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UK: Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) medical evidence

Discussion in 'Work, Finances and Disability Insurance' started by Sarah94, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. Sarah94

    Sarah94 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Two questions:

    (1) Does the DWP accept reports from private consultants as medical evidence? I mean like, will they be snobby about it and not take it seriously if it's not from the NHS?

    (2) Do they usually contact your GP? I've had very little contact with GP in last few years, and when I went a few months ago, I massively downplayed my ME (I just said "I'm fine except for the chronic fatigue", and didn't let them see that I was struggling with being there) because I didn't want them to treat me badly because of it.
  2. SallyC

    SallyC Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm not sure how much help this is but when I went through the UC assessment approx 2 years ago my GP told me that DWP sent them a form to fill in about me as part of the assessment. I have no knowledge of what was in it. I can't help with question 1.

    Not much information but maybe it's useful to you.
  3. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is my general experience that they may contact your GP for evidence if you dont send them any evidence yourself - because thats what they're supposed to do.

    I dont think they would be snotty about private consultant's evidence, as long as that consultant is an actual doctor - rather than an 'alternative practitioner'.

    They are supposed to take consultant evidence higher than GP anyway so i wouldnt be too concerned if you have consultant willing to write a report for you.

    ETA But in normal circs (ie for people without fears of damaging recommendations for GEt etc, and not during a pandemic) it would be a good idea to contact your GP to make them aware of the reality so it can be in your records because if they do send the form it is very basic - what is dx? when did last consult for this condition? what meds etc. IF they just go off your notes & you're like many with ME it will appear as if little wrong with you.
    I have previously gotten around this by making it clear in the general info part of the claim form that i do not see my GP for my ME/CFS only 'X' Doctor.

    NB do not expect the DWP to contact a consultant though... in my experience they never do and you need to get the Dr to write a report - with particular reference to the descriptors for the benefit you're claiming.

    www.benefitsandwork.co.uk website & guides are 2nd to none for all this info, you do have to subscribe (£20 yr) to get access to the guides & forum, but it's worth 100 times that imo.

    good luck with it all
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
    Binkie4, Sarah94, Wits_End and 5 others like this.
  4. MEMarge

    MEMarge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The DWP had not contacted my friend's GP prior to her assessment.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
    Binkie4, Sarah94, alktipping and 2 others like this.
  5. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    My daughter had a benefit denied once a decade or more ago on the grounds that she hadn't been seen by the GP for over a year. I think the important information you need your GP to have on record, apart from your diagnosis and medications, is how your symptoms affect your ability to carry out normal daily activities.
    meg22, Sarah94, alktipping and 4 others like this.
  6. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    But GPs, at least mine, are 'resistant' to this information - they don't want to know and if it's given to them it would appear to be binned.

    I recently, finally, got my 'complete' medical records from my GP surgery.

    Not one word about any impact that any symptoms have had/are having on me.

    She'd been told on several occasions, and when that didn't seem to be working I gave her targeted notes to add to my records.

    Nothing in there.

    Not one word.

    Of course the operation to my smashed right shin, in 1993, is in there - only problem being it never happened, not to me anyway.

    My summary record doesn't even mention ME (or PVFS etc), so whenever asked for letters of support etc. all I've been getting is that there is no record of my having being diagnosed with that, amongst other conditions. The medical records themselves do mention it - but expecting a GP to actually read my notes.....

    So they don't put stuff in the notes, but that's obviously okay coz they are busy people and can't be arsed to actually read the notes anyway.

    So, probably best to furnish a GP with notes for a letter to be generated immediately, and if necessary paying for it - as in my experience the chances of anything non medical ending up, or even being in them in a week, are quite small.
  7. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Likely they will accept them; also accept evidence from other sources, e.g. employer statement, OT assessment, etc.

    Advice from Fightback was assume they won't, and submit med records yourself. Even if they do contact, they may only allow a week for reply; GP may be too busy to respond in time. I sent copies of all mine for previous seven years.

    (Sorry for brief notes, my specs are bust!)

    ETA: added 'accept them' to 1st sentence.
  8. Blueskytoo

    Blueskytoo Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    I’m a member of a Facebook group which is second to none for benefits advice. It’s run by and for people with ME and other chronic illnesses and all the admins are sick too so everyone understands exactly how challenging it can be claiming when you’re ill. I’ve so far managed to do four successful ESA support group claims, one successful UC claim and two successful PiP claims for me and my family, and I had my PIP review last year done on paper only. I not only kept my award but I got it for ongoing to boot. I’ve been a member for about 5 years now and I wouldn’t have known where to start with any of it without their help and support. It’s a great group, very well moderated, and all advice and resources are totally free. Search for the U.K. ME & Chronic Illness Benefits Advice Group on Facebook if you’d like some help.
    Sarah94, alktipping, Kitty and 2 others like this.
  9. Wits_End

    Wits_End Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    UK London
    (1) Yes, they should do - as long as it's not from a "weird" specialist such as a homoeopath or something else deemed suspect.

    (2) It's apparently rare for the DWP to contact your GP about anything. They are supposed to, but generally don't, regardless of what it may say on the paperwork. But it would certainly be highly useful for your medical notes to include the fact that you suffer from ME/CFS/whatever it was being called at the time.

    Do note that if you provide your GP with notes, pointers or whatever you may call it, you're expected to let the DWP have a copy, too.

    As I think I've pointed out before, your GP is not generally going to be aware of how they affect your daily life/how well you can comply with the descriptors. A physio/OT or even your carer would be far more useful in this respect.

    BTW, we were asked for more "medical evidence" at our first appeal hearing. No indication was given of what sort of thing the tribunal were hoping for, which made it very difficult to know what would be appropriate. I don't think what I submitted was ...

    Would agree about the advisability of signing up with Benefits & Work for a year, at least.

    You also don't mention which benefit this relates to: that might be quite important.
    Kitty and Trish like this.
  10. meg22

    meg22 Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Sheffield UK
    I've got a supportive private doctor whom I've seen for years - I originally was granted DLA HRC & HRM based solely on her report as my GP wouldn't support me then so yes the DWP will accept reports from private doctors. That was years ago though and it's different now.

    It won't be DWP that decides whether to contact your GP for more information it will be the assessment company and they usually don't from what I've heard but if they do I think it will be most likely your GP that they contact. I think it's really important to speak your GP fairly regularly if just from benefits point of view and definitely speak to them when you get a benefits form to do and let them know how you're affected in relation to the descriptors.

    Last year when I was being transferred from DLA to PIP I submitted good letters from both my GP and private doctor. I was trying to get a paper-based assessment which ATOS eventually agreed to but they still telephoned my GP to confirm details. She is thankfully supportive now but I've had to work hard to gain her support. I'd previously told her about the NICE guideline being reviewed for example and had given her a copy of Unrest. She's never mentioned what she thought of Unrest but since then she's been completely supportive even writing me a second letter to get a paper-based assessment last year.

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