Along with other members of the group appointed by Professor Malcolm Harrington to advise him on fluctuating medical conditions (eg ME/CFS, HIV/AIDS, MS, arthritis), I have been invited to a seminar on Wednesday this week at DWP HQ to discuss the recommendations relating to WCA that were contained in Professor Harrington's November 2010 report and the further work in progress relating to benefit review that is contained in his May 2011 interim report.
Among the issues for discussion on Wednesday are:
* Face-to-face assessments – better, worse, or no change?
* Decision Making – especially getting and using additional evidence. Better, worse, or no change?
* The Atos IT system (LiMA)
I have already communicated to Professor Harrington the fact that many people with ME/CFS are finding it extremely difficult to qualify for ESA, DLA etc and are only being successful at appeal. And our report into fluctuating conditions has made it clear that the current WCA descriptors are not a satisfactory way of assessing people for fitness to work who have conditions such as ME/CFS.
If anyone has any observations that they wish to make on these specific issues please do so here on the MEA website comment section or on the MEA Facebook page.
Dr Charles Shepherd
Hon Medical Adviser, The ME Association