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Minister faces grilling over Atos assessments

Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw will continue to feel the pressure over benefits assessment contractor Atos Healthcare next month.

The company drew criticism in the House of Keys earlier this week and patients have spoken out on Manx Radio about how they’ve been told they’re fit for work despite serious mental health concerns from their doctors.

Atos Healthcare is four months into a six-month trial as it assesses whether those on incapacity benefit are fit for work.

Mr Robertshaw will appear before the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee on December 3 at 10.30am where he’ll face questioning on the matter.

The three-strong committee is chaired by Brenda Cannell MHK, and also includes Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan and David Callister MLC.

Mr Robertshaw can expect a grilling over Atos Healthcare, which asks people to fill in a questionnaire and attend an interview before deciding if they can stay on sickness benefits.

However, in the last week one patient’s described the questionnaire as a joke after it asked him if he can pick up a pound coin, while a Douglas man was told he was fit for work despite doctors and psychiatrists saying he should avoid work because of his severe anxiety attacks.

In a statement, Atos has defenmded its questionnaire and practices.

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