The GMC and Atos (continued)

So. The GMC say that they will investigate complaints against doctors working for Atos in the same way as any other doctor. See a statement, here:

Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said:

“We look at all complaints received carefully and take further action on those where there is evidence of a significant concern about a doctor’s fitness to practise, through either serious or persistent failure to follow our guidance. In cases where a complaint falls short of this threshold, we will refer it to the doctor’s employer to investigate where appropriate. Our rules apply equally to all doctors, regardless of whether their employer is in the public or private sector.”

The GMC have, so far, investigated one doctor working for Atos. In the judgement, this statement was made:

“The GMC initially relied upon both paragraphs 2(a) and 65 of Good Medical
Practice.  Late in the hearing, the GMC invited the Committee to focus on
paragraph 65 since there was doubt as to whether you were providing “clinical
care” in the circumstances of this case. The report was provided for the purposes
of the DWP and was not produced in the course of providing conventional
“clinical care” for Mrs A.
The Committee does not consider that paragraph 2(a) of Good Medical Practice
is applicable in this case. It is of the view that, on the facts of this case, you were
not providing clinical care to Mrs A.

The GMC initially relied upon both paragraphs 2(a) and 65 of Good Medical Practice.  Late in the hearing, the GMC invited the Committee to focus on paragraph 65 since there was doubt as to whether you were providing “clinical care” in the circumstances of this case. The report was provided for the purposes of the DWP and was not produced in the course of providing conventional “clinical care” for Mrs A.  The Committee does not consider that paragraph 2(a) of Good Medical Practice is applicable in this case. It is of the view that, on the facts of this case, you were not providing clinical care to Mrs A.”

This would seem in contradiction to the letter from Jane O’Brien to the BMJ, in which she says

“Our guidance is for all doctors and in the guidance we use the term ‘patient’ to refer to anyone whom doctors test, treat or assess in their professional capacity as a doctor. This includes amongst others, employees, benefits and insurance claimants, and athletes.

“The first duty of all doctors is ‘to make the care of your patient your first concern’.”

Why the apparent contradiction? The GMC have told me this: they sought to issue a warning to that doctor, under Good Medical Practice 2A. The doctor challenged the decision, and it went to a hearing. It was the Investigation Committee panellists who decided that the doctor was not providing ‘clinical care’ . The GMC have no right of appeal against the decisions of the  Investigations Committee, who are independently elected.

No wonder there is confusion.

5 Responses to “The GMC and Atos (continued)”

  1. stan May 12, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    My assessments were both carried out by Doctors ,one found me fit for work and the second , Limited capability for work.
    Both gave a prognosis eg the customer is expected to be able to return to work in 3 months.
    Wouldn’t that statement be seen as some kind of clinical care,the prognosis must be based on some clinical facts, if not how is it arrived at?
    The DWP accepts the claimants are sick and/or disabled up to the point the new decision is taken.
    The Atos Doctors are aware they are assessing patients who have been clinically Diagnosed by a colleague ,the assessment should be seen as a continuance of treatment and thus clinical care should be adhered to.
    Making a prognosis on a functional assessment ,whilst ignoring the clinical diagnosis must surely put the Doctors in a dangerous situation.
    If death was caused by a patient being forced to return to work , by the DWP following the Atos prognosis, where would that leave the patients GP under the law.? The GP’s clinical care should insist the patient refrains from work as per the Med Cert issued.

  2. Mo Stewart May 23, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    The confusion I think is that no Atos doctor is responsible for clinical care. These people are not patients but claimants. These assessments are to decide functional ability not a diagnosis, and that’s the excuse used by Atos in any response to complaints. That’s also why the Atos doctors have not needed access to a patient’s previous medical records, and why DWP use basic grade administrators who simply confirm anything by Atos. They aren’t qualified to do anything else.
    For the purposes of an Atos assessment, the doctor is not required to give clinical care but to describe physical ability for possible entry to the workplace. NO concerns are offered to varying conditions and this is the big problem I believe. Atos assessments are nothing more than a brief snapshot into someone’s day and cannot be presumed to be permanent. This is the main fault with the entire system, as confirmed by Prof Harrington in evidence to the W&P Committee.

  3. Mo Stewart May 25, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    More incoming from the GMC: Medical assessments conducted by Atos Healthcare have no redress apart from a private complaint to the GMC. Therefore, the GMC have been swamped by hundreds of thousands of complaints from people turned down for benefit, but unable to make a medical case. The majority are dropped and GMC go through the motions of contacting Atos, to invite info as to the doctor concerned. Atos invariably support the doctor and, without medical evidence to the contrary, the case is then dropped. It’s a vast waste of money.
    I have now sent a variety of medical reports to the GMC, including the bogus assessment by an Atos HCP – who refused three times to offer any form of ID to a lone disabled woman he was visiting at home. He then produced a totally bogus medical report, claiming to have conducted a physical examination. I am advised that producing a bogus medical report is ‘against the law’ for any doctor…. In reality, the Atos doctor copied the previous medical report from 2006.
    It will be interesting to see what sort of investigation, if any, the GMC are willing to undertake.

  4. sue taylor August 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Having just read my assessment i can confirm that i have read nothing other than a complete tissue of lies. Conspiracy?

  5. sue taylor August 6, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    The Doctor at the assessment pointed out to me that i had rhuematoid arthritis on both ankles and advised me to appeal !

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