GP refuses to provide letter supporting application for a bookable bus service for the disabled. — Scope | Disability forum
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GP refuses to provide letter supporting application for a bookable bus service for the disabled.

Prometheus2020
Prometheus2020 Community member Posts: 21 Listener
edited September 2023 in Transport and travel
Strathclyde Passenger Transport provide a bookable bus service for the disabled. I want to have access to this service so I can attend a local social group. Due to the very poor condition of my hips I can hardly walk let alone get into & out of a taxi or safely use the local bus service, (which would involve 2 buses and walks to & between stops). I use 2 sticks & a walker now. 

The SPT require you to meet at least one of 3 conditions, in receipt of DLA higher rate or higher rate PIP or a GPs letter of support. I receive ESA & non enhanced rate PIP. So I asked my GP to provide a letter of support. I spoke to one of his colleagues 2 weeks ago. I was told that the practise no longer provides such letters as "too many patients were asking for them for e.g. insurance purposes". However they could provide a print out of my entire medical records.

I was pretty angry with the attitude and response of the GP as this bus pass is key to me getting out of the house & improving my well being. So I spoke to the office manager. He promised to send the medical records. Which he didn't. I had to chase up 3 days ago. So two weeks later I now have 50 pages of detailed information which I would not share with anyone let alone a bus company.

I found in this pile of paper a letter from November 2020 from my GP detailing my situation. The SPT were by no means sure they could accept this letter and were surprised at the GPs refusal to provide a recent letter of assessment. Thing is I haven't seen anyone at the practise since 2020 as I was reclusive.

It seems to me the GP is refusing to provide a document I need to prove to third parties I am severely disabled. (For example I'd need similar for a blue pass which I haven't applied for because I don't have a car and all the paperwork).

I cannot self certify as disabled but neither will the GP provide a letter.

What to do?

Comments

  • Prometheus2020
    Prometheus2020 Community member Posts: 21 Listener
    edited July 2023
    I have approached my local MSP's office, Humza Yousaf, to ask the same question. I will see what they say too. I think you are right I should ask them to confirm their policy in writing. 

    The SPT admin staff told me demand has rocketed and they are struggling to process applications.

    The letter I had from the GP In 2020 was used to support my attempt to obtain an enhanced rate adjudication. The telephone review concluded with no change. A decision that took less than 2 weeks which I found highly suspicious.

    My condition has deteriorated since then. I have carried out 4 return taxi journeys in the past several weeks building my physical strength up after my heart attack in February & 2 years of inactivity. Modern saloon cars are low and have low roofs. It is excruciating trying to get in and out. If I had my own car I'd choose one with an appropriate design.

    I have not tried to get on a bus yet. I find it hard to safely sit down and get up. The seats are too low. I usually stand for a 2/3 stop journey frequently being shouted at by the driver to sit down. All very embarrassing.

    I appreciate GPs are busy however I have not seen a GP for over 2 1/2 years. Surely a letter for this important reason is not such a big deal?

    I saw your 2nd comment. They have previously requested £25 for a letter to be collected. This policy seems relatively new.


  • Prometheus2020
    Prometheus2020 Community member Posts: 21 Listener
    Strathclyde Passenger Transport provide a bookable bus service for the disabled. I want to have access to this service so I can attend a local social group. Due to the very poor condition of my hips I can hardly walk let alone get into & out of a taxi or safely use the local bus service, (which would involve 2 buses and walks to & between stops). I use 2 sticks & a walker now. 

    The SPT require you to meet at least one of 3 conditions, in receipt of DLA higher rate or higher rate PIP or a GPs letter of support. I receive ESA & non enhanced rate PIP. So I asked my GP to provide a letter of support. I spoke to one of his colleagues 2 weeks ago. I was told that the practise no longer provides such letters as "too many patients were asking for them for e.g. insurance purposes". However they could provide a print out of my entire medical records.

    I was pretty angry with the attitude and response of the GP as this bus pass is key to me getting out of the house & improving my well being. So I spoke to the office manager. He promised to send the medical records. Which he didn't. I had to chase up 3 days ago. So two weeks later I now have 50 pages of detailed information which I would not share with anyone let alone a bus company.

    I found in this pile of paper a letter from November 2020 from my GP detailing my situation. The SPT were by no means sure they could accept this letter and were surprised at the GPs refusal to provide a recent letter of assessment. Thing is I haven't seen anyone at the practise since 2020 as I was reclusive.

    It seems to me the GP is refusing to provide a document I need to prove to third parties I am severely disabled. (For example I'd need similar for a blue pass which I haven't applied for because I don't have a car and all the paperwork).

    I cannot self certify as disabled but neither will the GP provide a letter.

    What to do?
  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,285 Scope online community team
    Hi @Prometheus2020, how is this situation going?

    From what I understand, GPs are not required to do non-NHS work such as this.

    However, what you can request all medical records about yourself. How to get your medical records - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

    I am not sure if SPT will accept the medical records themselves, but I hope it helps them understand your situation better and hopefully they can accept them.
    They/Them, however they are no wrong pronouns with me so whatever you feel most comfortable with
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  • Prometheus2020
    Prometheus2020 Community member Posts: 21 Listener
    stormy said:
    Ive been googling this a bit and it seems to me, reading between the lines, that GPs are starting to push back against organisations expecting them to write so many letters. Its hard not to feel some sympathy for the GPs in this situation. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-your-money-23693468

    Even with PIP etc GPs dont know how stuff affects us for the most part, we dont have time to tell them in our appointments, yet DWP still seem to expect them to write letters.

    So this policy your GP has might be part of that; but it seems to be at the extreme end of what GPs are doing. They arent attempting to price you out which seems to be the more common tactic. I found some posts on other forums where people were suggesting writing the letter for the GP and asking them to sign it, but I dont know how much help that would be in reality. Nothing to lose asking though.

  • Prometheus2020
    Prometheus2020 Community member Posts: 21 Listener
    I am still waiting for a decision since I posted the application 4 weeks ago, (they told me at the time they were inundated and looking at 4/5 weeks). 

    I did not send in my entire medical history because most of it is irrelevant to the SPT & I also felt uncertain about their data protection capability. 

    I sent in a comprehensive covering letter & a copy of a letter from my GP 3 years ago in support of a PIP REVIEW. Fingers crossed.

    Getting access to this bus service is key to me getting out & about. I am finding it very hard to get myself into taxis as well as it being painful. 

    GPs are often signposted to by other services including excuse from jury service. Somehow I have been invited twice in 6 years to attend jury service here whilst never ever being invited in my previous city of 30 years!


  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,285 Scope online community team
    Thank you for updating us Prometheus. Taxis are indeed not ideal, not even mentioning the cost. I hope you get access to this. It's so strange your GP being so against just a single letter. Do they have a complaint procedure about this at all? 

    I've never had to do jury service yet, I did get called once when I was a student in Glasgow but I got called during the first lockdown and I'd already moved to England by then (partner got a job down here)! They were quite understandable that I could not attend thankfully.
    They/Them, however they are no wrong pronouns with me so whatever you feel most comfortable with
    Online Community Specialist

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us. 
    Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.
    Opinions are my own, such as mashed potato being bad.
  • Prometheus2020
    Prometheus2020 Community member Posts: 21 Listener
    I was very annoyed at the attitude of the GP which was both dismissive & patronising. When my medical records came it included his record of the telephone conversation in which he noted my irritation & referred to a flag regarding what they must have seen as previous poor behaviour. He missed out what he said & did to provoke me. I was angry to read this & was going to write in as this nonsense is on my record. But then I thought what's the point? The practise will circle the wagons. 

    I do have some respect for GPs but at the same time I've been around & all I see is middle class people sitting in nice warm offices peddling prescriptions with classy cars in the car park. They think they are a cut above Joe Public!

    So no I won't be using their complaint procedure.

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