MP backs call for reform of fit for work tests

Dave Watts MP supports the CAB's calls for reform

Dave Watts MP supports the CAB's calls for reform

First published in News

ST HELENS North MP Dave Watts has backed a Citizens Advice Bureau campaign for substantial reform to government fit for work tests.

The St Helens CAB released a statement supporting calls for ministers to ensure that people appealing decisions of the tests have access to free medical evidence to support their claim.

Research conducted by Citizens Advice has shown nearly half of GPs charge a fee when providing people with medical records as part of efforts to overturn Government fit for work assessments.

Karl Pearce, chief officer of St Helens Citizens Advice, says that the research is “the latest in a depressing line” of problems with Work Capability Assessments, which determine an individual’s eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance.

“The cost of getting medical evidence is the latest in a depressing line of obstacles people face in getting fair treatment in fit for work tests.

“St Helens CAB works closely with doctors in the area to help our clients cope with ESA appeals and the health problems which too often go hand-in-hand with the challenge of making ends meet. We all want to see people get the support they need but, at the moment, charges which are unaffordable for many people are adding a big burden.

“The results should be an alarm bell for everyone involved in helping people with sickness and disability to live independently. If doctors are unable to provide help due to a shortage of time or resources then the Government needs to step in and make sure the system works.”

Meanwhile, Mr Watts added: “I fully support the CAB’s campaign, which calls on the Government to provide financial support for people who require medical evidence to support their fit for work appeals.

“We know that thousands of claimants currently win their appeals and that many original medical assessments are seriously flawed.

“Unless the government provides this financial support many vulnerable people will face the prospect of not being able to challenge unfair decisions in the future.

In response, the Department of Work and Pensions emphasised that they do not enforce charges on medical evidence to anyone.

A spokesperson said: “We certainly do not ask anybody to go and commission medical evidence that will cost money.

“We don’t ask at any stage for anyone to pay for medical evidence. It is really up to the medical practitioners.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:19pm Sat 26 Jul 14

The Welfair Foundation says...

It's a pity Mr Watts wasn't as vocal when it was his party destroying people's lives via the Work Capability Assessment!
It's a pity Mr Watts wasn't as vocal when it was his party destroying people's lives via the Work Capability Assessment! The Welfair Foundation
  • Score: 6

10:43am Sun 27 Jul 14

mikeashworth says...

Their should be a "fit to govern us" test, most politicians would fail the test.....
Their should be a "fit to govern us" test, most politicians would fail the test..... mikeashworth
  • Score: 5

6:31pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Sankey says...

Typical of watts really court popularity but not responsibility or reality. Welfare desperately needs reform yet watts and his ilk fight every initiative no matter how mild yet would not offer any responsible solution. Do we tax more, borrow more or divert money from other public services to pay people to do nothing ? None of those it seems just be photographed saying reducing welfare is bad. What will change as a result of watts utterances ? Nothing whatsoever but he gets photoed and reminds us he exists, Job done. Rimmer is of the same cloth both are counting down to their pensions
Typical of watts really court popularity but not responsibility or reality. Welfare desperately needs reform yet watts and his ilk fight every initiative no matter how mild yet would not offer any responsible solution. Do we tax more, borrow more or divert money from other public services to pay people to do nothing ? None of those it seems just be photographed saying reducing welfare is bad. What will change as a result of watts utterances ? Nothing whatsoever but he gets photoed and reminds us he exists, Job done. Rimmer is of the same cloth both are counting down to their pensions Sankey
  • Score: 0

10:28am Fri 1 Aug 14

lawman2004 says...

When I was younger, I remember the lift in a large Liverpool department store being operated by a gentleman who had a false hand and some leg problems. he used to sit on a stool in the lift and operate the buttons. Can you see that happening today. Now he would be paid benefits to sit on his backside at home whilst complaining about the lack of foreign holidays, Sky sports package etc...
When I was younger, I remember the lift in a large Liverpool department store being operated by a gentleman who had a false hand and some leg problems. he used to sit on a stool in the lift and operate the buttons. Can you see that happening today. Now he would be paid benefits to sit on his backside at home whilst complaining about the lack of foreign holidays, Sky sports package etc... lawman2004
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree