Archive for May, 2015

Gathering some information by telephone for the PIP Consultation

Following on from our last post about testing improvements to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment process, there is another change we can tell you that Atos Healthcare is testing. We are testing gathering some information from you during a telephone call before the face-to-face consultation, rather than gathering it during it.

In this scenario, a qualified Health Professional (HP) will call youAtos-Healthcare-PIP-phone about 2 to 3 weeks before your appointment. They will explain who they are and the purpose of the call. They will then ask if you have any questions and if you are willing to provide some of the factual information that would normally be written down at the consultation. For example, this might be your medical history and the list of medications you use. This does not replace the need for a face-to-face consultation, which is where you can describe the challenges you face with daily living tasks. There is no obligation on your part to spend time on the call and there is no pressure to do so.

What is the reason for the call?

The reason for the call is to enable the HP to complete the first part of the report. It also gives the HP the opportunity to explain to you what you should expect when you attend your consultation. This means that when you attend your face-to-face consultation it can be more focused on you discussing the challenges you face with daily living tasks. We hope that such calls will lead to more claimants attending their consultations and reduced anxiety levels for claimants who might have been nervous. The face-to-face meeting might then be slightly shorter, but importantly, able to focus on the daily living areas that you find difficult.

Why does this need to be tested?

The reason we are testing this approach is that we need to be certain that you don’t Atos-Healthcare-PIP-Telephonemisunderstand the purpose of the call and believe it is in some way underhand. This is not the case. The calls are purely for the purpose of improving the experience and providing accurate reports to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

There are also a few reasons why you might be unwilling to have a telephone call, including if you intend to have a companion at the consultation to help you or if you find it difficult to talk on the phone. The HP will understand if you simply wish to attend the consultation in the normal way.

If you have any comments or questions about this, let us know in the comments section below. See our ‘contact us’ page for info about how to get in touch if you have a question about your particular PIP assessment.

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The PIP assessment process – Continuous Improvement

Atos Healthcare has been assessing people as part of their claims for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for two years now. Over that time we have learned a lot about what works well, and we have identified some areas where improvements might be possible. Whilst we don’t have any control over the design of the assessment itself (that is the DWP), as one of the assessment providers we are responsible for other parts of the assessment process, such as the places that consultations take place in and the ways we communicate about the assessment process with claimants.

Doing things better

We have implemented a number of changes already; including, text message reminders about appointments and developed our YouTube channel as another way for people to find out about the PIP assessment process. We are always considering how we can do things better. This is often a balance that needs to be struck between different options.

Any change we trial is aimed at improving the service we offer for claimants and for DWP. It is important that we carefully consider the balance between the claimant experience in terms of attending a consultation and the overall waiting time. One trial that we are able to tell you about now is how we are looking to change the way we arrange taxis.

Taxi Account


A claimant can request a taxi to their face to face consultation if they are unable to take public transport, but are still able to leave their house. At the moment, if a taxi is approved it is paid for by the claimant and the money claimed back from us through expenses. We are trialling the use of a national taxi account that will charge us directly for the journey, rather than ask the claimant to pay and give them a receipt to claim back.

Currently we are testing this for appointments booked at 5 of our centres; Deptford, Chelmsford, Manchester, Plymouth and Norwich. We need to make sure the process works properly in practice and that there are no unexpected problems. We are likely to extend the number of sites that will have this facility later this year.

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