Monday 2 May 2011

The GMC, ATOS and Duty of Care

It's a little late, but I've just come across something to give ATOS's hired guns a moment to pause while counting their thirty pieces of silver.

When Doctor Margaret McCartney questioned in the BMJ whether doctors could work for ATOS and remain true to their professional ethics and responsibilities, another doctor (worryingly a tribunal member) suggested in comments that ATOS quacks were not subject to their normal duty of care as the nature of their work is not a doctor-patient interaction. This is particularly alarming as it is an interpretation of professionalism that isn't true of other professions (or English law), as an engineer I have a legal duty of care greater than that of the man in the street any time I work as an an engineer in any way, shape or form. The GMC Standards and Fitness to Practise Directorate have now issued guidance that the argument made in the comment is not correct, that ATOS assessments are a doctor-patient interaction and that doctors have to make the interests of their patients their first concern at all times. Interestingly they also find it necessary to remind doctors that "Being open and honest and acting with integrity is also an essential part of medical professionalism."

Now this ruling doesn't extend to physios or nurses as the GMC is not their professional body, however they are subject to the same legal duty of care requirements as any other professional and it would clearly be untenable for their professional bodies to try and argue that their members are not subject to a duty of care in circumstances where the GMC has ruled that its members are and where all three professions are theoretically considered fit to practise. Equally Dr McCartney has pointed out in her blog that the professional standards for both nurses and physios contain identical requirements to place the care of the patient first at all times.


  1. Shame that they have all sold their souls to ATOS for a small amount of money. They should all be ashamed of themselves for what they are doing to us - The fear they instill in us. Personally if I worked for them I would rather quit and be on the dole than to connect myself with such a heartless and soul-less bunch of (*^*&%'s

  2. I'm spreading the word, and links to this blog onto Facebook.

  3. EVERYBODY has a Duty Of Care, full stop!!!

  4. I was assessed by an Atos doctor and the report on his observations were disgraceful and a pack of lies . He was rude ,ignorant and rushed me during the assessment .He refused to look at further evidence which was put in a file to show him . I was removed from high rare care and mobility of DLA to nil overnight ,and this Doctor’s report defineatly held the majority clout in the decision .I have suffered long term mental health problems for 18 years , am 100 % dependent on people ,cant go out alone or even stay in alone .I feel detached from reality nearly 24/7 .I have had to have electric shock treatment for suicide attempts as a result of depressive illness .I feel detached from my own self ,have no confidence or self esteem .I suffer with bladder and bowel incontinence ,severe anxiety ,panic attacks. I was under a psychiatric consultant for 17 years ,and was only discharged a year ago because my consultant had exhausted all avenues of medication ,including Lithium ,electric shock therapy ,counselling ,psychotherapy ,psychology none of which made any significant improvement to me . Every day of my life is a living hell in my mind and body .I get no feelings of joy ,happiness , I suffer with fibromyalgia which went un diagnosed until recently ,which can range from everyday pain in my knees ,stiffening ,pain ,stiffness in neck back ,shoulders arms ,wrists ,fingers . constant feeling of heaviness and fatigue throughout my body and mind . I have a condition where i fall asleep without warning and this could be dangerous if unsupervised .I told this doctor who is also by the way also a general practitioner at a surgery about half hr away from where i live .I told him how mixed up ,confused i get very easily and cant concentrate or take in information around me .I told him of the derealization i suffer with this word not even used in the report ,past self harm with razor blades ,suicidal thoughts of which he described as strange thoughts .Bed wetting which is embarrassing to talk about to a stranger let alone a male .Yet he summarized me as friendly , well nourished , well built ,intelligent ,no signs of sweating or shaking ,refused to get up and walk ,yet did not say in his report that I could not walk as my feet were in so much pain and I could not stand on them .Since this visit and being signed off dla ,i am lost our mobility vehicle and therefore the slightest small piece of independence i had enabling me to get out on short journeys .I have lost my appetite completely ,experiencing tremouring through out my body all day every day . Im not sleeping ,i have relapsed mentally having suicidal thoughts of which i had to been seen on 3 occasions by the crisis mental health team and referred urgently back to my previous psychiatric consultant , both my antidepressants increased .I emailed the GMC on 3 separate occasions firstly dating back to early November ,yet had no response from any of my emails . Its my strong belief that the Dr who visited me from Atos has no duty of care to patients and only to that of Atos .I even complained about this Dr to Atos and basically its mine and my partners word against his as we had no impartial witness . He even lied what time he arrived and left my home . So 18 years of suffering with mental health problems ,physical problems , people dependent and all listed above ,existing in my life not even wanting to live ,having to be supervised / cared for with personal needs ,living my life scared like a little child .Yet somehow Atos was able to cure me overnight by sending a doctor who obviously has no understanding of mental health or the complexity . or the fact that just because i can relay to him how i feel .how i am effected ,how i suffer does not warrant someone being described as intelligent ,what about the fact that years of medication and lack of mobility has made it difficult for me to lose weight ,He ticked i didnt need help with basically anything that in his opinion i can manage all alone .. Duty of care I seriously think not