HC Deb 23 February 1999 vol 326 cc265-6W
Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he has taken to ensure that all medical evidence submitted by his Department in tribunal cases is legible; and if he will ensure that all such evidence is typewritten. [70659]

Angela Eagle

The administration of the Benefits Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Peter Mathison. He will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. David Hinchliffe, dated 22 February 1999: The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what steps are taken to ensure that all medical evidence submitted to a tribunal is legible, and whether an assurance can be given that such evidence be typewritten. The Benefits Agency ensures that documents containing medical information used as part of the decision making process are clear and legible. Where the information is obtained from the Agency's Medical Advisors, contact specifications dictate that the information must be legible. Staff are advised to return information for clarification that falls below this criteria, before it is used to decide entitlement. Information provided from an outside organisation such as a hospital or customer's General Practitioner is also scrutinised for legibility. Should such reports contain illegible information confirmation would be sought from the author. There are no plans to introduce a requirement that all medical evidence should be typewritten. I hope the information is helpful.

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