Dr Paul Litchfield, chief medical officer for BT, has been appointed to carry out the next independent reviews of the work capability assessment (WCA) for employment and support allowance, the Government has announced.

In a written statement to Parliament, Minister for Employment Mark Hoban announced that Dr Litchfield will undertake the fourth review of the WCA, taking over from Professor Malcolm Harrington, who stepped down last year after completing the first three reviews.

Dr Litchfield has been chief medical officer at telecoms provider BT, as well as director of health, safety and wellbeing at the company, since 2001. His expertise includes mental illness and the impact it can have on work prospects. He is also a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.

He has supported a number of UK Government departments on workplace health and co-authored the Department for Work and Pensions-sponsored independent review, Realising ambitions: Better employment support for people with a mental health condition, in December 2009.

He is also a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council, where he has helped to raise the profile of the economic impact of chronic disease.

In addition, an independent scrutiny group, chaired by Professor David Haslam, past president of the Royal College of General Practitioners, national professional adviser to the Care Quality Commission, and chair designate of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will oversee the review process.

Dr Litchfield will present his report to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith, before the end of 2013.