Ex-BT chief medical officer Dr Paul Litchfield – an occupational health expert – who has taken over from Professor Malcolm Harrington as the Government's independent reviewer of the Work Capability Assessment is to start his first review of the system at the beginning of next month (July).
The Department for Work and Pensions made this announcement this morning, in the following email.
Professor Harrington conducted the first three annual reviews of Work Capability Assessment, with changes starting to be made to the way that Employment and Support Allowance is assessed. Professor Harrington involved outside experts and charity representatives, including MEA medical adviser Dr Charles Shepherd on behalf of the Forward ME Group.
I am writing to you because you have previously expressed an interest in the Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). The Fourth Independent Review is being led by Dr Paul Litchfield and will report by the end of 2013.
This note gives you advance notification of the Call for Evidence which Dr Litchfield will launch on 1 July.
It will be published at www.dwp.gov.uk/wca-review and will run until 27 August. It will be one of several methods used to gather information during the review and is aimed at organisations and individuals who have information on how the WCA is operating and further changes that may be needed to improve the process.
This is the fourth of five independent reviews and Dr Litchfield is particularly interested in new evidence that will help improve the assessment. We wanted to give you advance notice of the areas of particular interest for this call for evidence to help with your planning for collecting evidence over the coming weeks. The call for evidence will focus on:
· How effectively the WCA identifies people who are fit for work, who have limited capability for work, or who have limited capability for work-related activity;
· The impact of earlier Independent Reviews;
· The way mental health conditions are considered in the WCA; and
· Biopsychosocial factors that influence capability for work.
As part of the Call for Evidence, Dr Litchfield will be hosting some seminars during the first two weeks of August. We will confirm details of the seminars and how to book your place when the Call for Evidence opens.
Please forward this email to others with an interest in the Independent Review. If you do not want to receive any more emails about the Independent Review, please advise us and we will remove you from our contact list.
WCA Independent Review Team