Welfare Minister Nelson McCausland has confirmed his Department’s contract with Atos runs until 2018 and he expects it to meet its contractural obligations.
Asked whether Atos Healthcare was “seeking to opt out of, or end its contract to provide assessment services for Disability Living Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance benefit applications,” he stated that it wasn’t.
“The Department for Social Development’s Medical Support Services Agreement with Atos Healthcare does not expire until June 2018. My Department has received assurances from both Atos Healthcare (UK) and their parent company Atos (FR) that they remain committed to their contractual responsibilities in Northern Ireland. My officials are continuing to monitor the situation in Great Britain,” he added.
Last June the Minister revealed Atos was rejecting requests for home assessments even when a claimant’s GP supported one. He revealed medical evidence provided by GPs was being assessed by Atos healthcare professionals who were then deciding whether home visits were necessary.