This is a disgrace

I've just got this in an email, it doesn't look good.

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Doctors Told To Abandon Patients Undergoing Vicious Medical Assessments

by johnny void

Local Medical Councils (LMCs) have been warned they may face legal action over advice telling doctors to shun requests from benefit claimants asking for help with the notorious Work Capability Assessment.

The Black Triangle Campaign and Disabled People Against Cuts have said that even individual doctors themselves may be at risk of being sued should they refuse to provide this vital and sometimes life-saving support for claimants.

Two LMCs have issued advice to GPs warning them not to provide letters for claimants who face the stringent Atos run test for sickness and disability benefits. According to Pulse Today, the LMC in Lancashire and Cumbria is even considering a 'Just Say No' campaign to back doctors who refuse to write letters for patients undergoing assessments and appeals.

Some GPs - who are paid on average £104,000 a year - have complained that writing these letters, which confirm or provide medical opinion on a claimant's condition, is taking up too much time and they don't get paid for it. There has certainly been an increase in the number of people asking doctors for this kind of help as the current benefit slashing regime has taken hold. But this kind of information can be the difference between someone seriously ill being given the money they need to survive or face having benefits stripped away and even sent on long term workfare.

GPs submitting evidence to the DWP is often the only time that an actual doctor has a say in what happens to their patients in the benefits system. Without this information claimants are left in the hands of Atos assessors, whose only job requirement is a medical qualification of some sort - often meaning they are physiotherapists, midwives or paramedics. Should a claimant be judged 'fit for work' they will see their meagre income slashed by around a third. This can have real impacts on claimants who need to keep warm, have special dietary needs or other costs associated with their condition. They will then be left at the mercy of medically unqualified Jobcentre staff and could be sent on Mandatory Work Activity or other unpaid work schemes under threat of brutal benefit sanctions.

Nobody is asking GPs to lie or do anything but offer an honest assessment of a patient's condition. This is something they do everyday when issuing 'fit notes' for workers who have had to take time off work. In fact every single person on an out of work sickness or disability benefit has been signed off work by a GP at some point. They cannot simply wash their hands of responsibility for these patients now the Government is challenging those decisions.

Local Medical Councils could be helping GPs to provide all the necessary information claimants need as efficiently as possible. It's not difficult to imagine ways they could come up with to cut down the time spent by GPs writing these letters. Already template letters produced by Black Triangle show how the ESA Regulations 29 and 35 can be used by doctors to quickly and easily exempt vulnerable patients from the assessment procedure altogether.

But instead some LMCs are seeking to drive a wedge between patients and GPs by punishing claimants for an additional workload placed on them by the DWP. Claimants who in an increasing number of cases have been driven to suicide by these brutal and bodged assessments and the misery they have inflicted. At such a desperate time for so many of the UK's poorest people it seems some GPs have decided to work to rule and abandon huge swathes of the communities they serve. We are clearly not all in it together.

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johnny void | September 10, 2013 at 10:34 am | Tags: atos kills, Local Medical Councils, work capability assessment | Categories: DWP, ESA/Atos, Welfare Reform | URL: wp.me/p1Awq-1OG

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17 Replies

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  • This issue has been around for a few weeks and finally arrived on the BBC in the last day or two. It is a big problem and the GPs need to find a way to support us.

    When I wanted support from my consultant to help me retire on ill health she said she could not take time away from her patients in order to do more paperwork! In the end a private doctor got access to my medical records and did the paperwork for me. I think my Trade Union paid him. Bizarre!

    I will try and find the BBC story about the GPs refusals.

  • Absolutely, my own GP told me NO, I said indeed it for my appeal and he flatly refused, well if I lose my appeal against sickness benefit and next is my DLA so i just hope i don't lose my car and carers benefits, I really don't know what I'll do it is really really scary for me.

    It really isn't fare for the sick and disabled of this once great country, it has been destroyed along with the people in it.

  • Philip, I am mortified! I feel I have to tell you how very sorry I am for what this does to you and so many others. My first question is "Why". Are there programs being set up to somehow help all these people who would be affected by This apparant indifference. There is too much I just do not understand from the government.

    But I sure do understand what might be happening to you, and can only say, I wish I could help.

    Do you have access to Lawyers, or Counselmen, some one in the position of being able to understand and help?

    Try not to imagine the worst just yet, that stress may very well affect your health.

    Keep on hanging in there, Loret xx

  • Hi, thanks for your reply, this government want things to go back to the 30s when the sick and disabled were ignored because nobody wants them and it was embarrassing for their families, this government is doing its damnedest to turn the tax payers of our society against us, the poor, the pensioners and the unemployed and the sick and disabled, unfortunately things are going their way.

    I can't afford legal fees as they curtailed that to, my MP, well he is just as bad, he is a LIBDEMS and he really can't be bothered with helping anyone unless there is something in it for him, I have approached him before with nothing coming from it.

    Basically we are out on a limb ( for those with limbs ) with no hope. The lies that come out from the mouths of the government are a disgrace.

    Philip

  • Hi, I can't find the BBC article but googling "GPs charge for ATOS appeal" brings up lots of articles.

    Can I suggest 2 thoughts.

    First go and talk to your local CAB about all this.

    Second, find out who your MP is and write to them.

    I have had help from my MP in the past. I was genuinely surprised to get a positive response about my disability problems.

    Some people suggest you get copies of your own medical records and photo them for ATOS. But even that can cost £30. Expensive but worth it if you win your appeal.

    Good luck!

  • The GPS are getting as bad as the rest I think, they have been told not to help people on benefits with appeals, I did get one letter saying what illnesses I have and what the medication I am taking and that cost me £10, I couldn't believe it.

    Philip

  • Hi Philip I have heard off something similar at my GP's Surgery the person was so irate when he was told to make the cheque out to his GP he told the receptionist he was sending a photocopy to his GP's Surgery manager and his MP asking him if this was included in the GP's salary if not he has to declare as extra income to the TAXMAN, And by law he has to put up some sort of Price List with the various charges, When I last heard the cheque had not been cashed. Mattcass

  • Hi Philip,

    I have just had the occupational health doctor do my final medical assessment for ill health retirement. He stated, not all GPare willing nor able to complete the form details. Maybe on the flip side is that, they the GP's jist dont want too.

    I normally include a copy of my mosr recent clinic letters, that normally is sufficient.

    I am appalled that GP would however refuse. I say contact CAB services.

    Carole

  • Hi, I think it is the GPS duty to help us, after all they are the ones who know us best out of the medical profession.

    And what about those who can't speak for themselves?

  • I just sent hospital letters and stated I only see gp for blood tests and infections.i didn't have assessment just approved any help .good luck

  • Thank you for your support and suggestion, anything is worth a try.

  • Thank you for your support everyone, just awaiting the date now.

  • I applied for disabled relief on the Council Tax. I had to get a GP to tick one box or the other one. Yes I was entitled or No I wasn't. It cost me £35 to get the form ticked and signed.

    Again a friends son has just been here. Cerebral palsy etc and was told by ATOS he was to work, nil points. He got 24 at the CAB and so appealed. GP doctor was fuming and wrote him a letter free.

    I hated giving £35 but apparently it is not in their contract cos the party who agreed the contracts in 2004 did not put it in. Seems today that everything has to be written in the contract. There is no, "I will do that".

    Where is Britain coming from"?

  • Thanks skeggy, just goes to show what a bunch of. Bleeps they are, cases like this just prove the voters right.

  • Awful situation Philip, I have signed petitions etc and get letters back from my mp, William Hague, oh isn't he the one helping enforce changes! Maybe we should all lobby Teresa May the NRAS patron for help?

  • Teresa may is a big part of the problem lol unfortunately, I opulent trust any of them more than I could throw them, that isn't far either.

  • Well she is the new PM now

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