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.
    Stephen. · 1 years 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.

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    Susan · 1 years ago
    To gain evidence I borrowed £250 for a private psychiatrist assessment. I did win my appeal.
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    karenh · 1 years ago
    how do i see any replies to my messages how to get on forum doesn’t seem to work 
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    Bert Visscher · 1 years ago
    I can get letters from GP for free
    Also I can get letter from psychiatrist for free 
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    Carol Laidlaw · 1 years ago
    I help people with mandatory reconsiderations and appeals as a volunteer with an unemployed centre. I tell claimants to apply for a copy of all their medical records under the GDPR as soon as I send a request for the mandatory reconsideration, so that we have medical evidence (hopefully) in time for the appeal. I tell them *not* to tell the GP's surgery why they want them. This is because many GPs are utterly ignorant about the appeals process and will tell the claimant "The DWP will contact us if they want more information". This, of course, has nothing to do with the patients GDPR rights. I sometimes have to draft a request for a copy of the medical records for my clients to sign themselves and take to the surgery, because they are not used to putting requests in writing and lack confidence.  I have found that quite a few surgeries will give clients the runaround when they try to assert their GDPR rights to their medical records and will delay far past the 40 day limit for producing them. I appreciate that GP surgeries are very busy and this sort of thing is not going to be their top priority, but it can't take much time to print out what are now computerised medical records. But I recall encountering this resistance way back in the 1990s, it's nothing   new.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      SUE C C · 1 years ago
      @Carol Laidlaw Hello Carol

      For your reference to some GP surgeries giving your clients the run around, might this be of some interest to you, I posted it earlier?

      Further to issues in accessing your patient records held by your GP medical practice etc, many surgeries now have 'Online Patient Access' certainly something I have especially appreciated through COVID with no, or very limited F2F appointments being offered at my Medical Practice, still.

      My GP practice uses a system called SystemOnline, which allows me to reorder repeat prescriptions, book appointments (Pre-pandemic) access prescribing history, patient records and summary patient record. you are entitled to access your own medical records held by your GP/Medical Practice at no extra cost, subject to the requirements of your practice to do so.

      Going forward, It is a very useful source of corroborating information and supporting documentation that claimants are/have been in contact with their GP/nurse/health practitioner about their ongoing health issues etc. Also, it is possible to provide a history of medications that may have been prescribed as well as any referrals made to other specialists.

      If you choose to access your medical information in this way, a word of caution, CHECK THOROUGHLY FOR ACCURACY and remove any irrelevant or inaccurate information before using it. Good luck.

      However, medical evidence is only one type of supporting evidence and your own detailed, accurate and consistent account in your claim form can be the most valuable. Good luck.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      krysuk · 1 years ago
      @Carol Laidlaw I agree with this 100% apply under GDPR but now more specifically under the Data Protection Act 2018 for a Subject Access Request of all medical records for the purpose of data portability to a consultant Dr or similar.
      Just be prepared that you may get back HUGE amounts of paperwork to sift through. 
      I specifically asked for all records from previous GP's across my life and all hospital records.
      I didn't get everything as three of my specialists hospitals obviously haven't got linked up nhs systems.  One I put in a separate DSAR for my full file which I got, the other 2 I haven't approached yet as honestly I had enough by then.

      The ICO have templates to help draft something for the GP when you can usually email in and they have little choice except to comply else face the consequences if you complain to the ICO. 

      I've done quite a lot on this the past few years, and although I'm meant to be doing my PIP review I think I need to share this - so have adjusted the last DSAR to my GP, and put in [details] where you need to put in your own relevant parts
      Id suggest the subject of the email be something like

      Subject: [Your FULL NAME] - Data Protection Act 2018 Subject access request (“DSAR”)

      Make sure you send it high priority and tick the boxes for delivery and read receipts.  You might only get the delivery receipt, but it is useful.

      My own template...Hope someone finds it useful and saves ever having to speak to someone face to face about this or sending by post.  Usually a surgeries website will have a Data Protection page hidden somewhere that will tell you what the process is.  My surgery hadn't updated their page for years and it still talked about charging a fee - this is not correct, the law requires them to provide your medical records in full for free.  They may withhold anything that could cause a safeguarding issue, but otherwise you should get more than you bargained for, be warned



      [Put your Dr Name and Address here]

      By Email only:

      [the email address of the GP surgery]

      Date: [DATE]

      Dear Dr [Name of your Dr]

      [Your FULL NAME] - Data Subject access request (“DSAR”)

      Please ensure that this is passed to the appropriate person. I understand that this is the Practise Manager and am unsure presently if that it yourself.
      This request is made pursuant to the Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (the “Regulation”) as applied by Section 22 formerly Schedule 6 of the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”).

      I am writing to formally make a “subject access request” for a copy of my medical health records and information that you hold about me to which I am entitled under the General Data Protection Regulation & Data Protection Act 2018.

      I have two reasons behind this, initially for my own records but also for data portability. As you know I am under care of other specialists and, although there is occasional correspondence between yourselves, they do not have visibility of my records through their systems. Additionally, I do not believe that the online portal Patient Access has a full record of my medical file available for me to view and I have need to review these.

      Primarily I need all records from the point of becoming a patient of your practise on 

      [Date you became a patient at the GP]

      both electronic and manual.
      I have an additional need for any records relating to my previous history from

      [Year that a condition began]


      [Insert any specific medical conditions that would have fallen under care of medical professionals before joining a GP]

      It may be that your practise doesn’t have access to this information directly, however I have no visibility of what information is available to you regards my full NHS record. If you do not have access to my full medical record and information prior to this I would be grateful if you could please let me know asap in the event I need to contact historic NHS providers from when I was living in

      [name of previous area you lived]

      I understand that the amount of data may be quite large so am happy to accommodate any needs you have, and am more than happy to collect the information from the practice once notified it is available.

      You can identify my records using the following information:

      Patient Details:

          My name within your systems is [Full Name] my date of birth is [Date of Birth]

      My Name:
      My full name is spelled [Full Name on birth certificate]

      , however there are variant spellings and there may be other spellings or abbreviations including

      [insert any short names or nick names you go by]

      and abbreviations including

      [your initials and surname and variations on this] 

      Email address’ could include but are not limited to

      [list any personal or work email address that you may have used with the GP surgery]

      Please search for each of these variations, particularly when searching email records and other word-processed documents.


      [your home address]


      [your phone number]

      Please supply the data about me that I am entitled to under GDPR and the DPA 2018 including but not limited to:

      · Confirmation that you are processing my personal data.
      · A copy of my personal data.
      · The categories of personal data concerned.
      · The recipients or categories of recipient you disclose my personal data to.
      · Your retention period for storing my personal data or, where this is not possible, your criteria for determining how long you will store it.
      · Confirmation of the existence of my right to request rectification, erasure or restriction or to object to such processing.
      · Provide a description of the data and the categories of information and personal data concerned.
      · Explain the purposes for which the data is processed.
      · Confirmation of my right to lodge a complaint with the ICO or another supervisory authority.
      · Information about the source of the data, where it was not obtained directly from me.
      · Set out to whom the data has been disclosed or may be disclosed.
      · The existence of any automated decision-making (including profiling).
      · The safeguards you provide if you transfer my personal data to a third country or international organization.

      In accordance with the Regulation, the abovementioned copies which must be provided to me within 30 days of receiving this DSAR.

      I reserve the right to refer to the contents of this letter if an application for pre-action discovery is necessary relating to any of the documents requested herein.


      I look forward to receiving your response to this request for my medical records within one calendar month, per the GDPR, DPA 2018 and British Medical Association Guidance.

      If you do not normally deal with these requests, please pass this letter to your Data Protection Officer, or relevant staff member.

      Please note:
      I have attached a utility bill as proof of address and identity however am happy to provide further documents if necessary.

      If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me either by telephone on 

      [your telephone number]

      or at the email address

      [your email address]

      I look forward to hearing from you in the first instance of receipt.

      Yours Faithfully.

      [Your name]
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jeff · 1 years ago
    I tick the box on my medical appointment to get a copy of the report sent to my G.P. this ensures that I get a copy of the latest consultation which adds extra evidence to my claims.
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      Eva · 1 years ago
      @Jeff How? Everything is being referred online. I was never asked if I want a copy. Never signed anything or ticked any boxes.
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    Jules · 1 years ago
    As a support worker helping people apply for disability benefits I can vouch that many GP surgeries are refusing a simple EMIS statement. This kind of makes a mockery of the GDPS legislation. They claim that the DWP will contact them for more info which in reality is just not true. So, I find myself now frequently supporting clients to make a Subject Access Request to GP's, hospitals, and even the DWP themselves if previous claims have been made. It takes time but is worth it in the end. Also, ask consultants and clinics to cc the patient into any reports they write up. Try and get the info before making the claim if you can so it doesn't "time out".  
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    Arthur · 1 years ago
    Getting useful evidence is best done by collecting copies of any tests,written diagnoses or therapy reports as you go along.
    It easier this way. Take your time and sort out what is helpful before you are faced with upcoming assessments. The assessment process is time sensitive and can panic and stress you.
    Depending on your Gp you may be able to ask for supporting letters but in my experience they tend only to confirm you have medical issues not how they affect you on a day to day basis.
    I find it more helpful to use guides like or Dial to assist you filling in forms attending medicals. There is a lot of free online advice if you look.

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    Jeff Glasser · 1 years ago
    I hope some of you have considered, contacting social services, and requesting a community care assessment, if carried out correctly and the social worker lists all your issues, then the resulting Care Plan, which is free, can be submitted and would be helpful in explaining your needs in more useful detail and would be acceptable to DWP. As well as that it could lead to help being provided in all sorts of ways
    The other people that I have few people are aware of are Access to Work, part of the Department of Employment, if you need help to carry out your job, this comes in the shape of a whole range of assessments (free) provision of services and equipment and support services if required at no cost to you, but at same time your copies of these reports can be submitted to DWP as valid extra evidence from a range of qualified professionals, best of luck to all that need it

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    Karen Turner · 1 years ago
    My PIP review wasnt due until Nov. DWP sent forms Feb with the 1 month deadline.
    Contacted them to explain my GP had referred me back to my specialist in January after worrying DXA review scan results and it was going to be 5 month wait, appt June 15th. They said to still send in forms, as it was going to take much longer for PIP decisions, due to back log of claims and to forward on updated medical evidence when I had it.
    I did, they wrote back within the month (March) with a decision rejecting the mobility element of my claim as I didn't have enough points and there was no evidence to support it.
    As a mandatory reconsideration had to be in within one month (April) they didn't even give me chance to get to June 15th. I've now got to wait for my blood results and MRI on July 13th so it's prob going to be August before I have a full update and a full understanding of my spine condition. Which still would have left me several months before Pip review was due.

    I have been awarded the daily living component again, but they don't have a true picture of my condition. 

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    PamK · 1 years ago
    PIP review form arrived 15 June, dated 3rd June, with return date  3rd July (a Sunday). Presume DWP don't work Saturdays so had to be there by Friday 1st.  Emailed GP surgery with request for a letter, heard while we started on the form so rang and was told they're working 30 to 40  days behind, can't expect a letter till August.  Had to send review form back saying we'd forward GP letter when we get it.

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    Joss · 1 years ago
    My tip is when you have a consultation at hospital or else where, I always ask the consultant to CC me in his report to my GP. This is a policy that is actively encouraged at the hospital I attend.
    You will see a memo in his/hers office. This is great for medical evidence.

    So try and remember that you want to be Cc'd into reply's to your GP.
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    Amanda · 1 years ago
    This is something I have really struggled with. I was diagnosed with ME/CFS in 2011 and have had Fibromyalgia added to the mix more recently. I also have some auto-immune condition (no clear diagnosis) hearing loss and have been referred to Maxo-facial for TMJ (still waiting for the appointment).  The specialist ME/CFS clinic that diagnosed me has since closed and for a number of years I have been told that there is no provision being delivered locally. So on my forms I just tell them that I have no up to date evidence because there is no local provision. I have given them a letter from my employer who can see (and has supported me with Access to Work applications) the effect on me. However in my recent reapplication for a Blue Badge I was told I didn't have any up to date medical evidence and it was rejected with no option for face to face assessment (I was assessed in person when I got the badge initially). I haven't been regulalry going to the GP for help with this because of Covid and knowing that they will say there is no provision so my patient summary doesn't reflect the issues that I am facing with regard to the PIP descriptors. My Rheumatolgist has been great and I have asked him recently to make sure that his letter to my GP confirms my diagnosis as current in his opinion so at least I have a copy of that. But his main focus is to do with the auto-immune issues which don't impact on me in as significant a way as the Fibro/ME/CFS so he can't write about that.  I was awarded PIP and placed in ESA support group without evidence but I'm not sure that will be the case at PIP review (mind you I have been waiting since last August when I put my form in!!) I am interested in the care plan that someone else has mentioned and in the NICE guidelines for ME/CFS is does talk about this being something that patients should have to help them manage. So back to the GP for me then!
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      Shrimp · 1 years ago
      @Amanda I am in the same boat as you re the fibro - the specialist i was seeing several years ago retired and i was then told to go away and get on with it - i did get a letter from my GP about 4 years ago and it cost me £220 and it was rubbish, when i got my pip review i just sent copy of that letter and said no one is interested in seeing me as i have had all the tests, had CBT, seen physios etc etc and nothing more can be done......
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    Aud · 1 years ago
    My surgery refuses to contribute anything for a pip claim other than prescription information and you can obtain your medical records.Since co vid I've had no gp appointment ( impossible to get)and after developing a heart condition one phone call from the cardiac department.The remainder of my conditions are incurable and all I get is repeat prescriptions so I'm concerned as to what evidence I will be able to offer.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Bobbs · 1 years ago
      @Aud I’m in the same situation as Aud. I’ve begged for help but been told that it’s a regional ban on providing supporting letters or documents. I dread my next review as I will have no new evidence
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kath · 1 years ago
    Yes medical evidence and explaining the mental stress of face to face interviews was instrumental in keeping PIP. however as I have been able to support my son he is being discharged from mental health services, which means he will no longer have a CPN when he is bipolar and has been sectioned 3 x in his life, others are worse off and CPN  case load is high. I'm elderly and not convinced Citazens Advice will be able to explain how his bipolar affects his life, .  So this is aa result of overload on mental health services. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Buddy5723 · 1 years ago
      @Kath Try getting in touch with MIND. They should be able to offer you advice. 
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    Rachel · 1 years ago
    I am in the middle of of my PIP review.  I filled in the form to request my medical records from my GP but ended with passwords for the my GP app.  This was a waste of time as it has hardly anything on it.  When I rang my GP and someone from admin told me that the DWP would send them a form for the information.  When I spoke to the DWP about sending this form to the GP they told me that it was up to those who do the assessment.  I lost my PIP last time because they said there was not enough medical evidence (I did get this back at the MR stage thanks to my MP) This time I have even less evidence DWP have everything.  The only thing my GP sent was a letter saying he supports my claim but it is from 3 years ago and a list of my medication.  So not looking hopeful.  
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    Deb · 1 years ago
    Hi, I always ask for a medical summary but also make sure it's up to date,more recently the audiologist I visited gave me a standard letter confirming my hearing loss, this I hope will be useful in the future, in future any specialist or consultant I visit I will not be ashamed to ask for some written evidence even if it's in the form of a standard letter, the worse thing you can do is leaving it to the last minute,I learnt this the hard way ❤️
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Richard · 1 years ago
    I forgot to add in my previous post that I sent MRI, PET Scans, and x-rays on disc to the DWP saying that they couldn't read them, which was nonsense as you can read them on any PC, and they sent them back. 

    I then individually printed each image onto photo paper, which they scanned into their system at ESA and PIP and then actually returned them along with photo's of a wet-room I had installed and also photos of every item I have in my house and garden  to aid with my illnesses. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    jennifer · 1 years ago
    I always keep every paper document to do with GP appointments,
    any appointments 
    consultant appointments 
    physio et etc 
    I keep these in Separate files, in date order. 
    no need for GP medical evidence as I have already got it. 
    always use the same words as the form you may be filling in. 
    also do a list of the xtra information, and again use their words over and over. 
    Always describe your worst day. 
    I myself don’t get too many good days and have numerous problems. So I do hope this helps. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Bekki · 1 years ago
    My gp will only respond to dwp requests. Nothing else is allowed. No reports at all. They say they’re not funded to provide it. They refuse to still see people and are declaring people fit due to no appointments. I’ve lost pip, all income related benefits and been declared fit for work by professions due to no appointments since March 2020 as sheilder and dwp are charging me with fraud. Requests for notes are simply ignored. They legally only need to respond to dwp requests so that’s all they now do.
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