Welfare Reform Committee visits Atos Healthcare assessment centre


Members of the Welfare Reform Committee watch a demonstration of a work-capability assessment at Atos Healthcare, Edinburgh. Left to right, Kevin Stewart MSP, Alex Johnstone MSP and Committee Convener Michael McMahon MSPMembers of the Welfare Reform Committee today undertook a visit to an Atos Healthcare assessment centre in Edinburgh, as part of the Committee’s role in monitoring the implementation of the UK Welfare Reform Act 2012 as it affects welfare provision in Scotland.

Convener Michael McMahon MSP, right, is pictured along with committee members Alex Johnstone MSP, centre, and Kevin Stewart MSP observing a training Work Capability Assessment. 

The visit also included a wider briefing on the work of Atos Healthcare.

Speaking after the visit, Mr McMahon said:

"Observing the Work Capability Assessment and hearing from the health-care professionals involved was very interesting.

"We gained a clearer picture of where Atos Healthcare’s responsibilities lie and exactly what the Department of Work and Pensions' policy and decision-making powers are.

“I am particularly concerned by the confusion there is amongst individuals going through the process and the level of public misunderstanding that has been allowed to develop.

"The recent review by Professor Harrington highlighted this as something that required attention. It is causing great stress and distress for all involved.

"DWP must act to address this, and quickly. A good place to start would be for the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, to come and publicly give evidence to our Committee.”

Kevin Stewart MSP will feed back on behalf of the MSPs to the wider Committee in the next meeting on 11 December.

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