Open letter to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins
President, Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Dear Professor Hollins,

Please find below a letter written by a PIP claimant and signed by an alliance of 112 healthcare professionals, disabled people, and groups, regarding Capita’s sponsorship of the Royal College’s 2017 conference.

I am disappointed and concerned that the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference 2017 has been sponsored by Capita, a company which carries out Personal Independence Payments assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

These assessments form part of a welfare system which is heavily weighted against disabled people. The assessment process has been linked to significant and dangerous increases in suicidal thoughts ( It forces claimants to explain in painful detail the most intimate information about our difficulties, and to shoehorn complex conditions into assessment criteria which do not allow for their full impact to be considered. The entire process is humiliating and frightening, and from start to finish sends the message that those assessing us simply do not believe us when we talk about our own lives.


Capita’s assessments are also routinely inaccurate. In the quarter to December 2016, 65% of appeals to PIP decisions made by Capita and the DWP’s other contracted company, Atos, were found in favour of the claimant ( The number of appeals taken to social security tribunals has been increasing steadily with time; the last quarter of 2016 saw 71% more PIP appeals lodged than the same period in 2015 (


In accepting sponsorship from Capita, the Royal College is facilitating this cruel assessment process by helping Capita to recruit assessors. In light of the flawed and painful way Capita’s assessments have been carried out, I am particularly alarmed by Capita’s recruitment advert in OTnews which uses the strapline “It’s what you trained for.” I hope that occupational therapists are trained to support people like me, not to assist in disempowering and impoverishing us.


Capita’s sponsorship and advertising will undermine disabled people’s trust in the occupational therapy profession and make it harder for us to access support. The Royal College should not be playing any part in this process; rather, occupational therapists should be taking a stand against the assault on disabled people’s rights which has taken place in the welfare system in recent years.

Please withdraw from any ongoing sponsorship contract with Capita and issue clear guidance for occupational therapists on how to support clients’ PIP claims.




Rachel Rowan Olive, PIP Claimant & Mental Health Service User

Dr Jamie Bird, Head of Department of Therapeutic Practice, University of Derby

Dave Harley, Occupational Therapist

Alice McGarvie, Occupational Therapist

Celia Emery

Keir Harding, Occupational Therapist

Richard Barrett, Student Occupational Therapist

Sadie Charlton, Occupational Therapist

Rachel Booth, Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist & person with lived experience of disability

Alexandra Phillips, Mental Health Service User

Caroline Button, Occupational Therapist

Sarah Ismail, Same Difference

Eleanor Lisney, PIP Claimant

Rachel D’Sa, Assistant Psychologist / Mental Health Service User

Melanie Wilson, PIP Claimant & Mental Health Service User

Rowena Bashforth, Mental Health Service User

Ruth Lee, Doctoral Candidate in Psychology

Anonymous PIP Claimant (full name sent directly to RCOT)

Professor Andrew Samuels, University of Essex (Former Chair, UK Council for Psychotherapists)

Clare Slaney, Accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist

Dr Jay Watts, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Samantha Bushby, Service User (mental & physical health services)

Lena Burgess, PIP Claimant and Mental Health Service User

Keith Barber, UKCP-registered Psychotherapist

Roy Bard, PIP Claimant and Mental Health Service User

Rick Burgess, Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts

Sam Downie

Claire Heard, ESA Claimant and Mental Health Service User

Jennifer McAnuff, Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist & Research Fellow

Riva Joffe UKCP-registered Psychotherapist ,

Rowena Bashforth, Mental Health Service User

L James, Parent of future PIP claimant with SLD

Robert Jenkins, BA MA CTA DipC DipH, Psychotherapist (retired)

Ms B J Hulme, disabled, currently in receipt of DLA so will be transferring to PIP

Kris Black UKCP, BACP, CSTD, ITEC, LLB Hons, UKCP & BACP registered

Integrative Arts Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor

Theresa Bartram, Service User on ESA support (Ongoing physical disabilities, illnesses and a mental health service user)

P. Cox, Psychotherapy & Counselling Union Executive Committee Member

Denise McKenna, PIP Claimant and Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) member

Naomi Hooke, Trainee Clinical Psychologist & PIP Claimant

Eleanor Martin, Mental Health Service User

Dolly Sen, Disabled Artist & Ex-OT student

Liz Smith, Mental Health Crisis Worker & Survivor

Amanda Sadler, PIP Claimant, Mental Health Services User and physically disabled person

Dr Rich Moth, Social Work Action Network (SWAN)

Pat Onions, Pat’s Petition

Frances Kelly, Carerwatch

Lara Quinn, Occupational Therapist, PIP Claimant and Mental Health Service user

Bethan Mair Edwards, Occupational Therapist & Service User

David Hooke, Disabled Person

Liz Crow, ESA & PIP Claimant, Occupational Therapy Client

Dr Ron Roberts

Dr Derek Jones, Fellow in Clinical Education

John Chacksfield, Mental Health Occupational Therapist

Jordan Rivera, Occupational Therapist

Shirley Pearce, RCOT member & spouse / advocate of PIP claimant

Isobel Urquhart, Psychotherapist

Stuart Morgan-Ayrs, Clinical Psychotherapist, Fellow, Royal Society Public Health

Dr Wendy Bryant, Senior Lecturer, University of Essex

Mark Harrison, CEO Equal Lives

Disabled People Against Cuts Norfolk

Gail Ward, Black Triangle Campaign, DPAC North East

John McArdle, Black Triangle Campaign

Eleanor Lisney, PIP Recipient

Linda Kaze, DPAC Glasgow

Philip Fletcher

Val Allen, BACP Senior Accredited Psychotherapist/ Counsellor,PCSR AND PCU member

Andy Price, Psychotherapy and Counselling Union

Nicola Saunders, Psychotherapist

Iain Parker, College of Psychoanalysts

Tamsin Curno, Drama and Movement Therapist

Dr Bruce Scott, Philadelphia Association, College of Psychoanalysts-UK

Ruth Williams, Jungian Analyst, Integrative Psychotherapist & Supervisor

Libby Kerr, UKCP

Caroline Button, Occupational Therapist

Polly O’Donnell, DLA & ESA claimant

Alina Dziecielska, PIP claimant

H Quinn, Service Sser

Atos Miracles, Support group for disabled people going through assessments

Capita Cures, Support group for disabled people going through assessments

Trace Newton, PIP Claimant

Ingrid Glass, PIP Claimant & multiple NHS user

Dr Jennifer Hagan, Community Engagement Worker and Carer

Heather Crowley, PIP Claimant & Mental Health Service User

Kerstin Taylor, Student Social Worker & Disabled Person

Stephen Luke, DLA Claimant & Mental Health Service User

Lorna Solomon, Occupational Therapist & BAOT <ember

Patrick Daly

Maureen Johnson, NEMHDU (formerly North of England Mental Health Development Unit)

Beatrice Millar, Person-centred Counsellor/Psychotherapist

Judi Martin, disabled PIP Claimant

Andie Rose

Carolyne Kardia

Chris Wise, Psychotherapist

Lesley Turnbull, State Registered Occupational Therapist and BABCP CBT Therapist

Dr Philip Thomas, former Consultant Psychiatrist

Penny Ackroyd, Occupational Therapist

Sheryl Nesbitt, Third Year OT student

Andrea McHallum, Occupational Therapist

Disabled People Against Cuts Glasgow

Marion Fallon, Disabled People Against Cuts Norfolk

Miriam Binder, Disabled People Against Cuts Brighton

Sarah Meharg, Occupational Therapist

Disabled People Against Cuts Bromley and Croydon

Disabled People Against Cuts London

Catherine Haigh, Service User & Chair, North East Together

Jayne Linney, Disabled Activist, PIP Claimant & Mental Health Service User/Survivor

Gavin Robinson, Counsellor

Ros Massil, Psychotherapist

Dr Gillian Proctor, Clinical Psychologist, University of Leeds

Alexander Porter, Mental Health Service User, Occupational Therapy Student

Paul Atkinson, Psychotherapist

Leanne Fowler, Counsellor / Psychotherapist UKCP

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