Social Security and Employment Support for Disabled People

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:05 pm on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 1:05 pm, 6th March 2019

Inevitably, we want to ensure that we make the process better. Each time I come to the Chamber, I describe the steps that we are taking. Specifically on the case of people with multiple sclerosis, or cases brought to me by people who feel that their conditions are not properly understood by healthcare professionals, I ensure that the healthcare professionals meet those people, that they look at the guidance together, and update it and the training used by the frontline people doing the assessments. We get positive feedback from that.

Every year, we look at independent research into the experience of people at the face-to-face assessments. It is really important to me that they feel that they are being listened to, and 89% of people said that the assessor had treated them with respect and dignity. In the high 80s, people are saying that they had time and felt listened to, and that they were able to—[Interruption.] That is still not 100%, which we are working towards, but it is important, because we do not want people outside listening to this debate feeling petrified about going to have an assessment. We know that the vast majority of people have a positive experience when they go along, but we are working continuously to ensure that we improve the process for everyone.