Specialist MS nurses have spoken out about how damaging the assessment process for PIP and ESA is and how it is affecting their ability to support patients.
A survey by the MS Society of over 100 MS nurses revealed that:
90% of nurses said they provided supporting evidence for benefits applications.
Of those, 58% said they worked outside of working hours to provide this evidence.
75% said providing evidence increased their workload either a moderate amount or a lot.
83% of everyone who answered said their patients asked for help with filling in benefits applications.
One nurse explained:
“I see the effects of patients not being able to get benefits. One had to stop his treatment because a cut to his benefits meant he could no longer get to the hospital. So I feel a lot of pressure to make sure I do as much as I can to help my patients. But on average I’m getting asked to do this five times a week, it’s overwhelming.”
“We’re not given any guidance about what to put in these letters, and it’s not a simple process. All my patients going through this find it very stressful and some have told me how they’ve lost sleep over their applications, or had increased anxiety. Both stress and anxiety make MS symptoms like fatigue and pain worse.”
Th MS Society is campaigning for changes to the benefits assessment system to make it less damaging to claimants.