Alarm Over Proposals To Scrap GPs’ ‘Fit Note’ Duties

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As reported in Disability News Service.

Proposals by two groups of English GPs that they and their colleagues should no longer be responsible for providing “fitness to work” certificates for their patients have alarmed disabled activists.

GPs from Kent’s local medical committee (LMC) have proposed in a conference motion to fellow doctors that they should no longer be responsible for filling in “fit notes” and that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should “establish their own means for determining fitness for benefits”.

Another motion, from South Essex LMC, also proposes that fitness to work certificates “should no longer be issued by GPs”.

Both motions have been included on the agenda for an emergency conference of GPs, to take place in London next week (30 January).

GPs play a crucial role in the process of applying for employment and support allowance (ESA) – the out-of-work disability benefit – because claimants need to provide a fit note from their doctor in order to receive ESA while they are waiting to be put through the work capability assessment (WCA) process.

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