Ceredigion’s Welsh Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams has held a debate in the House of Commons about the Work of ATOS as a service provider, following increased numbers of constituents making representations to him with concerns in delays in the process, and whether the assessment process it fit for purpose.
During the debate, Mark made the Minister aware of a number of cases bought to him by constituents had experienced sever delays in their claim and appeal process, which left them waiting in limbo, on basic allowance, for months and even years for a resolution. He also raised examples from constituents and charities who question whether the Work Capability Assessment test, undertaken by ATOS for the DWP, is fit for purpose for people with a range of medical conditions.
Commenting following the debate, Mark Williams said;
'I am pleased to have had the opportunity to raise the concerns of a large number of my constituents about their Work Capability Assessment with the Minister responsible. I know, particularly from the feedback I have had since the debate was announced, that this is by no means just a local issue, and is something being experience by those undertaking Work Capability Assessment across the UK.
‘I was pleased that the Minister acknowledged the delays in the claims process, and the need to have an ongoing review of the descriptors used in the process, particularly for those with invisible illnesses - not something tangible for the assessor to report - such as those with mental health issues or conditions relating to autism.
‘My concerns began to grow when constituents were being referred to me and advised to complain by DWP staff themselves. What is quite clear is that the delays, administrative errors and the inappropriateness of certain parts of the work capability assessment is making people in our communities who are sick and are vulnerable, more sick and more vulnerable. The stories of unimaginable levels of stress and anxiety do demand that Government looks at this again. Any system of assessment must surely be appropriate to the range of medical conditions themselves.’