To Mr J Collins
C/o [FOI #119372 email]
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
e-mail: [DWP request email]
Our Ref: 3458-2452
DATE 10 September 2012
Dear Mr Collins,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request that was received by the Department for
Work and Pensions (DWP) Adelphi on18 June 2012 and forwarded on for response by DWP
Medical Services Contracts Correspondence Team (MSCCT) Freedom of Information Officer.
In your email you asked to be provided with information answering the following questions:-
Thank you for reponse to my earlier FoI REF: VTR 3291-1960. Your department stated that âif
a WCA is commenced by a nurse who is not neurologically trained, and alerted to a
neurological medical condition(s) then the WCA will be terminated and a suitably trained HCP
will be sought to conduct the WCA, if no suitably trained HCP is available to conduct the WCA
the claimant will be sent home, and the WCA re-scheduledâ.
1. Am I correct in understanding then that not all nurses and physiotherapists who conduct
Work Capability Assessments (WCA) are neurologically trained?
2. Is this an additional qualification to the Disability Assessment Medicine Training (DAM)?
3. How does one ascertain if the examining HCP possess said qualification? Concerning
the above question am I correct in my understanding that such personal information
concerning qualifications other than the DAM cannot be accessed by the claimant due
to protecting the HCP's right to privacy under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998?
4. How long does the course/training take until the HCP is proficient in identifying and
assessing neurological conditions?
5. Can you provide me with the separate applicable pdf version of the applicable training
course relating to neurological conditions? (I already possess the HCP WCA manual).
6. I would like to add a further question. Am I correct in understanding that after qualifying
as a level one Registered General Nurse with a clean record nurses can subsequently
apply to become a HCP without the mandatory three years post full registration
experience (i.e. little or no experience working in for example a NHS hospital etc) at the
discretion of the DWP Chief Medical Advisor?
7. How many nurses without the required three years post full registration experience has
the DWP Chief Medical Advisor waived in relation to them becoming HCP's for Atos
8. How many nurses and physiotherapists are currently employed by Atos Healthcare
sans three years post full registration experience?
In answer to Q 1
you are correct in your understanding that not all nurses and physiotherapists
who conduct Work Capability Assessments (WCA) are neurologically trained?
In reply to Q 2
Disability Assessment Medicine Training (DAM) is a qualification offered by the
Faculty of Occupational Medicine open to doctors only. Neurological training for nurses is one
of the approved training WCA training courses and not a qualification.
In response to Q 3
you are correct in your understanding that such personal information
concerning qualifications other than the DAM cannot be accessed by the claimant due to
protecting the HCP's right to privacy under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 this is because
we cannot supply any further information relating to qualifications. Information relating to post-
graduate qualifications of an HCP, which are held by Atos Healthcare, constitutes that
personâs personal data. This information cannot be disclosed in accordance with Section 40 of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as disclosure would breach that personâs right to privacy
under the DPA 1998. This is an absolute exemption and does not require a public interest test.
In considering this exemption, the Department has balanced a doctorâs right to privacy against
the public's right to know they are qualified for the task. In this, the criteria for a HCPâs
qualification for the post are provided whenever asked. It is not, however, relevant to provide
details that go beyond those needed to show the person is qualified to be a HCP, particularly
as further qualifications and previous employment details do not impact of a personâs
qualification for the role as a HCP. As such the HCP will have a reasonable expectation that
their privacy will be protected under the DPA.
In reply to Q 4
Doctors are approved to assess neurological conditions, as with all other
conditions, at the end of their 7 day new entrant training course. After completion of the
training, they are subject to audit requirements to ensure quality.
Physiotherapists are approved to assess specific neurological conditions at the end of their 21
day new entrant training course. After completion of the training, they are subject to audit
requirements to ensure quality.
Nurses complete an 18 day new entrant training course. They subsequently undergo further
training in order to assess specific neurological conditions. This training includes:
1) Pre-course reading and a MCQ to assess their knowledge.
2) Face to face training for a day and a half and 2 further competency tests. After completion
of the training, nurses are subject to audit requirements to ensure quality.
In response to Q 5
please find attached the relevant pre-course training material
of Neurological Conditions for Registered Nurses.
This requested document has been produced as part of a programme for approved Healthcare
Professionals (HCPs) to carry out medical assessments. All HCPs undertaking these medical
assessments must be registered medical or nursing practitioners who in addition, have
undergone training in disability assessment medicine and more specific training. The training
includes theory training in a classroom setting, supervised practical training, and a
demonstration of understanding as assessed by quality audit. This document must be read
with the understanding that, as experienced medical or nursing practitioners, the HCPs will
have detailed knowledge of the principles and practice of diagnostic techniques and therefore
such information is not contained in these documents. In addition, this is not a stand-alone
document, and forms only a part of the training and written documentation that a HCP
receives. As disability assessment is a practical occupation, much of the guidance also
involves verbal information and coaching. Thus, although the documents may be of interest to
non-medical readers, some of the information may not be readily understood without
background medical knowledge and an awareness of the other training and guidance given to
The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it
for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research, and for any
other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except
photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of
news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the
permission of the copyright holder.
Most documents produced by the DWP and/or Atos Healthcare will be protected by Crown
Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under the Open Government
). For information
about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives website -http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/uk-gov-
Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining
permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Officeâs website at www.ipo.gov.uk
In answer to Q 6
there is a contractual obligation which is Nurses must be fully registered (level 1)
Registered General Nurses without current or previous restrictions or cautions with the Nursing and
Midwifery Council (NMC). In addition they must have at least 3 years post full registration experience.
In individual cases, solely at the discretion of the DWP Chief Medical Advisor (CMA), the requirements
that no cautions be attached to registration and that the nurse must have a minimum of 3 years post
registration experience, may be waived. And nurses can apply if they don't meet these
requirements, but it is then subject to the CMA's approval if they are employed.
In reply to Q 7
this information is not collated. The CMA must be satisfied that a HCP is
suitably qualified and successfully completes the training in DAM and there is evidence of
satisfactory performance before being approved.
Please note you have used the French word âsansâ which has been interpreted as meaning
âwithoutâ we have therefore interpreted your question to read How many nurses and
physiotherapists are currently employed by Atos Healthcare without three years post full
In response to Q 8
there are no nurses or physiotherapists employed with under 3 years
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
DWP Central FoI Team
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