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Disability news roundup: Work capability assessment investigated

Emma Emma | 14:20 UK time, Friday, 3 August 2012

Newspaper front pages

Earlier this week, BBC and Channel 4 both broadcast investigative reports into the work capability assessment. Run by Atos for the Department for Work and Pensions, this controversial test is designed to determine whether sick and disabled people are fit for work.

Channel 4's Dispatches programme investigated how doctors and health professionals are trained to do the test, and the Panorama film spoke to sick and disabled people who have been called in for an assessment.

One of the issues raised was how many sick and disabled people are declared fit for work and subsequently have this decision overturned on appeal. The Guardian put this figure at 30 percent in an article reporting that Chris Grayling had been "accused of trying to censor a Ministry of Justice courts service information video that helps people appealing against decisions to remove their disability and sickness benefit".

The TV investigations left papers looking for answers. In a blog post for The Independent, Christina Patterson asked if Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd is proud of what the Government has been doing on disability? And in an open letter for the Daily Mail, Sonia Poulton wondered of the Labour party leader, "Will Ed Miliband stand up for the disabled against distressing and unreliable work capability tests?"

Writing in The Guardian, Minister Chris Grayling said: "Of course not everyone is able to work - in many cases people are simply too unwell and that's why they are rightly entitled to unconditional employment and support allowance. And far from the draconian picture some seek to paint, we've actually made changes which mean more people now end up in this support group."

It was announced on Thursday that, in addition to carrying out the work capability assessments, Atos have been awarded a 400 million pound contract to undertake eligibility tests for the disability living allowance replacement, to be known as Personal Independence Payments.

Elsewhere in the news

Half a million disabled people may lose benefits under reforms (The Independent, Friday 3 August)

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Brain training is most cost-effective treatment (BBC News, thursday 2 August)

Opinion: Don't misuse your disability benefits - the DWP might (The Independent, Thursday 2 August)

Mild mental illness 'raises risk of premature death' (BBC News, Wednesday 1 August)

Opinion: Bad attitudes do not cause disability any more than good attitudes guarantee health (The Independent, Wednesday 1 August)

Forced marriage advice to help victims with learning disabilities (BBC News, Wednesday 1 August)

Disabled anti-cuts campaigners take the fight to the Paralympic Games (The Guardian, Tuesday 31 July)

Disability and stereotypes: The non-apology apology (Blogs - The Independent, Tuesday 31 July)

Diabetic foot care 'appalling' (BBC News, Tuesday 31 July)

Benefit cheats 'colour attitudes to disabled people' (BBC News, Tuesday 31 July)

Opinion: Benefits and targets: Sickness and disability are not the same (Blogs - Independent, Tuesday 31 July)

Disabled dancer returns to the stage in provocative new play (The Independent, Monday 30 July)

Disability tests 'sending sick and disabled back to work' (The Telegraph, Monday 30 July)


  • Comment number 1.

    Shame you chose to ignore the weeks biggest news, DWP working with MIND have devised a new set of descriptors, these determine the WCA not ATOS
    The new ones deal mainly in the previously neglected area of mental health.
    Other charities now working to improve descriptors relating to Blind & the Deaf, so the cup isnt half empty its half full



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