Grayling answers PQs on WCA
18 May 2012
Employment minister Chris Grayling has answered two Written Parliamentary Questions tabled by Annette Brooke MP (Mid Dorset and North Poole) who asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions:
- Annette Brooke: What assessment he has made of the suitability of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for applicants with fluctuating conditions such as M.E. (107889);
Chris Grayling: The WCA gives people with fluctuating conditions the opportunity to explain how their condition varies over time, and how this affects them.
The health care professionals who carry out the WCA are trained to ask about and take account of fluctuation. The assessment is not a snap-shot — if a person can't carry out a function repeatedly and reliably, they will be treated as unable to carry out that function at all.
However, we recognise that particular concerns have been raised about the way the WCA works for people with fluctuating conditions. As part of his second independent review, Professor Harrington asked leading charities, including the Forward ME, to make recommendations to refine the physical descriptors used in the WCA.
These recommendations are being considered as part of the Department's evidence-based review of the WCA, as well as a review of the ESA 50 form.
- Annette Brook: What feedback his Department has received from applicants for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) diagnosed with M.E. following the implementation of the Harrington review of the WCA. (107890)
Chris Grayling: We welcome feedback about the WCA from claimants, irrespective of their health condition or disability, and we monitor this feedback and react accordingly.
The Department is currently considering the recommendations made by Professor Harrington in his second independent review, and is working closely with disability representative groups, including Forward ME and others, to ensure the needs of specific groups of claimants—particularly people with fluctuating conditions—are taken into account.
In addition, Professor Harrington will publish another call for evidence this summer, which will give individuals, charities and disability representative groups another opportunity to express their views on the WCA.
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