Centres 'unfit for work'

One in four centres run by the firm carrying out the controversial "fit for work" assessments for the sick and disabled lacks disabled access, MPs were told yesterday.

Mark Hoban, the Employment minister, said 31 of the 123 centres run by the French healthcare firm Atos lacked ground-floor access for wheelchairs. Six centres had "terrible" problems and were responsible for nearly three-quarters of all cases of people having to be turned away due to inaccessibility, Mr Hoban told the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

People claiming disability benefits must usually attend a face-to-face assessment with a healthcare professional to determine whether they qualify.