I complained to ATOS about 3 items. The response to the home visit was the most bizarre! Whilst the response was longer than my post here, I have just included to most relevant parts (happy to supply full copies though!)
Home visit (July 2012)
Ignoring the obvious grammatical error:
I could not read the report.
ATOS sent a typed transcript of the report
Now they are saying it cannot be relied upon for accuracy!
One page of the response list rebuttals to a complaint not made !!! I listed the medication not mentioned in the report in my complaint. ATOS then stated that the medication that WAS listed was listed ??? (and did not comment on the medication not listed).
In 2 places, the HCP states that this request was “refused” and that “She refused to do it”. My complaint mentioned that at no point did my partner refuse any requests. This point was not addressed in the response.
This is in response to the HCP stating “If I tick ‘no’ to this whole section they (will?) probably give you a 24 hour carer, is that what you want, is it?”. There is no way that such a statement can be construed as this and in any case, this is not the role of the HCP.
As to the clarity. My partner on 3 occasions answered the same repeated question before bursting into tears, stated extremely clearly that she does not turn from her position in bed of lying on her back as it usually triggers incontinence. It could not be clearer. To then ask about this situation hypothetically is cruel and unnecessary.
I refute the HCPs statement that the response was unclear. It is unfeasible that the HCP would ask my partner to answer this question ‘hypothetically’ just to clarify an answer which had already been given 3 times.
This relates to a short conversation about her walking aids. It is perhaps an oversight that the HCP does not remember. However he then stated on several occasions “Does not use aids”
However the HCP states:-
“Use of walking aids or prostheses – None”
“She does not use any walking aids”
There is no way that ATOS can justify these statements. The doctor would have been totally within his rights to state thatmy partner did not use walking aids during her assessment. However he cannot state that she “does not use walking aids” – it is simply untrue and false as she uses them extensively.
Once again, ATOS are being extremely obtuse and disingenuous. The HCP extremely clearly states:
“She has no mental illness.” This is a clear, stated fact. It is a very false one and one which contradicts the HCPs other evidence. I asked how the doctor could state this, they have not answered this.
He extremely clearly states:
“She is well nourished”. This is a clear, stated fact. It is a very false one. I asked how the doctor could state this, they have not answered this.
Whilst only a minor point, this contradicts the report which states that she did appear confused during the assessment.
My partner has a large amount of proven side effects due to her medication. These were clearly stated during the assessment. It is totally inconceivable that they would not have been.
The HCP did not ask directly about side effects but these were explicitly stated at several points during the assessment. This was partly during showing the medication to the HCP and in other areas (for example when the HCP asked why shehad problems taking her own medication, we spoke about her enema side effects and the need to regularly change her dosage of Aziothiaprine and to have supplementary medication owing to organ damage, dangerous white blood cell counts and so on)
Whilst this indeed took several minutes to discuss in different places during the assessment, it is disingenuous for the HCP to state that it would have taken up to 20 minutes!
They were not recorded in the side effects section of the report, many were not recorded at all.
Listing only 2 side effects in the side effects section gives the impression that my partner does not suffer side effects when the real truth is that they have a massive impact upon her daily life.
They state: “he notes the relevance of side effects of the medication was not discussed with Ms Newton but that you have listed these in your complaint letter”. This is a large and important part of a reason for DLA being allowed or not and of course an important part of a DMs decision making.The HCP left this section totally blank and seem to suggest that it to only have it listed in a complaint (when a decision has been made and it will not be seen by a DM) is unacceptable behaviour.
To leave this section blank obviously gives the impression that there are no side effects which are relevant to the application for DLA.
“He advises that the information about side effects was given at different parts of the interview, this is why they appear in different sections… ….” – Once more I am stunned!!! There is a section of the report which is called “Side Effects” – This is the place where “Side effects” should be listed.
This, more than anything sums up the ATOS complaint response.
This regards the fact that incontinence episodes were incorrectly reported. It would not have “been more specific”, it would “have been more truthful” – it would have been “what actually happened”.
It would probably have had no ‘affect’ on the process. It may be argued that if the doctor had stated the medications correctly, the side effects correctly, the aids correctly and so on, that it may not have affected the outcome, who knows? However the DM, tribunal judges, upper tribunal and external agencies cannot make informed decisions if they are not presented with accurate facts!
Here the HCP justifies his position of leaving the ‘care during the night’ blank by asserting that she has the same musculoskeletal system at night and therefore her needs do not change!
WCA Report – Jan 2102
ATOS did not really respond adequately to this complaint apart from to reiterate it has ‘several flaws’ and so it has been escalated. I won’t bore you with the details!
DLA Medical Report – Nov 11
An earlier short report contained only 3 statements. One to disparage a medical report given by her specialist. Two others stating facts about her condition.
This section of the complaint response was particularly unprofessional. For example:-
(the name blanked out is the specialist). Not only is this sentence grammatically incorrect, it is unfinished!
On the other hand is is complete rubbish. Stating that her report ‘is not medically reasonable’ is of course commenting on her expertise!
So, rather than retracting a point on which decisions have been based upon for a year which have repeatedly been proven false, they say “it may have been more appropriate to” (have said something completely different)!!!!
ATOS did not respond to the other 2 points of this complaint.
(December update: All 3 assessments have now been declared as not fit for purpose)