LMC Campaign To Refuse Benefits Help is Short Sighted & Wrong

The article in today’s Pulse magazine 23/08/13,  is shocking and frightening in equal measure. Doctors guided by their LMCs, may refuse to provide any supporting documentation for claimants of sickness and disability benefits, in their applications or appeals.

Pulse:  LMC leaders plan campaign to encourage GPs to 'just say no' to benefit requests

If a government body, namely the DWP, guided by government policy, demands evidence of a person’s sickness or disability, and a public employee refuses that request as it is not in their remit, where is a person to turn?

On the one hand they are being asked to prove they are ill/disabled, provide evidence of how it affects their daily living and their medication etc. On the other hand they are being refused the evidence by a public servant, what are they to do?  We would argue that this comes under the Disability Discrimination Act as the disabled person is clearly being discriminated against. They have no power to demand evidence as it is not in their GPs job description, but on the other hand the government demand it.

There is no tick box on the form that says not to worry if your GP refuses to help you, we will believe you, honest. Is it therefore just tough luck?

We would argue that this is clearly a hostile situation, which leaves the welfare claimant destitute and desperate. Surely the European Courts of Human Rights would have something to say about this. Would GP’s be found to be not making reasonable adjustments to enable their disabled patients to maintain their own lives?

We would rather work WITH doctors to protect the health and human rights of sick & disabled people and carers.

This proposed LMC campaign is short sighted, hostile and will inevitably lead to immense suffering and even deaths of disabled people. Surely the BMA who have condemned the WCA will find a way to allow doctors to protect their patients and be resourced to help their patients survive the abuse heaped upon them by the DWP.

This is a clear violation of an individual’s human rights, one governmental body demanding evidence and one refusing. The sick and disabled, through no fault of their own, are caught in the crossfire. Where is the LMC’s duty of care?


  1. Reading the comments after the Pulse article (mainly anonymous) apparently there is No-duty-of-care in this area as it is not within a GP's contract! Heaven forbid the doctor behaves in a moral & ethical manner! Hypothermia, starvation, anxiety, depression, suicide & death may follow. But it is not in their contracts! What humanity!

    Nevertheless: if this situation does come about, my suggestion would be to request a copy of one's complete medical records and submit that!

    1. Dead right Colin, if they reduce themselves to mere deliverers of contractual clauses then medicine is over as a profession that anyone respected. I get their arguments, but bottom line the time to protest was before the Welfare Reform Act where were the doctors then? We campaigned against NHS privatisation, some solidarity is needed and this LMC initiative is pure neoliberal I'm alright Jack-ism that is only being mooted because we have been sufficiently vilified and dehumanised by govt & media so as to allow this abuse to happen.

  2. I think you've misread it... the article seems to suggest it's only requests from patients and their representatives that will be refused, as the letter tells them to give the DWP and Tribunal Service permission to seek the evidence.

    Not that Tribunal Service does that, or is even supposed to.

    1. it amounts to same thing, trusting DWP to apply for evidence on your behalf? Not going to happen. Only patients and their advocates have shown any willingness to resist the abusive system.

  3. I agree with Rick B that it's not in the DWP's interest to thoroughly seek out medical evidence.

    I stated on Twitter that the sick and disabled *must* not be used as pawns in a dispute between the government and its GPs because there are serious consequences for claimants, who stand to lose their benefits outright if they're unable to provide medical evidence.

    I may be forced to inform UN officials about this serious matter.

  4. This is a full on attack on the 'undeserving poor' and any vulnerable member of society in the UK; which was on the cards when some mercenary GPs in England became businessmen by agreeing to move from NHS to the Private Sector Healthcare club; and instead of us being patients we are now commodities whether it be as benefit claimants or patients. These de-humanised beings need to urgently seek treatment for their addiction to greed; as they are as great a danger to society as most of Westminster is !!