Thousands call on DWP to stop telling GPs not to give sick notes to benefit claimants

More than 73,000 people have signed a petitition demanding that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stop sending “misleading” letters to GPs.

Welfare Weekly recently reported that the DWP has been sending letters to GPS, instructing them not to support disabled with sick notes while they appeal benefit entitlement decisions.

Now thousands of concerned member of the public have called on the DWP to halt the shameless practice, warning that it threatens doctor-patient confidentiality.


DWP HQ, Caxton House, London. Photo: Paul Billanie for Welfare Weekly.

GPs have been advised by the DWP not to provide sick notes (aka ‘fit notes’) to sick and disabled people found ‘fit for work’ following a face-to-face medical assessment for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Campaigners and MPs have called on the DWP to stop sending these letters to GPs, after it emerged that ill and disabled appealing against unfair work capability assessment (WCA) decisions have been pushed into poverty after their GPs refused to provide sick notes.

It has been revealed that DWP ministers ordered changes to the standard-issue letter to remove references that made it clear to GPs they may have to issue a medical statement if their patient wished to appeal against a WCA decision.

However, the DWP say this was not intended to dissuade GPs from issuing ‘fit notes’, which were previously known as sick notes before the UK Government cynically decided to rebrand them.

A new petition says the letters threaten patient relationships with their GPs, and “puts patients at risk of damaging their health further and leaves them in serious financial difficulties”.

The petition includes a case study of a one person who was “too ill to work” but was refused ESA after a letter was sent from the DWP to his doctor without his knowledge.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd MP. Photo: Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0]

It continues: “Louis had to rely on food-bank vouchers, went into debt, accrued rent arrears and faced an increased risk of eviction.

“It took moving GPs and relying on new evidence from a clinical psychologist stating how his mental health would deteriorate further if he did not obtain the fit note, and therefore the benefits he needed to survive.”

It concludes: “These letters are sent to the GP of every person after they have been refused ESA – before they’ve finished the appeal process. 88% of our clients win their appeal and are entitled to ESA again.

“It is not for the DWP to interfere with the GP and their patient. Sign the petition today.”

Sign the petition here.

Get News Updates!

Register to receive a notification each time we publish a new story. Don't worry, we'll never spam you and it's easy to cancel at any time. Service provided by Google Feedburner.

- Sponsored Content -

Trending Now

Nearly half of DWP staff are dependent on benefits to make ends meet

At least 40% of DWP staff are claiming benefits to top-up low wages.

UK pensioners ‘suffering the worst poverty rate in western Europe’

Tories warned against further rises to the state pension age.

Social housing tenants who damage their home ‘should face benefit sanctions’, report says

Report claims "rogue tenants" have cost taxpayers in London around £3.4million since 2014.

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

The Latest

‘World stumbling zombie-like into a digital welfare dystopia’, warns UN report

Report condemns "intrusive government surveillance systems" used to cut welfare spending and generate profits for private companies.

Nearly half of DWP staff are dependent on benefits to make ends meet

At least 40% of DWP staff are claiming benefits to top-up low wages.

New DWP Secretary refuses to commit to ending the benefit freeze

Thérèse Coffey also claimed there is "no causal link" between the two-child benefit limit and rising child poverty.

Tenancy reforms leave private renters at risk of ‘revenge evictions’

Tenants who complain about or request repairs unfairly removed from their homes.

Social housing tenants who damage their home ‘should face benefit sanctions’, report says

Report claims "rogue tenants" have cost taxpayers in London around £3.4million since 2014.

New SNP childcare pledge to ‘lift families out of poverty’

Free childcare pledge to save families £4,500 per year for each child.

Follow Us

16,662FansLike
9,378FollowersFollow

More Articles Like This