Please sign & forward the petition to investigate Atos PIP assessments.
Yet again I’m going to hold my hands up, and say that this was not an area in which I felt confident to give a truly objective assessment. Claimant’s cases were, meant to be distributed from the centre office to the assessors on a first come first serve basis. There were many occasions however, where if the claimant suffered from ADHD, assessors would hold back for the next case, as very few of us felt confident with our understanding of the condition.
Following the completion of my first cases dealing with ADHD (as with any condition I was unsure of), I would seek the advice of a nurse who was specialist in that area, or in this case our clinical support lead (CSL). He (background mental health nursing) talked me through each descriptor and starting with the ability to cook a simple meal, referred me back to the social history. The vast majority of ADHD claimants were teenagers, and one of the questions we were encouraged to ask, was whether they owned an XBox or Playstation? Atos loved the use of what they would call probing questions, so the follow up would be, how long do you play it each day? The answer varied but tended to be on the high side, with some claimants saying that they never left their room, and this was all they did.
IMPORTANT; DO NOT SAY THIS-This basically gives them carte blanche to justify relevant descriptors with “The claimant stated that he spends xx number of hours per day on his games console. This is consistent with an adequate level of concentration and memory to be able to cook a simple meal independently.” The assessor may well ask whether the claimant plays in a group scenario (via headsets)? Again beware as they will attempt to use this to dismiss any claim of anxiety when mixing with others.
Support organisations & charities that may offer help;
ADHD Foundation (https://www.adhdfoundation.org.uk/) Mind’s Position on ADHD-(https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/minds-position-on-adhd/) Young Minds Supporting your Child with ADHD(https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-guide-to-support-a-z/parents-guide-to-support-adhd/) Adult ADHD (https://www.adhdfoundation.org.uk/information/adults/)
Most importantly, if you are struggling, having thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, find someone to talk to or contact the Samaritans(https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us) Telephone 116 113 (UK or ROI)
As with all claimant’s I recommend you take an advocate with you to any & all assessments, appeals and tribunal. This can be anyone, ideally, if you have a social or support worker, take them, but even a family member can be useful to take notes, ask questions and ensure you are not put under undue pressure. I did assessments with the claimant, plus 2 or 3 people to support them. Don’t forget, you are entitled to record the assessment but Atos will make this very difficult, due to the need for the use of a device which is immediately able to make 2 identical copies on cassette or CD. The assessor (at the time I resigned), could also refuse to conduct an assessment if it was to be recorded. Bearing in mind, on my first day on the job, I said I’d be happy if the whole of every consultation was recorded. You’d think Atos would want to have some really good reason why an assessor wouldn’t want to be recorded no?
Please take note of the references again. I know Atos will insist that it’s been updated, but it was in use up until my last assessment, circa April 2017. Hyperlinks that take you to pages that no longer exist and documents dated 2007 and 2011. References and guidelines 12 years old. I know we don’t have “class action” lawsuits over here, but I’d say that everyone who was assessed under that system of training must have some right to proper judicial appeal?
And here’s the link for the anxiety disorder training appendix