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NAT welcomes the findings within independent review of WCA

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NAT welcomes the findings, released today, within Professor Malcolm Harrington’s independent review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA)*.  We fully support the call for change to ‘improve the fairness and effectiveness of the WCA’ by improving transparency, empathy and communication within the assessment process for Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

NAT were among the 400 organisations and individuals to contribute to the independent review, based on our own research report Unseen disability, Unmet needs – A review of the impact of Work Capability Assessment on people living with HIV**. 

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), comments:

‘NAT supports the recommendations of the independent review and we were extremely pleased to see some of our concerns included in the final report.  Our research has found that the barriers to work experienced by people living with HIV, such fluctuating symptoms, side-effects of treatment, depression, pain and fatigue are not fully taken into account by the WCA. 

‘As Professor Harrington notes, this is the first of five independent reviews of the WCA, and there is clearly a long way to go in order to address all of the issues that NAT and other disability organisations have raised around the WCA.  In addition, NAT is extremely concerned that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will go ahead with plans to migrate 1.5 million incapacity benefit recipients on to ESA from February, without fully considering Professor Harrington’s findings or how to implement them.’

- Ends -

Notes to the editor:

An Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment is available to download at:

 * The report is available to download at:

**The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is the test undertaken to determine whether a person is eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).  The WCA aims to identify claimants who have ‘limited capacity for work’ or ‘limited capacity for work-related activity’, so that they may receive the right support to help them live well and (where appropriate) return to work.  Those who are found ‘fit for work’ are not entitled to receive ESA.  The test contains a series of questions, called ‘descriptors’, which relate to physical and mental functions, and from which claimants score points.

For further information please contact: 
Charli Scouller
Communications Manager
020 7814 6733  

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.