According to a report in this week’s Independent, doctors are charging up to £130 for medical evidence required by many sick and disabled people when appealing decisions by ATOS about their fitness to work.
This evidence is required to ensure people get the benefits that they are entitled to, however, doctors say that they are being “swamped” with requests for reports which are often time consuming and reduce the amount of time they can spend with other patients.
Work Capability Assessments carried out by ATOS often wrongly find people fit for work – there have been 600,000 appeals since their introduction in 2009, a third of which have been successful. People with mental health problems are among those likely to be found fit for work as a result of the scoring system and the ways these assessments are carried out.
Scottish GPs called for the “flawed” assessments to be scrapped last year, but came under fire earlier this year for refusing to provide additional medical reports to support their patients’ claims.
Dr Paul Litchfield is currently undertaking a fourth independent review of Work Capability Assessments. The findings of the previous three can be found on the UK Government Website.