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A Rolling Festive Phone-in to Atos ‘Healthcare’

December 8, 2011

As part of the National Month of Festive Action Against Atos we are calling for a rolling mass telephone complaint to poverty pimps Atos in the run up to Christmas.

Beginning on Monday 12th December and running up until Christmas benefit claimants, disabled people and supporters will be ringing both local and national Atos Offices to complain about their obscene treatment of sick and disabled people.

How To Get Involved

We urgently need as many towns, cities, groups and individuals to commit to a morning or afternoon shift in the upcoming days and get as many people as possible to ring Atos and complain about their involvement in the Work Capability Assessment.

To maximise the protest we will aim to have as many groups as possible calling Atos at different times in the run up to Christmas.  We’ll maintain a list here and on facebook to try and help co-ordinate times/dates and see if we can keep the phonelines buzzing daily in the run up to Christmas.  Please contact us by leaving details in the comments, on facebook at:  or emailing us at:

If you aren’t part of a local group, or even if you are, support the other protests by calling Atos along with them.

Either ring your local Atos Offices, or their corporate headquarters, or why not both!  Atos’s main numbers (including a handy freephone number) are:

+44 (0)20 7830 4444 (Tel)
+44 (o)20 7830 4233 (Tel)
+44 (0)800 783 3040 (Freephone)
+44 (0)20 7830 4445 (Fax)

Atos ‘Healthcare’ who run the Work Capability Assessment have a main number at: +44 (0) 113 230 9175

Whilst it’s well worth trying to speak to a manager or senior individual if possible please bear in mind most people taking calls will be low paid receptionist/admin staff so we call on people to be be business-like and non-confrontational.  Be aware that is an offence to make telephone calls which are threatening, indecent or offensive.  Keep it fluffy.  Why not sing them a carol?

Anyone who manages to get through to Atos CEO Keith Wilman will win the customary prize of a free Crisis Loan*

Some calls may be recorded for the purposes of taking the piss.

Brighton DPAC who will be phoning Atos on the mornings of Monday 12th and Monday 19th of December have produced a script/template which can be read out, or emailed/faxed to Atos.  Visit their fb event page (below) for details.

Join in online!

You can also contact Atos via email.  Their Head of PR can be reached at: and general enquiries can be sent to:  Atos ‘Healthcare’ can be reached at: or to ask for a job go to:

Atos have new facebook groups and pages springing up all the time.  Search for Atos on facebook to find them.  You can also tweet using the hashtags #atos, we’ll be monitoring twitter for any other hashtags Atos use.

Action planned so far

Monday 12th and Monday 19th December from 9am

Brighton DPAC:  For details visit:

Please organise and contact us to be added to the list!

If you are planning on braving the cold and holding a protest as part of the month of action please send details asap to: or leave details in the comments.

The main facebook page for the Month of Action can be found at:

Come to the Triton Square Christmas Party and Picnic  outside Atos’ Headquarters on December 16th from 2pm:

*actually we still can’t give out Crisis Loans as prizes.  The DWP are bastards like that.

Atos are the French IT firm responsible for carrying out the government’s Work Capability Assessment which has led to tens of thousands of sick and disabled people being forced into poverty after being stripped of essential benefits.  Despite the process being dubbed unfit for purpose and an increasing number of suicides due to the stressful and vicious health testing regime, this form of assessment is to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2011 12:47 pm

    I shall be promoting this protest on my website, good luck to everyone taking part and a merry xmas to everyone.

    Paul Smith

  2. Tony Dean permalink
    December 10, 2011 5:07 pm

    Could I ask that people sign this epetition, and pass on the request please. Many people can’t get to protests but I suspect many have fallen foul of being maliciously and false reported for benefit fraud:-

    Make it a criminal offence to maliciously report someone for benefit fraud.

    Responsible department: Department for Work and Pensions

    Given the success rate of the “shop a benefit fraud” hotline is only 0.31%, a large number of people are being maliciously accused of benefit fraud. Such malicious people should be subject the criminal law similar to wasting police time.

  3. angelica permalink
    December 12, 2011 10:30 am

    +2000 points to anyone who can come up with a suitably reworded version of an Xmas carol.

  4. Voice Of Reason permalink
    February 14, 2012 1:32 pm

    Worth mentioning that ATOS only provide IT Systems – they DO NOT make decisions regarding the process for Work Capability Assessments…

    …And I would have thought that they get paid for every call they take – so well done, every single one of you that called this number have emptied the benefit and social pot that little bit more by this idiotic attempt to disrupt a company that employs 25,000 people!

    Think about it who is actually doing the damage, and plan a more effective way to show your concerns to the GOVERNMENT THAT MAKES THE DECISION, and not a company that simply provides the computers. If ATOS didn’t do it, someone else would. And at a cost of thousands of people redundant further milking the social fund.


    • Peeved and Annoyed permalink
      August 13, 2012 4:32 pm

      Voice… Atos provide the IT system that their healthcare ‘professionals’ use to assess claimants. At the moment the Govt pay Atos £100,000,000 a year for the contract to medically assess and due to their suspect decisions, Atos cost the tax payer more than £50,000,000 a year in appeal costs, 80% of which are lost by the DWP. Making a few calls is a drop in the ocean compared to the costs incurred by running this money saving system. As a voice of reason you will appreciate that it is always good to get facts correct PRIOR to posting.

  5. Tina permalink
    March 24, 2012 10:30 am

    My name is Tina. I am 48-years old.

    Until 2002, I worked for Royal Mail as a Postal Delivery Officer. In 1999, I tripped and fell on the unkempt driveway of one the houses I delivered to and seriously damaged my knee. I was informed by a bone specialist at St. Helens hospital that I would probably have “restricted movement” in the joint for the rest of my life. I was retired on medical grounds two years later.

    In 2002, I was diagnosed with depression, and in 2004 it was found that I had Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). As a result, I have lost all feeling in my right hand and partial feeling in my left; I suffer dizzy spells, extreme fatigue, painful bloodshot eyes, dislocations and weakness in joints and extremities, and loss of co-ordination and dexterity. AS is a progressive disease, and so the prognosis is that my condition is that it will only get worse. I have been an asthmatic since the age of 17.

    At the end of January, 2012, I received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions advising me to expect a ESA50 form in the post within the following weeks. I received the form on February 13th, 2012, but because I’m unable to hold a pen due to numbness in my right hand, and am thus incapable of completing the form by hand, my father managed to download a copy of the ESA50 from the Internet and I filled it in over the course of six days using one finger on my left hand. I returned the form to ATOS in Bootle, Liverpool, on February 20th, 2012.
    On Friday 7th of March, 2012, I received a letter from ATOS informing me that I needed to attend Manor House Medical Centre in Cowley Hill Road, St. Helens, at 4.10pm on Monday, March 19th, 2012.
    With limited means, I prepared for the assessment the best way I could by gathering additional medical evidence and affirmations from friends and family regarding how my condition effects me on a daily basis, as I was given to understand that ATOS were, by law, obliged to take such testimonies into account.
    A friend had kindly offered to drop me off at Manor House 10 or 15 minutes prior to my appointment. When I entered the Medical Centre, there was no one in the waiting area save for one woman, and no one behind the reception desk. I pressed the bell on the desk and a middle-aged woman appeared carrying a clip-board. I assumed she was the Receptionist.
    Said Receptionist appeared perplexed even before I’d given her my name, and when I finally announced myself, she responded by asking me if I’d spoken to my mother. I said that I hadn’t seen or heard from my mother since leaving the house. The Receptionist then told me that she’d called my home a few minutes earlier, had spoken to my mother, and had subsequently attempted to cancel my appointment. I turned in disbelief to look at the lady sat in the waiting area, who said: “They’ve just done the same to some other poor sod. Don’t let ’em treat you like this love! They think they can do what they want with you!”
    I then looked back at the Receptionist behind the desk and said: “Please tell me you’re not going to cancel it (the appointment). I can’t go through all this again!” (The entire process had already been going on for over a month by this time, and I was already stressed and anxious). The Receptionist promptly turned on her heel and approached a younger blonde-haired woman who’d appeared in the background, and who I later discovered was a doctor. There was a muffled and somewhat heated discussion, and when the Receptionist returned, she thrust a form in front of me on which I had to write (with a trembling left hand), my name, date of birth, and then sign it. A door adjacent to the reception desk was then flung open and I was summoned in a rather begrudging tone to enter.
    I could sense by her body language and somewhat clipped inflection that the doctor was irked over something, and was clearly not happy to be there. It didn’t take long for me to realise that this doctor had probably planned a quick getaway that afternoon, and following the Receptionists failed attempt to contact me, I had basically scuppered her plan (I was, after all, instructed to attend under threat of losing my income if I failed to do so). This woman wasn’t happy, and she was determined to make me pay!
    From the moment I entered the Consultation room there was an immediate air of hostility from the doctor, which she demonstrated with her first barked question, i.e.: “Where is your pink form” (by “pink form” she meant the ESA50). I explained that I had mailed it back to ATOS in Bootle on February 20th, as per instruction. With that, she huffed and puffed, rolled her eyes and beckoned with a wave of her hand for me to be seated. I declined because of the pain in my back, legs and hips. This refusal prompted yet more eye-rolling.
    As an Asthma suffer, and having problems with constriction in my throat, I cough/convulse almost constantly. During the afternoon of March 19th, I had suffered a number of nosebleeds (my doctor is aware of my condition, and I am under hospital supervision for it). I would also like to add that, at the time the Assessment, the two middle fingers of my right hand were splinted and bound together because of a dislocation, and my right hand was badly bruised and burned due to a recent attempt to cook a meal for myself. Since my cough is totally involuntary and therefore occurs before I’m able to respond, I was unable to react quickly enough for the doctors liking when struggling with a numb right hand to reach for a handkerchief in my trouser pocket on. Screwing her face up, but without lifting her eyes from her computer monitor, she gestured towards a box of handkerchiefs on her desk and said, tersely: “If you’re going to do THAT, use one of those!”
    It was apparent from there on in that the doctor was going to make this assessment as uncomfortable and distressing as she possibly could. So blatant was her attitude that at one point I actually said to her that I was sorry that I’d dared to turn up and ruin her plans for the afternoon. It was not my fault that I’d been summoned. I was not asking for preferential treatment, just a fair trial. She never once took her eyes off the computer screen or acknowledged that I was speaking to her.
    When I made an attempt to submit the additional medical evidence and testimonies I’d brought with me (the letters and reports were in PVC sleeves inside a file), she initially dismissed them by waving them away with her hand. When I protested, she flicked half-heartedly through the file, declining to read any of it; the Specialist reports were merely pooh-poohed. She then shoved the file away from her across the desk and on to the floor. I was left to stoop in considerable pain in an attempt to retrieve it, to which I commented: “I can see how THIS is going!” Again, she merely stared into the computer screen and declined to respond.
    She then examined my medication, making an issue of the fact that one item had no label on it. I suggested she contact my doctor, who I was sure would be happy to confirm that the pills were mine and that he had prescribed them to me. She just stared accusingly at me for several seconds and then tossed the packet of pills across the desk. Each item was scrutinized and counted. Special issue was made of a pack of Ibuprofen 400mg tablets, which I had been prescribed around five weeks earlier during a short ‘Flare Up’ (inflammation of the spine). I had been instructed to take the additional painkiller only when required (the label on the box bared this out). A count was made of the number of tablets I’d taken and I was given another accusing stare. When I pointed out that I was also taking Co-Codamol (painkillers) in addition to the Ibroprofen, the pack was wazzed across the table (as were my gum-shield, which I wear at night because my jaw dislocates. According to the pamphlet which accompanied my appointment letter from ATOS, I was required to bring “…any medical aids” with me to the assessment. Mine were dismissed and tossed about like rubbish!).

    I was then accused of making up and/or exaggerating problems I experience with the side-effects of my medication. For instance, when I said I felt drowsy after taking Co-codamol, I was told that such side-effects are none existent after taking the medication for some time. Although I am not medically trained, it was my understanding that certain medication effect people in different ways. As a supposedly trained doctor, she should know that. Instead, she chose to insinuate that I was lying, and wave away all protestations I had to the contrary.

    Whilst examining my medication, the doctor noticed my Asthma inhalers and paraphernalia. She asked how long I’d had Asthma; I told her that I’d was diagnosed at the age of of 17. She then exclaimed in a rather accusing voice that ATOS had no record of my being an asthmatic. I told her that I’d brought my Asthma medication to all previous assessment, and that it wasn’t my fault that the information had not been entered into their database. At that she completely blew her top. In a VERY abrasive tone, she snapped: “Are you accusing us of incompetence?” I merely replied that they were her words, not mine!

    I was asked what hobbies and interests I had. I told her that I had a pet budgie, but otherwise my disability – especially not being able to use my hands – has limited any physical activity. “So what do you do all day”, she asked. “Play with a bird and stare at the wall?” I don’t know what I was expected to say.

    She then started to discuss my depression – never once taking her eyes off the computer screen: When was I diagnosed? How did it affect me? “Have you ever had any suicidal thoughts”. I told her I had. At last she peeled her eyes from the screen and enquired, coldly: “So why haven’t you done it then?” At that moment, I wish I had!

    Throughout the verbal part of the examination, the questions seemed random and incoherent, and I was given little or no time to respond. On one occasion when I attempted to reply to one of her enquires, she cut me off sharply and screeched: “WILL YOU LET ME SPEAK”! All I was doing was trying to answer her question! She continued splitting hairs and contradicting everything I said; continually asking for spacific dates and demanding to know why I hadn’t seen this or that Specialist. I told her that I was not medically trained and was therefore reliant on the judgement of my GP; mine was merely to follow his instructions. Obviously, she had no intention of listening, and I was now convinced that her attitude would be seriously prejudicial to my claim.

    At another point I was asked about visits to my GP. I said I didn’t like bothering him if I could possibly help it, as he was under pressure; often overworked, and had little time these days to spend with patients. At this she sat bolt upright in her seat, and with an icy glare in my direction, shrieked: “How DARE you suggest that GP’s are uncaring! How DARE YOU!” I told her that she had misunderstood what I’d said, and that I’d meant no such thing; my GP/Clinician has only ever treated me with the utmost respect! As I attempted to explain this to her, she waved me away with a swish of her hand and muttered under her breath: “Oh, go away!”

    I would also like to say that throughout the ‘interrogation’, no consideration at all was given to my mental state. We had already established that I suffer from Depression and, because of my disability, I have become isolated since I’m rarely able to leave the house. Although I was once a happy and comfortable in social situations, I now feel intimidated when confronted by strangers – especially in situations such as I found myself at Manor House Medical Centre. I tried to explain to the doctor that I had difficulty remembering dates and times, and that I often became confused when questions were fired at me in rapid succession. However, my attempts to explain were simply batted away with a roll of the eyes and wave of a hand. Indeed, my plea for patience merely provoked her to increase the tempo of her questioning, and to demand details (including accounts of medical diagnosis and procedures known only to my GP and hospital specialist whose care I am currently under).

    Once the verbal assessment was over, she then began a physical examination. I had been advised prior to my appearing before the doctor that I had the right to refuse to partake in any physical activity that might cause me pain or distress. However, when I told the doctor that I was unable to do two of the exercises (namely, touch my toes and raise my arms above my head), she responded angrily with: “Oh, for God’s sake!” I was then run through a series of tests – the instructions of which were barked at me, with added tuts and eye-rolling when I misheard or misunderstood her.

    During one of the tests (I had to blow into a Peak Flow Meter), the ‘Receptionist’ entered the room and enquired of the doctor if she still intended going to (somewhere of other – I didn’t quite catch what she said), to which the doctor snapped back: “I can’t now, can I – I’m stuck doing THIS!”. (Issue was made of the fact that I didn’t have enough puff to blow into the Peak Flow Meter properly, and the instrument was snatched from my hand).

    At the end of the assessment, I was asked if I had any questions. I enquired about the missing ESA50 form, and if it’s absence and the information contained in it might prove detrimental to my claim. The doctor pursed her lips and rolled her eyes: “For God’s sake – what do you think I’ve been doing for the last 45 minutes?”. I explained that I’d only asked because I was understandably concerned, and I apologised for not being familiar with ATOS procedure (I couldn’t understand why I’d been told to complete the ESA50 form for it then to be deemed an unnecessary part of the overall assessment?!).

    I then spoke to the doctor about my inflamed left eye, from which I’d been suffering for the past four weeks (bloodshot and inflammation of the eye is a symptom of AS). At that, she slammed her hand on the desk; stood up in dramatic fashion and exclaimed: “I suppose we’ll have to do an eye test then!” And with that I was hauled into the physical examination room and asked to read from an Eye Test board and from a pad with varying sized fonts. I was then ushered out of a side door and onto the street.

    I can say with hand on heart, and without a shadow of a doubt, that this ATOS assessment was the worst ordeal of my entire life! I believe that I was treated with complete and utter contempt, and that the whole agonising procedure was made worse by the fact that the doctor clearly had designs on getting away early that afternoon, and my turning up as instructed had scuppered her plans.

    This doctor, who seemed devoid of any empathy or compassion, was intent on making the whole procedure far more uncomfortable and distressful than necessary. it was obvious from the moment I entered the consultation room that that there was an hostile atmosphere, and that nothing I said of did would be good enough. Everything she said to me was laced with sarcasm and her manner was wholly contemptuous. This woman is a bully and a disgrace to her profession!

    Tina Bate

    22nd March, 2012

    • March 24, 2012 12:34 pm

      This is one of the reasons why it is imperative that everyone demands that their Atos assessment is recorded, that is now your right.

      I would put in a formal complaint ASAP, this sort of thing goes on far too much…

    • Peeved and Annoyed permalink
      August 13, 2012 3:51 pm


      Did you get her name etc because if you did you should lodge a formal complaint with the General Medical Council who have the power to strike her off and stop her practising medicine in the UK.

  6. March 24, 2012 12:35 pm


    Would it be OK for me to copy and paste your post to my website?

  7. Peeved and Annoyed permalink
    August 13, 2012 3:28 pm

    Atos have been highlighted by Channel 4 Dispatches and BBC Panorama as a bunch of charlatans.. the main trainer at Leeds assessment centre has no formal medical qualification that is recognised in the UK. She is on record as saying that it does not matter what the ‘doctor’ puts in the report, there is no comeback for them. I have done some digging after attending 4 of these assessments and each one showed false and misleading information from Atos doctors, and found the following…

    Doctors who examine you and who work for Atos, should be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and as such you should ask for their full name and GMC registration number. The GMC code of conduct says that it is best practice to make this available to anyone who asks. The code also states that they should act professionally in their capacity for the BENEFIT OF THE PATIENT. The code also states that they must, when acting as an expert witness, highlight any areas in which they do not have experience, any areas in which they are not qualified to comment and that the report should be free of FALSE AND MISLEADING information. Should you find that any Atos doctor has breached these guidelines then they should be reported to the GMC. The GMC has the authority to suspend or remove a licence to practice medicine. If everyone who has these assessments lodges complaints with the GMC then this bunch of idiots who have employed them may finally realise that they are not fit for purpose.

    In the Dispatches report it clearly demonstrated that the ‘assessment’ is not there to give a fair determination but only there to reduce the ESA claimant figures. In training the Atos ‘professionals’ are instructed that ‘if they have one finger they can move and press a button with it, then they are fit for work’ The DWP minister claimed that there are no targets set for Atos but yet Atos staff are told that they will be ‘spoken to’ if they put more than 13% on the care aspect of ESA. If there are no targets then how is the 13% determined and if they exceed it the are in trouble.. wrap it up whichever way you want.. ITS A TARGET.

    Anyone who has had an assessment by Atos, I give the following advice.. Write a letter of complaint to Atos, write a letter to the MP for your area, APPEAL the decision IMMEDIATELY and lodge a formal complaint about the examining doctor to the GMC. It is costing the UK tax payer £100,000,000 a year for Atos to give misleading information and a further £50,000,000 in running the appeals (most of which are lost by the DWP) In addition we should now demand that if Atos say anyone is ‘fit for work’ then in order to make that determination they must have some jobs in mind that people are ‘fit’ for and as such they should list these.

    To ATOS I say this.. in the UK the rule of thumb is innocent UNTIL PROVEN guilty.. pity Atos take the opposite view.

  8. Peeved and Annoyed permalink
    August 13, 2012 4:28 pm

    Just had an interesting conversation with the Atos appointments line. My ex wife had an appointment to attend for an ‘assessment’ but her mother died and so was not in any state of mind for this so I called the appointments line to cancel it and spoke to the most heartless and uncaring person I have ever had the misfortune to talk to. He insisted on speaking to my ex wife and again I said that she was in no state of mind to do this as her mother had just died and again he stated, very matter of factly, that he cannot re-book an appointment without discussing the alternatives with her. Again I pointed out that her mother had just died, at which point I was cut off in mid sentence. Just sort of typifies the uncaring and couldn’t care less attitude of all Atos staff. Needless to say, complaints have now been lodged.

  9. kevin davies permalink
    November 26, 2012 7:07 pm

    If you go to http;//www.dwpexaminationforum you will find many instances of ATOS HCPs telling people of what they are going to recommend happens to them despite protestations that D,Ms make descisions not them, RUBBISH

  10. December 16, 2012 7:46 pm

    Great work!! And if anyone wants to sing Atos a song this Christmas do feel free to rifle through these…

  11. kevin davies permalink
    December 16, 2012 8:52 pm

    Bloody Brilliant There is a sarcastic carol on DWP Examination Forum if you use the search button

  12. March 1, 2013 9:10 am

    I’m really impressed with your writing abilities and also with the layout for your weblog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it is rare to look a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  13. April 13, 2013 6:41 pm

    Oftentimes people today find themselves in a posture everywhere they may have most choice than to remove an online payday loan. If possible prevent carrying out this, look at your easiest as such. Should you have a family member, or even a pal that one could borrow from, test suggesting these people before resorting to employing a cash advance loan business enterprise. Many cash advance online businesses are definitely not created equal. Look around before you settle into a good professional. Certain feature a lot more premiums, or over easygoing fee terms and conditions. Searching for almost all businesses in your city could help you save a lot of cash through the years. This makes it easier for you to go along with your terms agreed upon. Realize that you might be allowing the online payday loan admittance to your very own deposit material. That would be amazing when you see the loan pay in! However , they will also be making withdrawals from a card account. You should definitely be pleased with a business having that kind of usage of your bank account. Know to expect that they can apply entry to the market. Forever realise that the income that you just steal a guaranteed payday loan might be repaid immediately away from your pay. You should plan for the following. The appropriate people, when last part of the are charged period arrives, you will find that you don’t have more than enough income to repay your additional debts. Your own record is essential in regards to pay day loans. You may still be able to get a loan product, however will probably runs you dearly that has a sky-high rate of interest. Should you have beneficial credit rating, advance loan providers can give you a better interests and special repayment applications.

  14. September 3, 2013 6:04 am

    Interesting stuff, I come across this today, I am just about to sue ATOS for discrimination, it will all be played out for everyone to read on

  15. k davies permalink
    December 22, 2013 4:57 pm

    I have just started to fill in my latest ESA50 in bright red ink to match the pink form [Nice] I have stated the assessment a home recorded one will be recorded by me. This will be my fourth after 3 aborted assessment. I have made a formal complaint to the GMC about the HCPs conduct


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