Friday, 23 March 2012


Woke up this morning to a message that the Scottish GPs have called to an end to WCA and Atos  involvement in them. It is really heartening to see the medical profession in Scotland come out so strongly against tests we all know are inhumane, unjustified and causing unnecessary pain and hardship. It is also thanks to the campaigning of the wonderful folk at Black Triangle that this has happened. We hope that this is just the start of health professionals everywhere uniting with us in condemnation of a company that is clearly so unfit for this work.

Press release follows.

John McArdle                         0777 831 6875            

Scotland’s GP’s call for an end to controversial ‘fit for work’ tick-box tests carried out by French IT company ‘with immediate effect’

Scotland’s GP’s have today called to an end to the Government’s controversial computer-based ‘Work Capability Assessments’ carried out by French IT multinational Atos Origin for the DWP with ‘'immediate effect’:
60 Lothian: That this conference, in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by ATOS Healthcare, believes that:
i. the inadequate computer-based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons
ii. the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society

The Scottish-based disability rights and advocacy group Black Triangle was instrumental in getting the motion tabled at the Scottish Local Medical Committee’s (SLMC) conference at Clydebank.

Dr. Stephen Carty who works as a GP in the Leith area of Edinburgh and who is an active member of the campaign said:

“I welcome the support of the Scottish LMC conference on this matter.
This sends a ray of hope to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.
It also sends a clear message to other representative bodies including the General Medical Council (GMC) of the significant concerns shared by many GPs across the country.”

He said that “In my opinion the current contractual arrangements between the DWP and General Practice are unsustainable. The WCA as performed by ATOS is not an effective or safe method of determining "fitness to work" and this must be addressed.”

He continued: “All doctors are duty bound by the GMC to report any system or process that may be harmful to patients. The WCA is a harmful process. Scottish GPs have spoken: the GMC cannot remain silent on this matter any longer”

John McArdle, a founding member of Black Triangle said:

“The scandal of these assessments has gone on far too long. As a grassroots disabled people’s organisation we are over the moon that Scotland’s GP’s have spoken out so clearly and unequivocally in their condemnation. Our GP’s recognise the severe and avoidable damage that is being done to sick and disabled people through this brutal, draconian and profoundly unjust testing regime as they see it every single day. It must be halted now – ‘with immediate effect’.- before any further harm results and whilst the GMC launches a thorough investigation. They can no longer remain silent. They must act. ”

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Atos Stories - coming soon...

You'd be forgiven for thinking we were a bit full of it, as we've collected a load of stories and not done much with them... But we can promise you we haven't been idle. The last few months have been spent organising material, writing the play and getting feedback about whether it works. (And like most of you we've also been getting a bit hot under the collar about the Welfare Reform and Health Bills, but that's another story).

We've had helpful comments from enough people to know that the play is on its way to being performable, and some good folk are going to workshop a few scenes. We've also had a think about how to get the play out to as many people as possible and we realise that we need to have two versions.

Atos Stories is more complex to stage and takes the essence of the stories we've collected rather than the individual detail. It has songs and dance, and a lot of physical action. It will probably take a fair bit of rehearsal time and be more costly to put on.

The Atos Monologues will be much simpler to do. It gives space to more of the stories which are rearranged in the form of conversations.It could be performed by one person or twenty and should be a cheaper and easier option.

So we'll make both available and if you want to perform, it will be entirely up to you to choose the one that works best for you.

In addition we'll also be posting key scenes which we think will work well as Street Theatre. There's one scene that has a particular Olympics flavour, so if there's anywhere safe to protest in London in the summer, we're hoping some of you might be interested.

So watch this space, postings coming soon...

And please do email us if you want to get involved