Doctors to be briefed on life-saving work capability assessment rules

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA, announced that all doctors would be advised of the potentially life-saving regulations.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA, announced that all doctors would be advised of the potentially life-saving regulations.

Doctors’ union the British Medical Association has finally agreed to brief every GP in the UK about regulations that campaigners believe could protect disabled people facing the controversial work capability assessment.

The rules state that a claimant should not be found fit for work (regulation 29), or placed in the ESA work-related activity group (regulation 35), if such a decision would pose “a substantial risk” to their “mental or physical health”.

These regulations are well-known to grassroots and social media campaigns, but campaigners including Black Triangle (BT) believed that many GPs were still unaware of them. They have been trying to persuade the BMA to inform GPs about the regulations since August 2012.

The timing of the BMA’s decision is interesting – nearly three years after originally being asked to publicise the regulations, and right before a general election.

As Black Triangle’s John McArdle told the Disability News Service: “A lot of lives could have been saved in that time and a lot of people could have been saved from trauma and destitution.”

He went on to say that the move was “better late than never”.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA council, said: “The BMA position remains that the work capability assessment process should be scrapped with immediate effect and replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to the weakest and most vulnerable people in society.

“The BMA has consistently lobbied politicians on this issue in the past few years and will continue to do so.

“We will ensure that our members are informed about the current regulations around work capability assessments, so as to help patients get the best outcome for their needs.”

The work capability assessment has been linked with relapses, self-harm, suicides and other deaths among those who have been assessed.

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8 thoughts on “Doctors to be briefed on life-saving work capability assessment rules

  1. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    This is as stated “better late than never”. However, will the DWP conform to this when they have known all along that, for so many, the strain of these work Capability assessments can cause serious and often irreversible harm to claimants? I imagine that this good news would make it easier to prosecute the DWP for unreasonable harassment.

  2. Jonathan Wilson

    I may have misread an article a week or so back, but it stated that IDS was intending to reduce the relevance, and possible removal, of regs 29 & 35 due to their increased usage. In effect allowing them to be ignored, in much the same way the points system was changed to make it harder to get ESA when the c88kwombling f88ckwit took over the DWP via a ministerial change not requiring debate; in much the same way he keeps chaining the rules of UC to fit the agenda and avoiding oversight.

    1. Bod

      I too read an article last week that mentioned 29 & 35 where to be stripped/changed, made less effective. Can’t remember where it came from.
      The BMA, after all this time are going to send a memo ? Whoopee. Just before the election. Great timing.

    1. John Gaines

      I guess then that you will never have to test your belief.

      My No2 Son is a Consultant in Aus, he saw the writing on the wall for the NHS and dumped it; particularly as the BMA could see no evil nor hear no evil, they thought they were en-route to financial nirvana; but were actually bought for a few measly sheckles and a gaggle of lying Tory BS.

  3. concernedkev

    anticipate your enemies next move nothing wrong in that. I used these regs with Drs support to eventually get Mrs into support but only for 2yrs we await the brown envelope and another 9 months of hoop dodging. Multiple Sclerosis is a horrible condition with persistent pain loss of co-ordination and balance visual and spatial problems along with cognitive dissonance which is like early dementia. ATOS used a nurse to assess her last time which is in breach of the then contract and he lied by omission in her report missing out a problem that would have guaranteed her inclusion in support group. People should look at the contract and who decides your case. In serious conditions it must be a medical practitioner with experience in the condition and Consultants reports and other specialists opinions must be taken into account. There are millions out there who could sue on breach of contract alone if they are still alive. A class action would be the way forward.

  4. John Gaines

    I guess that Duncan Smith is ranking right up there beside the worst of the Concentration murderers; I always did have him pegged as a Psycho.

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