An assessor working for a company contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) allegedly asked a gay man if he wanted ‘god’ to ‘cure’ him of his homosexuality in 2012. The man, Keith Morgan, has now spoken out.
The DWP-contracted assessor
The GP [assessor] told him [Morgan] that when a car had a problem it had to be returned to the dealer to be repaired, just as he needed to be returned to God to be cured of his homosexuality.
The doctor involved admitted to some of the claims. DNS said:
Although the doctor disputed making some of the comments, she accepted she had told him about the television programme, asked Morgan… if he wanted to ‘change’, and suggested the best person to help with problems in her own life was God, ‘the one who made and understood [her]’.
Atos issued the doctor with a formal warning, but allowed her to keep her job. She reportedly no longer works for the company. In 2013, it agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Morgan and admitted discrimination against him. The settlement included a confidentiality clause, but he has chosen to break that, after alleging that the company ‘harassed’ him during a recent assessment.
A 2013 letter from Lisa Coleman, then a senior vice president of Atos, to Morgan said:
Atos sincerely apologises for the upset and hurt that has been caused to you as a result of [the doctor’s] comments made on the 14 August 2012.
Atos view… that it is wholly inappropriate for any health care professional to behave in this manner, and appropriate management action has been taken to prevent a recurrence of the behaviour.
It would not comment on the case to DNS.
The DWP says…
A DWP spokesperson told DNS:
We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the full support that they need, and under PIP 30 per cent of people are getting the highest rate of support, compared with 15 per cent under disability living allowance.
Assessments work well for the vast majority of people, but one person’s poor experience is one too many, and we’re committed to continuously improving the process for people so that they get the support they need.
‘Ruining my life’
The DWP’s assessment companies have been controversial; not least a scandal involving assessors allegedly asking claimants ‘why haven’t they killed themselves, yet?’. Also, as The Canary recently reported, the DWP has issued guidance telling assessment companies it’s “not appropriate” to ask to see scars from self-harm.
Morgan told DNS of both his assessments:
These people are supposed to be qualified nurses.
How do they live with themselves, knowing they are harming the very people they are supposed to care for?
They are ruining what little life I have, and I am tired of dealing with it. I just don’t have the strength.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?