number of DWP ESA decisions made that differ from ATOS medical recommendation

Simon Aronson made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

The request was successful.

From: Simon Aronson

8 August 2011

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Regarding ATOS Healthcare's medical assessments for ESA.

I am aware that "Benefit entitlement is determined by DWP decision
makers not Approved Healthcare Professionals. In order to make a
decision on benefit entitlement the Decision Maker considers all
the available evidence not just the reports received from Atos
Healthcare. Other evidence may include the customer's `self
assessment', reports from GPs, hospital doctors and health care
professionals."

Would you please provide me with:

1) The number of decisions made by the DWP that overturn the ATOS
Medical Assessment since ATOS began providing these medicals.

2) The number of decisions made by the DWP that conform to the ATOS
Medical Assessment since ATOS began providing these medicals.

Many thanks,

Yours faithfully,
Simon Aronson

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

8 August 2011

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

6 September 2011

Dear Mr Aronson,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 8 August 2011
that was received by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and
forwarded for response by DWP Commercial Management of Medical Services
Freedom of Information Officer.

In your email you asked to be provided with information answering the
following questions:-
Regarding ATOS Healthcare's medical assessments for ESA. I am aware that
"Benefit entitlement is determined by DWP decision makers not Approved
Healthcare Professionals. In order to make a decision on benefit
entitlement the Decision Maker considers all the available evidence not
just the reports received from Atos Healthcare. Other evidence may
include the customer's `self assessment', reports from GPs, hospital
doctors and health care professionals."
Would you please provide me with:
1. The number of decisions made by the DWP that overturn the ATOS
Medical Assessment since ATOS began providing these medicals.
2. The number of decisions made by the DWP that conform to the
ATOS Medical Assessment since ATOS began providing these medicals.
In answer to your questions I can inform you that since Employment and
Support Allowance (ESA) commenced in October 2008 and up to 31 May 2011,
there have been 1,139,944 ESA medical assessments undertaken.

Anyone claiming ESA will undergo the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
The WCA is based on the premise that eligibility should not be based on
a person's condition, but rather on the way that condition limits their
functional capability. Following the WCA, Atos Healthcare's Healthcare
Professional (HCP) provides a recommendation of the claimant's
eligibility for ESA. The final decision on ESA benefit entitlement is
made by a DWP Decision Maker (DM) informed by advice from the Atos
Healthcare HCP and other available evidence.

For ESA claims starting between October 2008 and August 2010, Atos
Healthcare has recommended that 233,700 should be assessed as being in
the Support Group or the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG), following
their first WCA. The DM's, taking the Atos recommendation into account
along with any other relevant information, decided that 500 of these
claims should be assessed as being fit for work.

For the same time period, Atos Healthcare recommended 467,200 claims as
being fit for work after the initial WCA. The DM's decided that 18,000
of these claims should be assessed as being in the Support Group or
WRAG.

All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. Data comes from
administrative data held by the DWP and functional assessment data
received from Atos Healthcare. ESA was introduced in October 2008, the
latest data covers all ESA claims that started before August 2010.

The Department regularly publishes data on ESA and the WCA, the latest
report was released in July 2011 and is available on the internet here:
http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingag...
_arc

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

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