Sunday 21 May 2017

ATOS & DWP question whether disabled can go abroad

[Image description: writer in his NHS adapted wheelchair, covered
in a blanket & large cabin-bag for meds, at Manchester Airport]

As my conditions pejorate and my state of general health deteriorates, I am only ever going to get worse. At the current time there is no chance of amelioration let alone cure.

Over the last few assessments for ESA (Employment & Support Allowance) & DLA (Disability Living Allowance - now being replaced with PIP [Personal Independence Payment]), I have either had a decision made on the paperwork or ATOS have sent round a doctor to carry out the medical assessment at home.

For some odd reason, this time ATOS do not wish to send round a medic. Nor, for that matter, are they willing to contact my G.P. - details of which were on the claim-form - to determine whether what I say is true.

I suspect the absurd in/actions of #ATOS belie the reason for behaving so obtusely: if they send the paperwork back to DWP and then it is referred back to ATOS, the latter private company gets a second fee.

The email I received a day or so ago from Charlotte (a bot I believe as she is always sorry for the delay!) at ATOS:

Good Morning Mr Hunter,

Thank you for your email and I apologise for the delay in my response.

Unfortunately a Home Consultation has been declined as the information on your PIP Questionnaire which you filled out advises that you were going abroad in March and also in June and as you are able to travel you would be expected to attend an assessment centre.

If you are not able to attend an assessment centre this may result in the claim being sent back to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you wish to take it up with them directly you would need to contact them I am not able to provide an email address for the DWP.

I am sorry I cannot help you further at this stage.

With Kind Regards


PIP Customer Service Support
Atos Healthcare
P.O.Box 1006
Stockton - on - Tees
TS19 1UL
Well, having had a rather bad few days, in which I have been in excruciating pain and dosed liberally with pain-killers that never quite seem to hit the mark, I finally had some nous this evening. I caught up on my emails and responded as follows:
Of course I can go abroad. But it takes careful planning.

You have not taken account of the need for recuperation, typically a couple of days. Whilst I could attend a medical examination, as soon as I arrived I would need to rest for typically 2 to 6 hours; but depending on the level of exhaustion could be up to 22 hours. You would therefore need to make available a darkened, very quiet room where I could sleep until recovered. Of course, if a relapse is set off due to excessive stress I could end up being there for several days or even weeks.
You have not taken account of the need to rest up and store up energy prior to my making any undertaking. Again this takes several days, depending on my state of health at the time.
You have not taken account of the need to take pain-killers prior to taking any physical activity, nor the increased number that have to be taken post activity. These drugs, whilst they mean I can travel, also have the effect of putting me into drowsiness or a sleep state, depending on the number taken and the state of my health at the time.

You have not taken account of the need for a carer. When travelling I take at least one with me and if needed arrange for a second as well. The trip I shall be taking in June is because my housemate is at a conference and there is no-one else to care for me at home. I therefore have to travel with him, where I shall be holed up in a hotel-room until (assuming I do) recover. I have no carer who can accompany me to a medical examination and as such will be at risk, unless you are wiling to pay my housemate £400 to cover a lost day's pay. Hence the need for an ambulance to collect me.
You have not taken account of the fact that both by NHS consultant and my GP advise me to go abroad for my health, otherwise I should be even iller at home and thus require more care & health support.
Given your on-going failures to act reasonably, I am copying in my GP and my MP.
Sort this mess out and use some common-sense!
FAO DR. E[…]: DWP refuse to contact you to conf[I]rm home assessment needed.
FAO Graham Brady: Please can you now intervene for as you can see DWP playing silly-beggars. By the by, would you like to attend my medical examination, so you can see what a disabled person has to go through in respect to PIP?

If lives were not at stake, this might not be so serious and rather amusing; but folk have committed and are attempting suicide because of the way ATOS & DWP treat us.

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