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Hello, back again with another page to the blog. I asked earlier on if anyone could send me details of the various ATOS medical assessment centres in their areas. I have received one to date and am posting today. I have the permission of the sender to post and have left the description as it was when I received it. Please note, if you send me something for publication I will remove any reference to your identity.
This ATOS medical assessment centre is in Manchester…
The building was on Bridge St in the centre of Manchester. It is a very large building also housing a job centre. The reception was on the ground floor but the entrance was about a 100 mtrs away from the road entrance and with no parking for claimants. The parking would have been about 200 mtrs away. There were the black encasement’s for the CCTV, around 4 in the reception. Hard chairs with arms were provided. It was very busy on the day I attended but they hold different medicals for different benefits there. The examination room was probably about 10 mtrs from the seating with a heavy door to walk through. The examiner does not hold the door for you or help you as they are behind you so they can assess you walking I expect!
This ATOS medical assessment centre is in Sunderland…
Access to the building
My examination took place at a DWP office in Sunderland City Centre, I was given a map (Conveniently printed on the back of the appointment letter, which the DWP keep when you attend) which indicated the nearest car park was well over 50M away from their location. Knowing Sunderland pretty well I was aware of limited disabled parking facilities on Union Street within 15 M of the building, Disabled parking the DWP conveniently neglected to mention in their letter giving directions. If you do not have a disabled badge, access is still available providing you can get someone to drop you off in Union St, that way you can actually get within 10M of the door. I asked a friend of mine to do this for me knowing the underhanded methods used by the DWP.
In this case, disabled access for those who are wheelchair users, Agoraphobic or Claustrophobic is not easy and I would like to take this opportunity to point out that you can have an examination at home, providing you have a legitimate medical reason for this, so, if you use a wheelchair, have been diagnosed as Agoraphobic or Claustrophobic this option may be open to you. The entrance to the DWP medical examination centre in Sunderland City Centre is located at 60 The Bridges and is opposite (slightly to the left as you come out of the station entrance) the Metro station. Entry is via a controlled security entry phone, placed low on the wall (where they assess your ability to bend) at the left of the entrance. Once inside the foyer you will see a lift immediately ahead of you, it is approximately 1.5M square and has a low ceiling, the door will barely accommodate a wheelchair. To your immediate left there is a narrow staircase which I could not investigate fully and would appreciate some details of i.e. does it go directly to the floor above, Does it turn back on itself, are there any landings, are the handrails any use, and fitted to both sides of the staircase, how many steps are there and is it well lit all the way up? Please feel free to answer these questions via the blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
When you arrive at the first floor you enter a larger foyer where there are several toilets, these are not for your use so don’t bother asking for the key to the disabled toilet, you will be wasting your time. The toilets you have access to are in the waiting room and are very small and enclosed. The receptionist will take your letter, ask you to sign and date a declaration form, and if you want to claim expenses, Note: this is all part of the game and is an assessment of your ability to follow instructions, read, write and to see how long they can keep you standing there. Plus if you claim parking expenses they assume you were able to walk to their office from whichever car park your ticket comes from. Staff will report your performance to the Doctor.
The seats provided in the waiting area are low and uncomfortable to sit on, they have no arms and you are forced to twist to your left or right to get any support by using the back of the chairas you sit or when rising from them.
This ATOS medical assessment centre is in Birmingham
the office in b,ham is on the 5 ways.again has no parking except in a shopping centere up the road.questions by your examining atos healthcare professional will include how did you get here?2 steps outside with cameras watching.assorted numpties to delay you and fill in paperwork.lift approx 125 yards inside door .must wait standing for lift person.through double doors.no person to open door as they can observe you.some more paperwork filling standing up.seated at uncomfortable seats.atos healthcare will count the steps you take to get to their scruffy offices.interview chairs have no arms must use back of chairs to get back up.atos healthcare will observe what you are carrying and watch you from behind as you leave.also when you disagree the decision as you will plainly see that it is a biased decision.on appealing the healthcare professional will be allowed to add other things about you which will in no doubt tell you that your evry move was recorded.also only white pple interviewed on day i was there.and your evry second that you are there will be counted.and observations written about you that could not possibly be noted by the interviever.
This ATOS medical assessment centre is in Worcester.
The centre is part of the DWP building known as Vine House which is situated in Farrier street behind the cinema and right next to the railway viaduct. In fairness it is only a short walk from the local train and bus stations and parking is quite nearby too. (though this is an accident of city planning more than consideration on thier part) Wheelchair access would not present too much of a problem but there are other issues.
The actual centre is situated at the back left hand corner of the building, through what could only be described as a ‘tradesmans entrance’, as if the centre was added to the building as an afterthought and they decided to use some back offices that would otherwise been storage rooms or some such.
The initial door is situated in a small alcove which might prove problematic to a claustrophobic, as would the intial entrance area/hallway which is maybe eight feet wide and some ~30 feet long?
The check in desk is a small table on you immediate right as you enter the door, invariably staffed by a little hitler who will eye you with suspicion then bark “letter” at you or greet you warmly and politely, depnding on what mood they got up in that morning.
There are, from what i recall, four (possibly five? two on the right along with the waiting room, maybe three on the left? not sure) examination rooms, only two of which i have been inside of. Each of these rooms is approximately ten feet wide by about 15-20 feet deep. The two i have been inside were set out in exactly the same layout, i can only presume that the others are the same, but being on the inside (left of the corridor) they may or may not have windows. The ones on the right (the two i have knowledge of) have a window at the far end which may or may not be open, i say open when in fact none of the windows in the building which included the local DWP office/frontline (which may have now been moved to the local jobcentreplus?) open more than a few swivelled inches! ( yes, they call the bulletproof glass interview windows with bolted to the floor seats the ‘frontline’, i have heard it with my own ears while talking to an employee of the now closed kidderminster DWP office about why they had decided not to move to the jobcentreplus to work when they closed thier doors later that very same day! )
As you enter the room, you will find that the examiners desk is situated on your immediate right, taking up almost half the width of the room. You will sit facing the door, the examiner will sit facing you with thier back to the door, presumably to psychologically block any thoughts of escape you may harbor! /sarcasm
At the far end of the roof on the left side will be the examination bed, all very professional, proper doctors bed complete with the rollout disposable paper bedsheet thingy and a cursory screen which will be folded up and tucked away presumably unless you are asked to strip to your undies, in which case i would hope it would be put between you and the window that looks out onto the car park!
Against the back right hand wall there was a cabinet of some sort or was it a medical type bin bag holder? i forget, and an additional chair, along with, rather bizarrely, in one of the rooms i visited, one of those devices for measuring you’re hieght?
When the friend or representative that you take along moves this chair right up to the desk the examiner will not take kindly to it, but they have no right to object, even if it does then make them feel trapped between your entourage and the door! ;p
The waiting room is not much bigger than the examination rooms, being the same depth and again some ten, maybe 12 feet wide. It was, the last i was there, lined down both sides with rows of chairs salvaged from a 1970s teachers lounge and had a small coffee table in the centre that bore a selection of mind numbing out of date magazines that makes my GPs surgery’s selection look like the library of congress!
Of course, the whole place is carpeted out with nylon cord carpet which seems specifically patterned to play havoc with anyone prone to mild hallucination, that carpet swims I tell ya! If you stare at it for too long, such as when waiting on a crisis loan payment, it can send you into such a trance that you don’t hear your name called over the tannoy!
The walls were painted the obligatory two tone ‘psych ward green and buff’ the last time i was there, i wonder if they have redecorated in the last three years?
I’ll be back. Visit the sister site for free benefits information. http://dwpexamination.blacktrianglecampaign.org/index.php