist, Pilgrim Hospital.

    Other areas were completed in the ESA50 Form dated 13th March, 2015 which Dr. Chowhary did not satisfy are :
    Vision Impairment pages 12 & 20 of the Upper Tribunal papers – surrender of driving licence, early 2012 – answered with Certificate of Partially Sighted – Pages 342 to 345.
    Lack of Energy ( page 21) – sleep 10 hours and still need two hours in afternoon; fifteen minutes work and need one hours rest – answered by the letter from Liz Ford of the Stroke Association, dated 14th July, 2016 – Page 200.
    Stress ( Page 26 ) – Dr. Mangion advised me before my stroke of the 8th November, 2011 to avoid stressful situations – answered with pages 1 to 348 !

    I have no history of depression, so no remarks were made within the ESA50 Form, nor at the Medical Assessment of the 27th February, 2016.
    Since taking forced retirement, in December, 2012, my intentions remain the same:

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I was sent a letter from the DWP saying they were going to change me from contribution ESA to income ESA,” fill in the form esa3 send it back to us”
    they then sent an esa50 (twice) which was a nightmare filling it out, they said I was applying for it again
    it was news to me so I have no idea what’s going on or what they are doing
    I didn’t want to apply for anything again
    I’ve heard of ATOS
    I think they’ve deliberately tricked me
    and I don’t know what to do
    I have multiple sclerosis and diabetes but am scared they are going to kill me


  17. I was assessed by a horrible man. On a Saturday morning, with my kids at home. I made eye contact because as a child, if you didn’t look at the person you were talking to , you got a wallop!
    I do not show pain or cry in front of my kids! This man used all of this against me and my claim ceased in November 2018! I took a long time collecting all the letters etc from specialists and doctors. They didn’t look st any of it! They said I was too late submitting it! It took my ages to go through and find everything. With the mega list of illnesses I have that was not easy! I haven’t got the strength to get to appeal? I’m tired and sick. What can I do to get help? I gave up. I have been in a major depression since. 😢


    1. You can claim ESA again if you’re not fit for work. It means you will probably face another assessment, but this time you will be more prepared and know what to expect. Assessments are opportunities for the government to stop you being awarded support. That’s why the assessor grasped at straws, using stupid comments to go on to claim you’re fit for work when he probably knows you are not.

      If you get turned down again after the assessment, you can write an ask for a mandatory review. I know how you feel – it’s the last thing you want to do. But it is an opportunity for you to send copies of your medical reports and any other evidence you have. You should also challenge the assessor’s report, challenge the rubbish he wrote. If you don’t get a copy, ring and ask for one. Go through it and challenge all the bull in it. Write everything that you disagree with in your review request and explain why.

      I’m really sorry you’ve been treated so badly.

      In the meantime, check if you have a local Citizen’s advice or welfare advice service and get in touch with them. Some local councils have a welfare advice service. The other thing is you can claim housing benefit if you have no money, you need to ring them and tell them what has happened with your ESA, ask for a form for nil income. I am not sure you can do that if you’re claiming Universal credit,though, but it’s worth asking, especially while you go through mandatory review. After that, you can ask for basic rate ESA until you appeal

      I’ve been through it too, and I’m most likely facing another assessment as I’ve just sent the ESA50 forms back. My first assessment was a nightmare and I scored zero points. I appealed. I didn’t have any support with it, but I still won the appeal. The stress made my illness worse. Within 3 months of winning the appeal, they sent me the ESA50 forms and made me go through another assessment. I asked for this one to be recorded. But I also was lucky as I got a doctor this time, and he was actually pretty decent. I collapsed during the interview part. He turned off the recording machine, and said “Off the record, you should never have been sent for another assessment. I’m going to recommend you are placed in the ESA support group, you won’t have to appeal this time”. He then gave me a CD with the recorded interview on it, and rang me a taxi home. Atos actually paid for the taxi, too. He kept his word. There are some decent assessors, but not very many.

      If you need any one to talk to, I’m here, and other people often respond too. I’ll be off for a couple of weeks from next Friday, but here until then, and I’ll be back after my break around the 20th. x


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