I am pleased to announce that Dr Paul Litchfield, the chief medical officer for BT, has been appointed to carry out the fourth of the five independent reviews of the work capability assessment (WCA) required by the Welfare Reform Act 2007.
The review will continue the process started by Professor Malcolm Harrington to refine the WCA to better identify those who are capable of work over the short and medium term and those who will require longer-term financial support.
Dr Paul Litchfield is chief medical officer and director of health, safety and wellbeing for BT, a post he has held since 2001. His fields of expertise include mental illness and the impact it can have on work prospects. As a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council, he has also played a key role in raising the profile of the economic impact of chronic disease.
An independent scrutiny group, chaired by Professor David Haslam—past president of the Royal College of General Practitioners, national professional adviser to the Care Quality Commission, and chair designate of the National Institute for Health and Excellence (NICE)—will oversee the review process.
Dr Litchfield replaces Professor Malcolm Harrington as independent reviewer. Professor Harrington’s third review, published in November 2012, found that real progress has been made to improve the WCA.
Dr Litchfield will present his report to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions before the end of 2013.