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


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.”

  • User Ratings (113 Votes)
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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