Incapacity Benefit: Assessments

Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 12 July 2007.

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Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of his Department's progress in improving the adequacy of medical reports following recommendations made by the Committee of Public Accounts in its 27th Report of Session 2001-02.

Photo of Anne McGuire Anne McGuire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Considerable progress has been made since the Public Accounts Committee's report. The current contractor for medical services is ATOS Healthcare, and the contract for the provision of medical services now includes revised targets to help improve the quality of the medical reports as well as speed of response.

Training for the doctors involved has been improved and quality assurance arrangements have been enhanced. An IT system for the provision of evidence-based reports has been implemented. Sub-standard reports are returned to the contractor for rework. In addition, changes have now been made to legislation to allow for health care professionals, not just doctors, to carry out medical examinations, produce reports and to give advice across the range of disability benefits.

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