Doctors Told To Snub Desperate Benefit Claimants

atos_kills_bannerThe Bro Taf Local Medical Committee which represents doctors in and around Cardiff has written to GPs asking them not to help claimants who need medical evidence for benefit problems.

The LMC claim that providing this vital medical evidence for people facing the notorious ATOS work capability assessments is impacting on GP’s workloads.

Most people might have thought that a GP’s workload would include helping sick or disabled people stay alive by ensuring they are not wrongly assessed and thrown off benefits where they could then face workfare on a Groundwork or Conservation Volunteer chain gang.

However the Bro Taf LMC are unrepentant and even seem to be trying to make doctors feel guilty for supporting their patients. The letter states: “GPs need to have a consistent approach to this issue and colleagues who do this work make it more difficult for others to resist and it spreads the belief with patients and local authorities that GPs are happy to take on this non contracted and unfunded work.”

It is not just those facing a Work Capability Assessment who will suffer as a result of this callous move. Patients facing the bedroom tax or benefit cap may need medical evidence to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments to help them to stay in their homes. The replacement of Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments will shortly see hundreds of thousands of disabled people re-assessed for vital benefits. GPs should not help provide evidence with this process either says the committee.

Instead GPs are advised to snub desperate patients who may be facing homelessness or dire poverty by handing them a standard letter. Astonishingly this letter seems to imply that claimants who have the cheek to ask their doctor for help are abusing NHS resources: “GPs are not contracted or resourced to provide this kind of service and making such requests to GPs represents an abuse of NHS resources. “

The DWP have repeatedly attempted to blame claimants for the huge number of appeals against Atos assessments. According to the skiving Employment Minister Mark Hoban, the reason for the shambles is that claimants do not supply enough medical evidence when they are first assessed. Now it seems some doctors are refusing to provide that evidence.

Increasing numbers of people are dying because of reforms to benefits. If GPs don’t want to write letters which help keep patients alive then they should take it up with the DWP and fight for an end to the brutal cuts to social security. In the meantime if they can’t drag themselves away from the golf course to make sure it isn’t one of their patients who is the next victim then they should hang their heads in shame.

Bro Taf Local Medical Committee are on twitter at: https://twitter.com/BroTafLMC

A copy of the guidance to GPs and the accompanying standard letter to snub patients can be downloaded from (Bro Taf LMC Newsletter No.3, 2013): http://www.brotaflmc.org.uk/newsletters.html

The Black Triangle Campaign have long been lobbying GPs to support patients: http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/06/28/gps-should-provide-information-for-every-fitness-for-work-assessment-urges-bma/

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90 responses to “Doctors Told To Snub Desperate Benefit Claimants

  1. Pingback: Doctors Told To Snub Desperate Benefit Claimants | Street Democracy - where it should reach

  2. This practice has been around for at least nine months. I speak from bitter experience – even though in every other respect my doctor is supportive beyond the call of duty.

  3. these assements have allready been rulled illgall why are they still being carried out.

    • Sorry, I’m not sure I understand – do you mean assessments by our GPs? Surely Atos assessments, however immoral, aren’t illegal…

  4. Orwell's ghost

    If any authority is asking for evidence they need to ensure how to obtain said evidence is clear. Feels like they want to close down every avenue of help people can get so only the most persistent can obtain help. But that’s the NHS all over really. Very difficult to get appointments some times.

    • something survived...

      The Atos people IGNORE medical evidence, so they can’t have it both ways.

    • I reckon that the only one’s who can get the reports needed are those able to pay for them i.e. private GP letters. This is not only disgusting, when people are facing the worst crisis in their lives, not to mention homelessness and dire poverty, but smacks of the ConDems consistent class war.

      With all the other issues raised to day – sale of the UK Plasma service to a US predatory asset stripper, privatising Child Services for some of our most vulnerable – and now this, I’m beginning to actually feel physically ill.

      Or it could be that my ESA50 fell through the door this week.

  5. Carls Dickinson

    To put it succinctly wholesale genocide. Have a sneaking suspicion this is all part of Bilderberg’s sinister plan to depopulate the world via the corrupt, avaricious bum lickers running the whole high charade.

  6. PIP assessments to be held in GP surgeries…

  7. UK going back to Victorian era

    I asked my GP last year for a letter for Australian Customs as I am on a pile of script meds and needed this to enter Australia to see my son in hospital after a road accident and friends and family rallied round to pay my fare. A repeat script printed onto a sheet of headed paper and GPs signature took all 10seconds as I was there when he printed it out cost £50. Had to phone my daughter to bring me the cash as he wanted paid before he gave me the letter.

  8. Sadly typical of most government legislation. Punitive and unfair, while at the same time cruelly bureaucratic. There should be a minister in the docks for this shambles!

  9. http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/employment/gps-struggle-to-cope-with-21-rise-in-requests-to-verify-work-capability-since-january/1/20003646.article?&pageno=1&sortorder=dateadded&pagesize=20#.UefkOxVwYeg

    GP’s complain about DWP asking for official info on patients. They have to do this according to their contract, they do not have to help claimants.

    Mental Health services in 4 North West Trusts will do flawed PIP assessment. They seem to have no concerns about shafting their own patients.

    • something survived...

      Actually giving your medical info against your will, is not supposed to be legal. It is private. You are the best to judge if you’re disabled or not!

  10. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    If your doctor considers this to be “non contracted and unfunded work” I suggest the patient obtains the doctors registered number and makes a formal complaint to the GMC about that doctor seeing his/her professional opinion and judgement is being brought into question by a government agent, and they are unwilling to back up their medical judgement or their patient who is also suffering mental stress as a result of this situation. The well being of their patient certainly is contracted and funded work, in fact its their duty.

    • This seems to be a sign of the times.
      We all agree I’m sure that GP’s do a vital job and, like everyone, deserve a decent wage for it. But printing letters is not difficult or time consuming so this is clearly a nice little earner for them.
      I find the attitudes of some doctors these days to be greedy and grasping in this respect.

  11. http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2013/07/anxiety-from-service-users-as-atos-appears-in-mental-health-units/

    Colluders in my opinion in a flawed PIP criteria where those with mental illness will lose their benefits

  12. Once again, the attitude towards vulnerable people STINKS …

  13. the whole process is surreal and bizarre, but from the premise of being actively engaged in this process…and the report from scottish gp’s on this very subject…it is for the gp’s to lobby the govt to put an end to the farcical wca and support those in need of e and sa benefits..gp’s sign the med cert and tick “not fit for work” box and by default take responsibility for doing so, then it is dumped on the benefit entitled, who are expected to give that responsibility meaning, by doing endless work to prove that they are not fit for work, now if gp’s claim the extra workload causes them distress, what does this extra workload do to those that they have signed off as already not fit for work….for me it is for gp’s and the dwp to slug it out..and for the benefit entitled to get the restbite that these benefits were designed to give..and leave me alone, to get on with my life..
    as far as the evidence is required it seems to me that the DM always needs one more piece of evidence or for me to say one more thing, notwithstanding the well known medical facts of all medical conditions and the interactions thereof…oh, why didn’t you say this that or the other the same applies right through the system, one never quite gets it right..the whole system is designed to find one fit for work..it grinds one down…they have the benefits..if they stop them..i’m in the shit..if i grew an extra leg from my head they would claim this to be a positive advantage as i could now cartwheel to work…

    • ps as this is the system that we are currently stuck with, the gp should provide all of the medical evidence that is required, to the non-medically qualified DM and should assert their higher authority in these matters and demand their higher authority is heard, basically tell them that you need no more evidence than has already been provided, and you must pay this persons benefits….

      • pps i feel i must also add that the victim of this bizarre and abusive system is now being guilt tripped for asking for help with it, and being called an abuser who drains the systems resources..blame the weakend victim….

          • chewie
            tell me about it..i.ve got drawer fulls of the stuff..they wrap one up in endless admin and find one fit for work for doing it..i’ve applied to the commons for a personal sec to cope with it all..i wonder if i’ll get one. another point is that gp’s are contractually obliged to provide all the initial evidence required, according to a report on this very subject, by scottish gp’s…so where’s mark hoban coming from..saying if only the downtrodden had done their jobs, and provided the evidence in the 1st place, these appeals would not be needed..still at least he admits he does not know what he is talking about, coz he he does not understand the benefits system, or is he now admitting he does after all?

        • Overburdendonkey
          Its called DARVO Denial, Attack, Role Reversal of Victim to Offender. It is another nasty trick that abusers, and narcissists use. Similar to the Double Bind no win situation. This is getting really dirty now. I don’t know how much more sick, and disabled people will be able to take. Its a constant battle.

          • something survived...

            It is like blaming rape victims for being raped. Blaming people for being disabled.

          • jasmine..an apt description..this has gone on for years..but they are more brazen than ever before..the sore thumb has been exposed, from blairs atos, many more people are online now, and this is openly discussed like never before..the victim is not as isolated as before, the carnage is being discussed..bro taf lmc thought that they too could dump on the victim….and their open discrimination has been exposed..they must now do something pretty convincing to remedy this..the whole system is set up to terrify the benefit entitled, so that they prove need of benefits…this system has not sprung up overnight and without the collusion of others, it has been allowed to evolve into todays inferno..where benefits are now used as a stick to beat the benefit entitled with, and the sick are now a drain on the nhs!!!! according to some..the sick are supposed to be a drain on the nhs..and help us get well, and if not respect us, to ensure we get out benefit entitlement…they should not say you are too sick for us to deal with, too needy..these agencies that ask for extra evidence, are responsible for helping the sick to get justice, justice that we should be receiving in any case…the initial evidence a gp provides should also, be sent to the benefit entitled..then we can decide if there is enough evidence…or what extra evidence might be required to justify “not fit for work” box tick…the upper tribunal counts, the sick note as evidence, therefore the diagnosis..symptoms always lead to diagnosis…i report this that or the other tests confirm this is the case..job done…the reality is that the diagnosis is all that is required, a full diagnosis + the interactive nature of various diagnosis…as i report them and as they are tested for and confirmed…extra evidence is asked for, but specifically what evidence no one seems to know.. ie” a letter from your gp”..saying what, i ask, acknowledging what? “that you have low energy”, but that is already incorporated in the diagnosis..so it leads me to conclude just what has my gp told the dwp? this is what i would like to know? i want to see what my gp has sent the dwp, regarding my case, this should be my automatic right, as should also be an automatic right to see the atos report prior to it going to the dwp DM..”mythical jobs and cures uk plc”

        • Indeed.Guilt tripping has been a weapon against claimants for donkey’s years I imagine. That intelligent people such as, you would hope, GP’s can’t see what’s going on means they are complicit. Writing these letters is a nice little earner for them.

  14. Pingback: Doctors Told To Snub Desperate Benefit Claimant...

  15. this seems to go against a Drs. hypocratic oath as I thought they were supposed to look after patients health, surely not backing them against the vagaries of the WCA will make their conditions particularly mental health worse thus causing them more work, probably doling out anti depressants. Shocking

  16. Are not doctors’ surgeries subject to SAR requests, as in send them a SAR and a tenner and they then have to supply you with copies of all the records they have on you? That might encourage a letter or two.

    • something survived...

      Yesterday I tried this. I went to WPP as arranged. To get there I had 2 hours of buses, as my bank got relocated to a place an hour away and if I didn’t feed the bank money, it’d charge me £60 and cancel my tickets I’d just bought, and I’d have to buy new train tickets at much higher cost on no money. I ran 2 miles after the 2nd bus and managed to get on it at the end of mile 2 of chasing it. I got off the bus early in the middle of nowhere (heatwave, furnace) so I could make it to the WPP. My normal room up a fire escape was locked. The dork-ettes outside sent me up an even higher and more rickety fire escape (how do wheelchair users reach this ‘classroom’?), to another classroom where the WPP guy was. He said I was late. I said I’ve finished WP so am on time, and you sent me back here. He said he tried phoning (he can’t, a blatant lie – I don’t have a phone!). Actually he should have emailed me as it was them who set up the email they forced me to get. He’d cancelled this appointment. He said he can’t see me. Not only that, he was now refusing to give my exit report I’d been sent there by him to collect from him. He doesn’t care it’s miles walk away in the heat and a wasted journey, no drink offered to me though on the point of passing out. Didn’t care that I could have stayed on the bus if I’d known it was cancelled, or that it messed up my busy schedule with everything I needed to do in hardly any time. I’m pissed off he’s being paid for two years of bullying, non-help and incompetence. Why the fuck are we called CLIENTS? A client of a legitimate business would have scarpered long ago. Clients can leave, slaves can’t. Working Links is such a big pile of…IDS. He didn’t care that forced march in heat carrying a heavy bag, messed up my ankle before 2 races coming up. And I was hurrying to get to his stupid bollocks appointment on time. IN fact if he’s scared of email why not write a sodding letter warning me it was off?

      I said the internet says you give me the report, and the DWP/JCP agree. He denied it was wrong. I said I have not seen it, you did not use the correct forms or ask my disabilities so how can it be right? I was trying to stand up to him and be assertive. He said ask JCP. I said, they said ask you.
      (I had to spell every word for him on the scrap of paper in the 5 minutes he gave to ‘writing your exit report’.) I said freedom of information request plus subject access request. He denied those exist. I know the law better than him. He sent me to the JCP (a mile in a different direction). I had to walk as fast as I could and just got there, but it was closing. I said more calmly what happened, and said : what do I do if the information is incorrect? She said I can challenge it when asking for it at JCP on Monday. Well it looks like both sides stitched me up, probably falsified the report. Not paranoia, fact. Falsified mainly by omission, of the fact I am disabled. Helps the powers that be reclassify me as ‘ablebodied’ though I’m obviously not. And if I’m ‘ablebodied’,
      Why do I have lots of seizures?
      Why do people yell ‘spaz’ and ‘crip’?
      Why do all the employers they send me to, say ‘go away you are too disabled’?
      Why am I a registered disability sportsman?
      Why do I have a disabled travel pass?

      It is a tightrope line to walk, as, if you have a supportive doctor; if they put you are disabled, that in itself will ban you getting lifesaving treatments you need elsewhere in the NHS. One once said get a job. Really? yours? In fact I tried to get your job once; but turns out no medical school wanted to employ a disabled person so they would not even let me go to interviews for medical school. Had the brains, academic skill etc but unfortunately being disabled trumped all of that.
      Apart from their own job do they know anything about the outside? Like how hard it is to get a job if you’re healthy and can work all week, let alone if you are disabled/sick.

  17. Any company, organisation, GP etc. who holds your personal data are, by law, legally obliged to respond to a DSAR… The costs vary but you can quote the law at them and most health authorities HAVE to furnish a DSAR FOC (free of charge) if your records have been accesed within 40 days of your request ;) Obciously, they don’t like to tell you that ;)

  18. Too many GPs are more interested in the welfare of their bank accounts than their patients. I’ve had one GP at the practice I attend struck off for fraud (he tried to blame it on his totally innocent secretary) and another prosecuted for using his patients’ names to falsely obtain prescriptions to feed his drug habit (it’s only a matter of time before he’s also struck off).

    Needless to say, my trust in medics has been severely dented and this shameful action by the Cardiff Local Medical Committee doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  19. the atos tests were ruled illegal in the current form the dwp are breaking the law.

    • Who ruled them illegal, and when? It’s fine to make such claims, but does a disservice if it’s merely wishful thinking presented as fact. The last thing we need here is false, or confused information, or indeed conspiracy theories as in the case of the commentor mentioning Bilderberg.

      As Sam says, the Atos assessments are certainly immoral, but hardly illegal, and if they were illegal, the DWP would no doubt change the law to make them legal!

  20. it is also my understanding that with pip..one is not rent capped…lose pip and lose rent cap exemption..please correct me if i am wrong

  21. Perhaps I’m paranoid but it feels like one big middle class/ toff stitch up against the working class. I bet the Tory wankers have a right old chuckle about it at their little soirees. They see the unemployed, homeless and disabled as the underclass who are there to be treated however the hell they like. To me those bastards are the underclass, devoid of morals and ethics, without compassion or love. Now this poisonous attitude is seeping into other areas like the medical profession. If the working class employed and unemployed, healthy and the sick all stood together they couldn’t get away with this shit. Unfortunately lots of the working class have swallowed the Tories lies (listen to any radio phone-in you like and you’ll get muppet after muppet whenever benefits are the subject), we are fractured and have no hope until these fools wake up to reality that the ‘elite’ are the enemy, not us.

    • Sadly the working classes have always been fractured – one only has to look back to the start of WW1 to see that. The working classes of both the UK and Germany happily volunteered to join their respective armies, and though conscription was legislated for in 1916 ‘just in case’ it wasn’t actually required.

      In our own time the bulk of the membership of organisations such as EDL and the BNP are working class.

      We also have to remember that not all middle class people are our enemies, just as not all working class people are our friends. I’m pretty sure that we have plenty of allies amongst the medical profession, such as Lucy Reynolds, who though not a medical doctor researches medical policy and isn’t afraid to speak out.

      • Yes fair point, there are some nice middle class people (very few in parliament!) and some doctors really do care about their patients and yes there are some working class knobheads. I think we are becoming a more selfish society though and certain sections of the working class are being pilloried like never before by anyone who feels like putting the boot in, including other poor people (e.g. we pay your benefits). If Labour get in I don’t think they’ll do much to help, they’ll just be slightly less cruel than the Con-Dems. Bloody depressing.

        • something survived...

          I’ve a friend who’s a doctor. She organises charity races and fitness classes. At the charity race last year there was a surplus of food. It was going to be binned but I said we must give it away. She agreed and took me in her car to the homeless shelters and the women’s refuge. The homeless people ate well that night!

  22. Go here:

    http://www.brotaflmc.org.uk/contact.html

    Scroll down to under where the online e-mail form is and you can download a list of the contact details of all the Bro Taf Local Medical Committee members – it’s a Word file, and has e-mail addresses.

    If you do contact the members of this committee. please be polite, as rudeness and insults are hardly likely to advance our cause very much, wheras rational argument could well win the day – who knows, this letter could be part of an internal wrangle – stranger things have been known.

  23. Oh, by the way, that information is in the public domain, so is in no way priveliged information.

  24. Sue Marsh ‏@suey2y 3h
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-23353623 … Harrington urges MORE evidence from GPs yet DWP now ordering GPs NOT to do letters re benefit appeals #arsefromelbow

  25. Presumably atos are more expert than the doctors maybe all patients should visit atos..judging from what this prick says …

    “If you add that up throughout the whole of Wales, that is an enormous number of appointments being taken up by people who are not actually ill.

    • something survived...

      Okay – so what about the people who are frightened the doctor will say you are being silly, and stay away from doctors no matter how sick they get, until one day they collapse and turn out to have been really ill all along, and NOT malingering or hallucinating or fantasising. Often then it is too late to treat them and they are terminal, or they can be treated but at much greater cost.
      This doesn’t send out a good message at all.

      Are there more cells in an amoeba than there are medical degrees in Atos?

  26. The newsletter on the link appears to have disappeared. Can’t find in anywhere on the site.

  27. I have rung and had a long discussion with someone from the Bro Taf LMC re. this letter. I was angry but polite and she heard me out and understood where I was coming from. ( I have won Appeals recently after going through sheer hell and poverty for 18 months waiting for Tribunals).
    She told me the letter is going to be withdrawn. She also accepted that the wording was too strong and a symptom of frustration (more later) and not a reflection of the LMC on patients at all.

    The letter is advice only and no GP can be forced to act upon it as practices are independent and can do as they please.

    She explained that the letter was generated out of terrible frustration that despite the LMCs telling the DWP time and time again that there needs to be a clear fair system and guidance for people who have to appeal, whereras now there is none, so naturally people go to their GPs. She went on to describe how many GP practices are almost at meltdown point due to inadequate funding and time spent by GPs having to write letter after letter and form after form often doing repeats , because the DWP haven’t told appellants that repetition won’t help.their case. I think I understood from our talk that Gps are funded to fill parts of forms from the DWP and anything else isn’t funded, however many GPs do do these extras

    My understanding is that the DWP isn’t listening,to them or to claimants, MPs aren’t listening, pressure is peaking for us desperate claimants and building up in GPs.. Is this so that we fight eachother rather than uniting to effect the change that we desperately need? Of course it is us patients that suffer so terribly and waiting times to see GPs are growing.which certainly does not help.

    • So Its all a big fuss about nothing. Again

      • chewie no, it is all about getting a clear understanding of the whole process form 1st knock on gp’s door to appeal tribunal and all of the steps, different types and validities of advices in between…and this conversation that karin posts, is part of gaining clarity for all…the gp’s practices claim their frustration at the dwp or at the benefit entitled…it is not the benefit entitled fault..
        imho we the entitled should not be involved at all..the onus should be on the dwp to prove that we are not entitled, and that is between the nhs and dwp…the whole system process is irrational from start to finish…

    • karen, i wish i had got to your reply before i ranted!

  28. Could it be a lot of people have vented their anger I know quite a few who have sent negative e mails. We all know ATOS don’t always note evidence IMy assessment was aborted because no one had read my ESA50 or ESA113 or my own evidence. I have now been waiting over 9 months for my recorded home assessment

    • k davies..yes..
      also how many people have been fully diagnosed by the time the assessment phase has officially ended, not many i bet…it is a rubber stamp exercise..the Q of extra evidence once one fails ones wca,should be for the dwp to specify, not simply ask for more evidence, i ask what don’t you know! well they should know, they have decided that on the evidence so far, one is not entitled, the reconsideration with non-medically qualified DM, then appeal …it is for them to produce a definitive list of evidence requirements…gp and nhs have said “not fit for work”..job done…if the dwp have special insight then share it with us all.. the cab ask for extra evidence same thing applies..then the tribunal may also ask for extra…they simply do not need it..they have massive libraries, years of training they know the medical facts of all medical disorders what do they hope to learn from me…

  29. smells of ids and chriss greyling at work not happy with taking benefits not happy with taking justice away and now not happy at the doctors helping either jeff3

  30. I was told when Blair gave gp’s their huge pay rise they also signed a clause to say they would not interfere in government policy and that was a councllor that told me that at the time.
    Just as the council sold their tenants down the river to an unaccountable housing association, the doctors have sold their patients down the river to the dwp and atos.

  31. they cant deny you your medial records if you ask for them but of course that costs money.

  32. “The “McDonald’s Budget”: Laughably Unrealistic But Also Deeply Tragic”

    http://www.activistpost.com/2013/07/the-mcdonalds-budget-laughably.html

    • That is indeed tragic.

      As is Michael Snyder’s website which seems to be another Alex JOnes ‘buy my tacky survivalist shit while i continually predict an economic armageddon that doesn’t happen’.

  33. i’ve seen it suggested that this action was advised by the GP’s union – BMA.
    BMA has a policy calling for scrapping of ATOS testing.
    not assisting patients, to whom they owe a duty of care, does not further that policy. on the contrary, ATOS and the DWP will love this. it will help their success rates to improve on appeal and they will claim the system works.

    it will hurt patients however.
    medical reports or letters from the GP are invaluable in helping the claimant/claimant’s representative obtain a fair hearing. in other words, the refusal may result in violations of patients human rights under Article 6.
    it will of course add to the stress and worry of patients, who very soon may be left with no income at all while mandatory reviews are carried out prior to appeal. some of these patients/appellants will be suicidal, and others may be reliant on foodbanks in order to eat. mental and physical stress will be suffered by patients, at real risk of deterioration in their medical conditions. this is no time for GPs to disregard their duty of care and the value of the patient/doctor relationship. it is so far from showing solidarity with patients that i can scarcely believe that this policy is on BMA advice, (it is not confirmed.)

    I’m not sure what status the Local Medical Committee has. Bro Taf’s website states it is the statutory representative body of local GPs. this would mean that it is a public body, and susceptible to judicial review of their policy. blanket policies fettering the use of discretion result in injustice and are most often ruled unlawful. a policy inducing failure of the duty of care…? and a policy incompatible with patients’ human rights?

    Really, did Bro Taf take any legal advice before this action?

    Informing claimants that their requests represent abuse of NHS resources is completely unacceptable bullying behaviour, and the distinction made by the Chair between treating ill patients and doing paperwork for people who are “not ill” but appealing benefit decisions beggars belief. GPs, like claimants reps must be seeing appalling decisions finding very sick people ‘fit for work’. It was this injustice, surely, not the admitted burdensome paperwork which resulted in the very welcome BMA rejection of ATOS testing.

    Dr Allenby’s reference to ‘uncontracted and unfunded’ work is also worrying, and adds to the mystery here, of what the hell they think they are doing? It is uncontracted, but doctors can charge fees, and frequently do. I appreciate doctors may find it difficult to charge very poor people (jeez, what year are we in?), but I spent 12 years paying for GP’s reports for appellants out of legal aid (now stopped). A few of them really milked it, unlike hospital doctors , who provided reports free.

    Bro Taf aren’t responding on their twitter account, so no clear explanation of the facts surrounding this move has emerged. Clarification would be very much welcomed – it’s hard trying not to explode!

    • Are they a CCG?
      I don’t know what authority they have here.
      Frankly charging people to write letters is taking the piss anyway. If someone has a health problem, and assuming they aren’t writing to BUPA or UNUM, what’s the problem? Why not have some kind of template document and just fill in the blanks, patient by patient, press CTRL+P and sign it. How is that hard work?

      • Are (some GPs) not being clear about what it is they need to write?
        I’ve seen one instance (it is only one so maybe isn’t typical) where the initial letter requested (for reconsideration) was provided – and not charged for. But, it was a one line only, handwritten categorical statement to the effect that ‘this person is not fit nor is likely to become fit at any time in the future’. The impression was that the GP (genuinely) thought that in just stating this (his signature/qualifications being on the letter) without going into any further detail – what dispute could there be? It was his considered opinion.

        Had GP [not] had any other patients asking him for similar help/support with WCA? Were they put off by potential charges? Would another GP in same practice have responded differently/be better informed? What happened to the original request that must have gone to him via ATOS (if that’s how it works)?

        The letter (needless to say) carried zero weight at WCA/Atos. Second time around (at appeal) the same GP wanted to sit with his patient (whom he has known for many years) and ask questions, to get the patient’s own opinion of his condition (!) whilst writing out the information requested by ATOS – to allow a better chance that he was ‘ticking the right boxes/phrasing the illness to minimise the potential for patient to be misplaced in an inappropriate category once again. (This time the cost of ‘supporting information; was being met by legal aid, as was – & a very different approach). GP seemed unable/unwilling to complete the required information (in the required way) without ‘an appointment’ – which was reassuring on the one hand – but also not at all. (He has since retired – maybe was not up on current changes/how they are [not] working/hadn’t stayed informed enough – does this vary wildly?). He seemed to genuinely want to help but also seemed less well informed about what was necessary/would help and expressed surprise that his initial letter hadn’t been enough … as though he were going through the process for the first time … (Wasn’t keen to accept a suggestion of a standard recommended letter regarding regs 29/35 to use in part as a template for his 2nd letter, though by all accounts these were what he could have (and eventually did) cite).

        Patients go to their GP expecting them to have medical knowledge and place their trust in them to do what’s best for them …

  34. something survived...

    Another thing: People affected by damp and mould in substandard housing, this is on the rise. More people are getting TB and other things. People exposed at home to smoke against their will. All these will end up at the doctor’s door. Docs can’t say there is no connection between poverty and policy.
    Shitty how docs accuse benefits people of having anorexia for being thin and starving. ‘Yes I do have an eating disorder – it’s called NFF: No Fucking Food!’

    • (Anecdotal) ~ TB was (re)appearing/on the increase after a long absence/decline (mid-late 80s) in London. One homeless person told me then that he was just out of hospital & was again/still street homeless – very much aware that symptoms of TB could return and that he (& others in similar circumstances) would be at high risk of this.

  35. “Astonishingly this letter seems to imply that claimants who have the cheek to ask their doctor for help are abusing NHS resources”

    Hasn’t this always been the case? The whole weight of the work ethic and the warped assumption that ‘work is good for the soul’ is always set against any claimant or potential claimant. The tragedy of it is that doctors don’t seem to want to listen back when you explain to them just how fucked up the labour market is. Instead they wash their hands of it and just rely on the assumption the DWP are there to help. Sadly some doctors are just pig ignorant and don’t want to know. Unfortunately we pay the price.

    Ideally people wouild present as much evidence as possible ‘up front’, in response to Pig Hoban’s point, but it’s not always possible. It can take some people months to be seen by specialists and weeks to be seen by a GP. My doctor has had three periods of leave (genuine or otherwise) in two months; i know this because that’s what I was told on three separate occasions trying to book an appointment. THat’s not including the time off during the rest of the year, including a period moving house.
    The root of all this is the way ESA has been abused and mishandled by this government. They have twisted what was initially – potentially – a good idea. ESA is called Employment Support Allowance for a reason; if you look on the DWP own site it even says that it is not a solely out of work benefit, and that it is not for the permanently incapable. That would necessitate Incapacity Benefit (again, clue’s in the name), but the TOries seem to have kludged both together and presumed that ESA should work only for people who can’t work at all – not for people that need help, like, for example, Aspergers sufferers, or people with chronic but perhaps not totally crippling conditions.
    Unfortunately the WCA doesn’t help at all. I can only assume the point of the design was to assess what people can do, but of course in a climate of corporate serfdom, exploitation, and ‘arbeit macht frei’ that also gets twisted. The resources are of course not there to help people, the Work Programme cannot address health matters and most providers don’t want to touch such people (perhaps understandably).
    So what remains is a system that presumes complete incapability as a point of entry. Therefore people need the help of doctors, then they get told that doctors aren’t there to help them. I’m sure this idea will catch on – or at least there are some scummy tory hands behind the scenes at this Bro Taf place. Remember Chris Grayling floated the idea that people should see ATOS before they could even get a ‘fit’ note. THis is ultimately where that is heading.
    People don’t see just how much of a mess ESA has become and only hear what the Wailing Dailies tell them: scroungers on the sick, etc. It’s going to take a lot of work to unpick this mess, exacerbated by ministers who refuse to meet with Spartacus, refuse to implement impact assessments, and just don’t want to listen.

    Unfortunately the likes of the People’s Assembly don’t seem to be particularly vocal right now.

  36. Pingback: Another Outrage: Local Health Authorities Tells Benefit Claimants Doctors too Overworked to See Them | Beastrabban's Weblog

  37. response from Bro Taf to my e mail yesterday:-
    We will be issuing a formal statement later today and this will be sent to you.

    Regards

    Bro Taf LMC Ltd

    Henstaff Court Business Centre

    Groesfaen

    Cardiff

    CF72 8NG

    Tel: 02920899381

    Email: brotaflmcltd@btconnect.com

    Company Registration No: 6744207

  38. And there’s little point in turning to the legal system to try & lodge an appeal – http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-tory-war-on-justice.html

  39. Bro Taf formal statement

    file:///C:/Users/G/Downloads/BENEFITS%20LETTERS%20STATEMENT%20(1)%20(1).doc

  40. Methinks Common Purpose are likely to be behind this nastiness. We’ve seen their handiwork in the DWP itself.

  41. Pingback: GPs should provide information for every fitness for work assessment, urges BMA | Atos Victims Group News

  42. Pingback: Doctors Told To Snub Desperate Benefit Claimants | pictishbeastie

  43. I had this problem, I was made both mentally and physically ill via a medicinal error. Another story (and a long one). But, in short I had no evidence to provide to DWP I had any illness (despite the obviousness when in my presence, but, Drs admission of error? ha never!!!) and I lost all benefits, this led to The Council trying to evict me 3 times from non payments of tax nor rent.(thankfully the judges saw my situation actuality and advised me to go private)
    I am still paying off a substantial debt (at £20 weekly) despite the Drs being at fault and having lost years of my life to an illness that was brutal to say the least……. . I despise the medical profession with a passion, Arrogance is too kind a word.
    It does not surprise me that this has happened now, Drs love their power over us little people, denying treatment to the most vulnerable must be giving them multiples.

    • elohimette..in empathy..we’ve really got to map out this system, to have a clear picture of what the system ought to be, as opposed to the current system, where the sick and/or disabled, have to prove that they are sick and/or disabled…the 1st step is surely, a full and proper diagnosis, which a/c’s for all of ones symptoms, “not fit for work”..should cover the requirement to get full e and sa benefits, until full diagnosis and prognosis is achieved….and then with full and informed mutual consent, a wca, all the current system achieves is understandable bitterness and resentment..

  44. Pingback: Stephen Hawking ‘is not on the sick’ so disabled should not be, says GP | Atos Victims Group News

  45. Pingback: Will GPs betray the Sick and Disabled too?? | Jimmy Savile's undercover groupies

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