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MP calls on DWP to ensure Atos centres are accessible

SOUTH NORFOLK MP Richard Bacon has urged the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that Atos Healthcare’s Medical Assessment Centres are accessible to wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.

Mr Bacon took action after being contacted by Mark Harrison, CEO of South-Norfolk based charity Equal Lives regarding the accessibility of the Norwich Assessment Centre, which is on the second floor of St Mary’s House on Duke Street. 

“Norwich is the only Atos office in East Anglia without any provision for medical assessments at ground level.
“Given that Atos is carrying out disability assessments for the DWP, one would have thought that Atos would have realised the importance of making its premises accessible to disabled people. 

“I raised this matter with the DWP but unfortunately the reply I received rather missed the point, which is not whether there is a lift or whether people can be sent to accessible centres as far away as Nottingham.  The point is that Atos did not give enough thought to the accessibility needs of wheelchair users and people with limited mobility when it rented its Norwich offices.   

“I have urged the DWP to instruct Atos to ensure all of its Medical Assessment Centres are either located at ground level or have provision to hold assessments on the ground floor”.

Atos has seven Medical Assessment Centres in East Anglia: 

Of these seven, five are on the ground floor except Cambridge and Norwich.  However, Atos’s Cambridge centre has one assessment room on the ground floor.

The Luton assessment centre is on the sixth floor without any provision on the ground floor. 

27 August 2013