More Disability-Denial Looms: Atos Announces Its Sub-contractors For Disability Assessments

by richardhutton

Atos has announced the organisations it will sub-contract to deliver Personal Independence Payments: in other words, the companies who will conduct disability assessments for people of working-age – and yet more denial of disability is certain. Atos’ contracts with NHS services have been widely reported – though the media mostly ignored the fact that the British Medical Association  previously called for these assessments to be scrapped; and yet professionals they represent are now set to be implicated.

Of the 14 organisations Atos has sub-contracted, 7 are NHS Trusts – 4 of these are Foundation Trusts. These are not directly accountable to the Department for Health, and have a very poor record on patient care: because their priority is profit.

The other 7 organisations are almost certainly hand-picked to deny that people being assessed are disabled or ill. IPRS Group is a private company which specialises in sports-injury rehabilitation and physiotherapy. Physioworld is another organisation which specialises in rehab/physiotherapy for sports injuries. Medacs is a health-professional recruitment agency – and part of Impellam Group: which is another recruitment agency, specialising in construction, clerical, and cleaning provision.

Premex is more diverse and works in insurance claims investigation, as well as rehabilitation and document examination. It’s part of ExamWorks, whose portfolio of services include “medical assessment programs designed to meet the specific needs of first-party insurers, attorneys, municipalities and third-party administrators pertaining to automotive, disability, group health, liability, no-fault and workers’ compensation claims”. So, not the needs of people who have been injured, or left with health problems.

Salus specialises in pressurising sick people to return to work – in fact it guarantees to do so, with a focus on the financial interests of employers: “We can demonstrate significant savings leading to improved productivity and we guarantee to reduce your absence rates within the first year of full implementation of EASY.” The Injury Care Clinics is another physiotherapy/rehabilitation organisation, which specialises in minimising costs to insurers: “We proactively manage treatment levels against expected norms and flag outcome risk criteria in order to ensure that our patients receive only that treatment necessitated by the injury under claim”. The Treatment Network is yet another rehabilitation organisation, which also focuses primarily on cost: “how cost effective rehab is for the injured party”; and helpfully notes that “Offering fast track rehab often discourages claimants from malingering”.

It is perfectly clear what type of companies these are – and what the prospects will be for accurate determination of disability.