HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 cc413-4W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking to improve professional expertise and awareness of disability issues by medical assessment staff contracted to his Department. [29070]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

All doctors who work for SchlumbergerSema Medical Services on benefit assessments receive mandatory training in disability assessment. This includes assessment of mental health problems, and appropriate behaviours, attitudes, and sensitivities for dealing with people with disabilities.

All Medical Services doctors participate in a regular programme of continuing professional education, which ensures they maintain up to date knowledge of disabling conditions. The current year's programme includes a module on sensory impairment, which has been developed in consultation with organisations representing people with visual and/or hearing impairments; and a module on rehabilitation.

Medical Services and this Department encourage and sponsor doctors working for Medical Services to sit the examination for the Diploma in Disability Assessment Medicine.