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[With apologies to Matt Groening.]

Both Atos and its employer the Department for Work and Pensions say there is no pressure on employees to carry out Personal Independence Payment assessments quickly.

But the average time taken on assessments, which varies widely across the whole of the UK, not just in the southeast of England (the example below), suggests a ‘postcode lottery’ in which a claimant’s chance of getting a good assessment depends on where they live.

We know that large numbers of these assessments are flawed – consider this court case in which Atos had to pay £5,000 after botching one, or this one in which Capita (which also carries out PIP assessments) had to pay out £10,000 for maladministration in a case involving a death.

Until botched results that may lead to the early deaths of claimants are eliminated, it ill-fits Atos, Capita or the DWP to make light of the issue.

The amount of time that nurses and physiotherapists spend carrying out face-to-face disability benefit assessments can vary hugely, depending on where the test takes place, according to analysis of new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures.

The figures show that the average time spent on face-to-face PIP assessments in one part of the south-east of England in August 2018 was just 43.5 minutes.

In the same month, the average time spent on face-to-face assessments in another part of the south-east region was 62.6 minutes, more than 40 per cent higher.

And Atos insisted yesterday (Wednesday) that there was “no pressure on staff to complete assessments quickly” and that any variation shown in the figures was not “untoward”.

Data released through a parliamentary question later revealed that the proportion of assessment reports completed by Atos that were found to be significantly flawed reached more than 36 per cent last year.

Source: New figures raise fresh questions over Atos PIP assessments – Disability News Service

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