22/07/2013

Audit Finds Faults In Fitness-For-Work Programme

French-run firm Atos healthcare, which carries out fitness-for-work tests on disabled people, has been told it needs to improve its service, following a government audit.

The audit found an "unacceptable reduction" in the quality of its written reports, with some 400 reports highlighting that the company has been told it needs a retraining and re-evaluation of staff, among other recommended measures.

The company is responsible for gauging eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Incapacity Benefit.

It employs around 1,400 doctors, nurses and physiotherapists and carried out one million face-to-face interviews last year.

However, the company's assessors have been accused of making mistakes, with people being ruled fit for work when they are not, and many have had their claim for ESA turned down.

(MH/JP)

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