‘GPs unaware they can flag up patients at risk’ ~ The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News

 

Evening News

Scotsman dot com

By John McArdle 

Published on 14/05/2013 12:00

Sick and disabled people are being subjected to enormous and avoidable suffering as a consequence of the UK 
Government’s draconian welfare reforms.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reportedly written to Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron informing them that Scottish NHS and GPs surgeries are now facing meltdown dealing with the fallout of their welfare “reforms” that the vast majority of MSPs agree are badly failing Scotland’s people.

Over the last 12 months a succession of full Westminster debates have been held on the matter and last June the British Medical Association voted unanimously to demand that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) be scrapped with immediate effect “to be replaced by a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.”

However, the pleas of our doctors, charities, civil society organisations and politicians from all sides of the political spectrum – including 121 MPs who signed House of Commons Early Day Motion 295 in support of the BMA’s position – have fallen on deaf ears and even harder hearts.

In response to last week’s Evening News report on the issue, a DWP spokeswoman stated that “GPs have said they do not want to be responsible for making decisions on people’s benefit entitlement, which is why we request the appropriate information from GPs to enable us to make those decisions”.

The truth, as the department well knows, is that the DWP almost never requests information from GPs and it remains irrefutably the case that those performing the Atos Work Capability Assessments and DWP Decision Makers continue to make complex medical risk assessments based upon grossly inadequate patient information.

The inevitable result has been the sickening, daily occurrence of Scotland’s chronically sick and/or disabled people’s lives being devastated with individuals, families and carers pushed over the edge. Such a disgraceful state of affairs cannot be permitted to continue for one day longer in a society that deigns to call itself civilised.

ESA Regulations (21013) 25 and 31 deal with flagging up a substantial risk of harm to patients if they were to be found “fit for work” or to have “limited capability for work” and placed in the DWP Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) where: “the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a 
substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited 
capability for work.”

Regrettably, it remains the case that only DWP and ATOS staff are aware of these regulations whilst GPs remain ignorant of their existence and those performing the WCA and DWP Decision Makers continue to make complex risk assessments based on grossly inadequate patient information.

Where GPs have applied the law the horrific suffering of the type reported in last week’s News has been avoided.

Contrary to suggestions by the DWP spokeswoman and DWP Minister for Work Mark Hoban, the use of these regulations by GPs is emphatically not about doctors policing the benefit system. They are about doctors discharging their ethical duty to patients. The GMC’s own publication Good Medical Practice states clearly:

“a doctor must (overriding duty or principle) take prompt action if he feels that patient safety is or may be seriously compromised by inadequate . . . policies or systems.”

Failure by the BMA to urgently publicise and make known to every GP in the country the existence and lawful application of these Substantial Risk Regulations 25 and 31 without any further delay would, in the words of the doctors’ letter to the BMA 
leadership, amount to negligence.

John McArdle is a spokesman for the Black Triangle Campaign against the current disability benefit reforms

The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News

See also previous postGPs say benefits tests causing ‘enormous suffering’ ~ Edinburgh Evening News Posted on May 8, 2013

Comments
  • Chrissie Fryde May 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

    People are dying. Why don’t the government care?

  • Mary Wheeler May 15, 2013 at 9:13 am

    At least the people of Scotland get a vote on whether to stay part of England. Pity us poor little Englanders who are stuck with this crap fopr ever more!

  • JudeB May 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I made my doctor aware of these regulations, but she consulted with the BMA who told her that she should do nothing until the DWP requested information about me!!!!!!!!!

    I told her that the DWP don’t WANT to know that I’m disabled they WANT to stop my benefits, even though there is no way that I could be considered fit for work.

    I told her that I was desperate and was seriously considering taking my own life, – she didn’t even listen!!!!!!!!!!!

    LUCKILY, when I finally faced my tribunal, the judge and doctor concerned were sensible human beings, and just from reading my case notes had made up their minds to uphold my appeal. Sanity at last!

  • Laz May 15, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Bottom line is the Government is under control ,not by the voters ,but by the Elite who are pushing foreword their agenda .The sick , disabled etc. are limited as an exploitable commodity and are being whittled down and treated as expendable due to the cost . Government does not care and only those who execute the expectations of their sponsors will remain in power .

  • Alex May 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    @Laz, unfortunately your statement is correct. I’m experiencing the ‘whittling down’ due to having been found guilty of being disabled in the UK.
    The ruling class’ lackeys in all parts of society are having a field day killing us off.
    GP’s are being deliberately quiet. They know the score.

  • Hen May 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    “At least the people of Scotland get a vote on whether to stay part of England. Pity us poor little Englanders who are stuck with this crap fopr ever more!”

    So Scotland’s a part of england now? No wonder we want independence.

  • David Moynagh May 15, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    For each and every suicide that occurs due to the pressure by Atos and the dept of work and pensions, individuals such as Iain Duncan Smith should be charged with complicity in the deaths. Many have already taken their lives and we as a collective compassionate nation must do something to stop this ongoing atrocity. We made the nazi perpetrators of such crimes pay the price of their evil. This lot must also pay the price of their killing spree.

  • jeffrey davies May 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    every day more die at their hands but then ids and his dwp atos regime will kill more daily by their abuse but until the working man wakes up to the fact they killing those who are ill and disabled more the same has those in power want you gone quietly ,you say Scotland this Scotland land that but think those in power have awarded atos more contracts so don’t be surprised even thou some shout out about them then why are they award more yes im very afraid my scotish cousins are in for more the same jeff3 if ones having trouble filling your esa in come across to http://www.dwpexamination.org it doesn’t cost a thing for help

  • […] Scottish media has done its bit with coverage in The Scotsman, The Herald and the Edinburgh Evening News. We are deeply grateful to them for this act of socially aware and responsible journalism. However, […]

  • […] ‘GPs unaware they can flag up patients at risk’ ~ The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News Posted on May 15, 2013 […]

  • […] ‘GPs unaware they can flag up patients at risk’ ~ The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News Posted on May 15, 2013 […]

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