The Medical Review and Assessment Section (MRAS), in conjunction with individual scheme business sections, co-ordinates and manages all referrals for assessment to the Medical Assessors.
The Department offers a number of schemes on illness, disability; carers and occupational injury and applications vary in volume and frequency both yearly and seasonally.
High volume and resource intensive schemes like Domiciliary Care Allowance and Disability Allowance would have a higher proportion of Medical Assessors delegated to assessing these schemes. Medical Assessors are assigned to specific schemes on a daily basis.
The length of time taken for each scheme for desk assessments varies depending on the complexities of the case and the volume of documents submitted, Domiciliary Care Allowance is one such example. Therefore it is not feasible to allocate a fixed time for each case as they are unique in their own way even with clients of similar diagnosis. The Medical Assessor will take the time as required to read, analyse and evaluate each case in the assessment and arrives at the clinical opinion for capacity for work or the need for full time care. Furthermore, the Medical Assessor will take the time to prepare the narrative for the reasoning in the event of a not eligible opinion.
My department has efficiently reduced waiting times for medical assessments of claim applications in all schemes to between one to four weeks.
I hope this satisfactorily clarifies the concerns raised by the Deputy.