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UK urged to follow suit as Isle of Man scraps fit-for-work tests

This news post is about 6 years old

Bold decision by the island's government

Isle of Man’s government is to scrap fitness for work tests, prompting calls for the UK government to follow suit.

The announcement was made in Tynwald, the island's parliament, by treasury minister Alfred Cannan.

It came in response to a report into the operation of personal capability assessments which have been widely renounced.

In their place will be a holistic approach to the treatment of long-term incapacity claimants where people will gain and retain automatic right to benefit simply by positively engaging with the medical professionals who are helping them return to work.

When the fitness to work checks were first introduced in 2012 on the island as a pilot scheme carried out by Atos Healthcare, a number of claimants immediately stopped claiming - suggesting there had been some abuse of the system.

A spokesman for Edinburgh-based disability campaign Black Triangle praised the Isle of Man government for taking the decision to scrap the tests.

He said: “We warmly congratulate them. They have done what any humane government would have done and it is now absolutely essential that the UK government follows suit.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We are committed to ensuring that people with health conditions get the right support that they need, and work capability assessments ensure that everyone gets the benefits they are entitled to.

"If a claimant’s condition changes then we will consider any new evidence presented by the claimant’s GP or medical professional.

“Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can appeal the decision.”