What happens at the face-to-face consultation?

We know that going to a face-to-face consultation can be worrying, so we will always do our best to put you at ease.

When you arrive

You’ll be greeted on arrival and asked for two forms of identification. You’ll then be checked in for your face-to-face consultation and offered a travel expenses claim form.

If your face-to-face consultation takes place in your home, the Health Professional will just ask to see your two forms of identification.

The Health Professional you see will always identify themselves clearly with photographic proof of identity.

You’ll be asked to wait in our Reception Area. We will try to see you at your appointment time, however delays may occur and you might have to wait beyond that time. If you do, it may be that the person before you needed some extra time or that we are looking through your case and any evidence you’ve included before meeting you.

The team at the Centre will keep you informed.

Who you will see

You will be seen by an experienced Health Professional. This will either be:

• A registered nurse (both general and mental health specialists)
• A physiotherapist
• An occupational therapist
• A paramedic

These Health Professionals come from a variety of backgrounds, including NHS hospitals and private practice, so they have experience of working with all sorts of health conditions and disabilities. They’ll treat you with professionalism, dignity and respect throughout the consultation process.

Their role is simply to find out more about your individual needs. They won’t attempt to diagnose your symptoms or recommend treatment.

All of our Health Professionals are experienced practitioners and trained in health and disability assessment.


What you will be asked to do

The face-to-face consultation gives you an opportunity to explain how your health condition or disability affects your ability to function on a daily basis. You won’t have to undergo a full examination and we won’t attempt to diagnose your symptoms.

Our Health Professionals are here to help you. They’re not looking to catch you out and we know you’re only human. So don’t worry about getting every word right. Just explain to them as clearly as you can how your health condition affects your daily life.

You may be asked to perform a few simple movements related to your health condition or disability. This allows our Health Professional to include accurate details of your difficulties in the assessment report. If you feel unable to complete these movements without pain, let the Health Professional know and you won’t have to do them.

It’s our job to make sure the DWP fully understand the difficulties you face. That means we might ask you some quite personal questions. For example, we might ask if you need help with washing or dressing.

Please bear in mind that the face-to-face consultation is just one part of the PIP claim process and that the Health Professional you see isn’t the person who makes the decision on your claim. This will be done by DWP.

Where it will take place

Every face-to-face consultation takes place in a private consultation room. Our consultation rooms don’t all look the same; in some you’ll sit opposite the Health Professional and in others you’ll sit side-by-side.

Please tell the Health Professional if you’d like to see what they’re writing in their report. Sometimes it may be easier if they describe what’s being written.

If your face-to-face consultation takes place in your home, the Health Professional will ask you which room you’d feel most comfortable having the consultation in.

How long it will take

Face-to-face consultations usually take around 60 minutes. However, if your condition is complicated, it may take a little longer. We treat everyone as an individual and give you as much time as you need so we fully understand your case.

If you are waiting beyond your appointment time, it may be that the person before you needed some extra time or that we are looking through your case and any evidence you’ve included before meeting you.

  • Notes and recording your assessment

    You might wish to make notes during your face to face assessment. We are not required to take a copy of these for DWP, nor do we need a copy of them. We ask that you retain the notes for your personal use only. It is possible for you to audio record your face to face assessment. There are certain requirements that DWP have set for the audio recording of assessments that you can find in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Further information

Watch this video to find out more about your face-to-face consultation. Also available in BSL.

We will pay for your travel

At the assessment centre, you’ll be offered an expense form and pre-paid envelope. You can use these to claim back your travel costs.

We’ll send the form off on your behalf if you pass it to one of the Centre team.