As I expected, I got a phone call from ATOS Healthcare asking me to come in for an assessment. On my application form I listed the one week I would NOT be available for an appointment, and the date suggested for my appointment was guess what? Yes, right in the middle of that week! What I pointed this out, an apology was made by the caller saying "oh yes, I hadn't read that". I have to ask if this is the attitude about the rest of the form.
Another date was suggested, for the Tuesday after I get back from my holiday. I apologised and said there was no way I would be in any kind of fit state to go anywhere for about a week after I get back - as when I go away with my other half, I pay quite a high physical price for my mental and emotional relaxation. In the end we settled on the day before we leave. My other half already had taken the day off work, so he won't have to request more holiday to help me get there. At least I know that the building is wheelchair accessible, unlike some ATOS Healthcare Assessment Centres.
I'm glad that the assessment is coming before the holiday as I think if it was afterwards I would have spent the whole time I was supposed to be relaxing, actually worrying myself sick(er).
One thing that annoys me, is that at no point in all the paperwork and phone calls was I told I could ask for the assessment to be done in my own home. I only knew this was a possibility because my friend was assessed for DLA many years ago, and she was able to have her assessment done at home. When I was phoned by ATOS to tell me that ESA application form was being sent to me, I checked to see if I could have the assessment at home and I was told I could request that. What I want to know is why are we not told that in writing and why did I have ask if it were possible? Personally I don't want ATOS in my home. My home is my refuge from the Government, ATOS, the NHS and the ilk. Fortunately, I have a partner who is willing to transport me via car then wheelchair to my appointment, even if it had meant taking an extra day off work, in order to satisfy that need. What I want to know is why is this option not publicised more? I know that some people worry themselves sick about getting themselves to assessments and causing themselves more pain than necessary while they wait to be seen. I have to wonder if it is because ATOS think the "really sick ones" will request a home visit, not caring that the really sick ones don't know it's an option and so put themselves through hell and back to go to an appointment.
I'll let you know how the assessment goes.