The Atos Healthcare contact centre was established to support customers in making appointments for attending assessments in relation to their claims for disability-related benefits. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) requires us to ask the majority of customers across different benefits to attend a face to face assessment with a healthcare professional. So arranging appointments is a key part of what we do.
Making an Appointment
Like DWP, Atos Healthcare will always contact customers in writing to confirm the time and place of their appointment. However, we know also that customers are much more likely to be able to attend if the time has been agreed together with them. So the contact centre calls thousands of customers each month to talk to them and set up an agreed time for their assessment. If a customer has a particular issue or need, this phone call also gives them an opportunity to talk about it, whether it be a specific appointment time or the need for an interpreter. In the last 2 months we made over 260,000 contacts with customers and made over 134,000 appointments during those calls.
Contacting Atos Healthcare
Of course we aren’t able to make contact with everyone but the contact centre number is included on all appointment letters so customers can call us if they are unable to attend for any reason.
We are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on a Saturday. In March/April 2012, we received approximately 170,000 calls from customers of which over 110,000 were about rearranging an appointment. Our call answer rate was just under 88%. The number of calls we receive can be very unpredictable and can increase dramatically at short notice so please bear with us if you experience a delay.
A lot of effort goes into agreeing an appointment because that is how we can deliver better service when customers come into our assessment centres. Many people will have seen signs in places like GP surgeries about the importance of attending appointments. It’s a known fact that the more certainty there is in how many people will attend on the day, the more efficient the service can be in seeing those people. Our contact centre has a key role to play in talking to customers, answering their questions and giving them any support they need to be able to attend their appointment.
As well as appointment logistics, the contact centre also deals with many queries that customers may have about the process in general. In March/April about 60,000 of our calls were general queries. We do try to answer as many as we can, but some queries can only be answered by DWP or the local Jobcentre dealing with a customer’s claim. These include:
Reasons why a customer was unable to attend their appointment – DWP need to know this so they can decide how to proceed with a claim
Requests for a copy of the medical report following an assessment – this can only be issued by DWP
Queries about a benefit decision, DWP decide on benefit based on all evidence, not just an Atos Healthcare report.
Any questions about payment of benefit – we don’t hold any information on any aspect of customer’s benefit payment
Requests for a new copy of the questionnaire (known as the ESA50) – only DWP are permitted to issue a new copy.
For information on any of the above topics, customers should contact their local Jobcentre Plus office dealing with their claim.
We are very happy to answer questions about booking interpreters, how to request a home visit if travel is not possible because of a medical condition , bringing companions to the assessment, directions to the assessment, what to bring with you to the assessment. For answers to these questions and more, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the Disability Assessments section of our website.