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The backlog of fitness-to-work assessments for benefits recipients could take as long as 18 months to clear, according to the company being brought in to deal with the problem.

Maximus Health Services UK was awarded a £500m three-year contract that starts in March, after Atos Healthcare ended its contract early following criticism about the number and speed of assessments it had carried out.

More than 600,000 appeals have been lodged against Atos judgments since the work capability assessments began, costing taxpayers £60m a year. In four out of 10 cases the original decisions are overturned.

Leslie Wolfe, president of Maximus, said it would aim to carry out assessments in a “timely manner”, but warned that improvements would not happen overnight. “It’ll take some time to hire the healthcare professionals. The expectation is that in 12 to 18 months, we should be able to catch up on the waiting times,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We’re hopeful that if we [conduct] the assessments in a timely manner, some of that anger and resentment will go away.”

Full story in the Guardian

Comments  

#5 M Taylor 2014-12-30 15:27
I've just discovered this site and found a lot of people are as confused as I am, but I'm still hoping someone has some advice for me.
I have a long history of problems with lumbar and cervical spine problems which have resulted in 3x surgical procedures. In December 2013, with an imminent eviction order, I had additional pain in what I believed was my cervical spine/neck.

In February the WCA declared me as fit for work, despite my telling the medic that I was in a lot of pain and struggling to manage with limited use of my dominant arm. When I questioned that decision I was sent on an illogical goose chase, ending in an appeal hearing in July 2014. I was advised that the appeal hearing was to consider my 'new' condition, but actually it was to discuss my fitness to work in the February assessment. I was awarded an extra 6 points because the judge could see how I was struggling and advised to appeal again with my 'new' condition.

Now my GP has retired and his replacement suggested the problem is in my shoulder, where an xray confirmed multiple problems due to degeneration and a suspected rotator muscle tear, for a year!. The pain and difficulties are much worse, but what do I do now? A second assessment paper form was filled in and returned but I haven't had any contact since then. Who do I send this new evidence to? I'm really struggling to survive on £72 a week, but do I approach DWP or ATOS. I desperately need some help! Any ideas?

With thanks
#4 tintack 2014-11-12 18:33
Quoting Paul Richards:
I would have thought that Maximus is really going to have a fight on it's hands. ATOS thought that they got away with it lightly, but Maximus, - I can assure them that it is going to be fought fully along the line. They think that they have got the full say - but, they are totally wrong. I forecast that that they will lose woefully and they will eventually cry into their beers and/or wines - just like our sorry and miserable Political Parties also! :sad:


Maximus will certainly find out that this contract is the ultimate poisoned chalice (assuming they're not aware of that already), and it would not be a surprise if they eventually decide to bail out as Atos have done.

Sadly, by the time that happens they'll have trousered vast sums of public cash, and countless more sick and disabled people will have been put through hell. We can only hope that by then even the Tories will be forced to admit that the WCA is untenable, though I won't be holding my breath.
#3 angela 2014-11-12 18:09
I would seriously suggest people Google and obtain info on the USA Company taking over from ATOS!
To saw I was shocked, dismayed and disspointed at their own difficulties which are there in the public domain to read!

So check it out Maximus, see what you discover as i did :(
+1 #2 susieb 2014-11-11 05:01
I was first contacted last November for migrating to ESA, one year on and I'm still receiving SDA. Rather concerned about not having enough contributions after 15 years on SDA.
+1 #1 Paul Richards 2014-11-10 22:35
Hi all,
I thought that Maximus was supposed to take over the WCA assessments in November 2014 - now it seems to be in March 2015. Whatever - ATOS is most likely to go up to March 2015 (hopefully - as they are not the 'bar stewards' that Maximus are most probably are!)
It is a very interesting comment that 'it'll take some time to hire the health care professionals' - they will probably be unable to hire the 'care assistants, physiotherapist s, chiropractors, chiropodists', etc, etc. that are going to be required to fulfil their contract.
So - hard luck! Let's hope that they are able to hire NOBODY after ATOS's dismal performance in their contracts.
Is it really surprising that 600,000 Appeals have been lodged against ATOS's 'Health Professional' Judgements - I think not!

Maximus is really going to be up against it. As tintack said 'they will find anyone alive' as 'being fit for work' and if 'not being alive'
then they would be put into the 'Work Related Activity Group'.
I would have thought that Maximus is really going to have a fight on it's hands. ATOS thought that they got away with it lightly, but Maximus, - I can assure them that it is going to be fought fully along the line. They think that they have got the full say - but, they are totally wrong. I forecast that that they will lose woefully and they will eventually cry into their beers and/or wines - just like our sorry and miserable Political Parties also! :sad:

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