At a time of cuts to the National Health Service (NHS), NHS services are being contracted by Atos Healthcare to carry out medical assessments for personal independence payment (PIP), the new benefit replacing disability living allowance (DLA) next year.

Atos Healthcare has subcontracted Lanarkshire NHS to assess claimants for PIP in Scotland and told the Guardian that the supply chain model in Scotland was likely to be similar to those soon to be announced in England, although contracts were still being finalised.

While the news has been welcomed by campaigners, as reported in the Daily Record, MPs are raising serious concerns about the way public money is being used.

Tom Greatrex, MP, as well as acknowledging that “​This decision shows that Atos clearly recognises there is little trust in its ability to conduct assessments fairly”​ has also asked “​What cost is there to the public purse of government outsourcing to a private company, only for that same company to outsource the programme back to the public sector?”​

Anne McGuire, shadow minister for disabilities said

“​There are questions to be asked about the effectiveness of using a private sector intermediary between a public sector organisation and a public sector organisation. It is at least unusual. It begs the question, why the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) didn’​t contract direct to Salus? Salus are an NHS social enterprise and will be undertaking the work contracted out by Atos to Lanarkshire NHS.

The Daily Record points out that Atos will remain in control of the PIP contract, and Tom Greatrex has warned

“​We need reassurance from Atos that the views of experienced NHS doctors and nurses will be given sufficient weight, rather than being dismissed as often happens with work capability assessments.”​

Atos will continue to carry out assessments for employment and support allowance (ESA).

Atos refused to disclose to the Daily Record how much profit it will make from its agreement with Lanarkshire NHS, nor would it comment on the questions now being raised about the use of public money.

The Guardian report can be found here

Two reports in the Daily Record can be found here and here



Write comments...
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.