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Industrial Diseases: Compensation

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria have been agreed with examining doctors for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee in coal miners and former coal miners; and what steps her Department has taken to advise examining doctors of these criteria. (295709)

[holding answer 28 October 2009]: ATOS Healthcare has provided guidance to the examining doctors about the diagnosis and assessment of osteoarthritis of the knee in underground coal miners which takes account of the recommendations of the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council.

Following receipt of a claim, a Jobcentre Plus decision maker will decide whether the claimant satisfies the occupational criteria for the prescribed disease. If the prescription is satisfied, a referral is made to ATOS Healthcare who will request any previous X-rays and/or any relevant hospital letters relating to the condition. All claimants are subsequently examined by a doctor working for ATOS Healthcare. The doctor will, through a combination of history and examination findings, provide advice to the decision maker as to whether the condition is diagnosed, and if it is, on the level of disablement with reference to a person of the same age and sex whose physical and mental condition is normal.