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7 July 2009

Make sure Atos treat your complaints correctly by using a copy of the  Atos Medical Services 40 page Complaints Procedure Guide, which has now been published in the Benefits and Work members area. 

people looking crossThe document reveals that complaints can be made to Atos about having to attend a medical in the first place and about the failure to consider further medical evidence you have provided.

The document contains a very useful set of ‘complaints codes’ which provide you with a comprehensive list of possible grounds for complaint.  It includes:

121    Did not listen
135    Excluded a companion or carer
241    Disputed findings
243    FME [Further Medical Evidence] not considered
511    Disagree with need to attend [Scrutiny Process]

So, for example, if you believe that you are exempt from the personal capability assessment but you are sent an IB50 questionnaire and/or called to a medical, it appears that you can make a formal complaint to Atos about this on the grounds that their initial scrutiny process has not been adequate.

In addition, if you take medical evidence with you to an examination but the health professional refuses to take it into account then this appears to be grounds for a complaint too.  This is in spite of the fact that Atos currently appear to be refusing to accept any medical evidence posted to them. 

The document also deals with the forwarding of complaints to the Independent Tier.  This body is supposed to check that Atos have dealt properly with a complaint where the claimant remains unhappy.  However, the document reveals that the company which provides the Independent Tier was chosen by Atos and its identity is kept secret from the claimant.  A clearer breach of natural justice it is hard to imagine.  Benefits and Work has made a Freedom of Information request for documents which reveal which company is being used.

If you do decide to complain about Atos, make sure you send your MP a copy of your complaint and keep them informed of its progress.  Ensure Atos know you have done this – they are likely to take your complaint much more seriously if they know an MP is watching.
Many people feel that complaining to Atos is pointless.  But it is worth bearing in mind that Atos’ contract with the DWP almost certainly includes financial penalties if too many complaints are made about them.  In addition, the more that MPs are forced to spend time dealing with complaints about Atos, the less likely they may be to support Atos getting the contract with the DWP when it comes up for renewal.

Members can download a copy of the Atos Complaints Procedures Guide from this link.


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