A man from Motherwell, Scotland had his benefits stopped after a nurse changed his health assessment score without his knowledge, only finding out after requesting a copy of the report when he decided to appeal the decision.
SNP MP Marion Fellows said: “The tampering of a health assessment report by someone who wasn’t even in the room is utterly disgraceful and deceitful.
“It shows that, for many people, the system is rigged against them and the outcome is a foregone conclusion.”
The man, who lives with multiple sclerosis and mental health conditions, was assessed for PIP after living for two years on basic support. His assessment was carried out by Atos sub-contractor Salus, and the original report – which has been seen by the Daily Record – notes that the patient lived with MS, depression and anxiety, and outlined his difficulty with performing tasks like cooking, dressing and washing. It also said that the man’s clothes were dirty and his top was inside-out, but the auditor deleted this information.
The auditor who changed the report also removed information pertaining to the man needing supervision or prompting to wash, and prepare food. It also was changed to say that he “has no regular specialist input,” despite the original report saying that he did, and took medication for his mental health.
In response to MP Fellows writing to both Atos and the DWP in August, Atos acknowledged carrying out audits, but said that they happen “on a random basis” and that “independent DWP audits are a DWP process.”
The DWP responded: “If a health professional’s advice is of poor quality which could result in an incorrect decision, the case will fail the audit activity.”
Saying that the man’s entire score was reduced to zero in the audit, Fellows added: “It isn’t even clear who carried out the audit, as Atos say it was the DWP and the DWP say it was someone independent from them.
“There needs to be a complete halt to these audits, and an inquiry so that whoever is responsible is held to account.”Get your copy of UNITE Magazine