Fit for Assessment

B. Adams made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

DWP .. Guidance for HCP's states ..

“Speaking to relatives or carers attending the assessment with the claimant makes it possible to correct false impressions given by the claimant who may be confused as to the actual amount of help needed. This situation can apply if the claimant is elderly, has severe learning difficulties, or a mental illness . Those with disability due to a mental impairment may not be clear of their actual care and mobility needs”.

As there appears to be a recognition that there are possible flaws in the answers given by claimants due to their medical conditions,which are used to help make a decision, (obviously if this was not taken into account then the claimants disabilities would actually be used against themselves), then please could you provide me with..

1) Information/guidance as to the procedures to be carried out if no other person attends or if the person accompanying the claimant at the assessment is not in a position to provide and/or to correct the required information and no such future help is likely.

2) The guidance/procedures which the DWP have in place, once possible problems have been notified either through the claimants own information (ESA50) or by further evidence GP etc..

Please could you also include the following in that information

a) what consideration is given to the claimants inabilities at the early stages when it is being decided whether to require them to attend an assessment..
b) What guidance is given to the HCP in view of the notified difficulties e.g. are the answers given by the claimant at the assessment to be classed as unreliable and disregarded or..
c) Are the answers given by the claimant to be classed as reliable and used to help make the decision, or alternatively ...
d) Does the HCP operate partiality in the assessment, by selectively deciding and accepting as correct or relevant only certain answers or parts of answers given by the claimant..

3) As the DWP would have knowledge in advance of possible problems that the claimant has in orally communicating information adequately, (ESA50 etc) what policy or guidance does the DWP have in place to provide reasonable adjustments in such circumstances at the assessment. e.g. any adjustments which ensures that the claimant is not disadvantaged or suffers a loss of benefit due to their disabilities.

Yours faithfully,

B. Adams

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear DWP freedom-of-information-requests,

Could I remind you that your response is now overdue.

Yours sincerely,

B. Adams

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Adams

Please find enclosed a response to your request for information 
under the Freedom of Information Act by the Medical Services Contract
Correspondence Team Freedom of Information Officer, who apologises
for the delay in providing you with a response.

<<ESA_Filework_Guidelines_V7 Final.pdf>> <<3844-3583 Mr Adams
Response.pdf>>
Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessment (Operations) Team, Department for Work
and Pensions, Room 306, Block 3, Norcross, Norcross Lane, Blackpool,
FY5 3TA

Please consider the environment before printing

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B. Adams left an annotation ()

I GIVE UP....

J Newman left an annotation ()

What DWP cannot bring itself to say is an honest "none". The only option therefore is to appears to miss the point. If they cannot see the point, they should not be making the decisions they are making.

B. Adams left an annotation ()

I don't know if it is incompetence or a deliberate avoidance of the question. The information supplied by them (which I already have) omits certain people with difficulties giving accurate answers, because of their conditions or medication and yet this is used to make the decision. A persons conditions being used against themselves..They seem unable to give any additional information on this,(or have none as you say), so I presume it is never taken into account in those cases and the assessment is flawed.

Dear DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence,

Your response does not provide the information requested which was specific to the problems outlined. Please could you provide the information with relevance to the DWP procedural requirements in these circumstance and with regard to the Equality Act 2010 Guidance. (extract below)

Schedule 1, paragraph 12 to the Act requires that an adjudicating body which is determining for any purpose of the Act whether a person is a disabled person, must take into account any aspect of this guidance which appears to it to be relevant.
Schedule 1, Para 12 defines an ‘adjudicating body’ as a court, tribunal, or a person (other than a court or tribunal) who may decide a claim relating to a contravention of Part 6

Yours sincerely,

B. Adams

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Adams

Please see your FOI response attached


Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and
Pensions/Room 306/Block 31/Norcross/Norcross Lane/Blackpool/FY5 3TA

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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 'Fit for Assessment'.

Although the reviewing officer has made a decision in your last reply, my request made on 7th December was not a request for a review however this one is....

With reference to your failure to provide the information required

Q1.. As the answer is not contained in the information you provided, then I presume that you have no procedures or guidance in place for when a person is unable to provide the information required due to their disabilities. Could you confirm this.

Q2 .. Asks ...What considerations are given during the scrutiny of the ESA50 with regards to the notification that a person is unable to provide reliable answers. What guidance is given to the assessing HCP by the scrutinising HCP about possible flawed answers. Are such answers to be treated as reliable. Do you operate partiality by deciding that certain answers may be correct.

Again as the answers are not contained in the information you provided, then I presume that you have no procedures or guidance in place. Could you confirm this...

Q3.. Part of it asks .. What policy or guidance does the DWP have in place to provide reasonable adjustments in such circumstances at the assessment. e.g. any adjustments which ensures that the claimant is not disadvantaged or suffers a loss of benefit due to their disabilities.

This too has not been answered in relation to the introductory descriptive paragraphs in the initial request, giving the presumption that you have no such guidance, policy or procedures in place. Could you confirm this.

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

Yours faithfully,

B. Adams

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.

By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.

Should you 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 DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Mr Adams

Please see attached reply to your Freedom of Information request

Many Thanks

Business Management Team | Department for Work and Pensions | Contracted Customer Services Directorate | DWP Operations | Room 306, Block 3, Norcross, Norcross Lane, Blackpool FY5 3TA | www.dwp.gov.uk | Please consider the environment before printing

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B. Adams left an annotation ()

DWP Response .."There is no compulsion for claimants with mental function problems to complete the Limited Capability for Work questionnaire ESA50".

"HCPs are registered medical or nursing practitioners who have in depth knowledge of the practices and principles of diagnostic techniques" .

Strange.. diagnosis is not within the scope of general nurses...

Dear DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence,

Could you clarify the following information contained in your response...

1) You state .. ."There is no compulsion for claimants with mental function problems to complete the Limited Capability for Work questionnaire ESA50".... I would presume that this does not provide any exemption for those claimants, but alternatively allows another person to fill the ESA50 in on the claimants behalf.. Is this correct?

2) You state .."HCPs are registered medical or nursing practitioners who have in depth knowledge of the practices and principles of diagnostic techniques" .... As a Disability Analyst is not included in the Nursing and Midwifery Council Registration “recordable qualifications”, then what additional qualification enables the nurse to achieve the title “nursing practitioner” which is a standard of proficiency for a level beyond initial registration..

3) With regards to the part “in depth knowledge of the practices and principles of diagnostic techniques” …

a)What relevance does this have in the assessment process, and
b) as the scope of a nurses on initial registration does not include diagnosis or prognosis, when do they obtain this in depth knowledge?

Yours sincerely,

B. Adams

Dear DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence,

In additional to the above request for clarification, could you also clarify this part.....

Continued..

4) You state.. “When a claimant has a mental function problem, DWP identify these cases in their referral to Atos Healthcare at the commencement of the WCA process”.... In other FOI requests you state....”In order to establish a claimant’s entitlement to ESA, the DWP Decision Maker (DM) will make a referral to the Medical Services Contractor to issue a Limited Capability for Work questionnaire (ESA50)”....

This would indicate that as the ESA50 has not been completed at the referral stage, the DM would have no knowledge of the claimants mental function problems. The ESA 50 is returned to Atos and as described in the other FOI requests,... “the HCP will at that stage decide if a face to face WCA is required”.

Please could you clarify your statement.. how the DWP identifies when a claimant has a mental function problem in their referral to Atos Healthcare at the commencement of the WCA process, when no such information is yet available..

Yours sincerely,

B. Adams

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Adams

Please see your FOI response attached

<<0518 Adams final response.pdf>>

Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and
Pensions/Room 306/Block 31/Norcross/Norcross Lane/Blackpool/FY5 3TA

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Dear DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence,

Thank you for clarifying the fact that for claimants with mental health conditions the Department do not compel the claimant to complete the (ESA50) questionnaire. Nor is there any compulsion for anyone to assist them.

a) Could you provide a copy or link to the regulations/procedural guidance which relates to this.

Could you clarify these final points in which you state …...”They obtain this information from the claimant’s Statement of Fitness for work medical certificate (Med 3) which has been completed by their GP at the onset of their claim. There are no circumstances when “no such information” is available”.

b) If the claimant develops mental health problems during long term incapacity whereby a Fitness for Work certificate is no longer required, how is this then achieved?

c) Could you answer my request for clarification Q3b... “As the scope of a nurses on initial registration does not include diagnosis or prognosis, when do they obtain this in depth knowledge”?

Yours sincerely,

B. Adams

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

2 Attachments

Mr Adams

Please see attached reply to your Freedom of Information request

Many Thanks

Business Management Team | Department for Work and Pensions | Contracted Customer Services Directorate | DWP Operations | Room 306, Block 3, Norcross, Norcross Lane, Blackpool FY5 3TA | www.dwp.gov.uk | Please consider the environment before printing

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Dear DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence,

In my FOI requests (ref 3958) along with this one and numerous others, you make repeated claims that HCP's have detailed knowledge of diagnostic techniques,... You state “the Health Care Professionals will have detailed knowledge of the principles and practice of relevant diagnostic techniques and therefore such information is not contained in this training module”.

I request again that you supply the information.
As nurses on initial registration are not qualified to give a diagnosis could you provide details of....

a) the training received by Atos which enables them to provide a diagnosis.

b) Also please supply a copy of the training manuals and other relevant information.

If nurses receive no such additional training then please just say so....

Yours sincerely,

B. Adams

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Adams

Please see your FOI response attached

<<FoI 1300 Adams B (WDTK) response.pdf>>

Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and
Pensions/Room 306/Block 31/Norcross/Norcross Lane/Blackpool/FY5 3TA

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B. Adams left an annotation ()

Repeatedly stated by DWP “the Health Care Professionals will have detailed knowledge of the principles and practice of relevant diagnostic techniques.. Even though nurses are not trained in diagnosis and the DWP reply confirms “Atos Healthcare does not provide specific training in the area of diagnosis”.

J Newman left an annotation ()

First they don’t then they do depending on which question you ask. I did ask DWP to explain the contradiction and their answer was that there isn’t one. So after all black is indeed white.

taryn taylor left an annotation ()

May be someone needs to take a "healthcare professional "to court personally? Then the HCP will have to satisfy the courts that they truly are capable & have relevant qualifications.
I don't think that the DWP really care whether anyone is "qualified" or not. And whether they do have. Without any compassion /humanity, they will never understand the impact of living with a disability/illness or disease." The term "qualified" implies that they are "all knowing."? Which they are not!
It may help if they actually employ some disabled people to help?