{jcomments off}Just 19 doctors for over a million PIP assessments

Benefits and Work can reveal that Atos will use just 19 doctors to carry out personal independence payment (PIP) medical assessments in most of England and all of Scotland from April next year, according to bid documents lodged in the House of Commons library.  The doctors will be outnumbered fifty to one by, mostly private sector, physiotherapists.

We can also disclose that campaigning charity Disability Rights UK is to be one of the subcontractors helping Capita to carry out the PIP assessments that will spell the end of working age DLA and a severe loss of income for around half a million disabled claimants.

Plus, we give you the first glimpse of how different your medical will be depending on where you live in the UK.

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It is believed that Atos will have to assess well over a million claimants for PIP – some on paper only - of whom at least a quarter are likely to have mental health conditions or learning difficulties.   Yet the majority of the health professionals involved will be private sector physiotherapists with limited knowledge or experience of dealing with these conditions.

Figures in the bid documents reveal that Atos will use 433 physiotherapists, 173 nurses, 35 occupational therapists and 9 doctors in London and Southern England.  Just 19% of the service will be provided by NHS staff, whilst private sector company Premex will provide 30% and The Injury Care Clinics will provide 15%.

In Scotland and Northern England, Atos plan to use 500 physiotherapists, 200 nurses, 40 occupational therapists and 10 doctors.  The NHS will provide 36% of the service.

Atos say that this mix of health professionals was based on a number of considerations, including the “cost differentials between the types of HPs [health professionals]” and “the desire for this work” amongst different types of health professionals.  There is no mention of how many, if any, of the nurses will be specialist mental health nurses.

You can download the successful Atos bid documents for London and the South of England here:


and for Scotland and the North here.


Benefits and Work members can read more here.

We can also reveal that leading disability charity Disability Rights UK (DRUK) has signed up as a paid  sub-contractor to Capita, to help the company carry out personal independence payment medicals in central England and Wales. There is no information on DRUK’s website about the arrangement with Capita.

The deal with Capita was sealed some time prior to 2nd May 2012, since when DRUK continues to claim it is considering bringing a court case to prevent PIP being introduced.  The charity also still leads the Hardest Hit campaign against benefits cuts and heads up the Disability Benefits Consortium.

Capita’s bid document quotes DRUK as saying:

"Disability Rights UK is delighted to endorse Capita's approach to learning, development and continuous improvement."

Capita make it clear that they are paying DRUK not just to advise them on accessibility issues and to recruit senior disabled staff, but also to pass on information gained from DRUK members. The bid document explains that:

“. . .we have committed to employing a resource within DRUK dedicated to capturing the views and experiences of claimants and those impacted by PIP. DRUK has over 1,000 member organisations which should allow for broad capture of ongoing claimant experiences.”

You can download the successful Capita bid documents for Wales and Central England here:



Benefits and Work members can read more here.

There can be little doubt in the minds of most people who have read both the Atos and the Capita bids, that most claimants would prefer to have a medical with Capita. The company has committed to such things as giving claimants the option of a home medical if they would prefer it, allowing everyone to have a recording of their assessment and they are employing more mental health specialists than Atos.

We’ve written a brief comparison of the two company’s approaches which members can read here.

There’s also little doubt that DRUK have been able to influence Capita for the good in these regards.

But the reality is that, no matter how thoughtfully designed the assessment process, the government’s aim is to make around half a million disabled people significantly poorer. DRUK were far from unique in being able to advise Capita on how to conduct assessments fairly:  many charities and claimants groups could have done the same.  They were unique, however, in claiming they could mount a credible legal challenge to PIP.

If they have made that challenge all but impossible by deciding to work as sub-contractors to Capita on the destruction of working age DLA, they may not easily be forgiven by those they say they represent.

As always, there’s much more news in the members area than we have room for in this newsletter. Many thanks to everyone who has sent in news stories over the last fortnight, including: Beverley Hymers, John Pring, originaldave, bro58,  Jim Allison, papasmurf, Crazydiamond.

Finally, a few cheery posts from the forum to end on:

Moved from ESA WRAG to Support Group after reconsideration request
“I would like to say a very big thank you to all at Benefits and Work”

Moved from IB/IS to ESA Support Group without medical assessment
“Just want to say thank you to Benefits and Work for their very useful guides”

Support group without medical

“I did read up on ESA before we completed the form and the advice I read certainly did help us get the result we wanted. A big thank you.”

Migrated from IB to ESA Support Group without medical
“Thank You to B & W guides for helping me go from IB to ESA (Support group) without a Medical & very quickly !!!”

From WRAG to support group

“I would also like to thank all members, and especially all the Mods for their great advice and support”

Placed in support group
“Thank you to everyone and especially the mods for your continuing help.”

Assessment cancelled because enough evidence
“I can only think it was the great advice Gordon gave me”

Helped two people receive ESA

“Thank you for all the advice on this site as it has been a big help when it comes to filling in those forms.”

IB to WRAG without medical
“I used your guides and followed it down to the last detail.”

Success at ESA appeal
“many thanks to all concerned”

Join the Benefits and Work community now (open access) and discover what a difference we can make.

You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter provided it is properly attributed to www.benefitsandwork.co.uk

You can also read this newsletter online (open access).

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666


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