WELFARE – Atos subcontracts disability benefit tests to NHS trusts – What a waste!

Atos-Protests4In another waste of taxpayer’s money, the Financial Times revealed that the controversial company in charge of disability assessment tests is subcontracting assessments for the new personal independence payment (which will replace Disability Living Allowance) to the state operated NHS.

Several contracts have been agreed between Atos and NHS service providers, including a £22 million payment to Lanarkshire NHS to carry out Atos’ work until 2017. University College London, Kings and York will supply thousands of their staff to carry out assessments for Atos.

MPs have questioned whether this kind of arrangement, where a private company is paid £400 million to provide a service, then contract the work back to the state run NHS, is value for money.

According to Atos, they describe the subcontracting as “partnerships”, claiming that “It means that consultations will take place where people feel most comfortable – in the heart of their local community – and they will be conducted by health practitioners that have first-class expertise in dealing with the needs of disabled people.”

The DWP said “We are taking a new approach working with regional providers for a service which best meets local needs. It was open to NHS organisations to bid for a place on the health and disability assessment framework but none did so.”

We say – WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!

At a time when NHS trusts are supposed to be struggling because of government cuts, making thousands of staff redundant, how can they justify allocating scarce resources to a private agreement with Atos.

The government needs a lesson in basic finance. Paying an incredible amount of taxpayer’s money (over £400 million) to a private company, when state operated services could provide a much better service for less is pure lunacy!

We think there should be a totally independent organisation that can thoroughly investigate the arrangements government has made with private providers, and assess exactly how many BILLIONS of taxpayer’s money the government is wasting.

The government needs putting back in its place.

Follow @martynjsymons

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