Benefits agency UWV to use newly graduated doctors to reassess disability benefits

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Benefits agency UWV wants to use just graduated doctors to re-evaluate disability beneficiaries in an effort to get rid of the agency's backlog in reassessments. Both the union UWV doctors Novag and the Dutch association for insurance medicine NVVG are against this plan, Trouw reports.

Novag calls the plan "unallowable and unacceptable". "Starting doctors are not trained, not competent and not capable to do reassessments for people receiving disability benefits. That is contrary to the law, the medical professional standards, disciplinary code and the professional status of insurance physicians", Wim Pelt, president of Novag, said to Trouw.

The NVVG agrees, calling the reassessment too complex for newly graduated doctors to handle. "Using young doctors, without insurance medicine knowledge and experience, makes us deeply concerned about the quality of these reassessments", Rob Kok, chairman of the NVVG, said to the newspaper.

But UWV director Fred Paling thinks it will be fine. According to him, the agency has been investigating how to combine the relationship of education and employment for newly graduated doctors better. Last month the agency launched a special accelerated training program for 30 new doctors. In this program new doctors will be trained on how to do reassessments and will be able to start work within two months. Paling compares it to doctors-in-training working at hospitals. "There too they simply start working. And with us it obviously happens under the supervision of one of our insurance physicians."