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?