The Text below is from Simons Blog and are his words.
This is a recording of Simon Hickmans atos assessment. This is how they treat people with mental health problems, no support what so ever. When I left the room due to questions around my suicidal thoughts I was just left to it. No attempt was made to see how I was.
Before we actually start with the whole thing, I didn’t need to be there as my circumstances have changed, I was as brief in my DWP health questionnaire as possible to ensure I was called for an assessment. My mental health is stable at the moment but as an activist I felt it my duty to go, see the process and expose it for what it is.
I took my partner with me to witness the process and support me, should I need it. We arrived in good time at Albert Bridge House, on the front door is a notice “medicals around the back through the car park”
Bearing in mind I had nothing riding on this, I was extremely apprehensive. If the food on my plate was at stake I dread to think what sort of state I would have been in (but I get to see once inside). Check-in at reception was painless, after which we were told to take a seat.
The waiting room is depressing, nearly as bad as the entrance. As a ‘non-expert’ I looked around and thought to myself why are some of these people here? Anyone with eyes and a hint of compassion would of sent them home. You could see the look of deep distress on peoples faces, some with tears in their eyes. I felt so uncomfortable, so much was at stake for these people. I could feel my anxiety rising. It seems just like a big processing plant, a continual conveyor belt of distressed sad looking people.
I was called and led down a long corridor with scores of doors off it, consulting rooms I guess. Very oppressive and intimidating, just what you need before your going to be interrogated and that’s what the whole thing feels like now. We’re taken in to a room and asked to sit down.
The room is set out in a powerful way, no accident I presume. Susan sits at her computer behind her desk. The chair I’m told to sit in is central in the room, to make you feel isolated, Saira sits in the other chair against the wall. My support is detatched from me and I don’t believe this is an accident. This room is like this by design to serve a purpose, intimidate and isolate. Nice for someone with mental health problems.
The assessment begins, we had talked about what we would ask, but right now I was just clinging on. Through out the assessment Susan focused on the computer screen and inputting the data. After I’d been asked about my condition Saira asked Susan what qualifications she had to be dealing with mental health cases. We were told that we didn’t need to know, she was approved and had done a course.
I was asked a series of questions around my diagnosis and a hospital admission in a manner which doesn’t really befit a health care professional working with mental heath. No compassion you feel like just another case to be processed.
After I have left Saira explains that my last admission was to the backdrop of a friend committing suicide after having his benefits stopped as a result of an atos assessment. The response “THAT’S NOT MY CONCERN”
I’ll leave you to listen.
I would like to thank everyone here for their comments, they have helped me through and have provided useful links for others in a similar situation to myself….so thank you very much indeed, you support is very much appreciated.
I would also like to announce that on the 20th of March I attended an appeals tribunal with a volenteer advocate, my daughter was allowed in too, the appeal was successful and I was put into the support category for ESA due to exceptional circumstances which overturns the ATOS decision to award me 0 points.
I can’t tell you what a relief this is after nearly a year of extra stress & worry, I don’t think it has hit home yet!
Another decision against the wrong doing of ATOS!! lets hope this will make a difference, I would reccommend appealing to anyone that is able go through with it, because it could be successful for you and would be another statement to the wrong doing of ATOS!! I just managed it myself by the skin of my teeth, & if I can do it I am sure many of you can too! I wish everyone here luck & good will for the future and thank you once again for all your help.
Thankyou thankyou thankyou.