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Remember when it was revealed that the Conservative government had told doctors they no longer need to provide “fit notes” to claimants of Employment and Support Allowance who have been told they are “fit for work” after taking one of the Tories’ rigged “work capability assessments”?

This should remind you.

The advice was false, of course. Claimants need “fit notes” when they are contesting the decision, and to make sure Job Centre “advisors” cannot make unreasonable demands of them.

Frank Zola has written an article detailing advice to ESA claimants whose doctors may be inclined to follow the government’s false advice. It is valuable advice – perhaps crucial in a country where the benefit system is weighted in order to bring about the death of sick and disabled claimants by benefit deprivation.

Here’s part of it:

Caution: You may wish to seek independent support from an Advice Agency or Law Centre before acting on any of the consent based suggestions below.

When Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit claimants are required to undertake a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and found fit for work (FFW), their GP or Doctor treating them is usually sent a letter, known as an ESA65B (pdf) [1], informing the GP/Dr that they no longer need to issue ‘fit-notes’ [2] for “ESA purposes”.

Unfortunately receipt of the ESA65B letter often results in GPs refusing to continue issuing ‘fit-notes’ [3], even when they should be issued when the claimant has requested a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) of its FFW decision or appealing to an independent Tribunal against after an MR, or their health condition or disability gets significantly worse or they have a new medical condition. [4] Or when needed to ensure a Jobcentre Work ‘Coach’ cannot impose unreasonable work-related conditions on an ESA[4], Universal Credit (UC) [5] or Jobseekers Allowance (JSAc) (contribution based) [6] claimant.

If your GP/Dr did get an ESA65B letter and you are asking the DWP for a Mandatory Reconsideration or appealing to a Tribunal against the FFW decision, or your health condition or disability gets worse or you have a new medical condition or disability. You could provide a copy of or send your GP or GP practice links to ‘A short guide to the benefit system for general practitioners‘ and this letter of 5 April 2019 as they advise GPs when they should continue issuing ‘fit-notes’.

You can read the rest here. If you are among those affected by this issue, you most certainly should.

It may save your life.


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