Don Foster MP


Medical assessment for disability benefits must be improved - Foster

September 12, 2023 by admin in News

Don Foster, MP for Bath has called on the Government to make much needed improvements in the way medical assessments for disability benefits are conducted.

In a letter to Chris Grayling MP, the Minister for Employment, Mr Foster outlines his concern at the number of Work Capability Assessment decisions that are overturned in appeal hearings. He suggested there was a “failing within the current system”.

Claimants for the Employment and Support Allowance are required to undertake the WCA. Introduced in 2008, the WCA is a computerised assessment run by Paris based IT company, Atos.

The letter reads as follows:

“While you will already be aware of the concerns expressed with regards to the assessment process, I however remain very concerned as to why so many decisions are overturned on appeal. In your letter you mentioned that decisions are overturned because the appeal panel often considers new evidence that was not previously available to earlier decision makers. This would suggest a failing within the current system and raises the question of why all relevant information is not accounted for at the start of the process.

Another issue of concern relates to the financial cost of not getting the decision right first time. The inefficiency within the current system draws attention to the matter of cost efficiency and whether the process in place is the most cost effective assessment to use.”

The DWP is currently running the second yearly review of the WCA and is asking for comments from claimants who have undertaken the assessment.


Notes to Editors

1 - The MS Trust estimates that on appeal, approximately 40% of WCA decisions are overturned

2 - The DWP consultation is open until 16 September 2011. You can respond using the response document or respond in your own way. You can send your responses or queries by email or post to:

WCA Independent Review Team
Floor 2, Section B
Caxton House
Tothill Street