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Incapacity Benefit: Medical Examinations

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements are in place for the medical assessment of persons in receipt of incapacity benefit; which companies are used to carry out such assessments; what the terms of reference for such assessments are; and how their fees are calculated. (219450)

The arrangements in place for the medical assessment of persons in receipt of incapacity benefits are for a health care professional to provide an independent, impartial opinion on the medical aspects of the claim. The evidence they provide forms just one part of the evidence that the Department for Work and Pensions decision maker uses to decide entitlement. The company used to carry out these medical assessments is Atos Healthcare, a division of Atos Origin IT Services Ltd.

The terms of reference for medical assessments are included in the Medical Services contract. A copy of the contract, excluding those paragraphs which are considered commercially sensitive, is available in the Library.

The health care professionals who conduct the medical assessments are employed by Atos Healthcare. The remuneration received by Atos Healthcare employees is a matter between Atos Healthcare and its employees.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many persons in receipt of incapacity benefit were required to attend a medical assessment in the last year for which figures are available; and what the cost of such assessments was. (219452)

The information is not available in the format requested. In the year April 2007 to March 2008, 535,077 medical assessments were completed for incapacity benefits customers.

The individual unit price for such assessments is held commercial in confidence.