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Employment and Support Allowance: Medical Examinations

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what minimum professional qualification is required of those who carry out work capability assessments for her Department. (305266)

Atos healthcare doctors must be fully registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) without current or previous restrictions, conditions or warnings and hold a licence to practice from the date the GMC issues licences. In addition they must have at least three years post full registration (GMC or EEA—European Economic Area equivalent) experience as a minimum. Alternatively for non-EU graduates, three years post full registration experience in the doctors native country is required. In individual cases, solely at the discretion of the Chief Medical Advisor (CMA), the requirements that no conditions or warnings be attached to registration and that the doctor must have a minimum of three years post registration experience, may be waived.

Atos healthcare nurses must be fully registered (level 1) Registered General Nurses without current or previous restrictions or cautions with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. In addition they must have at least three years post full registration experience. In individual cases, solely at the discretion of the CMA, the requirements that no cautions be attached to registration and that the nurse must have a minimum of three years post registration experience, may be waived.

Atos healthcare doctors and nurses are specifically trained to provide decision making authorities with independent, accurate and authoritative advice and reports on the effects of disability.

The CMA approves Healthcare Professionals to carry out assessments. Approval is dependent on strict recruitment criteria, completion of a course of training in disability assessment medicine approved by the CMA and evidence of satisfactory performance.