MEP demands skilled staff make mental health assessments

Taunton MIND 2
Molly Scott Cato meets representatives of Mind in Somerset

South West MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has expressed her shock and dismay at the fact mental health assessments are being carried out by unqualified people with few or no skills or expertise in mental health issues. The assessments are made under the government’s Work Capability Assessments (WCA) programme.

“That these assessments are being carried out by those with no expertise in mental health is nothing short of scandalous and just adds to the distress to those who are already highly vulnerable”, says Molly Scott Cato.

Dr Scott Cato is calling on US corporation Maximus to ensure that only those with skills and expertise in mental health issues make such assessments. The company have been awarded the new contract for WCA following the termination of the contract with Atos. Dr Scott Cato said:

“For assessments to be carried out in a fair, effective and accurate manner it is essential that staff have the right skills and expertise in mental health issues.”  

Molly Scott Cato made the demand following a visit to mental health charity Mind in Somerset. Here she heard about Mind’s concerns over WCA assessments. Dr Scott Cato said:

“I am hugely impressed with the work Mind is doing in Somerset to encourage greater understanding of mental health issues and it was inspiring to hear about the range of high quality support being offered to those facing mental health issues in the community. This valuable work is clearly being undermined by a deeply flawed and unfair assessment system.”

The Green Party are opposed to WCA believing the cost in both financial and human terms is too great. Molly Scott Cato concluded:

“It is totally unnecessary to pay hundreds of millions of pounds to private companies like Atos and Maximus, when people have their own NHS doctors who know their patient’s needs. WCA has proved an expensive disaster and should be abolished. We need a system that truly reflects the needs and aspirations of people with mental health problems and those who cannot work must receive the support they need.”