3 February 2010

Tape recorder and microphoneA Benefits and Work member who refused to a attend a medical for incapacity benefit unless he was allowed to record it had his medical cancelled and has been found incapable of work.

Our member had been subject to a previous medical which he considered to be ‘disturbingly inaccurate’.  He had secretly recorded this medical and, when he obtained a copy of the report, identified what he considered to be more than 20 errors.

His complaint to Atos was not, he considered, taken seriously with some of his claims being rejected on the grounds that his recollection of the medical may have been poor.  In response our member sent Atos a transcript of the secretly recorded medical.  However, Atos claimed that they could not accept secretly recorded material as reliable evidence when investigating a complaint and it progressed no further.

The GMC also refused to deal with a complaint about the doctor who carried out the medical.  They did so on the grounds that they would only consider the issue of the doctor’s fitness to practice if it could be shown that they deliberately falsified a report.  In other words, even the worst display of incompetence by a doctor carrying out a benefits medical, which resulted in real emotional distress, deterioration in health and financial harm to the claimant would not be of interest to the GMC.  Only demonstrably deliberate lies would trigger an investigation.

As a result, when our member was told he would have to attend a further medical recently, he explained that he would not do so unless he could have a ‘fully independent and accurate medical’ or could record the proceedings.  After several phone calls and several refusals to attend, our member received an appointment for a medical through the post.

But, the very next day, a further letter arrived cancelling the medical and apologising for any inconvenience.  Two weeks later our member received a letter informing him that he had been awarded sufficient points to be found incapable of work and his case would be reviewed again in three years.

We absolutely do not recommend that anyone follow the example of our member – failure to attend a medical without legally acceptable good cause will result in you losing your benefits.

But we did want to share this story with you, simply because it’s cheering to know that – just occasionally - a stubborn and outraged claimant gets the better of the DWP.


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