Maximus, the company taking over work capability assessments (WCA) will be paid more than twice as much as Atos but plans to reduce the proportion of doctors carrying out medicals in favour of cheaper occupational therapists, the Guardian reports.
Atos was paid around £80 million a year for its WCA contract, but Maximus will receive between £590 million and £650 million over three years, depending on performance. 40% of Atos assessors are doctors, 40% are nurses and 20% are physiotherapists. Maximus plans to take on 1,000 extra staff, but reduce the proportion of doctors and take on more occupational therapists instead
According to the Guardian, Maximus believe things will improve from the very start of the contract in March:
“if we can reach out and make people understand the process they are going through … if we can reduce some of the anxiety … if we can schedule more intelligently … if we can speak to people rather than just sending letters. Those are some of the differences … We believe if we do it right, we should be able to do this in a good way.”
However, given that the same staff will be using the same software to assess claimants using the same legal criteria, it is questionable how much difference a better bedside manner is likely to make to make.
See the Guardian for the full story.