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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

College responds to independent review of Work Capability Assessment

Embargoed until 23 November 2010

Responding to Professor Michael Harrington's independent review of the Work Capability Assessment published today (23 November 2010), Dr Jed Boardman said:

"The Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) has today published its findings and recommendations. The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes the report and hopes that the Government responds to the concerns it raises.

"We have been aware for several years that the WCA is a flawed process and often denies people with mental health problems the benefits that they are entitled to. The Independent Review has picked up many of the problems in the process of assessment that contribute to this. The process needs urgent revision to ensure that it is fair and effective. At present the government are planning to reassess many claimants who are on the older form of Incapacity Benefit and move them onto  the newer Employment and Support Allowance. We would like to see this reassessment delayed until the WCA is reformed and working effectively."

For further information, please contact:
Claire McLoughlin or Deborah Hart in the Communications Department.

Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 0203 701 2538




Note to editors:

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) was introduced in October 2008 to assess entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Section 10 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 commits the Secretary of State to lay an independent report before Parliament each year for the first five years of operation. On 29 June 2010 the Secretary of State appointed Professor Malcolm Harrington to undertake the first of these independent reviews. The Department for Work and Pensions published his review on 23 November 2010, alongside the Government’s response to it.


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