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John Watkins, 36.
John Watkins, 36, former lorry driver from Brimington: John Watkins was working as a lorry driver but developed acute tennis elbow through repetitive driving so that by January 2009 his right arm movement was severely restricted. As a result he had to stop work because he could no longer drive. John is right handed and after an operation in April 2009 had his whole right arm from his shoulder to his fingers put in a cast. This is when he was called to see Atos Origin Ltd. John was called to an assessment where the medical found him fit for work. He did not score any points (a person needs 15 points to be judged incapable of work). John's consultant had advised him not to use his arm, yet the Atos Origin Ltd medical said he was capable of using both arms to lift bulky objects. This judgement meant John would lose at least £25.50 per week. John decided to fight the decision by lodging an appeal. The decision was initially reconsidered and he was then awarded six points (for lifting) but was still nine points short of the total he needed to be judged incapable of working. Atos Origin Ltd claimed John was able to fill in the initial ESA questionnaire he'd been sent, but John had completed the form before being put into plaster. At a tribunal the decision was overturned and it was accepted that John could not lift using both arms or use a pen effectively. He was then entitled to the extra £25.50 per week, which was then backdated to. John will need further surgery in December. He is incensed at his treatment and says: "I encourage people not to be put off pursuing their claim. They should seek advice and appeal if they feel that they have been unjustly treated, as I undoubtedly was."
- Guilhem Alandry/Documentography
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