Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
Previously a FOI request was made for the names of the DWP Medical Panel, followed by an internal review and subsequently a request from the Information Commissioner's Office before the information was finally released.
This is noted below:
Dr. D. Coker 2613921
Dr. A. Davie 1347294
Dr. S. Fairhead 3012693
Dr. N. Flanagan 0256650
Dr. M. Gay 2269140
Dr. P. Houghton 1711268
Dr. T. Nixon 1475007
Dr. R. Taylor 1551909
I would like to ask some additional questions regarding the panel:
1) Could you explain the role of these doctors. Specifically, are these doctors 'Examining Medical Practitioners' (EMPs) that visit claimants homes to conduct examinations, or are they a panel who's sole purpose is to provide DWP Decision Makers with 'Medical Advice' (such as clarification of medical reports)?
2) Are the doctors listed above employed by the DWP/ATOS 'Full-Time' (i.e Their main employment) or are they 'contracted' by the DWP/ATOS and therefore their main employment is elsewhere (e.g. They are a GP at a local surgery)?
Please provide this information for each doctor listed above, such as: ATOS full-time, local GP, Consultant, etc.
3) I can only find information on how an EMP operates.
Therefore, can you please explain how a request for 'Medical Advice' (such as clarification of medical reports) from a Decision Maker is made and then fulfilled by the doctor.
Specifically, what information and documentation is sent from the Decision Maker to the doctor (e.g. only the request form, or a copy of the entire claim file, etc) and does the doctor have access to any additional information on the claimant?
4) For all of the doctors mentioned above, could you please supply their 'main' work address. To clarify, I mean the physical address that they work from full-time.
Therefore, if they work for ATOS full-time that would be the ACTUAL address where they are based (as opposed to a generic ATOS address) and if they are a GP, the address of the surgery where they are based (and again not an ATOS Medical Services address).
In the event that a doctor only works from home and no other address, please write this in place of an address since it is the only piece of personal information in this FOI request, thus covered under the Data Protection Act.
Not only is it important this information is available under the Freedom of Information Act (as upheld by the Information Commissioner), but in the case of those also working as GP's, for example, we are legally entitled to make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act for any and all personal information held about us at that specific premises/address.
I note that requests to the DWP, to ATOS, and to the place where the doctor works (e.g. GP Surgery) are all independent of each other, and the law/regulations stipulate that a request must be made directly (rather than via third-party) and in writing.
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