7 November 2006
Figures released by the DWP show that only a tiny proportion of DLA and AA medical reports were classed as C grade and that not even these reports were necessarily regarded as unfit for purpose.
The information, released in response to a parliamentary question show that between September 2005 and June 2006 1,434 medical reports were classed as A grade, 547 were B grade and just 88 were categorised a C grade. Anne McGuire, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Disabled People at the DWP claimed that:
"Whilst C grade medical reports indicate that there is scope for improvement, it does not automatically follow that a C grade report would not be found fit for purpose".
It would appear then, that no matter how illegible or inaccurate a medical report may be, or how easily dismissed by a tribunal, there is seldom an occasion when Atos Origin, the private sector company which provides the reports, does not get paid its full fee.
Given the number of successful appeals against DLA decisions for which a medical report has been obtained, the figures suggest either that the grading system is less than useless as a method of assessing the quality of medical reports or that it is not being correctly applied. Either way it is claimants and the taxpayer who are losing out.