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26 February 2008
The DWP have issued new guidance to GPs on completing factual report forms used by DLA and AA decision makers.

The advice warns against asking patients for any information about how their condition affects them. Benefits and Work members are strongly advised to ensure they visit their GP and provide them with a completed copy of our Health Professionals sheet as soon as they make a claim.

The new guidance, issued in January 2008 gives general advice to GPs about providing evidence in relation to DLA and AA and then more specific information about evidence requirements for:

Asthma / COPD / other respiratory conditions
Ischaemic heart disease
Musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis / back pain etc
Mental health conditions
Epilepsy or loss of consciousness
Childhood problems

Doctors are told that their report should be based on their knowledge of the patient and on medical records and that " It is not necessary to interview the patient, as any information they provide, especially with regard to mobility and self care, may not necessarily be objective.

Such a warning does call into question the purpose of obliging claimants to fill in a 50+ page claim pack if the DWP believe that their evidence is not to be trusted.

In relation to most conditions, doctors are asked in bold text to say whether the claimants condition is mild, moderate or severe. As Benefits and Work members will be aware, this is now a very important issue when decision makers are assessing claims.

The guidance to GPs provides some useful pointers on the type of medical evidence that decision makers will give most weight to and is certainly worth reading before asking for evidence from health professionals.

You can download a copy of the advice to GPs from this link, under the heading disability living allowance and attendance alllowance.

© 2008 Steve Donnison