Atos news 2014

Press Report

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Classical pianist died penniless after being judged fit to work by Atos even though he needed a new heart

09 April 2014 20:51:01 News | Mail Online

Robert Barlow, who died aged 47 in his native Liverpool, had his Employment and Support Allowance stopped after benefits assessors Atos ruled him fit to work

Vice All News Time09 April 2014 20:51:01


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Sickness benefit tests firm Atos Healthcare quits contract after death threats to staff

27 March 2014 12:41:21 News | Mail Online

Days after ministers said Atos Healthcare was 'committed' to its contract, the French IT company confirmed it was pulling out before the contract ended in 2015.

Vice All News Time27 March 2014 12:41:21


Atos quits government contract to assess benefit claimants as Department for Work and Pensions shambles continues

27 March 2014 11:43:08 mirror - News

The firm had previously said that it would continue until a new company was installed to take over the duties

Vice All News Time27 March 2014 11:43:08


Atos to quit fit-to-work tests

27 March 2014 11:02:47 BBC News - UK

Atos is to quit its contract to assess whether benefits claimants are fit to work, the government announces.

Vice All News Time27 March 2014 11:02:47


Business news and markets: as it happened: March 12, 2014

13 March 2014 08:08:36 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

As copper falls for the fourth day, the FTSE 100 is down 1pc, while the Dax and Cac have both slipped 1.25pc.        

Vice All News Time13 March 2014 08:08:36


Business news and markets: as it happened - March 10, 2014

10 March 2014 18:13:00 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

Global markets dip following disappointing figures from China and Japan        

Vice Finance Time10 March 2014 18:13:00


Business news and markets: as it happened - March 7, 2014

07 March 2014 17:45:57 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

The US economy added more jobs than expected in February, easing fears of a slowdown in economic growth        

Vice Finance Time07 March 2014 17:45:57


Business news and markets: as it happened - March 6, 2014

06 March 2014 17:57:32 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

The Bank of England and European Central Bank have stuck to their current strategy, leaving all interest rates unchanged        

Vice Finance Time06 March 2014 17:57:32


Business news and markets: as it happened - March 3, 2014

03 March 2014 18:14:30 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

Russia's shares lose $58bn in 10pc fall, more than the cost of Sochi as tensions in Ukraine build        

Vice All News Time03 March 2014 18:14:30


Atos awarded contract for NHS records

25 February 2014 23:12:20 UK headlines

Atos has been given the contract to extract patient records, MPs are told        

Vice All News Time25 February 2014 23:12:20


Atos awarded contract for NHS records

25 February 2014 21:14:18 UK headlines

Atos has been given the contract to extract patient records, MPs are told        

Vice All News Time25 February 2014 21:14:18


Man too ill to attend fit-for-work interview but terrified of losing benefits dies after Atos test

24 February 2014 11:58:00 mirror - News

Terry McGarvey  had to be taken to hospital by ambulance after his Atos assessment but he died the following day

Vice All News Time24 February 2014 11:58:00


Atos seeks work tests contract exit

21 February 2014 22:03:13 BBC News - UK

The IT company Atos says it is seeking to end its government contract to assess whether benefit claimants are fit to work.

Vice All News Time21 February 2014 22:03:13


Benefits testing firm Atos wants to quit £500 million government contract EARLY

21 February 2014 03:13:37 mirror - News

The news comes after the French firm faced 144 separate protests outside its UK offices earlier this week

Vice All News Time21 February 2014 03:13:37


Atos seeks contract exit after death threats

20 February 2014 18:59:44 UK Homepage

Atos Healthcare says political environment has become untenable and that it is no longer fair to employees to leave them vulnerable to attack

Vice All News Time20 February 2014 18:59:44


Business news and markets: as it happened February 20, 2014

20 February 2014 17:56:40 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

A member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committe said the first rise in interest rates will come in spring 2015        

Vice Finance Time20 February 2014 17:56:40


Davos 2014: business news and markets, as it happened - January 22, 2014

22 January 2014 18:36:25 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

Leaders gather for the 44th World Economic forum to discuss "The reshaping of the world: Consequences for society, politics and business"        

Vice All News Time22 January 2014 18:36:25


NHS groups look to new start in 2014

01 January 2014 06:12:14 BBC News - UK

The leaders of 10 NHS groups call for a "new page to be turned" in 2014 after a series of high-profile problems last year.

Vice All News Time01 January 2014 06:12:14


New coin designs for 2014 unveiled

31 December 2013 11:51:13 BBC News - UK

Coins marking the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One will enter circulation in 2014.

Vice All News Time31 December 2013 11:51:13


Football Manager 2014 new features: What's new on the latest version of the game?

16 October 2013 20:15:51 mirror - Sport

With the release of Football Manager 2014 just weeks away, we take a look at the best new features on the game

Vice Sport Time16 October 2013 20:15:51


PM criticises Atos decision-making

16 October 2013 14:24:09 BBC News - UK

David Cameron says the firm carrying out "fitness-for-work" tests must improve - but rejects an angry call by Labour MP Dennis Skinner to get rid of the "cruel, heartless monster".

Vice All News Time16 October 2013 14:24:09


Five new Glasgow 2014 ambassadors

12 August 2013 01:24:45 BBC News - UK

Five more athletes are unveiled as official ambassadors of the 2014 Commonwealth Games - a week before one million tickets go on sale.

Vice All News Time12 August 2013 01:24:45


The problems with work assessments run deeper than Atos | Sue Marsh

23 July 2013 16:02:03 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

The DWP's capability test is unrealistic – bringing in new providers to carry it out won't help The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that it will be contracting new providers to carry out work capability assessments (WCAs) alongside Atos Healthcare, after a recent review found assessments to be "of unacceptably poor quality". This is what campaigners have been saying since 2008 when employment and support allowance (ESA) was introduced by the then Labour government to replace incapacity benefit. Successful appeal rates are rising, with 39% of decisions now overturned . A September 2012 report from the Disability Benefits Consortium found that 85% of welfare benefits advisers did not believe that Atos report accuracy had improved. Claimants need to score 15 points under a tick box computer system, yet 83% of decisions overturned at appeal had originally been awarded six points or less. This indicates that something is still seriously wrong with the system. With Atos assessors now being audited for quality, and an admission from the DWP that things need to improve, one might think that campaigners would be celebrating this news. Far from it. We have warned for some time that replacing Atos, or adding in new providers, would not alleviate the problems inherent in the ESA system. To score points, claimants must meet certain " descriptors ". Can you sit for more than 30 minutes? Can you transfer from one chair to another? Can you raise your arms above your head? These descriptors are set by the DWP, not Atos, and campaign groups and charities alike have argued that they are inadequate at assessing fitness for work. They do not relate to "real life" work a claimant might be faced with and indeed ministers have strongly argued that they need not. An "evidence-based review (EBR)" of the descriptors , designed by charities, is still stuck at the testing stage despite the DWP initially committing to a tighter timescale. In 2010, Atos was conducting about 25,000 assessments a month. Today, that figure has risen to more than 100,000 , and there are still huge backlogs, with nearly half a million claims stuck in the "assessment phase" for well over the 12-week target. As campaigners have won concessions, so the process of each assessment has taken longer, with healthcare professionals now required to write a short summary of every claim and phone calls to claimants to discuss decisions and letters to explain the process now built into the system – although evidence is weak that some of these supposed improvements are taking place consistently. Finally, the DWP has insisted on continually reassessing successful claims. Reassessment rates can be set at just three, six or nine months, adding enormous strain on the system and causing further delays, when it is unlikely the person's condition will have changed. So we have a system where Atos assessors are asked to do more and more in less and less time. Is it any wonder accuracy may be compromised? The real question is why, when a system has been shown to be failing, would a government not only roll it out nationwide, but then increase the rate at which claimants are assessed ? Why, when the descriptors have been shown to discriminate against mental health and fluctuating conditions, would any government want to push over 2,500,000 of our most vulnerable citizens through it quickly before ensuring that the tests are fair and accurate? We knew from pilots in Aberdeen and Burnley, initially assessing new claims only, that the test was deeply flawed, yet ministers took the decision [paywall] to extend the WCA to those already claiming the old incapacity benefit. This group included the most sick and disabled (nearly two-thirds also claim disability benefits) who had been claiming for the longest periods and who faced the highest barriers to work. Politicians claimed they were "left on the scrapheap" to "fester" with no face-to-face contact from the DWP. In fact, about 94% of claimants drop their claims or find work within two years. There were always random assessments and these tests were even carried out by Atos too, yet never hit the headlines in the way WCAs do now. Today, there are still just over a million old incapacity benefit claims open , and the DWP deadline for reassessment is May 2014. With the system now grinding to a halt, mired in delays, this deadline looks increasingly unlikely. Yet politicians of all parties have been convinced for so long that this group contains the "scroungers" and "skivers" of DWP and tabloid rhetoric, perhaps it suits them to push this group through a test which isn't fair? After all, if the DWP had been so unhappy with the work Atos was doing, it wouldn't have awarded it the bulk of contracts, worth a further £400m , to carry out similar assessments for PIP (personal independence payments, the replacement for DLA). Despite the glow of the latest spin, only allowing healthcare professionals the time and space to do the job properly, with suitable descriptors, will improve the accuracy of assessments. Simply adding in new providers to implement a flawed test will only increase the fear and despair of those failed by it. Atos Work & careers Welfare Disability Sue Marsh guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or it

Vice All News Time23 July 2013 16:02:03


Benefit test overhaul as Atos rapped over wrongly passing fit to work up to 41% of claimants

23 July 2013 11:51:00 mirror - News

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s department was told to act because of deep concerns about Atos at No10

Vice All News Time23 July 2013 11:51:00


Disabled benefits claimants test: Atos reports found wanting

22 July 2013 13:48:32 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

DWP to get additional providers to administer work capability assessments after review finds unacceptably poor quality in assessors' reports The Department for Work and Pensions is to bring in additional providers alongside Atos Healthcare to administer the work capability assessment (WCA) for disabled benefits claimants, after a government review admitted that reports by Atos assessors were of unacceptably poor quality. The announcement by the employment minister, Mark Hoban, follows months of criticisms of Atos which the government had so far either rejected or sought to address through fresh reviews of the scheme. The announcement is likely to lead to new firms being brought in on a regional basis from summer 2014. Hoban said the extra firms will also help provide extra capacity to help tackle waiting times. There have been long-term concerns that the system was unfairly weighted against people with health conditions that fluctuate, as the test assesses whether they could work on "the majority of days". There has also been criticism of the time it takes for appeals against decisions to be either upheld or rejected. During interview, Atos assessors award claimants points reflecting the apparent severity of their condition and a computer program then calculates the score. Claimants who score 15 points are likely to be found eligible for support, while those with a lower score are not entitled to employment support allowance (ESA). About 30% of those refused ESA support go to appeal and are subsequently granted the benefit. There have been more than 600,000 appeals since the WCA started, costing about £60m a year. Hoban said he had already directed Atos Healthcare to put in place a quality improvement plan following a DWP audit which identified an unacceptable reduction in the quality of written reports produced following assessments. Apparently drastic measures include retraining and re-evaluating all Atos Healthcare professionals, with those not meeting the required standard continuing to have all of their work audited until they do, or having their approval to carry out assessments withdrawn by the department. The quality of the reports produced by Atos following an assessment are graded A-C, and the audit showed that the number of C-grade reports was around 41% between October 2012 and March 2013. A C-grade report does not mean the assessment was wrong, and the recommendation given in a C-grade report may well be correct but, for example, the reasoning behind that recommendation may lack the level of detail demanded by the DWP. The DWP insisted that this did not mean previous claims processed by Atos were wrong or subject to additional legal challenge. The reports provided by Atos form only a part of the WCA process, which has a number of checks and balances built in to the system, the department said, including an annual independent reviews of the WCA, from which over 50 recommendations have been, or are being, implemented. The fourth independent review of the WCA is currently being undertaken by Dr Paul Litchfield. The DWP also said that a claimant whose report has not met its quality standard has been no more likely to be found fit for work, or to appeal against their decision, than other claimants. Hoban said: "I am committed to ensuring the work capability assessment process is as fair and accurate as possible, with the right checks and balances to ensure the right decision is reached. Where our audits identify any drop in quality, we act decisively to ensure providers meet our exacting quality standards. "Since 2010 we have made considerable improvements to the system we inherited from the previous government. However, it's vital we continue to improve the service to claimants, which is why we are introducing new providers to increase capacity." The DWP has also engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide independent advice in relation to strengthening quality assurance processes across all its health and disability assessments. Atos Healthcare has also brought in a third party to assess the quality of its audit and make recommendations for improvements. Atos Healthcare said in a statement: "We continue to provide Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions and continue to support the need to increase the number of health professionals on the ground to minimise waiting times and improve the system for those going through it. "Our priority is the quality of our work and, following the recent audit, we quickly put in place a plan to improve the quality of written reports produced following an assessment. "The professional and compassionate service we provide to claimants and the wellbeing of our people remain our primary consideration. "We are sorry when we do not meet our own high standards but can reassure that a C-grade report does not mean the assessment was wrong and there are checks and balances throughout the system so that the correct decision on benefit is made by the department." Atos Disability Benefits Welfare McLoughlin guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds      

Vice All News Time22 July 2013 13:48:32


Brazil's left and right struggle for ownership of protests

26 June 2013 21:11:31 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

Rival groups split on the political direction of the protests, with claims two organisations back military rule Rival organisations behind Brazil's huge street demonstrations are struggling for control amid conflicting views about the political direction the movement should take. With further action planned for Wednesday evening, the leftwing groups who initiated the marches suspect opposition parties are trying to hijack the protests and use them as a platform to challenge president Dilma Rousseff's government before next year's presidential election. The protesters have proved a formidable political force, notching up victory after victory in the past week and forcing Rousseff's Workers' Party and regional leaders into a series of concessions. But the scale has ebbed in recent days. Although demonstrations continue on a daily basis in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and dozens of other cities, they are on a smaller scale than last Thursday's march of more than a million. The vast majority of marches have been unified, but there have been a few shouting matches between rival groups competing to set the ideological direction of the protests. Some would like a stronger focus on inequality and improving conditions in favelas. Others are pushing for tax cuts and a crackdown on corrupt officials. In online chat rooms and microblogs, there is speculation that police are using agents provocateurs to stir up violence and pave the way for a coup. Evidence for that is scant, but differences have become more apparent. Groups such as Anonymous are calling for a period of reflection, and arranged workshops and public meetings in Rio this week to discuss where to go next. But several organisations that are closer to the right pressed ahead with smaller gatherings on Monday and urged more on Thursday. Two of them, Organisation Opposed to Corruption and Online Revolution, advocate the return of militarism, according to an article on the Estado de São Paulo website. This followed tension in São Paulo during last Thursday's march when some groups burned the flags of the Workers Party. "We live in a democracy and this reaction is a kind of nationalism taken to an extreme. I fear this may be hidden fascism," said Talita Saito, a 21-year-old law student at the protest. Such incidents have so far been on the fringes. More positive is the sign of a new political debate that has been stirred up by formerly apathetic multitudes who are turning out in vast numbers to peacefully back the protests. But those who initiated the protests in support of cheap public transport are uneasy that part of the movement has morphed towards a campaign for lower taxes. A major reason for the success of last week's marches was that the organisers rejected affiliation with political parties. The amorphous movement embraced frustrations felt across the political spectrum, many of them brought into relief by the Confederations Cup. After last Thursday's march, the huge range of motivations was evident in the hand-written placards pinned on to the walls – "Schools not Stadiums", "70bn in Corruption", "End Police Violence", "Stop PEC 37" (a bill that would weaken the power of the public minister to investigate official wrongdoing) and "No to the Gay Cure" (a reference to evangelical politician Marco Feliciano's call for Brazil's medical establishment to treat homosexuality as a disease. In recent days, Rousseff – a former student radical – has talked to organisers and responded to some of their concerns. On Monday, she promised a referendum on political reform, tighter penalties for corruption, a 50bn real (£15bn) programme for public transport and more support for healthcare and education. Another concession was won from legislators, who dropped the PEC 37 bill.The groups behind the protests say Rousseff's promises are too vague and fall short of demands they have regarding evictions of residents for mega-events, excessive police violence (seen on Tuesday in a raid on the Maré favela in Rio that left at least nine people dead) and wider issues of inequality and environmental destruction. A statement by the Passe Libre group said the government has to do more to rein in paramilitary police, who have shot protesters with rubber bullets and used teargas indiscriminately. "There is an urgent need to demilitarise the police and put in place a national policy to regulate less lethal weapons, which are banned in many countries and condemned by international bodies," the group said. Alan Fragoso, one of the organisers of the Fórum de Lutas group that initiated the protests, said the demonstrations would continue. "Even if the protesters do not have full political consciousness we must seize the moment to promote the inclusion of political debate in the daily life of Brazilians," he said. In response to Rousseff's promises and concerns about the vandalism that followed clashes with police, the organisers plan to set new guidelines for the protests. One question will be how the movement can address inequality. Halting bus price rises alone will not achieve this if it means spending cuts in other areas of social spending, as the São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad noted. So far most of the marchers have been middle class students, protesting in the city centres or near football stadiums. But on Tuesday came the first march in Rio from two favela communities – Rocinha and Vidigal – to the wealthy middle-class neighbourhood of Leblon, which is home to the state governor, Sérgio Cabral. "This is not about left or right. We're fed up with our leaders. We can't rely on public hospitals or schools, yet they spend billions on stadiums," said Anderson Castro, who turned up to the lively, peaceful, but relatively small march with his young son Arthur on his shoulders. The coming days are likely to clarify where, how and whether the demonstrations will continue on a large scale, with the attention of many focused on Sunday's Confederations Cup final in Rio. Additional reporting from São Paulo by Helena Alves Brazil Americas Protest World Cup 2014 World Cup Jonathan Watts guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time26 June 2013 21:11:31


Atos benefit claimants face biased medical assessments, doctor alleges

16 May 2013 22:00:00 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

GP Greg Wood has said claimants were not assessed in 'even-handed way', blaming government training for poor treatment Medical assessments of benefit applicants at Atos Healthcare were designed to incorrectly assess claimants as being fit for work, one of the company's former senior doctors has claimed. Greg Wood, a GP who worked at the company as a senior adviser on mental health issues, said claimants were not assessed in an "even-handed way", that evidence for claims was never put forward by the company for doctors to use, and that medical staff were told to change reports if they were too favourable to claimants. The doctor claimed he resigned in disgust at what was going on, saying that many doctors he had spoken to shared his concerns. "I think the Department for Work and Pensions is the real culprit here. It's the government training that makes Atos assessors do this." The work capability assessment is used for the government's employment and support allowance, a benefit paid to those too sick to work. Wood said that the assessors were trained in such a way that they expected claimants to score too few points to qualify for ESA, and to award points "begrudgingly". The attitude drilled into assessors "leans towards finding reasons not to award points", he claimed. The result was a bias against the disabled, he said. Last year the British Medical Association called for the tests to be scrapped to prevent harm to the most vulnerable people in society. Wood said that although his contract with Atos had a confidentiality clause, he was breaking it in the "public interest". He told the Guardian: "In my experience [Atos assessors] are not free to make independent recommendations, important evidence is frequently missing or never sought in the first place, medical knowledge is twisted and points are often wrongly withheld through the use of an erroneously high standard of proof." He said if Atos assessors "show deviation from the official line they are instructed to change the report. In about a quarter of assessments important documentary evidence such as the claimant's own GP assessment is missing but the assessments go ahead regardless." Although work capability tests were introduced by Labour in 2008, the coalition has rapidly expanded their use. Atos – which last year processed almost 20,000 incapacity benefit claimants a week – has faced criticism after it emerged that a third (37%) of decisions appealed against were successfully overturned. There have also been repeated claims that people with terminal cancer have been denied benefits as a result of Atos assessments and that the company sets out to strip people of benefits by making the tests arduous and degrading. Labour MP Tom Greatrex, who has campaigned for reforms to Atos and the fitness to work test, said: "These are very serious and shocking allegations which must be urgently looked at. I have written to the prime minister today asking him to personally order an investigation. "Those who can work should be helped into employment through effective back-to-work schemes, and those who can't through illness or disability should be supported. It's about helping people, not hounding them. Based on the evidence of Dr Wood this system is failing us all in the worst possible way." In a statement Atos said it "completely refuted allegations made by Dr Wood that Atos Healthcare acts inappropriately or unethically. We never ask healthcare professionals to make any changes to a report unless there are specific clinical quality issues identified within it. A report that may need to be revised could, for example, be one where there is insufficient justification recorded to support the advice given. "We do not deviate from government guidelines in our training. We do not have targets for getting people on or off benefits. We are a professional and ethical organisation which has carried out this work on behalf of the department for over a decade. "Atos Healthcare conducts its business based on a code of ethics and a strong legal compliance culture. Like any other organisation we are, quite properly, subject to scrutiny. However, Atos Healthcare will take appropriate legal steps to defend itself and its employees where false and damaging allegations are made." The Department for Work and Pensions said the claims had been "well-aired before". "A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken after a thorough assessment and consideration of all the supporting medical evidence provided by the claimant." "There are absolutely no targets regarding how many people should be found fit for work and since 2010 we have considerably improved the work capability assessment (WCA) process. The percentage of people entitled to employment and support allowance is now at its highest level with over half of people completing a WCA eligible for the benefit." Atos Health policy Health Public services policy Healthcare industry Randeep Ramesh guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds      

Vice All News Time16 May 2013 22:00:00


Atos apologises to long-term sick wrongly assessed as fit for work

17 April 2013 16:19:55 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

Healthcare company 'takes complaints seriously' but says it only runs assessments and that decisions are made by the DWP The executive in charge of running medical assessments for benefits claims at Atos Healthcare has offered an apology to those long-term sick it has incorrectly assessed as being "fit for work". In her first public interview, Lisa Coleman, the manager who oversees Atos's contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), was asked by BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme if she would like to apologise. She replied: "If we get something wrong then I'm very happy to say sorry." Although work capability tests were introduced by the Labour government in 2008, the coalition has rapidly expanded their use. However, Atos – which last year processed almost 20,000 incapacity benefit claimants a week – has faced criticism after it emerged that a third of decisions were overturned on appeal. There have also been repeated claims that people with terminal cancer had been denied benefits as a result of Atos assessments and that the company sets out to strip people of benefits by making the tests ardous and degrading. Radio 4 questioned Coleman about a number of cases in which people had claimed that their complaints had been ignored, that assessments had not been carried out properly or that no account was made of the needs of patients – some of whom could not stand or needed nursing support – to take the tests. Coleman said Atos "did not have targets for taking people off benefit. We take complaints seriously. If there's way to improve then we're happy to take that feedback and improve [the service]. If we get it wrong then happy to say we got it wrong." However, she added said Atos did not make decisions on what benefits people received, and its responsibility was only with properly conducting the assessments. "The Department for Work and Pensions make decisions. We don't make decisions." The company claims that " recent figures released by the DWP suggest that of the 15% of (fit for work) decisions successfully appealed[ against], Atos reports are a reason for successful appeals in only 0.3% of cases". Although the coalition has conceded that the assessments could be improved, there is little doubt that ministers intend to increase their role in the welfare system. Ministers claimed last month that 878,000 people who were on incapacity benefit dropped their claim to the payments rather than undergo a tough medical test. The Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, said the figures "demonstrate how the welfare system was broken under Labour and why our reforms are so important". However, it later emerged that this figure was calculated by adding up the 20,000 claimants every month who leave the benefit system without undergoing a work capability assessment over four years – which DWP's own research says is largely due to the fact many people will see an improvement in their condition, or will return to work regardless of whether their condition improves. At the beginning of April, Atos began a £400m, five-year contract carrying out tests for the new personal independence payment (Pip), which replaces the disability living allowance and determines whether people are entitled to extra money to help cope with disability, such as cars, equipment or nursing. A DWP spokesman said: "We are committed to helping thousands of people move from benefits and back into work if they are capable, while giving unconditional support to those who need it. "Since 2010 we have considerably improved the work capability assessment process. As a result, the percentage of people getting long-term unconditional support has more than doubled in two years." Atos State benefits Health Health policy Benefits Welfare Randeep Ramesh guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time17 April 2013 16:19:55