The doctors who are contracted by Atos Healthcare to carry out personal capability assessments on behalf of this Department receive comprehensive benefit-specific training across the full range of conditions and disabilities, including mental health conditions, before they can carry out medical examinations, assessments or give advice regarding benefit claims.
The training enables them to carry out personal capability assessments whatever the customer's condition or disability, as it concentrates on gathering and evaluating information and using it to determine and explain the functional effects of a person's condition so that a decision maker can use that information to decide entitlement to benefit. Doctors are only approved to carry out this work once they have demonstrated full competence, and the quality of their work will continue to be monitored to maintain high standards. Specific training modules are delivered that cover mental health problems and doctors are provided with evidence-based medicine guidance modules in specific mental health conditions and on learning disabilities.
In the 12 months to September 2007, Atos Healthcare undertook 528,380 personal capability assessments. Information about the number of assessments that were reviewing mental or physical health is not available as it is not possible to break the figure down by incapacity.