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MSP calls DWP staff ‘unprofessional and dangerous’ after phone call for family member’s PIP assessment

An MSP has accused Department for Work and Pensions staff of being ‘unprofessional and unsafe’ after a telephone assessment on behalf of a family member.

Karen Adam, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, described the call as “vile” after phoning about a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment for a parent.

Adam described how when asked why the family member was unable to apply on their own, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) employee asked “is it because that they cannot be disturbed?”

Adam claimed the staff member also asked if the claimant was ‘cleaning himself and his house’ before adding ‘well, just so you know it won’t count towards receiving benefits’.

When Adam replied that the comment was “weird”, the employee is accused of saying, “It’s not weird because some people can’t clean up after themselves because they were raised like that in a house where there were benefits and they won’t.

They then asked whether the applicant had attempted to “commit suicide” after being informed that he suffered from a neurological disease.

Adam has now requested the full written transcript of the call and intends to file a formal complaint with the DWP.

She told STV News: “My main concern is the lack of duty of care to vulnerable people. In particular the issues surrounding suicide.

“I recently dealt with the Scottish Social Security Service on behalf of my family and there is a distinct difference in attitude. They were very compassionate and caring.

She added: ‘It was a telephone assessment as they said in a letter ‘a routine assessment will be carried out as none had been carried out for some time’.

“I asked them for the transcript of the conversation or the voice recording. I will then file a complaint once I get the evidence and take the legal advice I have been offered. I go as far as I can. can. “

In a series of Tweets, Adam detailed the conversation and said, “This is incredibly unprofessional and dangerous. I still feel sick today and I’m sure the app will be written in such a way that they don’t get anything they deserve. No faith.”

A DWP spokesman said the department would investigate what happened “as a matter of urgency”.

“We understand Ms. Adam’s concerns,” he said.

“This call was made by one of our assessment providers and we will urgently investigate what happened in this matter.

“We expect the highest professional standards from our assessment providers and that applicants are treated with dignity and respect, and we are sorry that Ms. Adam believes the assessment fell short of these standards.

“We regularly update our advice to assessment providers regarding all aspects of assessment, including how healthcare professionals should conduct themselves during assessments.”