HC Deb 10 January 2000 vol 342 c69W
36. Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he is taking to improve the quality of medical assessments as part of integrating testing for disablement benefits. [102966]

Mr. Bayley

The qualifying criteria for the various benefits for sick and disabled people vary and may need to be assessed separately on different occasions. The development of an integrated medical assessment would be complex and there are no immediate plans to introduce such an assessment.

The issue of the quality of medical assessments in general is, however, taken very seriously. Standards relating to experience, qualifications and training are set out in the Benefits Agency's contract with the SEMA Group, which provides medical services. The work of all doctors is also subject to regular audit against nationally determined standards which are agreed by the Department's Chief Medical Adviser.