Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (319)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

319. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of full-time medical assessors who are or have been employed by her Department to oversee illness scheme applications and appeals currently and in each year for the past five years; the number of medical assessors who have been or are employed on a part-time basis; if there is scope to hire new assessors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12612/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

There are currently 25 Medical Assessors employed in my Department, including the Chief Medical Adviser and the Deputy Chief Medical Adviser. Of this number, 3 were appointed this week. All of the staff in question serve on a full-time basis.

A public competition was held to appoint additional Medical Assessors in 2012 and my Department is liaising with the Public Appointments Service with a view to appointing a further 5 Medical Assessors at the earliest opportunity.

The role of the Medical Assessor is essential in assessing and reviewing illness related claims. I am very pleased that the Department received sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to increase their number thereby enabling the Department to deliver a better service to our customers.

Details of the number of Medical Assessors serving in the Department in March in each of the past 5 years are shown in the table below:

Year

No. of Medical Assessor Posts

2008

19

2009

22

2010

24

2011

24

2012

23

Questions Nos. 320 and 321 answered with Question No. 318.