This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Neurologically trained HCP's'.

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 ‘if 
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-scheduled’.  

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 
Healthcare?  
 
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 
person’s personal data. This information cannot be disclosed in accordance with Section 40 of 
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as disclosure would breach that person’s 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 doctor’s right to privacy against 
the public's right to know they are qualified for the task. In this, the criteria for a HCP’s 
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 person’s 
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  Assessment 
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 
HCPs.  
 
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 
Licence (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/). 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-
licensing-framework.htm
 .  
 
Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining 
permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Office’s 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 “sans” which has been interpreted as meaning 
“without” we have therefore interpreted your question to read How many nurses and 
physiotherapists are currently employed by Atos Healthcare without three years post full 
registration experience?  
 
In response to Q 8 there are no nurses or physiotherapists employed with under 3 years 
experience.  
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number 
above.    
 
 
DWP Central FoI Team 
 

 
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