Well my partner had an ATOS medical a little over 13 months ago and had the tribunal last Friday. She was on IB\IS when the ATOS medical via DWP awarded her 0 points. She was then placed onto ESA during the appeal process which changed to 1 of the other ESA benefits last month as she (joint claim partner claims for me to) had been on the original ESA claim for over the 12 months since she lodged the appeal against the ATOS medical 13 months ago.
1 point here is as part of the original appeal to DWP 12 months ago my partner pointed out that ATOS had claimed as part of the process to gather evidence for the initial medical and to then send the report and information to DWP that they had requested medical information from my partners doctor etc. We knew this can't have been true as our doctors practice charges for these and had they been requested my partners doctors practice would have contacted her with regards to the payment. So my partner checked 3 separate times with the doctors and they confirm they have had no contact off ATOS at any time for my partners medical information. DWP in there reply state that ATOS were unable to locate or provide any evidence or proof that they did request medical information about my partner from her doctors, but stated is was up to my partner to prove this. DWP pretty much confirmed ATOS had lied by saying ATOS have no record of having requested something they claimed they did for part of there medical report to DWP. We also have it in writing off the partners doctor that they have received no contact off ATOS with regards to my partners medical information at any point, what more proof is needed than that that ATOS lied to make a false 1 sided report to DWP in the first place and never followed procedure?.
So the tribunal was last Friday, at the previous tribunal about 3 years ago she won that time with several points more than was needed, not so this time. We only just got the partners medical information the night before as there was issues of the doctors originally wanting £50 for the medical information which we never had but the day before we fought with them over this charge and in the end she got a more basic medical records thing (the exact same sort that was used at a previous won tribunal) for £15. My partner also got another written note off the doctor confirming that ATOS had never contacted them requesting any information about my partner.
My partner took this last minute medical information and letter (about 10 pages all together) with her and met her representative from a local charity at the tribunal building before it was due to start. The tribunals clerk (or whatever they are called) took a copy of this but was unsure on if they would have time to consider the information before the tribunal had to start. My partners representative felt it might have to be adjourned as the information was only took and a copy made 10 minutes before the tribunal started. It was thought best to leave it to the tribunal to decide on if due to this additional information that if it would need to be adjourned. Which once we went in the tribunal decided to go ahead anyway claiming they had looked at and considered all of the provided evidence (but never directly mentioned the new additional medical information and note regarding ATOS). But on reflection they can't have properly looked at about 10 sheets of medical information and a letter as by the time the tribunal got there copy it can't have been more than 5 minutes before we was called in for the tribunal and they sure never looked at the medical information during the tribunal. I'd guess a bad judgement call by the tribunal to not adjourn unless they decided to put her provided medical information aside and to proceed without looking at and considering it?.
The tribunal never seemed right to me from about half way through, just a feeling I got and a change of feeling I was picking up from the doctor there asking all the questions and how she was asking them. Almost like they were moving outside of the scope of how or what they can ask and talk about with regards to these tribunals. I pointed this out after the tribunal to my partners representative that something seemed odd, like they had already made the decision before we even got in the room and that some of the questions were very ATOS like compared to tribunals I've been to in the past. 1 strange thing was the doctors questioning of my partners ability to sit still for about 45 minutes compared to what was being said to some of the questions. The doctor claimed they observed my partner sitting totally still during the tribunal, she never, she sat forwards several times due to discomfort and was wiggling her bum to try and make herself comfortable many times as being a larger person never fit into the chair to well anyway. She was also highly upset and just trying to concentrate on what they were asking her. Also strange was there closing of the tribunal before I got the chance to say a few things at the end like I'd expressed an interest in speaking before the tribunal started. Like I said, it was like they had decided on the outcome before the tribunal even started. In fact there decision notice came less than 5 minutes after the end of the tribunal to which again seems way to quick considering there extra information that was provided at the start.
They awarded zero points and totally upheld the ATOS report and the DWP decision and they never even addressed the issue of if ATOS broke procedure by making false claims of having requested medical information they never and lied about yet based there report on if they did etc. Tribunals impartial, not any longer by the looks of things. Of cause we won't get anything in detail for several weeks when the requested statement of reasons turn up. But here is what the decision notice my partner got after the tribunal said which indicates little and covers only part of her conditions:
1-The appeal is refused.
2-The decision made on (date) is confirmed.
3-(my partners name) is not entitled to ESA.
4- In applying the Work capability Assessment 0 points were scored from the activities and descriptors in Schedule 2 of the ESA Regulations 2008. This is insufficient to meet the threshold for the test. The Tribunal considered Regulation 29 and found it did not apply in this case.
5- No Schedule 3 descriptor applied. Whilst the Tribunal accepts that (my partners name) has asthma, diabetes, anxiety/depression, stress incontinence, musculoskeletal problems the nature and extent of the resulting limitations are insufficient to score the required number of points. In reaching its decision the Tribunal placed particular reliance upon the evidence of the Appellant and the totality of the evidence within the claim pack.
Anyone got any ideas or has similar things happened to others at tribunals recently as non of what went of last Friday makes ANY sense at all. Even my partners representative was highly surprised the tribunal upheld a zero points award than award her any points at all.