The medical was indeed cancelled. An attentive reader has noticed what ATOS didn’t – that the medical was pointless, timewasting and unnecessary. The DWP certainly thought so, and said they were going to send a note to ATOS to that effect. Me being the paranoid soul that I am, or rather the cynical personality that I have had to adopt in the face of years of bureaucratic wrangling – I once had an argument with the DWP that lasted for a year, going through several appeals, before ending up at tribunal. I won. But I digress.
Being the paranoid / cynical / jaded / battle-scarred soul that I am, I rang the ATOS assessment centre in the morning on wednesday just to make sure we were all on the same page.
They said the medical was still going ahead. I asked if they’d received anything from the DWP. They said no. I said the DWP had said it was cancelled. They said that if I couldn’t attend, then I would have to fill out an ‘unable to attend’ form and cite the DWP. I got a little bit upset, said that it wasn’t a matter of me being unable to attend, it was the DWP telling me one thing, and why should I fill out a form making it sound like it’s my fault I can’t come and if the DWP deny everything, where would that leave me? It was an outburst that was a long time in coming in dealing ATOS.
They said they didn’t know, they were alone in the office, and they didn’t have the time to explain it to me via text relay, and hung up.
Leaving me stewing and with little option but to go to the medical, if only to cover my back. Luckily though, when I got there, the interpreter turned out to fully qualified, from an agency that I knew of, knew several people that I know, and produced their accreditation without a word of protest. They were if anything, sympathetic.
At the end of it, I picked up a comments / feedback / complaints form. I said that my complaint was going to go for several pages (using this blog as an aid to memory) and asked if they had any more. The woman on reception looked slightly uncertain, but helpfully provided me with a freepost envelope so that I could write as many pages as I like and send them, along with thr form to ATOS. Heaven forbid that it should get ‘lost in the post’ so I’ll be sending it by recorded delivery.
And the final kicker of the day was… The interpreter feedback form. The interpreter started to give it to me, as it had a section clearly marked “to be completed by service user” but the reception woman stopped them, saying they (ATOS) were going to fill it out. The interpreter – quite rightly – pointed out that they, ATOS, the reception woman, the assessor, don’t understand sign language. The woman chuckled, as if it was somehow amusing, but didn’t really have a reply.
Get that. The interpreter has a feedback form, and who’s going to fill it out? ATOS.
So that is how I came to be at a medical that I was told was cancelled. No doubt I’ll get the cancellation letter sometime next week, and the ‘medical’ decision the week after that.
With service providers like the DWP and ATOS, who’d be disabled in this country? If they have their way, no-one.