15 October 2010
Prospect, a trade union for professionals including 135 Atos doctors, has condemned as ‘wholly unrealistic’ the target of 10 claimants a day that medics are expected to assess for eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA).
The claim was made by the union in evidence to the independent Harrington review of the work capability assessment, the test used to decide whether a claimant qualifies for ESA and, if so, which group they should be placed in.
According to the union each claimant should be treated as an individual “not just a checklist exercise to be undertaken in a standard set time”. But at present, health professionals consider that “the 10 or more claimants they are expected to see in a day is wholly unrealistic.”
The statement from the union also claims that “there is little flexibility to increase the time for more complex cases such as stroke victims with combined physical and cognitive sequelae or claimants with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease.”
Benefits and Work will be asking for a full copy of the evidence given by Prospect to Professor Harrington once his review is complete. Members with complex conditions or combined mental and physical health conditions may wish to use it as evidence at their appeal hearing if they consider that their WCA was too short to gain an accurate picture of their condition.
The Prospect news story is available from this link