‘Distressing medicals for benefits claimants’

June 7, 2008

Letters page, The Argus, Brighton, 7 June 2008

There has been much coverage in the media recently about the Department for Work and Pensions wanting to get people off invalidity benefit and into work. 

A strong point needs to be made that by far the vast majority of those in Sussex on this benefit are unable to work due to long-term debilitating illness or disability. Even so, some in the county are being called to Dyke Road, in Brighton, for medicals that are often humiliating and not geared up for illnesses that vary and fluctuate such as chronic fatigue syndrome – ME.


Even more alarming is that a few are not receiving appropriate support from their GPs who are asked beforehand to give information about how their patients' illness affects them.


A minority of doctors are not consulting with patients and not reporting to the Benefits Agency, leaving the agency to call people up for unnecessary and stressful medicals.


Having a complicated illness such as ME is distressing enough without being landed with the burden of proof to gain one's entitlement because some professionals don't understand the illness and have little rapport with their patients.


Colin Barton

Sussex ME/CFS Society


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