Atos healthcare is to lose its long-held monopoly stranglehold on work capability assessments from next summer, employment minister Mark Hoban announced today.  The news comes as the DWP revealed that  41% of sampled Atos reports had achieved only a ‘c’ grade in a recent audit.{jcomments on}

Atos has been the only provider of work capability assessment medicals for employment and support allowance and of their forerunner, the all work test for incapacity benefit, since DWP medical services were outsourced.  Campaigners have long argued that the assessments carried out by Atos were not of an acceptable standard but, up until now, the DWP have always defended Atos as if they were  part of the same department.

Now, however, the government has decided that Atos is not up to standard and that an improvement plan has to be put into place.  Measures include retraining and re-evaluating all Atos health professionals, bringing in a third party to assess Atos’ own audits of its work and engaging Price Waterhouse Coopers to provide advice on improving quality assurance.

Whilst these latter measures may make little difference, the introduction of other providers on a regional basis is likely to put pressure on Atos to improve the standard of its medical reports and of the service it provides to claimants.

The government claim that the introduction of additional providers should also help to reduce waiting times for claimants.

More details form the website


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