My story is a little bit different to most on here. I was an Atos PIP Disability Adviser. Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you?
I’m pretty sure there are a few of you out there will regard me as the devil incarnate, and stop reading now; or carry on reading and not believe a word. I can understand that 100%. Via my own twitter account, I’ve said that I’m ashamed to have been involved, but day by day, whilst the regret remains, I see the ability to help people with PIP claims; through first-hand knowledge and experience of a system which is wholly unfit for purpose.
Oh yeah and a raft load of their training materials. I promise to fill in more details over time but right now, I want to give a reasonably concise version in order to spread the word. I had returned from working abroad at the end of 2015 and applied for numerous physio roles, one advertised by a company called SJB Medical on behalf of Atos.
The role was sold as a caring, altruistic one in which I was being employed for my medical background to carry out a fair and objective assessment. I have watched my mother with a 40+ year history of rheumatoid arthritis, either jump through hoops or be denied completely. I should have been wary when SJB medical gave me a telephone preparation session. During this I was told exactly what to expect in the Atos clinical interview (lower back pain and mild depression).
Anyway, having received a number of NHS offers at 21k pa, let he who is without desire to look after his family, turn down 32k plus 10% into a pension. I’m not justifying it, but you see I am not someone who took a job thinking it was so toxic. We had 10 days of training which was about how to complete an assessment, no teaching on conditions outside our normal remits as nurses, physios, paramedics and occupational therapists. Minimal condition training was done through distance learning workbooks. I spent 3 years to be able to call myself a physiotherapist, but Atos and the DWP think I’m fit to assess schizophrenics