18 November 2007
Benefits and Work has obtained a confidential article written for tribunal members by the Chief Medical Member in which she urges colleagues to complain about the 'glaring inaccuracies' and 'complete nonsense' that appears in computer generated incapacity benefit medical reports.
In the article, published in the confidential Judicial Information Bulletin circulated to all tribunal members and not so far obtainable via the Freedom of Information Act, the Chief Medical Member asks readers:
"How many of you are driven to distraction by the glaring inaccuracies and often complete nonsense that appears in these reports? How often do you feel that the person who appears before the tribunal bears absolutely no resemblance to the person described in the IB85?"
The writer reminds readers of the existence of President's Protocol No. 10. This protocol allows tribunal Chairs to write a report on any particularly poor quality medical, which will be passed to the Regional chair and then to the local Medical Services Manager. The Chief Medical Member is particularly keen that tribunals do this because she was recently told by representatives of Atos Origin that as so few reports were criticised in this way, they presume that tribunals are satisfied with the standard of their work.
"I personally doubt this very much but at the present time we have no evidence to the contrary." the Chief Medical Member writes.
As a final tribute to the absurdity of computerised medicals, the author cites one report which contained the information: "Prepares roast husband on Sundays."
Claimants who are victims of particularly abysmal reports and who win their appeals may wish to consider asking the chair, once the decision has been given, if they would consider making use of Protocol No. 10.