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 you 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 misunderstand 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.