§ Mr. Cotter
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how GPs' assessments for Disability Living Allowance are monitored; and what action his Department takes when dealing with general practitioners against whose decisions a high number of successful appeals are submitted. 
§ Angela Eagle
Assessment of claimants to Disability Living Allowance is carried out at the request of Benefits Agency decision makers, by Examining Medical Practitioners (EMPs). The EMP's report forms part of the medical evidence used in making a decision on the claim.
Decisions on entitlement to Disability Living Allowance are made by Benefits Agency decision makers. In formulating their decision they take account of all the evidence before them, including the claimant's self assessment claim pack and any available evidence from the claimant's medical carer or other health professionals associated with the case. This is in addition to the consideration given to an EMP's report.
There is no direct correlation between the standard of an EMP's report and the outcome of an appeal. The Appeals Panel makes an independent judgment, again based on all the evidence before it, which may include supplementary evidence not previously submitted to the decision maker.
EMPs undertake work on behalf of Sema Group Medical Services, who hold the contract for the provision of medical services to the Benefits Agency. Doctors who work in this capacity are approved by the Chief Medical Adviser to the Department. The standard of EMP reports is monitored by experienced doctors in Medical Services. If an EMP's work is found to be below the required standard, the EMP is retrained as appropriate and further monitoring is carried out. If an EMP's work remains persistently substandard despite retraining, the Chief Medical Adviser can withdraw approval for the doctor to carry out the work.714W
§ Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many complaints he has received during the last 12 months about the actions of medical examiners employed by Sema in cases of claims for Disability Living Allowance. 
§ Angela Eagle
[holding answer 22 March 2000]: The information is not available in the format requested. Records are not kept in a format which would identify the number of complaints received by the Secretary of State about the actions of medical examiners employed by Sema in cases of claims for Disability Living Allowance.
Such information as is available is as follows: In the period 1 December 1998 to 30 November 1999, Sema Group Medical Services received a total of 1,701 complaints concerning medical examinations undertaken in connection with claims for Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. This figure includes those complaints made via the Secretary of State.