Private firms that run Tory government’s disability benefit tests only employ FOUR doctors between them

Atos and Capita admitted the figure after a torrent of complaints about the tests – for which they have earned more than £500million since 2013

The private firms that run the government’s cruel disability benefit tests only employ FOUR doctors between them.

Atos and Capita admitted the figure after a torrent of complaints about the tests – for which they have earned more than £500million since they began in 2013.

MPs grilled bosses from both firms today after more than 90,000 people overturned assessments that said they were not disabled enough for Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

One MP, Alex Burghart, warned test reports had “basic factual errors” including missing medical information and a “non-existent dog”.

The chiefs admitted neither Atos nor Capita have ever met their quality control target – with 6.4% of PIP tests still deemed “unacceptable”.

The bosses of Atos and Capita appearing before the Commons committee today
Capita’s chief medical officer Dr Ian Gargan confessed he was just one of two doctors at the firm’s PIP division, which has 1,500 staff.

He told the Commons Work and Pensions Committee: “Two thirds of our professionals have a nursing background and the remainder are from occupational therapy, physiotherapy and paramedicine.”

Dr Barrie McKillop, clinical director of Atos’ PIP division, admitted they too only had two doctors on the staff.

“75% of our health professionals are nurses and the balance are either paramedics, occupational therapists or physiotherapists,” he insisted.

Dr Gargan admitted Capita does not use a “specific specialist” in a person’s health condition to decide if they should get benefits.

Instead benefit assessors have general training and are overseen by more senior staff.

At Capita there is one “clinical coach” for every 15 assessors, while Atos has one “clinical manager” for every 12 assessors.

More than 90,000 people have won appeals against tests for the benefit PIP (Image: Rex Features)
The committee heard the doctors do quality control work to ensure lessons are learned when tests go wrong.

But committee chairman Frank Field hit out at the firms for not hiring more fully-trained doctors.

“You’ve got two doctors each, mega workload – maybe there’s a lot of doctors out there who would long for some part-time work,” he said.

“You haven’t sought them out to raise your game, have you?”

Dr McKillop insisted Atos’ current model “is a strong one” and people “bring clinical experience in different areas”.

He also said he would welcome a scheme that let benefit claimants have their tests recorded to ensure they are fair.

Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/private-firms-run-tory-governments-11649943

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