Systematic homophobia at ATOS?
I think I'm going to need a shower after this, but here goes:
"Fucking hell. Gay man suffering from depression is assessed by Atos, and told that religion could cure his sexuality"
"Depressed gay man was advised by Atos assessor to investigate "gay cures""
"An ATOS assessor tells a depressed man he is gay and thus "needed to return to God to be repaired""
"depressed gay man advised by Atos assessor to investigate "gay cures""
"How do ATOS still have a contract?"
"They should just get rid of Atos and ban gay/bi "cures". #problemsolved"
Thus scream tweets and headlines. While technically accurate, the implication and the desire to pin yet more bad shit onto ATOS is hysteria.
If you take a look at what actually happened (PDF - this is a General Medical Council decision which is being cited in most tweets) what you find is the failure of an individual doctor:
...during the consultation you suggested that religion could ‘cure’ him from his homosexuality. He alleged that you drew an analogy with a faulty car, stating that as you would return a faulty car to a dealer, he needed to return to God to be repaired.
He alleged further that you had advised him to research a story on the internet about a man who had been cured of his homosexuality and was now married with nine children and that it was unlikely that he would either be able to move on from his past problems or live a normal life without addressing his homosexuality.
the disciplinary action by his employer (ATOS):
... following the conclusion of the local disciplinary process, ATOS Healthcare provided the GMC with the minutes of your disciplinary hearing and confirmation that you had been issued with a formal written warning. They also provided copies of a remedial programme that you had undergone.
and his professional standards body:
The Committee considers that your actions do meet the threshold for the issuing of a warning and, having balanced your interests with the public interest, considers that it is both appropriate and proportionate to issue you with a warning. Whilst the Committee accepts that there is significant mitigation present in this case the Committee does not consider that it is sufficient to result in no further action being taken. The Committee considers that a warning is necessary to uphold proper
standards of conduct and behaviour, maintain public confidence in the profession and act as a deterrent.
So, in fact, ATOS have not viewed this as acceptable behaviour. They have followed a disciplinary procedure which found against the doctor and provided additional training and a formal warning.
To pin this on ATOS when they have done no more or less than what the GMC has done is wrong. It does not help build the case against ATOS and, in fact, works against both the anti-ATOS campaign and the queer rights campaign. By attributing false blame proponents of this accusation are casting doubt on the other serious problems with ATOS and making the queer community look like hyperbolic cry-babies ready to call foul at the drop of the hat. Make no mistake, the doctor has fucked up, and you can argue about whether his punishment is proportionate and appropriate (which Medical Protection Society, a medical legal support organisation, did to try and defend the doctor), but to imply that ATOS is, itself, at fault here is unsupportable.
ATOS is responsible for the fact that its decisions are overturned 43% of the time on appeal.
ATOS is responsible for problems people with disabilities have using its services.
But there is no evidence of systematic homophobic abuse by ATOS as implied in the current tweets.
And, ATOS is NOT responsible for the bloody impossible to meet Limited Capacity for Work requirements; they are entirely the fault of the Government, and the sooner they (and their Labour collaborators) are thrown out the better.