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However, a DSP spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that the Department plans to pursue the use of agency medical staff “in the future”.
Medical assessments are carried out by doctors in the cases of illness benefit claims. Illness benefits include disability and carers’ allowances, among other payments.
MI reported in May 2015 that the DSP had received three responses following its call for applications to provide MAs. The three responses all came from private companies.
“The present public procurement for external medical services has taken longer than anticipated, resulting in the Department exceeding the timelines laid down in the RFT (Request for Tenders),” a DSP spokesperson told MI last week.
“As a result, the Department has decided to cancel the process on this occasion. However, the Department still plans to pursue the use of agency medical staff in the future.
“The Department has expressed its sincere thanks to the providers who engaged in the process and hopes that when a future tender is put to the market, they will participate again.”
In March this year, this newspaper reported that there were over 103,600 medical assessments undertaken by the DSP in 2015. The figure represents a more than 10 per cent increase on the 2014 figure.
In September last year, then Tánaiste Joan Burton told the Dáil that there were 25 MAs working in the Department.
MI first reported in late 2013 that the DSP was considering the hiring of a private agency to provide more MAs.