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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Derby University must accept what its association with Atos means

Derby University has accredited the Atos disability training course that “qualifies” Atos staff to perform WCAs for the DWP.   It was organised by the university’s Head of Corporate Relations and it would be surprising if the university did not receive some form of recompense for their cooperation.

It is important that Derby Uni appreciates the full context of their association with Atos and the broader consequences of providing the WCA with a level of credibility & integrity it ill-deserves.

A statement from Derby Uni is below, but it hedges some key issues.  As attempts to take this further with departmental heads have failed, a request under the FoI Act might at least stimulate some interest and a response.

If you would also like to express your views, contact details are on their website

1.    Do you believe in principle it is possible to perform a WCA without a definition of what “work” means, i.e. the minimum capabilities it requires?

2.    In accrediting the training, do you regard the WCA itself as fit for purpose, i.e. it is a reliable discriminator between people who are fit to work and people who are not?  I cannot imagine you would endorse a qualification that was below par.
I of course accept that you have no way of knowing how well every WCA is undertaken by a healthcare professional, but I am assuming that you are in effect saying that everyone who successfully completes the training is perfectly able to discriminate accurately.
  
3.    This being the case, in your view what possible explanations could there be for the fact that a significant number (40%) of WCA outcomes are overturned on appeal?  Do you feel that this high failure rate reflects at all on the training you have accredited and/or the WCA the training underpins?

University of Derby Statement:

In April (2011) the University’s business-to-business arm, University of Derby Corporate (UDC), publicly announced it had teamed up with healthcare services provider Atos Healthcare to officially accredit the company’s own disability analysis training for healthcare professionals

Part of UDC’s business involves accrediting training that an organisation already provides internally; assessing that this is well structured, of high quality and promotes employees’ development at work through meeting specific learning outcomes at a recognised academic level. If a company’s training meets all these criteria it can be linked to a formal qualification, which the employee can then add to their CV and use to improve their career development.

This was the case with regard to Atos Healthcare.

UDC was able to accredit the company’s nurse training within an existing academic framework. UDC is not involved in delivering this training but provides quality assurance and moderates the award of a Certificate of Achievement for staff. 

Atos Healthcare’s nurse training programme, and the learning materials used in it, are the sole property of its contract holder, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Any queries on the nature of nurses’ training and the learning materials they use should therefore be directed to Atos Healthcare or the DWP. Atos Healthcare can be contacted on email enquiries@atoshealthcare.com 

From next year (2012) UK nurses will need an undergraduate degree in order to successfully qualify in nursing. UDC’s accreditation of Atos Healthcare’s training will enable existing nurses to put credit points from that qualification towards studying independently for a full degree if they wish, increasing their knowledge and patient care skills.

Atos Healthcare’s own disability analysis training for its nurses has been shortlisted in the 2011 National Training Awards (run by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), which is a further endorsement of the training UDC has accredited.

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