Friday 23 March 2012

Scottish GPs call for Immediate end to "Fit for Work" tests

Some good news for us all to share! Please feel free to share this as widely as possible. If you'd like to take any action, and you live in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, do consider sending this to your own GP with a short request that he or she considers pressing for similar action.

You might also like to send the press release to the GMC here urging them to take similar measures.

If you use twitter, we'll be using the hashtags #Braveheart and #GPs as we Retweet articles about this.


John McArdle                         0777 831 6875            

Scotland’s GP’s call for an end to controversial ‘fit for work’ tick-box tests carried out by French IT company ‘with immediate effect’

Scotland’s GP’s have today called to an end to the Government’s controversial computer-based ‘Work Capability Assessments’ carried out by French IT multinational Atos Origin for the DWP with ‘'immediate effect’:
60 Lothian: That this conference, in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by ATOS Healthcare, believes that:
i. the inadequate computer-based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons
ii. the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society

The Scottish-based disability rights and advocacy group Black Triangle was instrumental in getting the motion tabled at the Scottish Local Medical Committee’s (SLMC) conference at Clydebank.

Dr. Stephen Carty who works as a GP in the Leith area of Edinburgh and who is an active member of the campaign said:

“I welcome the support of the Scottish LMC conference on this matter.
This sends a ray of hope to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.
It also sends a clear message to other representative bodies including the General Medical Council (GMC) of the significant concerns shared by many GPs across the country.”

He said that “In my opinion the current contractual arrangements between the DWP and General Practice are unsustainable. The WCA as performed by ATOS is not an effective or safe method of determining "fitness to work" and this must be addressed.”

He continued: “All doctors are duty bound by the GMC to report any system or process that may be harmful to patients. The WCA is a harmful process. Scottish GPs have spoken: the GMC cannot remain silent on this matter any longer”

John McArdle, a founding member of Black Triangle said:

“The scandal of these assessments has gone on far too long. As a grassroots disabled people’s organisation we are over the moon that Scotland’s GP’s have spoken out so clearly and unequivocally in their condemnation. Our GP’s recognise the severe and avoidable damage that is being done to sick and disabled people through this brutal, draconian and profoundly unjust testing regime as they see it every single day. It must be halted now – ‘with immediate effect’.- before any further harm results and whilst the GMC launches a thorough investigation. They can no longer remain silent. They must act. ”


  1. Great News...Let's hope it snowballs throughout the whole UK.

  2. christina sosseh23 March 2012 at 08:47

    Brilliant well done the Scots GPs for standing up for your patients.

  3. This is good news but I'd be interested to know what would happen (should the test be scrapped) to the people who have already been through the ATOS rigmarole and ended up in the wrong group or have given up trying as a result of deteriorating health problems. The system has failed so many people already.

  4. This is such positive news. Scotland seems to take the lead on such issues, but then the Scottish Parliament isn't crawling with Tories and their NHS is free from the evils happening under our Westminster government. England needs to act too but I fear we'll have to do this without any support from MPs and GPs. £66,000,000 of tax payer's money goes to ATOS each year to cause this humanitarian disaster and no one bats an eyelid. Time to chain ourselves to the gates of No.10!?

  5. Great news. It intrigues me that GPs are to be entrusted with multi-billion pound commissioning budgets but aren't trusted to certificate their patients for benefit purposes. It can only mean that the government are rationing financial support using money as their starting point, not the patients true condition. That can't be right.
    I have come unstuck at the hands of Atos and DWP and can only wish the campaign every success. Too late for me I'm afraid, but no-one else should be forced through this excrutiating process.

  6. So where are all these english (and welsh) docs who are planning to stand against the nast party...are they going to speak up and say the same or not. Will the call just be for scotland now that there is a surge in independence ,at least as far as Mr Salmond is concerned,recentley.Fine as this call may be it has to be nationwide or nothing so come on gp's in england and wales get up and shout.Get rid of atos,get rid of the likes of a4e (who look at the moment to be getting away with it...) and take a bigger look at the bigger picture.No surprise that we are now bombarded with private health insurance ads on the tv and in the media now that the likes of virginia bottomley and landsley have got thier way and no surprise that the budget has taken the focus away from the nhs bill so again yeah nice call scottish docs but me thinks to bloody late really....but we live in hope eh....meanwhile on calums list the number of deaths as a result of the welfare reforms grows bigger.Something these docs should point out to cameron clegg ids and their own man Mr Salmond just in case he feels he might just have a word to the nast party while he is somewhat on a roll and maybe if they get it thrown out in scotland we can take the govt to court in the EU and get it binned here on the back of it...again we live (or someof us will)in hope

  7. Lets hope that the decent doctors across the uk fully support their patients and that no harm comes to them from a uncaring government

  8. We are lucky to have Dr Carty in our local practice.
    He warned us about ATOS and I don't think he was surprised when we gave him a copy of my son's ATOS medical report - a work of fiction, they never met my son and a nurse ignored 4 Senior consultants reports.
    However, I managed to get G from WRAG to support after fining that ATOS had withheld the Medical reports that I had submitted, from DWP decision maker.

    1. Surely witholding that is illegal.How exactly did you find out they had withheld the report susan cos you can bet you where they have done it once........

    2. They can withhold what they wont as their above the law on all aspects of privacy etc they have the power to do as they please hack in to your bank details or phone and anything else as they seam fit and to gather any information or withhold any information

  9. ZeitgeistGirlUK23 March 2012 at 21:09

    Thank you Scots GPs for standing up for your patients (or "clients" according to the Tories). You have saved so many Scottish lives, you are outstanding professionals. I hope the English GPs follow your example, and save some English lives too before its to late...

  10. What we need is a GP or preferably several, prepared to submit a motion for debate at the BMA Annual Conference.

    This year it is at the Bournemouth International Centre Sun24th June to Thursday 28th June.

    This is where votes on policy proposals are taken. What happens here is covered in detail by the magazines for GPs like "Pulse" and "GP" and is atttended by all major media, oftem making the BBC News.

    Proposals for motions for debate must be made to the Agenda Committee by 10th April.

    Does anyone have a friendly GP/Consultant who will put a proposal forward? Or maybe if Sue, you have any contact with the Scottish GP, he could propose it and get support from colleagues to do the same.?

    Or maybe, we should just do it ourselves (although a GP would have to put it to conference)

    Here is guidance on how to submit a motion:

  11. The UK Goverment won't do this, their mantra about helping the disabled into work is nothing but lies, Atos is nothing but a failed attempt of them trying to save money at the expense of us disabled.

    They would save more money by developing a system that doesn't reject virtually everyone with a disability.

    What's wrong with the good old fashioned sending evidence with a form to prove our disabilities without having to go through Atos?

  12. hallelujah!
    long live the Scottish quality of down to earth common sense... may it become endemic in all our GPs, MPs (probably stretching it a bit too far, here....) and those who have a say in running our lives

  13. Is Black Triangle website down? Haven't been able to access it all day.

  14. I got this,re Black Triangle.

    The connection was reset

    The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.

    The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few
    If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer's network
    If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure
    that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.

  15. Hi Sue, we (A Way of Seeing) run the Benefits and Work Facebook page for Steve and Holi. We love your Blog and so respect all the hard work you do on behalf of others. We have shared this blog on the Benefoits and Work page keep up the brilliant blog! Jeanette