Fact Check: Update on Atos

Update on my post on Atos below: The Telegraph’s Tom Chivers has done some fact checking and good old fashioned digging around to get to the bottom of the statistics cited in the Big Issue article:

“The DWP spokeswoman was keen to say that the Big Issue has reported the issue properly: the deaths did occur “within six weeks” of the claim ending. I would say that any natural reading of that implies that the six weeks are after the death, but since the DWP’s own document uses that language, they’ve got no one to blame for the misunderstanding but themselves. Nonetheless, the story here is not “10,600 people die right after they’re told they’re fit to work”, but “the DWP’s record-keeping system is efficient enough to stop paying people disability support within six weeks of them dying”.”

What Tom Chivers does point out, and what I think holds true, is that Atos has done a terrible job of administering the contract on assessing whether people are fit to work. Even Atos acknowledges that. And the distress felt by people who are seriously, even terminally ill is very real, very unfortunate and absolutely unacceptable in the pursuit of a primarily ideological austerity drive.


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4 thoughts on “Fact Check: Update on Atos

  1. kittysjones says:

    I wrote this in 2012 – “Anne (McGuire) confirmed that discussion with the Government regarding the circumstances of ESA related deaths has been problematic, and both Anne and her colleagues have called for the release of pertinent information regarding those circumstances, such as details of which claimants were in the process of Appeal, and which ones had been reassessed. I also know from discussion I had with Tom Greatex recently that the Government are claiming that those 10,600 deaths that happened within six weeks of their claim for ESA ending may have happened “either side” of their claim being stopped. In other words, the claim may have ended because of the death, rather than the other way around.

    Furthermore, of those deaths amongst those placed in the Support Group, the Government have (conveniently) claimed that “these were very ill individuals, and so we expect that there will be a higher death rate amongst that group”. Claiming that “the deaths MAY have prompted the claim to be closed, in some cases, rather than the converse being true” is NOT an adequate response at all. Anne and other Labour Ministers have demanded accurate, clear and precise data regarding the circumstances of the large number of tragic deaths. None has been presented to date”. – http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/welfare-wrongs-and-human-rights-a-dialogue-with-anne-mcguire/

    • kirimk8 says:

      Thanks for the update! It’s unacceptable that the facts continue to be unclear. What I think is beyond doubt, though, is that a lot of ill people have been greatly distressed by the whole process at a time in their lives which was difficult enough as it is.

      • kittysjones says:

        There are numerous cases cited in parliament and in the media of people dying after their benefit was ended, and whilst I agree that the FOI is unclear, I do think that this issue warrants concern and further investigation. I wrote a response toTom Chivers, but I don’t think he read it – http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/black-propaganda/

      • kittysjones says:

        My my point is neither claim about which side of a claim ending the death actually occurred , may be made without evidence. Tom Chivers made a claim that falls down for the same reason the claim he challenges does!

        However, evidence, as I said does indicate some of those deaths have happened after their claim was ended

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