HC Deb 01 December 2003 vol 415 cc12-3W
Dr. Murrison

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the(a) quality of medical advice given in the assessment of benefit claims and (b) training of medical staff used to assess claimants. [141062]

Maria Eagle

Medical Services are meeting the medical quality standards specified in the contract.

The Department receives monthly reports of Medical Services' medical quality audit outcomes, and of the action being taken where a doctor's quality standards have fallen below those expected. The Department's doctors hold regular joint meetings with Medical Services to validate medical quality audit standards.

All doctors working for or on behalf of Medical Services have individual personal training plans, based on training needs analysis. Benefit-specific training and continuing professional education training modules are discussed and agreed with the Department's doctors. Medical Services keep detailed records of training undergone by individual doctors, and report progress against training plans to the Department on a regular basis. The effectiveness of training is evaluated in a number of ways. Refusal by a doctor to undertake prescribed training results in revocation of approval to carry out assessments.