DMs' Medical Training

J Newman made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

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The request was successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

You have explained that “The training provided for Decision Makers is intended to improve their background knowledge of medical conditions.”

Can you please tell me where I can find the corresponding course syllabus for this aspect of their training?

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear J Newman

Please see attached response to your FoI request 309

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'DMs' Medical Training'.

Given that you say you provide training on an ongoing basis, I cannot believe the content of this element is not readily available, particularly given the importance you say it has.

If you cannot provide evidence that it does exist, by default it does not and any reference to it is a deception.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dm...

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear J Newman

Please see attached response to your FoI request IR 61

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'DMs' Medical Training'.

As this training is ongoing and course material must be kept up to date and readily available, I cannot accept it takes so long to copy a few files to email to me. Please send me as much information as you can put together within the £600 constraint.

Using your own "evidence based" philosophy, without any evidence, it does not exist.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dm...

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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References

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Newman,

Please find attached response to your request.

Regards,

The Central FoI Team

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'DMs' Medical Training'.

Let me explain why this issue is so important.

You always insist that DMs only make decisions over ESA payments, implying that their role is purely administrative. This is not the case in reality, as this decision stems directly from the decision as to whether a person is fit for work. You point out that Atos HCPs (which is the only place in the process that there is any medical expertise), only make recommendations, so the FFW decision must be made by the DM. This in turn means that complex and potentially conflicting medical evidence and data is being judged by someone who has no formal medical training whatsoever.

Furthermore, you carefully point out that neither Atos HCPs nor DMs are qualified to prescribe treatment and this responsibility remains in the hands of the GP/consultant. However, in countermanding the recommendations of the NHS experts you are in effect redefining a recovery programme. By doing this you are of course re-prescribing treatment. You cannot possibly deny that this is the case.

Within the NHS, there is no way that an untrained member of staff would be allowed to not only influence, but dictate a patient’s recovery programme and no matter how you attempt to craft the wording, that is EXACTLY what you are doing here. I am sure you would not be happy to visit your GP for advice only to then find it was moderated by the receptionist.

You also claim that in focussing on functionality, understanding of the condition itself is unnecessary. How then do you judge the two key elements of an assessment that cannot be reliably accommodated within the WCA itself, namely:

•Task repeatability and more importantly,

•Condition variability – you have no way of knowing the variation between a good day from a bad day without an intimate knowledge of the illness itself?

The answer of course is that you cannot.

I therefore have several issues with this IR (IR 61):

1. It is dated 17th Feb, but only became available today. Please republish with the correct date.

2. I’m afraid (with all due respect) your list is not evidence of existence and does not explain the depth to which any of these topics are covered.

3. The material I have requested may only be hosted internally, but it is perfectly possible to extract electronic copies and email them to me, so please do this.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dm...

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Newman,

Please see attached response to your Internal Review request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

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Jim Otram left an annotation ()

So they have a wealth of computerised material and are prepared to divulge none of it.

This just makes a mockery of FoI, in my view, John.

Still, 'Customer Case Management Guidance' is available to 'Decision Makers, is it now. That has just given me an idea for a further, very specific request.

J Newman left an annotation ()

Already lodged this with ICO. I thought if I was completely open about why I want to know, they would be a bit more forthcoming.

As I see it, it is either in regular use (and therefore easily accessible or archived (and therefore rarely used). I suspect the reality is that it lacks substance - embarrassingly so.

Jim Otram left an annotation ()

It would also appear that part of the response to you was very specifically misleading, John.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/se...

I find that disgraceful and I hope you may be able to interest the ICO on this score as well in due course.

Jarvis Jay PROFESSIONAL SERVICES IGSD, Department for Work and Pensions

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Newman,

Please see attached.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team


I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work
and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'DMs' Medical Training'.

Given that you say you provide training on an ongoing basis, I
cannot believe the content of this element is not readily
available, particularly given the importance you say it has.

If you cannot provide evidence that it does exist, by default it
does not and any reference to it is a deception.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dm...

Yours faithfully,

J Newman



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Jim Otram left an annotation ()

John, many congratulations on getting the ICO to show a few teeth, here.

Certainly encouraging news for Enquirers all.

And I guess you have a brand new 'shopping list, from the response now forced out of 'em!

Quite made my day.

P.S this might come in handy:-

From section 3, FoI Act...

... (2) For the purposes of this Act, information is held by a public authority if— .

(a) it is held by the authority, otherwise than on behalf of another person, or .
(b) it is held by another person on behalf of the authority.

J Newman left an annotation ()

What a malarkey. I even feel a smidgen of guilt over what this has cost. And Grayling talks about saving money – he needs to take a long hard look over his shoulder.

J Newman left an annotation ()

Just a closing comment for anyone passing this way.

It is of course regrettable that it took the intervention of the ICO to resolve this.

That aside, going back to the original question about Decision Makers’ medical knowledge and the claim that it has improved, the answer is they have none (or at least no more than you or me) and the training includes very little that might improve it. It is of course a forlorn hope – to even attempt to teach such a varied and complex subject in a few hours and as everyone knows, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

There are a number of questions DWP simply cannot address:

1) The ESA decision is a direct result of the decision over my capability to work, so it is the latter that is key. Who makes it? The HCP only makes a recommendation and as it is medically based, it can’t be the DM.

2) Condition variability and pain cannot be comprehensively observed during a single WCA and an HCP MUST test/validate (rather than ignore) symptoms listed on the ESA50 – genuinely a difficult dilemma. However, it is somewhat easier if one of the people involved has an in depth knowledge of the clinical condition. They can then at least then see if the ESA50 description fits within the normal range expected. This is too much to ask (with all due respect) of a physiotherapist, nurse or DWP Decision Maker.

3) Working is apparently good for my overall well-being and placing me in a (hypothetical) wheelchair improves my mobility and chances of getting a job. It therefore follows that being consigned to a wheelchair must improve my overall well-being. Is this really what DWP is suggesting – that you are better off in a wheelchair than not???
Also, DWP & Atos say they have no skill or power to prescribe treatment or aids - ????? Have you ever seen such an absurdly contradictory fudge? They will even maintain this position if one’s GP/consultant specifically advises against the use of a wheelchair.

4) Even if being in a wheelchair does improve my mobility on level ground, how then to I complete the 2-step test? The logic seems to be that I hop out of the wheelchair, negotiate the steps on foot and then set off again – but hang on, I haven’t got my wheelchair any longer..................

5) My GP & I are too blinkered or stupid to realise what is in my best interests or we are conspiring to defraud the state, so our opinions cannot be trusted. There is therefore no point whatsoever in asking me directly what I would like to do, what I think I could cope with and having an open discussion about both. If the HCP thinks I have the wrong perspective, why not explain it to me at the time. It may take a while to run off an ESA85, but if the HCP has done their job properly, they should have no qualms about giving me their opinion there and then. If there is something they have not quite grasped I then have the chance to clarify immediately and avoid a long and costly appeal.

6) DMs apparently take account of more information than the HCP has, some of which could be medically complex. With no medical knowledge, how on earth can they correctly evaluate it? Of course they cannot.

This charade HAS to be maintained to justify the current WCA ‘model’. An acceptance of any one of these issues undermines this model to the point it falls apart and where would we be then?