26 July 2007
The DWP has begun publishing some of its controversial new medical guidance for decision makers on the internet.
It includes information on CFS/ME, epilepsy, anxiety disorders, vision, back pain, heart disease, arthritis, learning disability, stroke, bipolar disorder, COPD, carpal tunnel syndrome, depressive illness, schizophrenia, hypertension, IBS, anaemia and RSI.
The new guidance is gradually replacing the information in the Disability Handbook used for many years by decision makers and widely regarded as being out-of-date. The guidance covers the clinical features of each condition, treatment, sources of evidence, care and mobility considerations, prognosis and duration and also differing considerations for claimants over 65. There is widespread concern over the simplistic division of claimants into those with mild, moderate and severe conditions and the basing of awards on these categories.
We would strongly advise members to check whether new guidance is available for their condition when completing claim packs or renewal forms. However, we would also stress that the new guidance has no legal standing and tribunals are under no duty to accept its accuracy.
You can find the new guidance here.