Atos employ just three doctors out of a total of 2,000 health professionals who carry out PIP assessments, the company revealed in evidence from the three main assessment providers given to MPs last week.
Atos and Capita carry out PIP assessments, whilst Maximus are responsible for the work capability assessment (WCA) for ESA and universal credit.
All three companies were giving evidence to the work and pensions committee last month.
Dr Barrie McKillop, Clinical Director at Independent Assessment Services (Atos) told the committee
“We have about 2,000 health professionals in the IAS team, including those directly employed by ourselves and some from our partners.”
He went on to say that:
67% are registered general nurses,
17% are either registered mental health nurses or registered learning disability nurses
15% are occupational therapists, physiotherapists or paramedics, in roughly equal proportion
He added “We also have three doctors working in the service.”
Capita said they have “1,000 ex-NHS professionals” but gave no breakdown of their specialisms.
Maximus said they have 1,100 health professionals, down from a peak of 1,200 before the pandemic.
Many readers will be astonished that so few doctors are employed as part of the team that carries out PIP assessments, given the proportion of claimants who have multiple, complex and often variable conditions.
The fact that adverts for doctors to carry out assessments currently offer starting salaries of £77,000 plus private health insurance and other perks does suggest though, that doctors are an expensive commodity.
The desperate shortage of assessors was underlined by a double page spread from the Daily Mail sent to us by a member.
It was a huge ad for “clinical assessors” by Everpool Recruitment.
Salaries for nurses are £33,000 - £40,000.
Whilst doctors start at £72,000.
A search online reveals that the package also includes salary increases of £1,000 at 6 months and again at 12 months.
Plus a 10% ‘performance based’ bonus.
And for some staff there’s even private healthcare.
Not surprising really, as there’s such a desperate shortage of staff in the NHS.