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Experience of charges for medical evidence for work capability assessments?

Advisors from the Brighton Unemployed Workers Centre have approached us with concerns that some GPs are charging for the medical evidence and letters of support which people need for their work capability assessments, or to fight Atos work capability assessment decisions at tribunal level.

There is a list of fees that people can be charged for accessing their medical records here.

It's not unusual for surgeries to charge clients for letters and records, but the advisors we've spoken to say that clients are being asked to pay £20, £30 and even £50 for medical evidence and that some clients really struggle to pay such fees. Their concern is that people could be charged out of the evidence that they need to support ESA claims. Many people they see are in financial difficulty as it is. A payment of £10 for computer records for a computer record is a problem for some clients.

The concern that advisors have raised with us is that more and more surgeries will charge to provide medical evidence as more and more people appeal work capability assessments. You can see some of these concerns on this thread here. Citizens Advice raised this issue in "Right First Time?", their January 2012 indicative study of the accuracy of ESA work capability assessment reports. Their comment in that paper: "In many cases, NHS doctors will charge an average of £30 (we have evidence of consultants charging £200 an hour) for medical evidence and few people on low incomes can afford to pay this much out of an income of £67.50 ESA (assessment phase rate) per week."

We want to continue to work on this, to look at trends in particular. Let us know in the comments, or on .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you have experience of this charging for WCA supporting information, or if you know people who have. You can also join in on the comments on this on our facebook page and see some of the charges that people have quoted there.

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