Posts Tagged ‘Atos Nurses’

Assessments and quality monitoring

While applying for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), an individual may take part in a Work Capability Assessment, carried out by Atos Healthcare on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Earlier, we blogged about the training that each healthcare professional receives, both before and during their time at Atos Healthcare. Now, we’ll be blogging about how we quality monitor the work of Atos Healthcare professionals who carry out Work Capability Assessments. Please read on for more.

Quality monitoring

Quality monitoring of health care professionals is carried out through a number of mechanisms within Atos Healthcare. This includes regular audits of reports by accredited auditors using the IQAS system and the monitoring of complaints.

Atos Healthcare audits each and every healthcare professional at least once every six months.

Management information relating to monitoring activities is provided to the Department for Work and Pensions on a regular basis. If the DWP has any concerns in relation to an individual healthcare professional, these are raised with Atos Healthcare. Further investigation and subsequent action is taken in consultation with the DWP.

Healthcare professionals working on behalf of the Chief Medical Adviser and experienced auditors from within Atos Healthcare carry out a joint audit programme in order to ensure that the quality of audit in each individual unit is maintained.

Quality monitoring and targeted audits

Targeted audits are used when a problem has been identified with a particular healthcare professional, as a result of random audit, a complaint, re-work or a chance finding.

A targeted audit involves the consideration of a number of reports completed by the healthcare professional concerned, in order to gauge the overall standard of his or her work.

Upholding quality standards

If an individual healthcare professional’s work is found to be deficient, he or she is contacted by a mentor – a healthcare professional with specific responsibility in this area.

The mentor will arrange for retraining if it is considered necessary, or will feedback face to face, by letter or telephone call, depending upon the severity and importance of the issue raised by our quality monitoring processes.
Medical reports that are audited are rated with an A, B or C grade to enable appropriate feedback, mentoring and retraining as necessary.

Persistent failure, despite remedial action by Atos Healthcare, to meet a satisfactory standard may result in revocation of the DWP’s Chief Medical Adviser’s approval to carry out medical assessments.

How our performance, as a whole, is quality monitored

Approximately twenty thousand national audits were randomly undertaken in the last twelve months. Atos Healthcare’s target is to ensure that 95% of audited reports are rated A or B. In the past twelve months, its achievement has been consistently above 95%.

The Medical Director and Clinical Director participate in the Atos Healthcare Clinical Governance Forum, where all aspects of their clinical practice and standards are reviewed regularly.

If you would like to find out more about our training standards, please see our earlier blog post outlining the mandatory training that each Atos Healthcare practitioner receives before carrying out any Work Capability Assessments and the ongoing training that they receive when working for us.

Please also check our websites or our previous blog posts about the Work Capability Assessment for more information.

See also:

Harrington Report: training, quality audit and consistency

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Assessments, our health care professionals and their training

While applying for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), many individuals will take part in Work Capability Assessments, which are carried out by Atos Healthcare on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

All Work Capability Assessments are carried out by healthcare professionals who are specially trained and have achieved set accreditation standards. Please read on to find out more about the training that each Atos Healthcare professional will have undergone before taking part in the assessment process.

Atos Healthcare professionals and their training

Each Atos healthcare professional taking part in the Work Capability Assessment process will have received training in three distinct areas, enabling them to conduct assessments and prepare reports that are then used by DWP decision makers when assessing claims made for ESA.

These three areas are:

Generic training – includes, for example, principles of disability analysis, professional standards (including manner and behaviour) and multi-cultural awareness.

Training to undertake benefit-specific assessments – includes learning path approach for ESA and other benefits, assessments, modular training with competency testing at each stage and approval process.

Scrutiny / filework training – includes provision of advice to decision makers when appropriate on the basis of available documentation within a customer’s file, as well as theory and casework exercises, followed by supported individual casework.

And, following completion of the Work Capability Assessment training course, which is accredited by the University of Derby, healthcare professionals will, for a variable period, complete assessments under the continual supervision of an experienced trainer.

Only when they are deemed to have achieved competency will a health care professional progress to unsupervised assessments. At this stage, every assessment that they carry out is audited, until they routinely produce ‘A’ grade reports, meaning that their reports have reached a high standard.

At this stage, the healthcare professional will be referred to the Chief Medical Adviser at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for approval on behalf of the Secretary of State. Following approval, audits are ongoing, but at a reduced frequency.

Training in response to external factors and research

Atos Healthcare’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme is continually being developed in response to both external factors and internal research.

In the case of external factors, healthcare professionals will receive relevant training in response to changes in legislation, changes resulting from decisions made by the Social Security Commissioners, and alterations in procedure or the wider medical community.

Training in response to internally generated initiatives

In the case of internally generated initiatives, Atos Healthcare regularly updates healthcare professionals on current best practice, often in response to issues that have been identified as causing some difficulty to the decision maker or customer.

The data derived from Atos Healthcare’s auditing processes is also used extensively as a source of information to help to determine the content and priorities for the CME programme. The annual CME programme is discussed and agreed with the DWP.

Training in medical topics is based on up to date, critically evaluated research published in the world literature and, wherever possible, is evidence based.

All training that takes place is developed collaboratively with and signed off by the DWP, including independent expert review.

How training is delivered

Different training media are employed according to circumstances. These range from formal trainer-led sessions to the issue of bulletins and guidance notes.

Other media are employed, including CD-ROM and video.

Trainer-led sessions are designed to promote participation by trainees by the inclusion of interactive elements and case examples.

In 2010, a National Training Event was held for all employed healthcare professionals in preparation for IB (IS) Reassessment. Expert independent speakers presented and answered questions on a range of topics, such as Cognitive Impairment, Chronic Pain, Fatigue and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

How we record training

Each Atos Healthcare practitioners training is recorded in their individual professional record and these records are collated into a centrally held database.

Please continue to check our blog for more information, as we will soon be blogging about how we quality monitor and audit the work of our health care professionals.

In the meantime, if you would like more information on the Work Capability Assessment, please read our blog posts on what to expect before, during and after a Work Capability Assessment, what to do if you are admitted to hospital while applying for ESA and how we are working to improve processes following guidance from Professor Harrington’s first and second independent reviews.

See also:

Atos Healthcare: Disability Assessments Staff Training

Atos Healthcare – What experience and training to healthcare professionals have?

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