‘Instructions ’ from DWP to GP Surgeries
One of our local Surgeries has a warning on its website that following ‘instructions ’ from the jobcentre the surgery will no longer provide letters in support of benefits unless the jobcentre asks for one.
I seem to recall that something along these lines was sent to GPs a while ago ( I can’t find the thread) but the Surgery seem to be portraying this as a more recent development.
Leaving aside discussions about the value of medical evidence (and whether or not the DWP has any power at all to stop GPs writing letters!) I was wondering if anyone has a copy of this ‘instruction’, or if it isn’t something new, a copy of the last guidance sent to GPs.
Ask them for a copy of the instruction
It’s more likely to be a matter of interpretation of the letter below.
What to do about vexatious complaints
Work within the benefits assessment field attracts a high level of vexatious complaints. This is attributed to the professional opinion doctors are required to make and the financial implications for the individuals being assessed.
Doctors may feel vulnerable and increasingly reluctant to undertake this essential area of work, due to a lack of support during the complaints procedure.
However, the changes in the GMC’s complaints procedure, for example, mean that a majority of complaints are now handled at a local level and doctors are no longer removed from the GMC website whilst under investigation, have somewhat eased the concerns of medical services doctors.
Older thread here
Yes ask for a copy of the “instructions”. It may be a case of misinterpreting the standard DWP advice that fit notes don’t need to be issued after a successful WCA.
Even if such instructions do exist, the DWP has no jurisdiction or power to instruct GPs or any other NHS professional what to do. Indeed, to even try to could be viewed as a gross intrusion upon their professional independence and expertise. I’m surprised the GPs appear to have allowed the impression to be given that they do what DWP tells them.
Thanks for all the replies, I think that the ‘instruction’ is in fact from the BMA website, its almost word for word the same
I wonder if that sounds more like a notice to patients that GPs will not respond to letters requesting letters in return to support claims and appeals. I think that would be a decision of the surgery.
The current ESA65B was flagged and discussed with the DWP at a Southwark Complex Needs meeting this year. It makes no mention of the patient/claimant appealing the decision and therefore still requiring fit notes (surely an independent medical decision by the GP) and instead relies on the GP following gov.uk links to guidance. A DWP representative from ESA took our concerns away and we should find out in December if suggested changes are to be made.
The Work and Pensions Committee has questioned the wording used in the ESA65B sent to GPs in a letter to Sarah Newton published yesterday.