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This website provides information on how Atos runs its business, extracts from the Contract between the DWP and Atos including the MEDICAL CONDITIONS that mean a face to face medical assessment is not always necessary, ASSESSMENTS AND POINTS, the breaches of Contract that occurred in my case, my unsound medical report and the correspondence showing how difficult it is to obtain justice or advice.
The Government is inviting the public to submit petitions. Search epetitions.direct.gov.uk for "DWP" or "Atos" or "disabled" to list relevant petitions including Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families (http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20968).
Other ongoing petitions are Petition against constant vilification of sick and disabled claimants and Petition to "Sack Atos Immediately" .
The DWP occasionally consults the public http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/.
Correspondence of a patient with various University's examining the academic research that is relevant to the way the Unum disability assessment approach has been implemented by Atos.
Professor Mansel Aylward, Director of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research (formerly the Unum Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research) is is widely credited, while Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Work and Pensions, of introducing and implementing the Unum approach to disability assessment. Unum, in their 6 May 2006 submission to Parliament, stated "we have a non-medical, enabling model of rehabilitation".
To: Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University (email@example.com) CC: Professor Aylward (AylwardM@cardiff.ac.uk), Professor Fothergill (firstname.lastname@example.org), Professor Sainsbury (email@example.com) Date: 27 November 2011 Subject: Reputation of Cardiff University Dear Vice-Chancellor,
I am concerned that the academic credibility and reputation of Cardiff University is in danger of being undermined by being associated with the disability assessment work of Professor Mansel Aylward, Director of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research (formerly the Unum Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research).
Prof Aylward is widely credited, while Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Work and Pensions, of introducing and implementing the Unum approach to disability assessment. Unum, in their 6 May 2006 submission to Parliament, stated "we have a non-medical, enabling model of rehabilitation".
The evidence seems overwhelming that a "non-medical" model to address a medical condition is flawed. This approach has been followed in the US and the UK for over ten years. Unum (as UnumProvident) was fined millions in all US states for running "disability denial factories". In the UK, the vast number of cases appealed and conceded by the DWP before tribunal and the vast number of cases lost by the DWP at tribunal, is strong evidence that a "non-medical" approach, in practice without access to a patient's medical history, is seriously flawed.
It may be helpful to consider the recent submissions to Parliament's Work and Pensions Committee of Professor Steve Fothergill of the Sheffield Hallam University and Professor Roy Sainsbury of the University of York and others. The debate is now outside the realm of academia. It would benefit Prof Aylward and Cardiff University to vigorously defend their academic principles and integrity in the forum of this Committee and elsewhere. If the "non-model" argument is valid and can be proved to be so then it must be worthy to be defended. I suggest a "head in the sand" approach is a poor option for Prof Aylward and Cardiff University to take. A Royal Society lecture given by Prof Aylward would do much to progress this matter.
If it was suggested that a "non-peer reviewed" model of accreditation of academic papers or a "non-legal" model for legislation should be followed, then I am sure you would agree that such a model would be very hard to justify as having validity.
Over the years there have been notorious examples of companies guiding academic research in favour of a business model that resulted in profits for the company concerned and which discredited both the researcher and the institution that accredited the flawed and partial research. Company guided and funded research is acceptable per se iff the underlying premise is made clear, that the research is first to prove or disprove the premise and then research should be undertaken into the consequences both if the premise is true and if the premise is false.
I have anecdotal personal experience of company influence on research when working at a senior position in a major company. Electricity companies leak oil from transformers and HV oil filled cables into the water table. It took a long time to scour academia worldwide to find a researcher that said such oil in drinking water is not harmful. I do not know whether that researcher was given funding to extend his research. I do know his research received the publicity it would not have received otherwise. His research supported the correct claim that "there is academic dispute as to whether the leaked oil is harmful". To this day electricity companies report each year on how many thousands of litres of oil they use each year to top up their transformers and cables. In my day most leaked into the water table. I do not know if this is still the case.
I have not seen evidence that Prof Aylward has challenged the "non-model" premise with sufficient rigour. In the overview of the research, as described on the website, it is not made clear that research assumes that a "non-medical" model is regarded as the most valid one and research is not undertaken on other potentially more valid models.
Consider how history will regard this work. Iff the research is subject to academic rigour then the research organisation will not be treated with little regard. Within living memory, consider the number of academic papers that took as a premise "tobacco is good for health". Much research was funded by tobacco companies. Consider further if a "non-medical" model for tobacco related medical conditions was the prime model. A "medical" model has provided extensive evidence for causality links.
I defend the right to complete academic freedom. Openness, transparency and debate lead to progress and improvement. I have no objection to any researcher re-opening topics, such as the "non-medical" model in addressing medical conditions (even those that have been disregarded previously as false), iff the premise is open to challenge and rigour. Academic research would make slow progress if shackled by an initial premise that is not open to challenge.
To quote a statement on the Cardiff University website: "Research at Cardiff pushes back the frontiers of knowledge and understanding and is applied to produce real benefits, locally and worldwide." To many, disability assessment research based on a "non-medical" model, as advocated by Prof Aylward, sets back the clock to the time when "non-medical" models were used in respect of many conditions that are now recognised as treatable medical conditions.
Consider the "Scopes Trial" and the reputations of the parties involved. If there was a similar trial today considering the merits of the "non-medical" models for medical conditions, which side would Cardiff University support. Is this the side that would encourage increased third party funding for research at Cardiff University. I note that Cardiff University has distanced itself from Unum. It would help if Prof Aylward reviews the current evidence and produces a revised research paper that is open to peer review and challenge.
I look forward to hearing from you and/or Professor Aylward. I have no problem with my assertions being challenged. I would be delighted if you are able to provide evidence to the academic community that I am in error and which explains the over ten years experience of failures of the approach ("not fit for purpose") in the US and the UK.
Cardiff University, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3AT Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant CBE FREng FIEE
3 January 2012
Dear Mr B...
Thank you for your email of 27 November 2011 to the Vice-Chancellor and for your interest in the views of Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, Director of the Centre for Psychosocial & Disability Research at Cardiff University. Dr Grant has asked me to respond on his behalf.
Professor Sir Mansel has published his extensive peer-reviewed research on his area of expertise through a wide range of respected academic journals, presented to conferences, and commented in the media on relevant issues. It is widely accepted that academic research such as Professor Sir Mansel's is open to legitimate academic challenge and the process for this is held in high regard. It is therefore not appropriate for me to comment on your individual claims.
The University provides a platform for the views of its academics which are formed on the basis of in-depth study and understanding of their subject. The University respects academics' differing positions.
Mr Rhys Thomas, Head of the Vice-Chancellor's Office