Glasgow Disability Alliance was in the news this week following an evidence session at the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee. Tressa Burke, Chief Executive of GDA, criticised GPs who are refusing to provide additional letters supporting their disabled patients benefit claims.
Requests for these are increasing as a direct result of the Government’s welfare reform measures and GPs are under increasing pressure because of the time spent filling out these forms, hence the decision to refuse additional support letters.
Fitness for work tests carried out by Atos have resulted in more people being found fit for work, despite GPs filling out Atos forms supporting their patient’s claim. Patients who dispute these decisions often ask for additional letters of support and doctors say they are overwhelmed with these requests and the demand is putting wider care at risk.
Tressa Burke said “The only thing between disabled people and far greater harm, either through destitution through removal of benefits or serious deterioration in their mental or physical health through being forced to work when they’re not fit to do so, is a letter from their GP”.
Doctors are to look again at the policy.