The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) is looking into concerns that complaints made against PIP assessors are not being dealt with appropriately.
Nurses, physiotherapists and paramedics are among those who have taken on the role as an assessor to professionally evaluate individual’s circumstances, but there has been an overwhelming number of complaints from people stating that the assessment reports were inaccurate or in some cases, completely fabricated.
This is well documented in the Work and Pensions Select Committee report published recently, in which 4000 claimants came forward to share their personal stories of their assessments. The overarching theme was of ignorance and inaccuracy and the assessments have been described as “opaque and unfriendly” at best.
Many contributors to the report also highlighted the lack of interest in complaints made to the Health Care and Professions Council (HCPC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), with an apparent refusal to take their complaints seriously.
So, what is going to happen to those assessors who have failed to produce accurate reports?
The PSA told Disability News Service (DNS) that it had begun an investigation into how these complaints were being handled and it would be taking into account the evidence produced by DNS reports on data released by DWP to campaigner John Slater under freedom of information laws, which included figures that showed that up to 180 PIP assessors had been the subject of at least four complaints each in three-month periods in 2016.
David Martin, PSA’s concerns and appointments officer, told DNS: “We recognised that there is concern amongst members of the public with the role played by healthcare professionals in the PIP assessment process and about the response of regulators to the complaints they receive about them.
“We have therefore initiated a discussion with the regulators to find out more about their approach to the concerns they receive.”
He added: “We wrote to the regulators in mid-January asking them to tell us about their experience of the issue and their approach to it.
“We are hoping to explore if there are any specific difficulties the regulators face when considering these cases.
“We also want to explore with them if the PIP assessment process presents challenges to professionalism that may require the regulators to produce guidance for their registrants.”
Visit www.disabilitynewsservice.com for further details.