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Extending six-month terminal illness benefit rules in Scotland

 

stuart
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Interview in Holyrood Magazine with Scottish Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman includes her views on extending the six-month terminal illness rule for Scotland’s devolved benefits -

‘The point I’d make to everyone who wants me to extend it, and of course, I could simply make it two years, three years, four years and hang the cost, I could do that and loads of people would be happy, but if I’ve got a health professional using medical judgement who refuses to tick that box because their judgement says, ‘I have no idea’, then it’s not actually deliverable…

I completely understand why people think six months is too short, and therefore unfair, so I need to try and find a way of marrying the legitimate concerns of the medical profession with the legitimate concerns of people with conditions like MND. And that is hard.’

 

     
stevenmcavoy
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WRO, campaigns and policy, Enable Scotland

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i can see where the thinking is behind this.  in practice I think trying to get a health professional to confirm death is reasonable expected within such a time scale will be difficult but then neither am I convinced a prescribed list of conditions will help either.

it seems to me the majority of these cases could be fixed by better administration of the claims and decision making than just changing the rules.

     
Mike Hughes
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Wholly agree. The cases where a medical professional signs that the person is more likely than not within six months and the person actually lives beyond that seem more prevalent to me than the ones where they actually pass. Whilst the living beyond often becomes an immediate and distressing administrative mess I don’t think that would be that hard to resolve if there was the political will. What it doesn’t need is a time extension. I don’t see that triggering swathes of consultants saying “Yeah, that’s better. I’m happy to sign that.”

     
stuart
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here’s further details from Jeane Freeman for why deciison was made to propose keeping six-month rules in Scotland, but with scope for clinicians to overrule.

.... and the rightsnet summary of the letter setting out the amendments

     
ClairemHodgson
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i think generally unless someone has a really really aggressive horror of a condition, it can be just educated guesswork based on past mortality with that condition (i.e., averages) and there will always be those who do exceed the timescale or die the following day…...

     
stuart
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Another Scottish Government amendment now proposes no time limit, leaving decision to clinical judgment of medical professional….

https://beta.gov.scot/news/no-time-limit-for-terminally-ill-people/