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Work Capability Assessment reforms haven't gone far enough - Turn2us

UK mental health charities response to Work Capability Assessment Year 3 review (link opens in a new window (PDF file size 316kb)Reforms of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) have not gone far enough, according to a group of leading UK mental health organisations - Mind, the Scottish Association for Mental Health, Rethink Mental Illness, Hafal, the Mental Health Foundation, the Centre for Mental Health and the Royal College of Psychiatrists

In a response to the call for evidence issued by Professor Malcolm Harrington as part of his Year 3 Independent Review, the organisations state that:

"Although we recognise that there have been improvements in the WCA process, we do not believe that reforms have gone far enough. People with mental health problems continue to report poor experiences of the WCA process and outcomes that they do not believe are fair. Huge numbers of people continue to successfully overturn Fit for Work decisions at tribunals, and welfare rights advisers tell us that the system is still not making sufficient use of additional evidence about claimants, which could help avoid poor decisions.

"We also believe that there have not been sufficient efforts made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to monitor the impact of both the Independent Review recommendations and other changes made to the system during this period. Without this detailed analysis, it is difficult to understand exactly how the system has been changing over the last two years.

"We believe that substantial further reforms are still needed and hope that the
Independent Review will endorse the following recommendations:

  • More detailed monitoring of a number of aspects of the WCA as it changes over time
  • Additional evidence from applicant’s medical and support staff routinely collected in cases involving mental health
  • Assessors with specific expertise in mental health assigned to applicants with mental health problems, or, at the very least, testing of the impact of such an approach
  • A more considered approach to the frequency of reassessment, taking into account the impact of the WCA process on claimants
  • A detailed examination of the role of welfare advisers and the impact they have on claimants receiving a fair assessment
  • A fundamental review of what is meant by ‘work’ and how the assessment gauges applicant’s ability to work" 

Read the Turn2us information sheet on Employment and Support Allowance (link opens in a new window)

Source: Rightsnet news article (link opens in a new window)

Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill

Three leading mental health organisations have joined forces to urge MPs to vote through legislation on Friday 14 September 2012 which will scrap outdated laws that discriminate against people with mental health problems.

Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, are calling on MPs to back the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill.

If voted through, it will put an end to archaic laws which prevent people with mental health problems from participating in jury service and becoming or remaining a company director. The law also currently stipulates that MPs themselves will lose their seats if sectioned under the Mental Health Act, regardless of recovery.

Campaigners are hoping for a good turn out of MPs to show the strength of cross-party support for the bill.


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