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Thursday, 19 April 2012

WCA - Fit for Purpose? - Parliamentary Question (2)

A fairly innocuous parliamentary question to Chris Grayling, brings an important issue to the surface again:

There is another complicated area contained within the simple point at  “ plain English and free of medical jargon".  This is included because DWP Decision Makers are not medically trained.  However:

1)    This is all very well but is likely to understate or dilute the seriousness of a condition, particularly if concentrating only on its symptoms.  An acute spinal problem becomes  “back ache” and a brain tumour becomes “occasional headaches”
2)    DMs are encouraged to reach decisions proactively and imaginatively.  They are for example allowed to undertake their own “research” into a condition using whatever resources they have available, notably the World Wide Web.  This is scary enough for a person with no medical training, not to mention issues like:
o    Not all websites can be regarded as independent and/or reliable – even Wikipedia needs to be read with considerable caution and there is no guidance provided.
o     In some areas there are genuine differences of opinion between experts – how can a DM reach a conclusion?
o    Sometimes highly technical terminology is unavoidable or indeed essential for accuracy.
o    From 1) above, if the HCP has simplified the condition, the DM may not even be researching quite the right thing.

This is all a direct result of the current “model” and the use of an outsourced private sector supplier.

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