As access to healthcare workers gets harder and harder, we’re asking readers to share their experiences and tips for getting supporting medical evidence for a benefits claim.

Our request was prompted by a recent tweet from a follower who told us:

“My top tip is that most GP receptionists will happily print a copy of GP summary care record, which has meds, latest appts, diagnoses and stuff on it for free.”

It made us wonder, following the pandemic and the devastating effect it has had on health provision, how people are managing to get supporting medical evidence for claims for benefits such as PIP, DLA, ESA or UC.

Were you able to get medical evidence that gave useful details about your ability to manage the activities at issue in your claim, such as your ability to prepare food, manage money or cope with social situations?

Did you have to pay for medical evidence?

Or did you expect the DWP to contact your GP or consultant?

Are you lucky enough to have a health professional who is knowledgeable about benefits and who  sees supporting you with your claim as an important part of their role?

And we’d also like to know whether you consider that the medical evidence, or a lack of it, made any material difference to the success of your claim?

Please share you experiences in the comments section below.

There’s more information about summary care records here.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    micksville · 16 days ago
    I'm currently struggling to get supporting letter from my GP who has been happy to do so sine 2010 but now the practise are too over worked to do this. Also my summary health record was poorly presented, did not list my ongoing arthritis in knees back hands all that have been a x rayed and diagnosed over the years, largely because they are being treated by pain management as there is nothing else healthcare professionals can do due to surgical risk factors. Also Carpal issues bi lateral were not included both have been diagnosed long ago. Finally it appears my named GP is a bloke I have never met or had a consultation with and I am registered under him it seems. Even though my regular GP is the one I have always seen. I have opted out of summary record now as it does more harm than good and could compromise my claim. Luckily I kept every record of x rays surgery physio consultant intervention over many years so I can use those to fill the gaps but on the whole summary records are a mere snapshot that don't capture half of what is currently affecting a patient.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Lorraine Roberts · 1 months ago
    I lost ESA in November last year because I didn't have much medical evidence to back me up in my last assessment. I had been on it for many years with no problems. I think it's partly because of not having face to face assessment, but in my case I just hadn't hassled my doctor enough!! But my GP has done everything he can do, but now I can't get to see a consultant face to face, it's phone calls only. My back is that bad that I've been offered a fusion by 2 consultants, it cannot get better on its own, but I cannot get DWP to accept that my pain is real and as bad as it is
    I have various back problems and severe migraines and a few other problems. I have some days where I can do things but not without a hell another of medication in me which causes problems in its self. But most days I cannot leave the house.
    Because I lost ESA I had to go onto UC and now I'm being forced to go to the jobcentre every 2 weeks to say how many hours I can possibly WORK!! 
    The person at my jobcentre who deals with disabilities said I needed to get a voluntary job in a charity shop 1 day aweek ( so they don't have to rely on me ) but now I'm being hassled to do more hours. I haven't even been able to do it once a week every week because I cannot walk or stand long enough. I have put in an appeal but I pretty sure it's not going to go in my favour because I don't have enough evidence. They won't even accept a sicknote from my doctor as proof that I cannot work
    I don't understand how the evidence that I have sent in before isn't enough if the reports mention 20+ years of acute pain , 35 tablets a day and a strong pain patch ( 3 of my meds are controlled drugs) spinal fusion of 4 vertebrae, migraines that have put me in hospital or needing injections from out of hours GPS,  miniscule tear in knee and bad ankle because I have to walk differently, severe arthritis in my neck and TMJ.
    I was told that it was not worth appealing my ESA decision because I everyone on it  would be going over to UC. What I didn't realise was how much money I would lose by doing it and how I would be treated by DWP as someone they thought capable of having a full time job. How can someone just look at a few reports( I don't believe they even look at evidence, jut your application)and make an assumption about me.
    I don't choose to have UC, I have no choice. Who would choose to live on so little money and get so much shit thrown at them? 

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    Pauline · 1 months ago
    Oops I just wrote long comment but hadn't subscribed so lost it but about to check out these apps. One I have is patient access which will get you easy screenshot of repeat meds but not great however my GP practice manager ager sends me encrypted emails of records whenever I ask. This is like rare as no such luck when tried for my dad with his practice. What you want to ask for is a brief EMIS summary as me turned for meds and Conditions if you can't get full records but a subject access form will get you them all. 

    I won't go on again but away to fight a system I believe needs exposed for leaving me giving lost my partner, 2 major surgeries, bullied upon return to work so my mind as well so paid off on ground of ill health by NHS after 20 years service. Keep fighting.


    I'm exhausted by it all but won't give up as that's what they hope everyone does.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Lucy H · 1 months ago
    https://www.gpprimarychoice.co.uk/gpca-about
    I am a care advisor, it is a free service in North East Essex. We reciece referrals from doctors, clincians, relatives of patients and pstinets themselves. We complete benefit application forms and have access to patient notes. This we are a le to provide much needed evidence in support of claims. This service is much needed elsewhere 🤷‍♀️ website with details above. This service needs rolling put nationwide 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    John H · 1 months ago
    For claimants with Electro Hyper Sensitivity (EHS) there is no recognition of this condition within the NHS let alone the DWP. No treatment, no relief, no benefit payment.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Taz · 1 months ago
    I support people to complete benefit application forms. I've experienced it's always been difficult to get supporting medical evidence as GPs don't have the time to write such letters & when they do they charge £20+ just to say what conditions you suffer with. I know this from personal experience as I needed a letter a few years ago to travel abroad with my meds, the letter just stated what a repeats prescription slip would have said. Since Covid the process has become more complicated even making an appointment had become more difficult. 

    I find having GP summary cam be helpful as it's free. However it still doesn't explain how an individual struggles with day to day activities. To be honest GPs won't have this information anyway. Individuals with long-term health issues tend to manage this with the repeat medications prescribed and hardly book appointments, in my experience they aren't seeing any specialist as there is nothing more available to them so they have no current medical evidence as they are not currently seeking support but still managing poor health. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Amanda · 1 months ago
      @Taz I agree! After 30 years with chronic pain, and two rounds of NHS pain management programmes, plus umpteen physio and rheumatology appointments, I've long since been signed off and left to get on with it. I have no new medical evidence to provide on that particular one of my issues. But I am providing written reports from a physical rehab trainer I'm paying for, and from the teacher of a meditation course I attended, both of which help me to manage my conditions, so both of the writers had knowledge to some extent of how what they taught me was helping me to manage things better. It all becomes much more complex when getting to see a GP to ask for a referral to a specialist is almost impossible these days. We'll see how it turns out!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Katie · 1 months ago
    Hi have received amazing support from my GP and Consultant and they write an update report whenever it’s needed. I have just had to be reassessed for PIP I don’t know how long I have wait to find out if it will continue because this is the first time I’ve had to be reviewed. Anybody have an idea? Thanx in advance x
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Lorraine · 1 months ago
    I tried to get pip but without evidence too many Dr's see me when I have appointments I have to go through my history with them everytime I have no chance on earth in getting pip 
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    VickiT · 1 months ago
    Hi I always get my records printed each time i have to do the forms ,when i finish i order copies from my GP so i have them ready for the next assessment. I always keep a copy of all i send and if you can get an MP letter it helps enormously. Good luck all.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Amanda · 1 months ago
      @VickiT How would your MP know what your disabilities are/how they affect your daily living and mobility issues? I'm a bit baffled by why that might be helpful. If you wouldn't mind clarifying this for me, I'd be so grateful. Thank you!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Manda · 1 months ago
    I have found that the more evidence you can link to aspects of the questions really makes a difference. Success with that. Also, sort through medical evidence carefully-dont just send it. Pick out what shows abnormal bloods, xrays, etc..the clear diagnosis of your conditions, list of all appointments going back 5 years and then annually, dont send in evidence where it says ' you are fine' etc.. it gives the DWP assessor excuse to weaken your application.  Hope that helps! 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Andy W · 1 months ago
      @Manda I thought the DWP specifically state NOT to send in appointment information as they see that as irrelevant.  What they wish to see is what condition you have, the treatment given and the specialists diagnosis/treatment/outcome.  That was certainly the case when I had my last PIP review.  Showing an appointment letter from say your GP to the hospital saying Mrs Smith has complained of lower back pain does not qualify as anything.  Not being negative, just stating what happened to me.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Manda · 1 months ago
    Best thing I have found is regardless of whether you have an up and coming review or are thinking of applying for pip etc.. get the medical notes annually. First time, apply for everything in your hospital medical record. Scans, consultant notes, xrays, tests, blood tests.. the whole lot! Same goes for the gp. Write to ask the practice manager. Tell them you need everything they hold on you. Same as hospital. Be specific. Each hospital needs contacting. This way each year all you need to do then is update the last 12 months. That way you always have up to date medical evidence to hand. It also gives you time to correct anything in your notes and or talk to/or ask for any changes to be made to your record that you are not happy with. You will be amazed how your records can differ from what you say to the medical people and how they understand what youve said. You will also find out if they have not told you something or you want clarity and further explanation. Then keep the notes in order of health condition. I find this is easier for reference when sending information to DWP. Hope it helps! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Eileen · 1 months ago
    My doctors surgery isn’t interested in helping patients with DWP reviews.  I have asked for medical evidence many times but have been refused.  My GP won’t even talk to them on the phone.  I had a GP for years, who is now retired, he was a wonderful support to me but sadly his replacement is not helpful.  
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Theresa · 1 months ago
      @Eileen Hello Eileen, by English law your allowed to have your full medical reports just request in writing from which year you require to be back dated from, they must perform this specific dates you need them for 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sue · 1 months ago
    My tip is to ALWAYS take at least one other person with you. They don't need to speak, just to sit quiety behind you whilst you engage with the assessor. They cannot refuse and they need not know who this person is.  Just say it is it is a friend or advocate.  Tell the companion to make notes as they listen.  Not to speak to the assessor or interrupt.  It can be good for them to smile and/or nod
    occasionally, or slowly shake their head if the assessor is being unreasonable.
    PIP or DWP have in the past disallowed recording equipment which is very unfair.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Michele · 1 months ago
    My GP surgery allows access to test results, medications, consultation and events through the nhs app but will not put medical documents on there. Which is what you need for pip. I have to physically go into surgery fill out a form to request them to print documents. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Tony Dean · 1 months ago
    I can access my medical records online, I am registered to do so at the local medical practice.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Anne · 1 months ago
    I have a complex lifelong disability. I have always kept a folder with letters from consultants, results of tests and hospital admission / discharge letters which I may need to support ESA / PIP submissions. I have often helped others with their PIP claims and tell them to continue keeping such info.  In my own case, on transition from DLA to PIP I included all relevant info, plus the full detailed medical from ATOS whereby they advised my Area Director and Cabinet Office to accept that I be medically retired from my job as an HEO with DWP.  At assessment I asked if the assessor had read my medical reports. She replied that she 'never read them' as she preferred to make her own assessment! Her report contained many errors but I just got enough points to remain on higher rate.... (I was so ready to go to appeal!!!). E.g I have self catheterised for over 30 years and I have an ileostomy but I now have upper body parasthesia with loss of hand function (which she physically tested and acknowledged) and so have problems with managing both and with changing clothing and bedding - I am a full time wheelchair user. I scored 2 points for Managing Bladder and Bowel.  
    In essence.... you can submit all pertinent info, but it means nothing if they do not consider it.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Stephen. · 1 months ago
    I am very fortunate, I have a named GP in my surgery. She has been enormously helpful and wrote a very powerful letter to support my mandatory appeal. I also requested and received, albeit to late, a full copy of my psychology notes. I am very lucky because my husband is a former lawer and knew what levers to pull. I know most people aren`t as lucky as me, which angers me. Those most in need are often those least able for various reasons, to fight their case. I was on a DLA indefinite award, when moved to pip I had to go for reassessment with an assessor who almost never looked at me, only her keyboard. I went from an indefinite DLA to scoring NIL for pip ! I won my appeal, in many respects I think my doctor`s support carried a lot of weight in addition to my husband`s legal knowledge. It really should not take this much effort and support - if you can even get it.

    Stephen.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Susan · 1 months ago
    To gain evidence I borrowed £250 for a private psychiatrist assessment. I did win my appeal.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    karenh · 1 months ago
    how do i see any replies to my messages how to get on forum doesn’t seem to work 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Bert Visscher · 1 months ago
    I can get letters from GP for free
    Also I can get letter from psychiatrist for free 

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