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Standards not only for disability living allowance reports

9 June 2005

Benefits and Work has now obtained a 31 page guide to the IMPACT contract written for the use of doctors carrying out audits of medical reports. We can reveal that the previously secret list of standards that doctors’ reports are required to meet applies not only to DLA and AA reports but to all medical reports produced by Atos Origin for the DWP. Failure to meet any one of these key requirements makes a report “unacceptable” for use by the DWP and should lead to it being rejected by decision makers and no payment of taxpayers money being made.

The attributes listed in our previous article, Secret DLA doctor’s standards revealed , such as the report being legible, are generic attributes and apply to all medical reports, including IB85 reports produced as part of the Personal Capability Assessment used to decide if a claimant is fit for work. In addition, each type of medical report has another set of attributes specific to that type of medical.

DLA specific attributes
So for example, as well as being required to display the generic attributes, an Examining Medical Practitioner (EMP) report for DLA will be only be acceptable if there is an “Appropriate clinical and past history recorded”. In addition, unless the “Examination covers all known conditions” it will not be acceptable – most welfare rights workers will have come across EMP reports where one or more of the claimants disabling conditions doesn’t get a mention in the EMP report.

Incapacity specific attributes
In addition to the generic attributes, an IB85 medical report for the PCA must show that “Variability issues [are] addressed” and that “Inconsistencies [are] dealt with clearly”. Yet failure to record a details of variability, or failure to consider variability when looking at the “sometimes” descriptors such as “Sometimes cannot rise from sitting to standing without holding onto something” is very common. Moreover, the new computer generated medical reports seem to throw up inconsistencies on a regular basis which the examining doctor doesn’t appear to even be aware of, let alone have dealt with.

Getting a copy of the standards.
We are currently seeking permission to publish a full set of the standards doctors are supposed to adhere to. Unfortunately, having very recently been refused permission to publish a copy of the Guidance for Examining Medical Practitioners, we are not confident of success. However, in the Benefits Brief section we have now published a simple email you can copy, paste and send in seconds in order to obtain your own 31 page copy of the guidance to the IMPACT contract.