49 pharmacists (chemists) are now employed by Capita to carry out personal independence payment (PIP) assessments, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.  On the other hand, just 3 out of a total of 1,458 assessors are GPs.

As most readers will know, health professionals are employed by Capita to carry out PIP assessments on behalf of the DWP in the Midlands and Wales.

They have to assess a claimant’s ability to carry out 10 daily living activities such as preparing food, washing and bathing, dressing and undressing.  They also score their ability to manage 2 mobility activities.

As of June 2023, there were 1,458 health professionals employed by Capita to conduct PIP assessments. They break down as follows:

Nurse 1,201

Occupational Therapist 74

Paramedic 66

Physiotherapist 65

Pharmacist 49

Doctor 3

Similar figures were not provided for Atos (IAS).

No one could reasonably doubt that pharmacists are highly qualified professionals.  They undertake 5 years of training and have to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

However, whilst pharmacists are increasingly being used to treat minor ailments in order to fill the growing gaps in NHS provision, it is questionable whether their training enables them to adequately assess the functional abilities of claimants with mental health conditions or severe physical illnesses or disabilities.

Rather than pharmacists having skills that Capita especially needs, it seems likely that they have begun employing them simply because there is an increasing shortage of other health professionals available to carry out PIP assessments.

Comments

Write comments...
or post as a guest
People in conversation:
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Aura Todd · 6 months ago
    I wish they'd stop calling them health professional's.  because they are not!  Some don't even have a clue about the disability or condition the claimant has.  
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Inglis 25 · 4 months ago
      @i have been refused mobility This is crazy they are contradicting themselves by supporting the mobility scheme that supplies adapted cars for those who need them and many on PIP actually work.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      i have been refused mobility · 6 months ago
      @Aura Todd i have been refused mobility element again they now said because i have a driving licence they cannot award pip i never go out alone always have to have someone with me due to anxiety as sell as living with chronic illness this is making my illness worse 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Fiona · 6 months ago
    The amount of money these health professionals get paid is astounding no wonder pharmacists are offering up their services too, rich pickings at the expense of the Disabled and ill people. This current government has no Shame.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Fighterpilot · 7 months ago

    A pharmacist?  Not on your life.  I had 2 really bad flare ups recently with back pain (I have damaged discs (5/6).  A friend brought me to a pharmacy, helped  me in...I was bent at about 35° over my rolator, in acute agony....and I asked to speak to the pharmacist.  He came right away, and after enquiring what meds I was currently taking,  suggested I go to see my GP!! This would be the GP I cant get an appointment to see, because the surgery phones are never answered. So no...I would NOT like to be assessed by a pharmacist. He/she'd likely ask why I hadn't been to see my GP recently if my pain was so bad!!  Vicious circle.  With unqualified assessors inside it!!! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Thedogmother · 7 months ago
    Just for the record, they say ask your pharmacist before 'bothering ' your gp.. all I've ever had from them was the same one liner.... 'Go see your gp.'
    They dispense medication, they know what it's for, but they are not trained to diagnose,nor do they know how the conditions affect us hourly or daily.


  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Thedogmother · 7 months ago
    Maybe my dogs vet would be qualified, don't see why not, they'll let anybody with or without any ilk of sound medical training do assessment. In fact he'd have a dam sight more compassion. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    J Knox · 7 months ago
    How can a pharmacist assess my condition,I have anklosying spondylitis and osteoarthritis and I requested with gp to reduce my medication .They had a pharmacist assess me and when she couldn't get through on phone reduced my medication without speaking to me,so sorry no trust In a person who is not an orthopaedic person to assess my claim.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mandz · 7 months ago
    Your correspondent who says that pharmacists make clinical decisions over care is wrong. They may suggest but do NOT decide. A friend recently took a GP practice to task for allowing a pharmacist to interfere.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Renee May · 7 months ago
    And yes they DO WIN A BONUS if they meet a target. Yes they have targets to meet. That's the number they rate that they say no longer need the benefit. Their pay on introduction of the assessors job was £38,000
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Renee May · 7 months ago
    Just another group of health related professionals without the no how of a Dr. More likely to boot a claimant off benefit due to ignorance of illnesses especially mental health. Thàts what the tories want. That's why they employ them. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Annie Moss. · 7 months ago
    Pharmacists will only go by your prescription.not your day to day ability or function so NO!  Physio the same these assessors are not even interested in your health they just want you off benefits regardless of your health or how much you may struggle.  I wonder how much assessors get paid to stop your benefit???  Even if you are trying to combat your problem yourself. 

    I have found often what is fact is not what is written down by the assessor. No matter their outside profession 😠😠
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Brenda Farmer · 7 months ago
    The health background of the assessor is of limited value when assessing functionality.  I propose that Occupational therapists and mental health support workers would have a greater understanding and therefore (in my option) be better placed to do the assessments.  
    Ultimately it is worth noting that any professional (no matter how good) would be hard pressed to have a complete understanding of a persons functionality (or lack of) in a mere 20 minute discussion; I suggest that the 'assessment' should therefore be, only a tool to 'fill in the blanks'.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kathy Veal · 7 months ago
    I relate to this idiocy...My son has had lifelong learning disabilities.  As a child, I had to take him to speech therapists, child psychologists, psychiatrists, and he attended special schools all his school life. He was already on esa, but I had to take him for a reassessment at Atos. He is 44 years of age, and received DLA since the age of 15. The Atos assessor was a physiotherapist,  had hardly anything to say to us, and was out the door before us for his lunch. He decided my son was no longer eligible for esa....Why, oh why didn't I see a physiotherapist all those years ago, instead of all the professionals I did see, to diagnose him????
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sarah Doyle · 7 months ago
    I’m confused, will this be your local pharmacist doing your assessment? 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Cathy Endean · 7 months ago
    Been qualified in pharmaceuticals does not qualify these people to assess peoples Care or,and Mobility needs. in fact, I have never experienced anyone who is doing these assessments for the DWP to actually be a credit to their profession. as the purpose of the assessment,is not really to assess your needs, but to try and find a way of not enabling you to get this benefit.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jacqueline · 7 months ago
    Although pharmacists are highly trained in their field I fail to see how they would know a person’s struggles day in day out, my pharmacy has different pharmacists just about weekly, I cannot see how they could assess me no more than an advisor for the DWP as they would just be looking at medical records like most of the so called health professionals. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Piltdown Boy · 7 months ago
    Several years ago I had my PIP review/assessment at home with being housebound. The assessor introduced himself as a paramedic. I asked him at the start of the assessment if he had read all the information I had supplied including the medical evidence; he replied in the affirmative (but also theatrically rolled his eyes to show his displeasure at the quantity of material he had supposedly had to read.) His demeanor was such that I felt as if I was being assessed by a "Double Glazing salesman cum childrens entertainer". I suspected I wasn't being taken seriously for both my claims on mental health and physical grounds.

    My suspicions were correct because as a result of his erroneous assessment my Mobility component was stopped. This was because he had stated in his report that there was no medical evidence to support my claim! Consequently, I had to then embark on another 4 weeks of stress by entering a mandatory reconsideration, supplying the DWP with information and medical evidence I had previously furnished them with. The mobility component was eventually reinstated.

    The assessor's knowledge and understanding especially of mental illness, was questionable to say the least.

    Whatever an assessor's  field of speciality is, if they haven't received adequate training to understand complex conditions how can claimants expect to be fairly assessed, even more so if ignorance and prejudice are involved???
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Muslima Khatun · 7 months ago
    I don't think they are qualified to be doing assessment on WCA for people it should be a Health care proffetionals like Docters and hospital consultants it's not fair on us who are I'll to work to be traumatised by this and getting Assessed by someone who knows medicine but not a person's nature of illness and how it's effecting a individual and what they are going through mentally and physically 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Arthur · 7 months ago
    So following the DWP's logic we should now expect to see Pharmacists Physiotherapists,Paramedics and Occupational Therapists?working as Dr's or Psychiatrists. Of course the general public would not accept this. The politicians and the press would whip a storm over it.
    But no one says a thing if it's Benefit claimants who will be assessed by people unqualified to do so. A pharmacist or Physiotherapist will now make assessments on people's mental and physical health with zero training. They aren't Drs.

  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mrs Price · 7 months ago
    I don't think they are qualified anoth  their training are with med's  Not people 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Fred · 7 months ago
    How about we let vets do the PIP assessments?

    They are degree-qualified medical professionals, or perhaps they would better employed putting the dying dog, I mean conservative party, out of its misery

    Next thing you know, it will be your GP receptionist doing your PIP assessment while you try to make an appointment with your GP

    Not enough GP receptionists?

    Ok, Capita will except any one First-Aid trained, especially if they have their own clipboard

    and after that, they will default to Boots store assistant in the health and beauty section
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      i have been refused mobility · 6 months ago
      @P.G. my doctors , consultants physio etc all are shocked that yet again i have been refused any mobility award on my pip i am unable to go out alone and need the aid of crutches / mobility scooter as cannot walk far due to chronic pain and fatigue all
      linked to my conditions as well as now suffering with anxiety and depression brought on by the restrictions my illnesses cause me they will never improve only worsen this time refused because i have driving licence but even then i have someone in car with le and do not drive for days weeks at a time due to bad flare ups i am housebound 95% of the time and can be bedbound 3 or more days in a week my elderly mother cooks my meals as i cannot weight bear for any significant length of time due to extreme fatigue and chronic pain this new decision has broken me entirely and feel like completely giving up on everything what justifies these accessors the qualifications to judge me over the phone as when they call i m in my safe space . this system does not work sadly i can now understand why some people feel so desperate to end their suffering i m only 49 and forced to quit working due to ill health and disability 😭
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Charlie · 7 months ago
      @Fred I am grinning from the absurdity of such a prospect. Ridiculous ideas, but given the stupidity of those in charge it's not impossible to expect it to descend into farce as Fred has highlighted. If I took my car to a garage for an mot, and the cleaner carried out the task I'd be livid, wouldn't you? Well that's the equivalent of getting a pharmacist to check you over. Wrong skill set. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      P.G. · 7 months ago
      @Fred You are not wrong! My dentist, my optometrist AND my vet (yes, vet!) know more about M.E. than any of the GPs at my practice! 
We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.