HEALTH: Why are we treated in this shabby way?

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I had osteo-arthritis diagnosed in 2000 and fibromyalgia diagnosed in 2004.

My ESA50 ‘Limited Capacity For Work’ form in 2012 in stark contrast was ‘diagnosed’ in my absence by a nurse who is apparently an ‘approved disability analyst’ who thinks I’m capable of limited work.

How can an Atos Healthcare nurse who has never seen me in a face-to-face consultation, make a judgement as to my current medical status?

My fibromyalgia is totally ignored in the ‘Justification Of Advice’ section. The bit that astonishes and amazes me though is this. “The available evidence does not suggest that the client (me) has severely restricted musculo-skeletal or cardio-respiratory function, such that they would be unable to mobilise more than 50 metres, or transfer between seats without assistance from another person.”

What breath-taking assumption, arrogance and claptrap! I would love to be able to walk more than 50 metres without major joint, muscle, tendon and ligament pains, dizzy spells and balance problems.

On my paperwork from the DWP, it says I have been awarded more than 15 points and I have limited capability for work.

I also do not have capability to work-related activity but I will be placed in the Work Related Activity Group.

If ever there was a contradictory statement this has to be it.

The prognosis is that work is unlikely within two years. In my opinion, my prognosis sadly is that work is unlikely within my lifetime.

How did they arrive at this decision?

The ESA50 form is full of trick questions about health issues and is essentially a ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘it varies’ ticked box form.

Although you have an opportunity to write additional information after each question, such information is always ignored.

I did attend a DWP meeting here in Spalding as required. This was the first time anyone other than my GP had even seen me.

It was abundantly obvious to the interviewer I could neither walk properly, or sit still in an uncomfortable seat, despite having my painkiller patch on and taking painkiller tablets.

I was lucky to treated with great kindness and sympathy by this man at the DWP.

I have expressed a view to want to work from home as I have amateur-level office computer skills.

With my agreement, I have been ‘signed off’ for six months before having to attend another interview during the year.

I would still like to work and do something to earn some money. I am ever hopeful the DWP will be able to assist.

I was given a form by the man at the DWP to appeal the decision and told to fill it in within a month and start the appeal process to get the ‘limited capability to work’ decision overturned. I have filled it in and sent it off.

This whole experience dealing with Atos is extremely stressful.

Why are people like me, and many hundreds more in South Holland, being treated in this shabby, despicable way by the whole coalition government?

We deserve better and should expect better than what is metered out to us.

I for one will be glad when this whole sorry mess is over.

I am sick to death of Atos, who have treated me with utter contempt.

Alan Long

St Thomas’ Road