New regulations have been issued to enable registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists to issue fit notes.
This will extend the categories of people that can issue fit notes.
New statutory instrument
The new regulations will commence from 1 July 2022.
These regulations being Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.630/2022) amend the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1976 and the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985.
The new regulations also make amendments to sets of regulations which refer to medical evidence as having been signed by doctors or registered medical practitioners.
The explanatory memorandum to the regulations advises that –
‘Currently only doctors can certify fit notes. This is not reflective of modern ways of multi-disciplinary working in healthcare where alternative healthcare professionals (HCPs) such as nurses often lead a patient’s diagnosis and healthcare management.
Expanding certification to a wider group of HCPs will better enable relevant HCPs to undertake health and work conversations to issue and certify fit notes without having to refer patients to their doctors.’
Commenting on the regulations, DWP Minister Chloe Smith said today –
‘The extension of fit note certification is fantastic news for patients, making it easier for them to get the support and advice they need from the right place, ensuring where possible that they are able to remain in work.’
These latest fit note changes recognise the valuable role other professions play in helping manage people’s health, and I hope this will also help reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for doctors and general practice more widely.’
This is welcome news for people struggling to provide fit notes for the DWP which can be a struggle for many.
SI.No.630/2022 is available from legislation.gov.uk
Thanks to Rightsnet for providing this information.
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As reported by Benefits And Work the EHRC (Equality And Human Rights Commission) has broken its promise to investigate the role that the DWP (Department of Work And Pensions)have played in the deaths of vulnerable claimants. This has left the DWP not needing to answer any questions as to the role that they played in their deaths
Instead the EHRC are now asking the DWP to create new policies in relation to claimants with mental health issues and learning difficulties. This will replace the promised investigation.
This is despite promises made by the EHRC in 2019 that they would start an investigation into the deaths of vulnerable claimants.
The EHRC used the pandemic as an excuse to not start the investigation.
The Commission has now declared that it only intends to enter into a Section 23 agreement under the Equality Act 2006. This will oblige the DWP “to commit to an action plan to meet the needs of customers with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.”
Keep in mind that the DWP are a much larger organisation that receive more funding than the EHRC.
This will no doubt result in the DWP will dragging their heels in creating so called policies that will be nothing more than good intentions that probably won’t be actioned upon.
Whilst I don’t have any details as to why the EHRC have changed their minds I can say that at best they’re very niave putting far too much trust in the DWP to do the right thing.
The DWP has an appalling track record of discrimination against vulnerable claimants, ignoring their basic human rights and making life extremely hard for them.
Despite my disappointment with the EHRC’s decision I’m not surprised. The DWP will do anything to avoid any actions taken against them making promises that they’ve got no intention of keeping whilst doing the bare minimum to comply.
Once again thanks go to Benefits And Work for their hard work and inspiring this article.
A huge thanks to everyone that likes, shares, reads and supports both my blog and campaign.
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The DWP is effectively trying to block essential and possibly life-saving university research. This research undertaken by Glasgow University with it’s purpose is to find out whether there is a link between benefits sanctions, ill health and suicide.
The research involves Glasgow University linking anonymised DWP data with NHS records. This could and most likely reveal that people that have been sanctioned have been prescribed antidepressants and people that already have existing conditions have resulted in their health declining. The research will also reveal the figures for those attempting to take their own life and sadly for those that have taken their own life.
When Glasgow University informed the DWP that they were starting their research in 2019 the DWP suggested that they would support the project. However since the project began the DWP have continually placed barriers up to try and stop this research to continue.
This comes as no shock to campaigners like myself. The DWP know how badly sanctioning people affects both their physical and mental health..
The DWP have spent years giving excuses to Glasgow University demanding that the research needed tighter security which they complied with. After these measures were put in place the DWP moved the goal post again insisting that Glasgow University must apply for permission to do the research all over again.
This has caused huge delays for the project. Professor Nick Bailey stated that the research should have been completed in 2020, but it has yet to start.
The chair of the Commons work and pensions committee, Stephen Timms told the Guardian “This emerging pattern of obstruction suggests that a culture of secrecy is entrenched in DWP. It must wake up to the harm that it is doing and commit to a new spirit of openness.”
There’s little doubt that the government will either delay or prevent any project that reveals the reality of how people suffer when they’ve been sanctioned.
It will continue to be the case until politicians stop ignoring the immense suffering of thousands of people. Although there are some politicians that don’t ignore this such as Debbie Abrahams who regularly speaks and campaigns against the cruelty of the DWP and their policies.
Ignoring the suffering of thousands of people will result in thousands more deaths. What is needed is for the opposition to start actively opposing the government on DWP related issues.
This isn’t likely to happen in the near future and MPs like Debbie Abrahams are loan voices in parliament trying extremely hard to change things. In the absence of this sadly DWP related issues and problems are going to get worse.
What is needed is for the opposition instead of concentrating about the ‘world of work’ they need to also concentrate and campaign on behalf of those unable to work.
Something has to happen and soon. With energy bills set to rise again in April and people already struggling I fear that thousands will die as a result of being cold and hungry.
It’s impossible to budget money when you have none in the first place
The conservative government has blood on their hands and they’ll never be able to wash it away.
A massive thank you to everyone that subscribes, reads and shares my articles. This makes a massive difference and it raises awareness.
This week was the first aniversary of my sons death. I’ve found it very hard to cope with but I’m still here.
Thank you to Benefits And Work for uncovering this story and for the hard work that they do.
I don’t receive any payment for my work and to say it’s a struggle is massive understatement. I’m reliant upon donations to continue to blog and campaign.
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A huge thank you to everyone that has helped me. You’ve literally kept this going and I’m eternally grateful.
As we quickly approach Christmas and a cold hungry winter once again the DWP are going to bring back the cruel sanction system.
They never miss a chance to make Christmas even more harder do they.
Sanctions relating to the claimant commitment had been suspended due to the pandemic.
It is very clear that the DWP are now back to business including sanctioning sick and disabled claimants.
According to Touch base the DWP are quoted as saying“This week a change was made to bring the obligations in new style JSA and ESA benefits in line with those in Universal Credit”
“This will mean that, as is the case for Universal Credit claimants, if someone in receipt of new style JSA and ESA fails to do what they have agreed to in their Claimant Commitment without good reason – such as having or caring for a child, or a change to a health condition – their payments may be reduced for a set period. This is known as a sanction.”
“All Claimant Commitments are tailored to a person’s personal circumstances and local jobs market, and claimants affected by this change are being informed of the introduction of the new process. Sanctions are only applied as a last resort when a claimant is not engaging with the commitment they have made. If someone disagrees with a decision they can ask for it to be looked at again.”
This is all rather scary as the government have now passed on the onus of sanctioning decisions to the Job Coaches and not a decision maker.
Sanctions aren’t always a last resort decision and I’m speaking from years of experience helping people to appeal sanction decisions. Also since when have the DWP taken children into consideration… They haven’t.
I’m sure that many of you reading this have had so called Job Coaches that take an obvious dislike you you. I’ve also experienced this and I know exactly what it’s like. It’s soul destroying.
I’ve experienced having a Job Coach that clearly hated me. She would find holes in everything that I did and tried to sanction me at every opportunity that came her way.
Luckily I was able to make a complaint about her which involved my local MP.
I changed Job Coaches but she would glare at me every time that I walked past her. I have mentioned this in a previous blog post.
My question is this… How many innocent people are going to be wrongfully sanctioned because of this very reason?
It’s also worrying that there could well be even more sanction targets (offloads). Therefore the need to reach these targets will cause the suffering and distress of thousands of people.
Basically the whole sanctioning process could well be ramped up a whole lot more..
Opinion isn’t fact and there are many valid reasons why a claimant has not been able to to fulfill their claimant commitment.
Illness, lack of money for essentials such as no money to top up mobile phones or to have access to the internet at home.
Access to libraries is fast becoming a rarity these days. The DWP demands that claimants have access to the internet at all times.
Essentialy if an Job Coach decides in their opinion that a claimant hasn’t done enough then they’ll sanction them.
Remember once again opinion isn’t always fact and this is a very dangerous precept to use.
The whole sanction system should be abolished. There’s absolutely no reason why a person should have their very basics for survival to be snatched off them by the click of a button. Which is based upon the opinion of a Job Coach. Remember opinion isn’t always fact.
Whilst we are still in the midst of a pandemic the government and the DWP have now returned to normal. Don’t expect them to care because they obviously don’t.
Keep a good written and digital record (if you can) of everything that you’ve done to fulfill your claimant commitment.
If you’ve been ill or suchlike also try to keep a record of whatever you can to prove that you’ve been ill.
It’s important that you do all this because sanctioning you will be a whole lot harder if you keep a good record of everything.
If you are in the Greater Manchester area please have a look and even join in with Greater Manchester DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) activities. You can find them here at https:\\manchesterdpac.com
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How am I? I’m ok apart from catching a sickness bug yesterday hence my blog being late. My apologies.
A huge thank you to everyone that has supported my campaign and blog. I really couldn’t have done it without you.
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Please click on the below link from the Public Law Project.
If you are told to repay back hardship payment debts make sure that you challenge this.
It is your legal right to do so. If needed quote the below article and insist that the DWP use their discretion regarding payment of hardship payment debt.
Insist that these payments are causing distress and suffering, which they do for thousands of people.
This is also essential because the majority of claimants already have monies garnished from their payments for council tax debt and suchlike.
No one should be forced to live in extreme hardship such as this.
I expect that the DWP won’t like this so don’t expect them to suggest it to you.
Please like, share and tweet my blog. It’s very important to get the truth and the reality of our life’s out there.
I don’t get paid for anything that I do but I do want to continue to be able to continue to write my blog and continue with my campaign.
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A huge thank you to everyone that and has supported my blog and campaign. This makes such a big difference.
Dear readers and subscribers, I’m very sorry but there’s not going to be a blog post this week.
I was told that my son had died on Friday and I’m trying to deal with it and organise his funeral etc.
I will be writing a new blog post as soon as I’m able.
There is a crowdfunding page relating to this on both my Facebook and Twitter account.
Thank you , solidarity Charlotte.
“Happy International Women’s day!
Today I’m thinking about all the women who are suffering as a result of the government’s austerity measures.
Women unable to leave abusive relationships because there isn’t a women’s refuge that they can escape to.
Remembering all the women that have died as a result of domestic violence and the governments austerity measures, we’ll never forget you.
We love you.
Women struggling to survive the discrimitory universal credit system.
Disabled women who are struggling to survive because their ESA and/ or PIP has been taken away from them.
To all the 1950s women unable to claim their rightful pensions.
Homeless women stuck in flea ridden, unsafe temporary accommodation, one day things will get better for you.
Please have them in your thoughts, the battle for equality is far from over.”
Please read, share and tweet my blog. This makes a huge difference and it helps to get the truth out there.
I don’t receive any funding for both my campaign and blog. If you would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. It really means the worl to me and your help makes a massive difference.
Dear readers I need to apologize because I’m late publishing my blog this week.
There’s no real excuse for this but I’ve had a stressful week and I haven’t been sleeping well. I find it hard to write when I’m over tired.
This week I was reminded of one cold Thursday morning outside Ashton Jobcentre.
The demo started as usual, we were helping or something and handing out food parcels.
Whilst we were doing this I noticed a woman with three children walk out of the Jobcentre, walk past us and she then approached me.
I asked her if she was ok. Her story was particularly heart wrenching. She was a victim of domestic violence and she was struggling to get help from the DWP because she had to leave in a rush.
As usual the DWP failed to recognise and appreciate her situation. They suggested to her that she should have gone back to her abuser to collect her ID.
Theres no excuse for their lack of caring. There’s no way that she should have to return to her abuser.
I advised her on what to do and I put her in touch with all of the relevant agencies that could help her.
I asked her if she needed a food parcel, she said that she did and that she hadn’t ate for days. She had just managed to feed her kids with the very basics, bread and some biscuits.
I gave her a good parcel, she was so thankful because so far no one had been understanding of her situation.
She then took her kids to the steps outside the old cinema. They all sat down and started to eat some food directly out of the tins.
I’m not lying when I say that this broke my heart. How have we managed to elect a government that is extremely aggressive towards people who are struggling, disabled people and unemployed people.
Let’s move forward to 2020.
Nothing has improved, the hostile environment created by the government is even worse than ever.
People are still dying as a direct result of this uncaring governments actions.
There is no excuse for the government to behave in this manner but they do because they can.
It’s certainly not going to get any better. We are in the midst of a pandemic, more and more people are loosing their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
This week I’ve had quite a few newly unemployed people email me to ask me about how they’re supposed to manage on the meagre payments that they receive via Universal Credit.
It’s horrible that anyone is in this situation. Universal Credit doesn’t benefit anyone except the government.
To say that it’s a huge shock to newly unemployed people is an understatement. So many more people are now struggling to eat properly, pay their rent and survive.
It’s a reality check that they certainly didn’t expect. So many of these newly unemployed people had previously believed the government’s lies about how wonderful Universal Credit is.
Add into the mix the thousands of people that are ill with Covid 19 that are so scared of loosing their jobs that are forced to return to work when they’re unwell.
We’ve also got Long Covid to contend with. I doubt that the DWP will recognise this though. This is another battle that we have to now fight.
We also have thousands of people that have died and will die from Covid 19.
I’m extremely worried that their deaths are being ignored and normalised by society. This is extremely cruel and callous.
Please, let’s not forget about their deaths, most of which could have been prevented if the government had responded correctly when the virus had arrived in the UK.
It’s all wrong, none of the above would have happened if we had a caring goverment, but that’s not likely not happen in the near future.
As the Christmas period looms on the horizon, please spare a thought for all of us that can’t celebrate Christmas because of the expense. Also remember that so many people won’t be celebrating Christmas because they’ve lost a loved one due to Covid 19.
The Christmas period is such a hard time for so many of us. Let’s not forget about them.
The above statistic is horrific but true. This is exactly why the government hasn’t reacted responsibly and stopped the spread of covid 19.
Each and every death is saving them money and they don’t care what people think about this.
Let’s continue to fight for the living and dead. We cannot allow the government to treat people like this.
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Dear readers its Thursday once again and once again I’m unwell.
After my last admission to hospital I’ve now got another dose of pleurisy thanks to long covid.
I really want to be well again I hate feeling like this.
In other news fellow blogger Frank Zola has published his blog stating that the DWP have been nudging claimants into finding none existent jobs.
Read it here
If this link doesn’t work I’ll try and sort it out.
It’s absolutely ridiculous to be putting such pressure upon claimants whilst we are in the middle of a pandemic.
There’s hardly any jobs out there at the moment.
It’s also extremely worrying that many of these people will be recovering from covid 19.
Where are people going to find these none existent jobs? Zero hour contracts? Self employment?
Believe me when I say that the demand for employment is far higher than the actual jobs available.
You can also bet that the DWP will sanction people for not finding non existent work even though they claim to be using a ‘light touch’ admin at the moment.
I predict thousands more people becoming homeless in the near future.
The government isn’t offering and substantial help either. They just don’t care.
It’s extremely worrying. You’d think that the DWP would understand this but it appears that they don’t.
The demand upon food banks and outside help is going to become much higher and independent food banks and organisations are really going to struggle to survive.
If you can please support your local independent organisations. They usually receive no funding and they rely upon donations.
School uniforms once again.
I can guess that you’re fed up with me talking about school uniforms now but I have an update.
This morning I was interviewed by ITV about the cost of expensive school uniforms.
Having to pay for these expensive uniforms puts immense pressure upon parents and children.
All parents want the best for their children but they just can’t keep up with the ever increasing cost of school uniforms.
I’m in the fortunate position to be able to campaign against the need for these expensive school uniforms.
As I’ve said before they don’t make a child learn more, it’s just an added burden upon parents and children.
Whilst I think that it’s brilliant that charities are doing their best to support parents with school uniform costs, I want to challenge the need for them in the first place.
Charities and organisations are already under immense pressure to help people.
I prefer to end the need for expensive uniform in the first place which will in turn help the charities and organisations.
That said if you know of any charities that are helping parents with the cost of uniforms and uniform pieces please comment below. I want every parent that are struggling to get the help that they need.
I’ll have to sign off now because I feel awful but I will be back again next week.
Please keep safe and wear a mask etc when going out.
For everyone struggling, I hear you, I’m in the same position as you. We can get through this.
Thank you so much to everyone that reads, shares, tweets and supports my blog.
It’s been a tough year and I really appreciate your support.
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