GPs Are Not Well Enough Trained

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In response VTR IR127, you have stated:
“GPs are trained to diagnose and treat medical conditions rather than make an assessment on a person's capability for work according to legislation”. Can you please provide me with:

1)The information you have that confirms GPs are NOT equipped to make this assessment, given that the BMA promotes its members’ services in this area?

2)An explanation of what you mean by the phrase “according to legislation” in the context of how it places a different and unique interpretation on fitness for work.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/99...

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

Dear J Newman,

Thank you for your request, our ref VTR 1324.

You asked:

In response VTR IR127, you have stated:
"GPs are trained to diagnose and treat medical conditions rather
than make an assessment on a person's capability for work according
to legislation". Can you please provide me with:

1)The information you have that confirms GPs are NOT equipped to
make this assessment, given that the BMA promotes its members'
services in this area?

2)An explanation of what you mean by the phrase "according to
legislation" in the context of how it places a different and unique
interpretation on fitness for work.

1.) We hold no recorded information on this. The department accepts that
some GPs are qualified to perform a Work Capability Assessment, but in
order to be qualified to do so they must be approved by the Secretary of
State for Work and Pensions. Approval does not only require registration
as a healthcare professional, but also involves specific training in
disability assessment medicine and specific training in ESA. Furthermore
on successful completion of various stages of the approval process there
needs to be ongoing demonstration that the work being carried out meets
a satisfactory standard.

2.) Making an assessment in accordance with legislation means the
determination of capability for work as defined by the ESA regulations
(see WCA Handbook previously provided to you). The advice HCPs provide
is in accordance with the current guidance issued by the Department for
Work and Pensions which is in accordance with ESA legislation.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.
Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

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J Newman left an annotation ()

Anyone who has suffered a WCA at the hands of an Atos HCP would be hard pressed to see why any special training at all is needed. I have had three and I honestly do not exaggerate when I say that if my GP’s receptionist knows how to test reflex reactions, she could have done them. It is clearly absurd to suggest that GPs require training in addition to the 7 or so years over which they have already studied, not to mention their further on-the-job training. If they do not already have this knowledge, they would not be able to offer occupational health advice to employers as many have done for some long while. As DWP has accepted here that some do have the skill and they have all been through the same training regime, clearly they all have the skill.

What the Government has done here is deliberately construct an artificial and unnecessary legislative framework that precludes the use of GPs per se – none of it is really necessary other than to achieve this one specific aim. So the law requires separate registration, specific training and ultimately approval by the Secretary of State – all a complete charade with layers of bureaucracy that cost a fortune and add no value.

Paul Malpas left an annotation ()

Sorry to have borrowed from your (J Newman) thread but I recently asked a question about "Fit Notes" and it the occured to me that the government's own website on says of fit notes:
On government website
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
the following appears:

The fit note was introduced to replace the old sick note on 6 April
2010. Doctors issue fit notes to individuals to provide evidence of
the advice the doctor has given about the individual’s fitness for
work.
The fit note allows doctors to advise that individuals “may be fit
for work” taking into account the doctor’s advice, or that they are
“not fit for work”.
Doctors use fit notes to record details of the functional effects
of their patient’s condition so that individuals and employers can
consider ways to help the individual return to work.

Clearly the author of this accepts that GPs can determine "functional effects" on a patient's ability to work - a thing which DWP insist is the sole domain of the mighty and superbly trained ATOS HCP

I've made my own reuest and quoted a section of your IRR response and the above quote and tried to ask for an explanation of the seemingly contradictory information from two different government sources.

J Newman left an annotation ()

Dear Paul, do not be surprised by glaring inconsistencies and contradictions – there are very many of them! The key difference (for DWP) at the moment is who funds “sick pay” – the state through ESA etc. or an employer through an occupational scheme. Unfortunately the illustrious Prof Harrington when in post wholly supported the principle of taking the work assessment away from GP’s so as not to “damage” the doctor/patient relationship. Personally I find this logic fallacious and would argue that if my GP tells me I am fit for work rather than a stranger with dubious expertise, I am far more likely to accept it.

I might even take ID-S’s philosophy of work being therapeutic in its own right and make it part of the overall treatment plan constructed and overseen by my GP.

Paul Malpas left an annotation ()

Hi J Newman, if you're interested in seeing the response (although you've probably seen it all before) my request can be found:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...