Atos Healthcare, the company which assesses which patients are entitled to employment support allowance on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), is accusing websites and forums which publish patient complaints about its assessment process of libel.
Atos has issued legal threats against websites and forums which criticise the company’s Logic Integrated Medical Assessment (LiMA) software, and has even succeeded in shutting a few of them down. It has succeeded in closing down the ‘Atos Register of Shame’ (a site which contained lists of healthcare professionals who allegedly performed poor standards of medical assessments), as well as the CarerWatch discussion forum, which was a forum for ill or disabled people and their carers.
In response to criticism over these actions, Atos Healthcare released a statement saying:
“While we fully support the right of people to express their opinions, it is our duty to protect the reputation of our employees and company against false and malicious allegations. In such circumstances, we will look to take any necessary steps to ensure that these unsupported claims are addressed swiftly and appropriately.”
Whilst Atos is likely to have the appropriate professional insurance cover to pursue libel allegations should cases reach the courts, it is not known whether the websites and forums the company is targeted will have the same.