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An average of 3,500 work capability assessments (WCAs) for employment and support allowance (ESA) have been cancelled by medical assessors every week for the last five years, Labour MP Frank Field has revealed. The two main reasons for cancellations are staff shortages and a lack of recording equipment.

A staggering 2.1 million appointments have been cancelled in the last five years, with medical contractors, formerly Atos and now Maximus, being responsible for 940,000 of those cancellations.

For claimants a cancellation, often at the last minute or even when they have arrived at the assessment centre, is a cause of enormous stress and it can have a serious effect on their physical or mental health.

It is particularly shocking then, that so many cancellations are due to the fact that nowhere near enough dual recorders have been bought to meet the needs of claimants who want to exercise their legal right to have an audio recording of their assessment.

According to Frank Field:

“It’s unbearable for people at the bottom to be left in the lurch at such short notice.

“To have so few pieces of recording equipment available has bestowed on them the status of a holy relic, upon which the well-being of so many vulnerable and disabled people hinges.”

Field has protested the work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb about the delays.

You can read the full story on i news.


#5 Annis 2016-06-03 09:57
I just got my assessment date, so I emailed them this morning to request that it be recorded. Have just been told (less than 2 hours later!) that my assessment is now postponed.
#4 Stella Masters 2016-06-01 12:35
There's not much you can do about cancellations/" staff sickness" (twice recently inc WCA yesterday) but you can record your WCA yourself. You don't need specialist equipment, just two old tape recorders and cassettes (ebay) plus a companion to press the buttons. This fulfils the DWP's "reasonable conditions" described here, also on chdauk.co.uk FAQs under can I record my assessment. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/418925/wca-audio-recording-policy-march_2015.pdf

Best way is to email customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk with your request so you get written confirmation. Explain that you've read the requirements (copy the link in) and have the necessary kit. You might have to chase a reply up,

If it's getting close to your WCA and you haven't heard, phone customer services and ask for the local audio resource team's number (Nottingham area 0115 975 8320/8347). They should confirm it on the spot, but it's worth emailing again to confirm it's been placed on the system, quoting the date and time of your call and who you spoke to. Then print out the reply and take it with you to the WCA - a lot of extra hassle (as ever) but I wouldn't put it past them to claim no knowledge and refuse you recording on the day. Can't afford that unfortunately.
#3 Judith 2016-06-01 12:00
re: recording equipment
I have attended many medical assessments and appeals over the past 5 years and have never been informed about recordings being made. I have never noticed any recording equipment.
The only time I have seen recording equipment was at the LA for an interview under caution. Surely it is illegal to record without warning/advisin g of the fact.
#2 neil 2016-06-01 11:39
Received letter regarding esa medical for may 6th, I contacted them a week before the date of the medical requesting a recording of the medical, the very next day after requesting this a letter dropped through my letterbox saying sorry but my esa medical has been cancelled, still waiting for a new date, whenever that will be???
+1 #1 MalcolmB 2016-05-26 11:27
Re Recording equipment...
Every WCA that I've attended had a small microphone discreetly stuck to the wall! Do our interrogators record every interrogation anyway?

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