MP tried more than 130 times to call service used by those claiming employment support allowance.

Tom Greatrex raised the issue with the government after he successfully contacted the private firm, Atos Healthcare, who are responsible for carrying out medical assessments on employment and support allowance applicants after more than 130 attempts.

The MP raised the issue with the Minister for Employment in the House of Commons.

Tom said: “Chris Grayling MP promised that a ‘full review of processes is being undertaken to identify further service improvements’.

“I am pleased he has apologised for the disgraceful service received by those trying to contact a public phone line.

“The level of service from Atos has been pathetically inadequate, especially when many of those trying to contact are anxious. To fail to get through until the 135th attempt is disgraceful.

“Now the government have finally acknowledged the scale of the problem, it is incumbent on them to make the improvements as soon as possible.

“With only 57 full-time equivalents in the Atos call centre, each dealing with almost a thousand cases per month from all across the country, it is little wonder that the service my constituents receive is so poor.”

Worse before it gets better

The MP added: “The situation is only going to get worse in May, when it is estimated that around 11,000 people a week will undergo the Work Capability Assessment.”

“I welcome the fact that a review of the service provided by Atos is going to be carried out, after I brought this matter to the minister’s attention.”

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