HC Deb 22 December 1997 vol 303 cc462-3W
Mr. Livingstone

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many medical advisers are currently employed by the War Pensions Agency; and what are their function; [21882]

(2) how many regional consultants are currently appointed by the War Pensions Agency. [21883]

Mr. Denham

One of our key aims is that delivery of service should be simpler and more efficient. Queries on operational matters concerning the War Pensions Agency are for its Acting Chief Executive, Mr. Steven Johnson. I have asked him to write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Steve Johnson to Mr. Ken Livingstone, dated 19 December 1997: The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about Medical Advisers and Regional Consultants working for the War Pensions Agency. There are 33 full time Medical Advisers currently employed by the War Pensions Agency. In addition, the Agency employs a number of Medical Advisers on an hourly, fee paid basis to provide flexibility to deal with fluctuations in workload. All Medical Advisers are fully qualified medical practitioners who have a broad range of post graduate clinical experience. Most full time Medical Advisers have been recruited from General Practice. The role of the Medical Adviser is to determine, in accordance with the provisions of article 4 or 5 of the Naval, Military and Air Forces etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 1983, whether disablement or death is due to service, or whether disablement is aggravated by service, and to give reasons for such decisions. Medical Advisers also determine in accordance with Article 9 of the Order, the degree of disablement due to service. Where it is established that service factors played a part in the cause or progress of claimed conditions, Medical Advisers provide certificates of entitlement. Medical Advisers then certify percentage assessments of the degree of disablement due to service. The Medical Advisers also provide advice to the Secretary of State regarding eligibility to a range of supplementary allowances, for example in respect of care and mobility needs. Regarding Regional Consultants, although the War Pensions Agency is the sole user of Regional Consultants, the Agency is not responsible for making appointments. Regional Consultant appointments are made by the Chief Medical Adviser to the Department of Social Security. At present, 412 Regional Consultants have been appointed nationally. I hope you find this information useful.