Nurse and her GP husband lodge complaint over ‘lies’ told by Capita PIP assessor

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A benefits assessor working for the outsourcing company Capita repeatedly “lied” in her report, after carrying out a face-to-face assessment of a disabled nurse which was observed by her husband, a retired GP.

The disabled woman and her husband have asked not to be named – so their claims have not been put to Capita or the Department for Work and Pensions – but they have provided proof to Disability News Service (DNS) that they are both on their respective professional registers.

They believe the behaviour of the Capita assessor, herself a registered nurse, makes her unfit to remain in her profession.

Although DNS has received a string of credible reports from disabled people who say their benefits assessors lied in reports written after face-to-face medical assessments, this account is particularly credible because the behaviour was witnessed by both a nurse and a doctor.

The woman, Mrs A, lodged a complaint with Capita even before she knew the result of the test because she and her husband were so appalled that last month’s assessment at their home in south Wales was so rushed, impersonal and poorly carried out, and ignored key questions.

Mrs A, who has significant support needs due to a series of medical conditions, had already had to fight to have her disability living allowance (DLA) restored after it was stopped by DWP when her personal independence payment (PIP) claim form was lost in the post, while “rude and confrontational” staff then refused to provide her with a replacement form.

The couple say the assessor made almost no eye contact during the PIP assessment, but spent most of the time typing on her laptop, while she continually interrupted Mrs A as she tried to explain the impact of her impairments on her daily life.

Mrs A said that when she and her husband saw the report the assessor had written, their “worst fears were confirmed”.

As a result of the report, Mrs A’s previous entitlement to the higher rates of both the mobility and care components of DLA were downgraded under PIP to the standard daily living rate and no entitlement at all to the mobility element. 

She has now put in a second written complaint, this time about the content of the report and what they say are the assessor’s lies.

Both Mrs A and Dr A say they have a duty as healthcare professionals to expose the assessor’s actions.

Among their many concerns is that the report stated that there was no evidence that Mrs A was wearing hearing aids, when the briefest of checks would have shown they were in place behind her ears.

The report failed to mention her painfully swollen leg, and said that Mrs A refused to stand, when in fact the assessor had recognised she was in too much pain to stand and so did not ask her to do so.

Among many other concerns, the report failed to point out that Mrs A was clearly “distressed, in pain and anxious”, and failed to note the forgetfulness and slowness of thought she showed during the assessment.

Dr A said the report was “an absolute fabrication”.

He said: “The actual examination was laughable. It took a few moments.

“My wife couldn’t even stand up… yet somehow she was able to infer that she could walk more than 50 metres but less than 200.

“How do you infer that from someone who wasn’t even able to get up out of the chair?

“She said she couldn’t see the hearing aids. She didn’t even look to see if the hearing aids were in place. How difficult is it to move a couple of hairs?”

He added: “It was appalling. Every single sentence in that report can be torn apart.”

Mrs A, who is not able to do clinical nursing work because of her impairment, said she believed the assessor “had an agenda”.

She said: “I feel hurt that a nurse, who is also a colleague in a way, would behave in this manner.

“Nurses are supposed to act with integrity in all that we do. We know how important recording of information – truthfully – is.”

She added: “We feel the nurse is acting dishonestly.

“I cannot understand how if you are a nurse you wouldn’t act impartially. I don’t understand how you can be both a nurse and a PIP assessor.

“The public rely on the integrity, honesty and openness of nurses. As a nurse myself, this kind of behaviour has to stop.”

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  • GothBoyUK

    Anyone who has undergone this obscene process will relate to this. I apparently showed no problems related to mental abilities despite being told afterwards by the person with me that I got most of the mathematical questions wrong & was incredibly slow with the spelling tests. I have cognitive problems induced my my health issues despite having previously been in a highly scientific environment.

    I was also classed as not requiring any help outdoors (due to anxiety, panic, balance, cognition etc) because “it was a managed issue”. The management they referred to was because I’m housebound by the problems so don’t even attempt to do stuff unattended.

    Absolutely disgraceful.

  • All about the money, isn’t it? I gather it may well be that the visiting assessor gave a proper report but it was massaged by some DWP worker with targets to meet. As big a fuss as possible should be made, whatever.

    • TCP1960

      The assessors are told to meet targets and they write poor/inaccurate reports and very often the DWP will rubber stamp it and unless it is challenged it won’t change.

  • TCP1960

    I’m not in the least bit surprised. I was assessed in my home by a Capita paramedic. She knew nothing about the 5 conditions I suffer from. She lied 11 times on the report despite my sending in a large amount of letters/documents outlining my conditions and support from specialists. She asked my carer questions, too, and wrote the opposite of most of the things we told her. She never saw me walk as my leg was numb but said I could also walk more than 50 metres. I had to challenge the whole report as in every section she lied. I asked for a reconsideration and the DWP then re-instated the higher rate mobility, but then they lied about one therapy, saying I had stopped it when I was still doing it.

    The whole situation is upsetting, demoralising and distressing.

  • Sarah

    I’m awaiting a decision from the Independent Case Examiner regarding the behaviour of Atos. They essentially set me up to fail by ignoring my PTSD and previous reactions to Atos assessments where I have become ‘vocally aggressive’ and stressed to the point of doing myself harm. They essentially refused the idea of a paper assessment, refused a home visit because of my previous reaction at their offices when at an face to face. When I was at their offices they had a security guard ‘shadow’ me and when I finally got the report, well I broke down with all the lies that the nurse had stated.

    The nurse in question never once mentioned that I was under the influence of drugs (sedatives to help calm me) and drink (was previously sober for over a year) and had self harmed (hadn’t harmed in over four years) due to the stress of having to attend a face to face. She lied with what I was or wasn’t able to do. She even put on report that I was seen ‘rolling a cigarette’ so the pain I experience in my hands/wrists could not be as bad as I stated (I suffer from Fibromyalgia and have done for 22 years). It was so bad I actually questioned what was the point in my actually attending, as the nurse totally ignored everything I had stated.

    • mark vincent

      Never mind about the case examiner,sue Atos direct.

      • Sarah Haddow

        Mark so do you want to be the person who finances the case to sue? As that costs money. Do you also fancy getting me a Personal Assistant so that the ball isn’t dropped on my end with the whole suing?

        The writer of this article contacted me asking for me to provide a statement and the evidence ….I totally forgot to send over the evidence as I do suffer with long term, short term and working memory problems.

        There is no organisation that could help me bring a case against Atos and help support me at the same time …whilst Atos has all the fire power behind them.

  • JP7172

    The same is currently happening to my partner, although he was assessed by ATOS. We were seen by a nurse who spent a good 85% of time hiding behind her computer, was uncommunicative, rude and totally lacking in any understanding of the numerous significant mental health issues my partner has. When the report arrived from the meeting I thought it was a joke. She said there was nothing wrong with him, and at least 10 significant issues that were raised and discussed in the meeting were ignored by her, and instead she claimed he had no problems in those areas. It was full of lies too, as there are a good 8 or 9 things she claimed happened that we don’t even remember being mentioned. On top of that she did not write down what had been told to her, including an incredibly personal piece of information which she completely misunderstood what she’d been told, never asked questions to confirm and instead wrote something completely wrong and quite offensive. When his PIP letter arrived it was zeroes across the board because apparently there’s nothing wrong with him. So for the past 2 years he’d been on highest rate, but now he’s suddenly cured of his life-long conditions!! I have submitted a very substantial complaint to ATOS, and DWP also have a copy. My partner is going through mandatory reconsideration now and we await their result. When I organised the mandatory reconsideration, I was told that I needed to send in medical info because they didn’t have any. This despite the fact that they’d been sent at least 10 care plans, doctors letters, and other information from the wide range of doctors and specialists my partner sees on a regular basis, when I originally submitted his PIP. When she told me that I had flashbacks to the first time he applied for PIP and again they scored him zero claiming we’d not sent any supporting information to qualify what we’d said. And then at mandatory reconsideration a woman said “oh yeah, I’ve just found all his documentation in another file here, we must have missed it”. And yet for a few weeks, they were happy to let us be devastated by their report due to their own incompetence.

    Our GP was outraged by the DWP’s treatment of my partner this time around, so he sanctioned the printing off of the entirety of my partners medical records (well over 200 individual pages) and sent them in, with a supportive letter.

    Where do they find these ‘nurses’ that do the assessments? Is there a website filled with nurses who have been sacked, or are no good at their job in a full medical environment? If you’re a nurse you should be fit to practice all the times whether you are in a full medical setting or whether you are working for the likes of ATOS or CAPITA.

    This whole situation has had a detrimental affect on my partner, as they are making out he’s some kind of liar, when he’s actually someone who has huge struggles with life, and functioning within it every day. We’d probably have received a better report if we’d asked someone off the street to write it.

  • Bernie Howley

    Do all these companies, Atos, Capita etc, have share holders? Because therein lies the answer. I am just asking the question.

  • Asitis

    SAme here I am now on my second tribunal the whole thing is a shambles and these assessors are supported by Capita. I was informed by Capita that the assessment stands and cannot be changed even if the assessor is reprimanded and there is no place for advice seems the government have got this one stitched up. So before the next election I will be only voting for the people who support the disabled

  • Asitis

    I have also read that the Program they use called PIPAT on their computers used for the assessment is suspect if their is a good programmer anywhere who could investigate this it could possibly change the current and past assessments

    • Nina

      It’s the same software they use in the USA to deny health insurance to people.

  • Will Butts

    This lady is only one of thousands who have been treated abysmally by this organisation and its’ agents/employees. Unless people complain and pursue those complaints, nothing will ever change. The system is not fit for purpose and the assessors are poorly trained, badly advised and generally not qualified to make the assessments they are employed to do. If it weren’t so serious, it would be a joke.

    • mark vincent

      Hit them were it hurts,sue them for compensation, if negligence can be proved then they are liable for compensation.
      No one is above the law.

  • Brian Stote

    In any other walk of life, a report made by an official is normally signed by both the subject and the official to confirm that it is an accurate representation of the interview which took place. Why is there no such requirement in this procedure? My financial adviser gets me to sign what we have agreed to do, along with the representative who came to talk to me about our eligibility for solar panels, the man who set up the loan agreement for the purchase of a car, the person who validated my DBS application, etc, etc. Progress reports by managers in companies and statements by heads conducting appraisals of staff in schools always require both participants to sign the documentation before it is filed or submitted. Something is seriously wrong with the safeguards in this situation.

  • Aura Willow Hazel

    I have fits and collapse completely uncontrolled and uncontrollable, it makes going out alone dangerous, they rephtrased the question “if it was perfectly safe and without your tendency to collapse would you be able to go outside unaccompanied.”

    • Nina

      Ahhh the magic cure method. If I wasn’t disabled I’d be able to go out without my wheelchair and walk that 50 metres, but if I weren’t disabled I wouldn’t be applying for PIP!

  • Brian Mcardle

    Now you know why this gov is getting rid ,of Human rights act ,it means they can run rough shod over everyone ,wioth no back up for us ,i had an ATOS Florence Nightingale ,over rule a professor of cardiology ,i looked her up ,registered as a nurse but no qualifications ,i let the prof knopw what the Atos and DWP said ,result i got ,my benefit restored

  • Den Carter

    firstly, I’d be very surprised if the assessor WAS a qualified nurse- they are encouraged to lie about their qualifications – and secondly, having advocated at two of these now, the written reports are utterly unrecognisable to the actual proceedings. Must we go on pretending this is anything other than a private business paid to stop legitimate claimants receiving the benefits to which they are entitled? We need people to bring a class action against the companies and the DWP who are wasting so much public money on these contracts.

  • Norma Ferrie

    The Goverment are using a disguise under dwp to “over-reach thier powers in interfering in private and family life”

    They have been violating our rights in the name of cuts!

  • PatriciaMaria O’Connor

    As a disabled person this story makes me so angry – not least because DNS feels that this couple’s evidence is more ‘credible’ purely because they are professionals!

    • Sorry to hear that, Patricia. It’s just stating a fact that people with professional medical training are more able to spot the failings in another medical professional. I’m really sorry I offended you, though.

    • Msw3681 sw

      I find it outrageous that the DNC states the couple are credible because they come from professional backgrounds, and that if you are not professional, you are not credible.

      • I just need to make the same point I made a month ago, which I’m assuming you’ve already read. It’s just stating a fact that people with professional medical training are more able to spot the failings in another medical professional. And therefore they have particularly credibility because of their medical training. I don’t how quite see how you can argue with this.

        • Caoimhin Paradox

          That’s true. I don’t think it’s about people who are not in a given profession being credible or not – but peer review/assessment.

          That someone in a similar profession is more able to assess the ‘assessor’ and be believed as they can use the ‘jargon’ to argue the case.

          Some times it can work the other way. As a ‘professional’ I can see where there may be failings and have some idea to whom they should be reported and follow through. Being a ‘professional’ and using the ‘jargon’ when making an application – an honest application – it seemed ‘less credible’ to the morons who made the judgements. Found almost dead in the street, taken to ICU and put on life support for over a week was not relevant. ‘But that can’t be linked to your depression…. I need to say more about the medication you are on….. blah blah bullshit bullshit (don’t look at you while typing like a road runner) ‘ Talk about a class A a’hole. I am going to report him. If that’s all I get it will suffice. Fried bigger fish than those clowns and did it on my own.

          These people are dangerous. They can actually compound an already difficult, traumatic life situation someone might have been living with and trying to manage. And for that reason they should most definitely be reported to the professional bodies to which they belong and keep at it. They ‘strike’ you off as irrelevant – get them struck off.

          That’s where the ‘professional’ jargon and someone with an understanding of this really does help.

          It all boils down to ‘the letter of the law’ usually. Use the same whip.

  • DWT

    I obtained a copy of the medical report from the DWP in connection with my claim for PIP. The content was inaccurate to say the least.

    As a retired Police Officer, I am well practised in finding discrepancies and then presenting evidence to counter them. I had made some notes of my recollection of the assessment soon after it occurred.

    I was so unhappy with the conduct of the nurse at the time that I started making notes during the assessment. She was not very happy about this but could not stop me. I also had to quote policy in order to insist that she take copies of additional medical evidence.

    I asked for a mandatory consideration as I was unhappy with the award. Ironically, it was as a result of one of the medical reports that I provided to the nurse that my award for mobility was increased.

    I made a complaint to both ATOS together with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) about the nurse’s unprofessional conduct. My complaint included not treating me with dignity and respect, failing to record personal information correctly and providing an inaccurate written report.

    ATOS to informed me that the nurse would receive further training. As a result of this the NMC decided to take no further action.

    To conclude, there are a number of things that you can do in addition to the DWP processes if you are unhappy about the conduct of god assessor.

    1. Make a complaint to their employer
    2. Make a complaint to their governing body. For example, the NMC.
    3. If you believe that your personal information is being handled incorrectly of is inaccurate then make a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

    My advice is to have your assessment recorded. This will provide valuable and incontrovertible evidence about what was said.

    You have a right not to be bullied, intimidated or treated without dignity and respect.

    • Nina

      The problem with asking for your assessment to be recorded, is that it has to be recorded with THEIR equipment, which there is conveniently little of. This often results in assessments cancelled at the last minute due to lack of said equipment, and of course people go to their assessments to find their recording can’t be done either.

  • phil

    Surely you remember informing the assesssor before the interview started. After all they lied in their account so they must be lying about not being told the interview was being recorded

  • Diane Illingworth

    I have been reading up on this PIP claims for the disabled. I do not know how many people these days can actually state they are proud of being British. Slowly this is being taken from us one step at a time. The government have to rake back money of course to keep Britain going round. To take this from our most vulnerable people the disabled is not a place to start. The disabled whether they were born that way or have become disabled by other means should not be targeted at. These people I am agast at what their disabilities are and they never tell you they can’t do something that’s kept very quiet but you feel how do they really manage. To take away a car or reduce their monies is not going to help them with the difficultys, this is going to make their life worse .Not only do they have a disability but now no money. The government thinks this is fair do you.??.The figures are already worked out 532000 disabled , they need a target of getting rid of 320000. Now how do they say that is fair. Capita do not put any medical people into to assess your needs ,they say yes we do train them but how can they know what your daily needs are actually or DWP , Capita don’t do this service for free so comes down to money. Not about the disabled people of our country, the only people that can have this changed is for the disabled people, carers ,health workers,drs.I am sure we all know someone with a disability and you can not always see the hidden disability. Then we should all stand together and not let the government do this to the disabled. The government are put in that position to look after its people and who is that , Yes that’s everyone of us, they are not put their just so they have a great income and do not have to worry if they are to go hungry or cold because they can not afford these, what they see as normal day to day living we wish we had enough money just to get by each day. I am so dissapointed in the way our country is going. We all I’m sure were always proud to be called British is that are same feelings today.

    • Steven Swaisland

      I am with you on this. If the figure is 532000 disabled ( and I’m sure that there are probably more) the annoying thing is, ‘why’ on earth, are they chasing and torturing these people. At those massaged figures, it can’t even be 1/2 % of the population. So why are they bothering, the savings are so minute. Chasing corporate tax evasion, on the other hand, would have the coffers awash with money. Trouble is most Ministers are, avoiding tax too. It’s totally inhuman.

  • Nina

    The lie about the physical assessment check is a regular trick. My PIP assessor told me that he knew my condition was painful so “wouldn’t put [me] through it”, but on the form he wrote that I refused one. I know that the software they use gives limited options, but he didn’t even choose anything vaguely truthful!
    (I went through appeal and eventually won enhanced rate care and zero mobility, despite relying on a wheelchair by the time the appeal was heard.)

  • mark vincent

    If a disabled claimants condition is worsened because of the incompetence or dishonesty of a ‘disability assessor’ Surely they should be able to sue for compensation.

    • Caoimhin Paradox

      I will let you know Mark. I am considering that very thing. Not even compensation. I’d want to get those so called ‘health care professionals’ – blood sucking bastards and get them kicked out of the profession/s to which they belong for bringing it to disrepute. Don’t trust any of them. Take someone with you – any and all support you can get.

      • mark vincent

        What you need a a good lawyer on a no win no fee basis, there is potentially a goldmine of liability here.
        Atos and Capita are private companies and as such are liable for their actions, they believe they have been given the green light to basically treat people any way they like as long as they meet their targets.
        Don’t expect fair play from these people because the truth is they just don’t care, they only way to get them is to hit them were it hurts and that is financially.
        Atos may think they can get away with treating people unfairly because the Government turns a blind eye but the law won’t turn a blind eye.

    • Caoimhin Paradox

      I just went to speak to my GP this morning – he is the lead doctor there at the health centre, explained to him and he said it was absurd to be told that my experience in induced coma in ICU last year was not related to mental health issues.

      We covered a few others things too and he has assured me he knows my history and will back me all the way in providing to whomever. I was nearly afraid to ask. How I am. I will help ANYONE any way I can but find it difficult to ask help/support myself. But he was brilliant.

      I called Capita to about this assessor/qualifications/professional body. They were reluctant to give out anythng but I told them I should have been given that infomration at beginning of interview anyway. I needed it for the solicitor. He got flustered at that mentiion. That it might even be illegal. There are laws in now on aspects of health care where chaperons have to be profided. Even I see a doctor and have no issue stripping and being examined – because of my history of abuse – they have to cover themselves too and make a chaperon available. Never alone with me.

      Those people should know that so I will have for that as well. I will be giving it all to his Porfessional Body. I think he is Social Work – HPCP or something. If he only knew what he had sitting in front of him that morning. I am usually very pleasant, quiet spoken, polite etc. But even I appear this way – I can be a cauldron waiting to explode underneath. he mis ‘assessed’ me BIG TIME.

      He completely missed on everything in his ‘assessment’. So I ain’t taking it lying down but going to fight to the end. Don’t let them do this to us people !!!!!

      Fight !!!!

      Kick Ass !!!!

  • moira gallagher

    not shocked to see this – my husband is changing from DLA to PIP and this is exactly our experience! My husband has multiple myeloma and the ‘nurse’/assessor didn’t know what it was, neither was she was interested to find out. ‘Are you alright now” she asked after being told (several times) that it’s incurable.

    She asked closed questions and typed…and typed. When the re-assessment arrived it was obvious it was based on either someone elses’ report, or lies. Made complaint to DWP who fobbed it off to ATOS, made complaint to ATOS who fobbed it off to DWP. Spoke to both DWP and ATOS (a minimum-wage phone answerer) may as well speak to wall as no one will take responsibility. Have now escalated complaints to Independent Case Examiner, sent in several letters to DWP/ATOS from husbands’ consultants/gps etc, contacted local MP and still got nowhere.
    Appeal is due to be heard next month

  • Caoimhin Paradox

    I went to one of these assessments a while back. Enough propranolol to knock out an elephant.

    Having to go to a man was difficult enough. There is a history which I provided and seems to have been totally dismissed. Sexual abuse. I find it difficult even going to a male doctor.

    Last year I ended up in a coma in ICU for eight days on life support because of issues from my past and the fallout of this. This assessor said to me, ‘But that was not linked to depression or mental health…. ‘ There is a history of sexual abuse amongst other things and several times near loss of life.

    It’s like they didn’t read or understand anything they were told. I didn’t mind so much ‘failing’ – but they awarded zero points on everything. I was soooo angry – I swear to God if that guy had been before me and I had a gun I’d have shot him stone dead. I also told them of the rage outbursts I have had to manage and deal with and they acutally make that worse. Bastards. To me it was like being told none of it happened, was irrelevant and I was lying etc. You do not approach a surivor of abuse that way at all and any health professional worth their salt would know this.

    I know his name but not sure if he is in nursing or something else. I was a nurse myself and it was because of ill health – after many years of dedicated service – even though unwell myself at times – I had to pack it in. But I intend finding out who he is, what his qualifications are, experience and to which professional body/ies he belongs – and I won’t rest till he is at the very least suspended.

    If any others have similar experience – maybe we can connect and report as a group accordingly and get these people where it hurts.

    A supposed ‘health care professional’ who is nothing but a money grabbing blood sucker and defies everything for which they supposedly enter their said professions – and I have NO doubts they can be brought up before said bodies because of the expectations of those same professional bodies and breaching them.

  • Caoimhin Paradox

    What the woman said at the end of this piece, her speaking as a nurse, is so true. How ANYONE can think to be true to the profession and act as these so called ‘assessors’ do is a complete mystery to me. I too speak as a nurse. I would never have treated anyone that way or even thought to. They should be struck off. And if it happens to you – report them – to the NMC or whatever other ‘professional’ body they supposedly belong. They are parasites, vermin – who work for a company of vermin.

  • Caoimhin Paradox

    This is an example of the Guidlines – Standards of Proficieny outlined by the HCPC for physiotherapists.

    Check out legal requirements on duty of care, service delivery, knowledge and skills profiency and reporting etc. You could tear those ‘assessments’ to shreds from these alone.

    http://www.hpc-uk.org/assets/documents/10000DBCStandards_of_Proficiency_Physiotherapists.pdf

  • Caoimhin Paradox

    DWP Benefit Safeguards:
    Protecting employment and support
    allowance claimants with mental
    health conditions.

    http://walkthetalk2015.org/sites/default/files/DWP%20Benefit%20Safeguards%20-%20Dan%20Norris.pdf

    Covering the Standards for:

    This document sets out the standards of conduct, performance
    and ethics. The standards set out, in general terms, how we
    expect registrants to behave.

    We currently regulate the following 16 professions.

    – Arts therapists
    – Biomedical scientists
    – Chiropodists / podiatrists
    – Clinical scientists
    – Dietitians
    – Hearing aid dispensers
    – Occupational therapists
    – Operating department practitioners
    – Orthoptists
    – Paramedics
    – Physiotherapists
    – Practitioner psychologists
    – Prosthetists / orthotists
    – Radiographers
    – Social workers in England
    – Speech and language therapists

    http://www.hcpc-uk.org/assets/documents/10004EDFStandardsofconduct,performanceandethics.pdf