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People Who Were Assessed For PIP By Alan Barnham Are Calling For Capita To Review Their Claims

April 19, 2016

People who were denied disability benefits in Northampton by a man who was later caught on camera admitting he judged claimants before he had even “walked through the door” want their original assessments thrown out.

Last week Channel Four’s Dispatches programme sent an undercover reporter into the Northampton offices of Capita – a firm contracted to carry out disability assessments on behalf of the Government.

The shocking footage showed one assessor, Alan Barham, talking openly about making £20,000 a month, branding one claimant “fat” and admitting that he refused a man the Personal Independence Payment before even meeting with him.

Now some of those who were also turned down for PIP by former paramedic Mr Barham – who has now been sacked – believe their assessments should be voided.

Jacqueline Nicholls, of Murray Avenue, Kingsley, was turned down for the payment, even though she had been claiming the Disability Living Allowance for 10 years.

A brain tumour she had when she was 11 years old has left her with severe mobility and communication problems.

After seeing the documentary, her husband of 24 years, David, has written to the Welfare secretary Stephen Crabb MP, asking that all those assessed by Mr Barham get the chance for a re-assessment.

He said: “All I wanted was a fair assessment because I know that I need to be with Jacqui all the time.

“She needs me to be safe.”

Mr Barham found that Jacqui could plan and follow routes, understand complex written information unaided and make budgeting decisions.

Former BT engineer Mr Nicholls says Jacqui has limited memory and struggles to even turn the television on.

When he and Jacqui went for the assessment at Capita’s Derngate offices on March 11, he brought with him medical records showing Jacqui suffered from complex seizures.

But now the couple will have to make do with £300 less a month.

“When we found out it was just horror,” Mr Nicholls said.

“Can she work? Of course not. How is she going to get there? She cannot communicate on the phone, she has problems with her mobility and understanding people.

“Overall I don’t know what she can do.”

Former pub manager Nikki Johnston, has retrograde amnesia after she hit her head on a metal pole in October 2014.

It means the Wellingborough mum-of-one she wakes up every day thinking she is still in 2014 and 27 years old.

But she was refused PIP after being assessed by Mr Barham last year, even though her short-term memory means she would effectively need to be re-trained every day were she to hold down a job.

Her appeal was lodged in May 2015 and a tribunal to is expected to resume later this year. All the while the family are having to live on £400 less a month.

Her husband Chris has backed Mr Nicholls call to throw out the assessments by Mr Barham.

He said: “I totally agree, how can anything that he deemed to have failed, be accurate?

“Nikki cannot work, she does not know what year it is. Her assessment said she could do complex budgeting – but she doesn’t even know about the 5p bag tax.

“How can she budget for anything?

A spokesperson for Capita, said: “Capita is engaged by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to deliver only one part of the PIP claims process in certain areas in the UK.

“Assessments are taken into consideration by the DWP alongside all other evidence submitted by a claimant.

“The DWP, not Capita, makes the decisions on whether to award a benefit or not and the level and length of those awards. If any claimant is unhappy with the DWPs decision they can they can appeal against it.”


8 Comments leave one →
  1. philipburdekin permalink
    April 19, 2016 5:34 pm

    What an absolute disgrace, how many more of these unqualified people are doing this to the genuine sick and disabled? This is so very wrong.

  2. April 19, 2016 7:00 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. April 19, 2016 8:11 pm

    The DWP might make the final decisions but they do that based on what is written at the assessments and it seems to me the DWP do make their decision on the assessment and not on the medical evidence.

  4. Justin Greenwood permalink
    April 19, 2016 9:25 pm

    capita have a duty of care, when a employee carries out medicals they are in a position of trust, firstly I would email capita complaints to see what they have to say stating that following the documentary was you properly assessed, if you feel that the answer is not satisfactory, the regulatory body is type in the surname and the profession in this case barham profession paramedic registration number PA27031 and raise a fitness to practice complaint based on the documentary, so points are respect and dignity, client confidentiality, he openly admitted taking picture of cases on his mobile phone, breach of data protection, this person needs to be struck of for a indeterminate amount of time as he is unfit to practice

  5. Nikki Pegram permalink
    May 3, 2016 10:24 pm

    I was on that programme, I’m the one with amnesia (anterograde, not retrograde). I was receiving PIP before the head injury, because of my physical problems. I wasn’t getting £400 a month, it was £200 a month, but I lost my job due to the head injury, so the household income actually dropped by about £1200, not £400. The only benefit I can get is ESA (about £100 a week) which is better than a kick in the teeth, but still leaves us £800 a month less than we did have coming in. I can’t get any other help – no working or child tsax credits, no help with the rent of council tax, nothing at all. xx

    • Justin Greenwood permalink
      May 3, 2016 11:37 pm

      Hi Nicky,

      if he assessed you and you went to tribunal and won, put in a complaint to capita about this and follow up with a complaint to the regulatory body type in the surname and the profession in this case barham profession paramedic registration number PA27031 and raise a fitness to practice complaint.

      even if you did not go to tribunal for personal reasons, still worth complaining if you felt the medical was wrong as this particular individual should never have been allowed to assess and hopefully if enough people raise a complaint to hcpc they will take action that stop shim from practicing and i would also advise taking it up with a mp as there were other points in that documentary about that Northampton office that made me think that capita needs to be looked at closely and across the board.

      hope this is of some help Justin

      • Nikki Pegram permalink
        May 4, 2016 9:38 pm

        Hi Justin,
        Thank you for the info, it’s very useful. With regards to an appeal, my PIP was taken away April/May 2015, my fiancé immediately started the appeal process, and we went to the tribunal in February this year. The appeal panel decided to adjourn after they were told that what was in the report wasn’t true. He had written down that I was claiming for 2 conditions (that I don’t even have!), there was only a few words about the amnesia (which is what set this whole thing in motion, I suffered the brain injury and Chris rang the DWP to report a change in circumstances, and here we are, 17 months later), and absolutely nothing about the 4 physical conditions that I DO have. The appeal panel said they wanted to adjourn to get hold of my medical records, I signed the consent form there and then, they said hopefully the appeal should be arranged for in about 6 weeks time. That was in February, it’s now May, and we’re still waiting for a new date. My local MP is Peter Bone, and he is absolutely useless. I recently had a meeting with him, the result of which was I was told to put everything we talked about in an email to him, and he would raise it with the secretary of state. I have done that, am waiting for a reply. My meeting with him was on 22nd April 2016.

        Nix xx

  6. Justin Greenwood permalink
    May 15, 2016 2:12 pm

    Hi Nicky, and anyone else affected by wca assesments

    I would also complain to capita, even though he is no longer a employee of theirs. Mr Crabb In a statement has made it known that he was aware of the documentary and has spoke to capita, however is this good enough, he has also stated that the payment by results system will still be in place, this is not good enough, there needs to be tighter controls, at the moment if there is a tribunal and it is upheld that is the end of the matter, what should be happening is that a total overview of the case should be independantly assessed with service user input who’s experience relates to the condition and professional input, this would put a end to the ones that are assessing for profit and not properly and would make it easy to ensure that they are struck of, hopefully in Mr Barham’s case someone has reported him as clearly this is a key indicator of someone who is not fit to practice, some good may come out of this if that happens as the ones that think their immune, do not have the correct qualiifications for the role etc may think twice as they can also be sued for negligence and similiarly the parent company also has responsibility for ensuring safe and correct practice and has the same liability as they are the employer. I notice recently that jobs are being advertised under NHS along the lines of pip assessors with nhs involvement through atos, allthough not comfortable with this perhaps this maybe a good thing as then they come under NHS disciplianary procedure which is pretty solid, what also needs to happen if they still insist on the payment by results system is a penalty by result system and by this i mean, costs of the tribunal relating to any wrongdoing, costs of both parties ie dwp and the the claimant, extra costs incurred for treatment under NHS in case of say a relapse,lapse that leads to a hospital admission or further treatment, , i state this as why should the uk taxpayer or the the over burdnened NHS have to pay for these negligent errors, then in the case of companies that are motivated by the you have not failed enough and are motivated by a targets for profit syndrome, the sudden cost of paying for a tribunal, plaintiff and defendants legal fees, hospital admissions and further associated costs will suddenly make them realise that there assessment fee for failing a person far outweights the financial penalty even before there taken to court for negligence and they may start to think properly rather than what there doing

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