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Preparing for the Atos Healthcare Medical Assessment

To help prepare yourself for the Atos Healthcare medical assessment, it will pay dividends if you can answer the following questions:

  1. What everyday tasks you have difficulty with, or are unable to do
  2. If you can do more on some days than others, what a typical day is like for you
  3. How your illness or disability affects your ability to work
  4. What support you think you need to improve your ability to work
  5. What to bring on the day of the assessment

The receptionist at the Medical Centre will ask to see some identification to make sure you're the person who has been asked to attend.

Your passport, if you have one, is adequate identification on its own. Otherwise you will be asked to provide three documents which can include your birth certificate, a full driving licence, your life assurance policy and recent bank statements.

You should also bring any pills or medication you're currently taking and any simple aids and appliances that you use such as glasses or hearing aids.

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What happens at the medical assessment

The medical assessment will involve an interview and sometimes a physical examination, if the approved healthcare professional feels one is needed.

The assessment is likely to be different from what you would expect from your own doctor. The alleged approved healthcare professional's assessment is not to diagnose or discuss treatment of your illness or disability; it is to assess how it affects you and your ability to work. To find this out, the approved healthcare professional may not need to carry out a physical examination.

You may be required to return for a Work Focused Health Related Assessment (WFHRA).


You should allow around 40 minutes for the initial assessment and 30 minutes for the WFHRA.

The interview

The approved healthcare professional will normally begin by taking a brief history, covering:

  1. What you did in your old job, if you had one, and when and why you left
  2. A brief medical history including details of treatment, medication and any hospital stays
  3. Your domestic situation (who you live with, what type of house you live in and so on)
  4. How your illness or disability affects how you can perform everyday tasks
  5. An outline of a typical day for you

If you're claiming Employment and Support Allowance because of a mental health problem or a physical illness or disability that could affect your mental health, the approved healthcare professional may ask you about:

  1. Understanding and focus
  2. Adapting to change
  3. Social interaction
  4. The physical examination
  5. After the interview, the approved healthcare professional may decide a physical examination would be helpful.

They will explain what is involved first and check that you're happy for the examination to go ahead. It's important to tell the approved healthcare professional if you feel any discomfort. They will not ask you to carry out any action that causes you discomfort.

The Work Focused Health Related Assessment

After your medical assessment, you may be asked to return for a WFHRA. During this you will be asked about how you feel your illness or disability is stopping you working, and what help you need to start work.

The approved healthcare professional's report

The approved healthcare professional will complete the report (ESA85) after the medical assessment. They will submit the report to the Department for Work and Pensions. You will not normally see it before it is submitted.

You can request a copy of the approved healthcare professional's report from the Department for Work and Pensions. You will get it through the post.

If a work focused health related assessment is completed, the approved healthcare professional will send this report to your personal adviser. They will also send a copy of this report to you.

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