21st June 2012
Written Answer from the Minister for Social Development
Training on Mental Health
Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster):
To ask the Minister for Social Development to detail the training given on
mental health descriptors for people carrying out Work Capability
Assessments for Employment and Support Allowance, and in particular, the
training relating to agoraphobia and other phobic conditions.
Minister for Social Development: Healthcare Professionals
carrying out Work Capability Assessments receive mental health training
relating to the mental health descriptors as part of their initial training
programme. This includes specific training relating to agoraphobia and other
A yearly training needs analysis is undertaken by Atos Healthcare who are
contracted to undertake the Work Capability Assessment, and this is approved
by the Social Security Agency. This informs the development of a
professional development programme, which for 2012/2013 includes ongoing
mental health training for Health Care Professionals.
Mental Health Champions are in place to support mental health training and
provide appropriate advice. Part of their role is to provide specialist
mental health training to the Health Care Professionals employed to
undertake Work Capability Assessments.