Hard Times: Work Capability Assessments

Our community reporter Spring Heeled Jack has written a series of short articles which we will share over the next few weeks.

Here is the latest installment of Hard Times.

Work Capability Assessments

The Work Capability Assessment was set up to test disabled people on their fitness and on having Limited Capability for Work.

However, this was regarded by the British Medical Association representing all doctors, as an utter sham.

The new test meant every claimant had to be reassessed with face to face interviews and medicals.

This was to be carried out by a nominated DWP approved health professional contracted by the department to conduct those medicals.

The information was initially gathered from an Employment and Support Allowance questionnaire known as the ESA50 form.

Results were then fed into the DWP LIMA computer system then passed to a DWP decision maker to make a judgement on an individual’s Limited Capability for Work.

Many people were found to be wrongly assessed and bad decisions were made where terminally ill people were found to have Limited Capability for Work.

Others with multiple chronic health conditions for several years were similarly judged to be capable of doing some form of work, but these claimants were completely incapable of following a normal life without the caring support from family and friends.

GPs and Consultants were very angry that extremely unwell patients were being found fit to work, although in the doctors’ medical opinion this was not the case.

The media picked up on the horror stories of claimants dying and committing suicide when being found fit to do some work and this shamed the coalition government to review the Work Capability Assessment.

However, this did not alter the fact that approved health professionals (AHPs), were paid by results, particularly by striking claimants’ off disability benefits, which was denied consistently by the DWP.

These health professionals were specially contracted by the DWP and to date are still paid at premium rates in comparison to the NHS staff at an equivalent band level.

In addition, qualified medical doctors continue to be paid at special rates, well in excess of their NHS colleagues.

All of this has not escaped the attention of the media and opposition MPs who have repeatedly complained at the waste of public funds and the new system, which just does not appear to be working effectively.

Article submitted by Spring Heeled Jack.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not the Digital Sentinel.

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