This is shocking but “social values” and the concept of “public service” is beginning to represent the products of a bygone age which Dr Alf and people like myself can just about remember but which went the way of the lofty ideals espoused by Beveridge and that great long dead Edwardian gentleman, Harold Macmillan.
Today, on page 31 of edition 1356 of the satirical magazine, Private Eye, I discovered an article under
“fitness to work tests” entitled “In the Drink” which covers the case of Heather Margaret Macbean a nurse employed by ATOS, who the DWP outsource work capability assessment work to.
According to Private Eye, she was dismissed for gross misconduct in July after colleagues complained that she had turned up for work one morning smelling of alcohol. By the afternoon, she was reported to have been slurring her words, her eyes were glazed and the “quality of her work had deteriorated”. Two of her managers concluded that a bottle she had been drinking from contained wine mixed with water.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), has since suspended the nurse for 18 months while it investigates her conduct. They, (NMC), concluded that she posed a “High risk of repetition and a serious risk and danger to the public” if she continued working as a nurse.
ATOS was not at that point in time prepared to carry out its own investigation, even though Macbean had been doing assessments of work capability for at least 6 months in Manchester and Preston.
ATOS said it did not discuss individual members of staff but that it relied on its “rigorous checks within the system”, and that any problems with an individual’s work would have been picked up by normal auditing.
Under ATOS about 40% of appeals against their work capability assessments are upheld so if one takes the alleged case of this dismissed former ATOS nurse as a rare exception it begs the question as to what has been happening the rest of the time.
The problems with Heather were known some 18 months previously it was only when she was put under the additional stress of assessing on the DWP’s evidence based review of the work capability assessment that she finally went over the edge.
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