The role of incapacity benefit reassessment in helping claimants into employment - Work and Pensions Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by Zechariah Richardson

I had an Atos medical for my ESA benefit in October last year, it is currently going to tribunal as the way it went was nothing short of disgusting!

I use a wheelchair and suffer chronic pain due to Osteoarthritis and worsened pain after a total knee replacement one year ago that has unfortunately left me in even more pain, I currently am on 35mg Buprenorphine transdermal patch, Dihydrocodeine, Paracetamol, Pregabalin, Nortryptiline and yet still suffer chronic pain 24/7, I also suffer severe panic attacks after an unsettling incident whilst working as a fire fighter for the MOD 21 years ago.

We waited for our appointment and due to the wait and the pain I had to lay across the seats as I was in a lot of pain, when we saw the doctor he seemed very friendly and after a while he said he thought it best to end the medical due to the amount of pain I was in, he recommended that in future we ask for a home visit for medicals, as we left he rubbed my wife's back and said, don't worry I will fill out the rest and say he needs to be left alone from the hassle of medicals for some time!

We were horrified when we received the outcome that placed me on the work focused group as I hadn't satisfied all the criteria, he had just answered non applicable to the rest of the questions!

I am unable to attend the tribunal hearing due to my panic attacks, the hearing would mean having to travel and once there use a lift and due to my panic attacks I would not be able to handle that and due to the period of time involved I would be in too much pain.

This doctor has caused us a lot of stress, he lied to us and falsely filled out the rest of the form, we do not need the extra stress that this has placed on us, if this is the way Atos and its staff carry on then it is my belief that they should be stopped from running this service.

April 2011

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Prepared 26 July 2011