PIP decision - what do I do?
Got Assessment Report – very quickly, 2 days ago. Hard to believe, with all my problems, they sent a Paramedic to do a very rushed assessment! All the way through my husband and I felt the focus of the assessment was his laptop and watch, not me. He would ask a question and was busy typing away before I had finished replying.
I had a transparent folder tucked down the side of the seat cushion of my chair which stayed there throughout – at no time did I take anything out of the folder. It was a very good day for me but I was still in a lot of pain and not very talkative – he has written: “Whilst sitting she was able to leaf through pages of A4 paper with her left hand demonstrating adequate manual dexterity... She was able to pick up her sheets of paper with her application notes and was able to read directly from this at the end of the interview to make sure nothing had been missed. She was a polite and jovial claimant...” I was in too much pain to talk much and was twitching/shaking throughout (have done this since my stroke), but he has failed to state this anywhere.
Functional History is full of inaccuracies and many things I need help with have been omitted or misrepresented – “...when in the kitchen she is able to stand with her stick in right hand, although she has been told not to use it, she continues to do this...” It is my elbow crutches I have been told not to use, not my walking stick! He has omitted that I need someone to move saucepans, remind me that food is cooking etc, and cut food up. I twitch/shake so much I drop everything, so safety has to come into the equation, doesn’t it?
He states (correctly) in FH: “...She suffers with urinary urge incontinence and takes medications to control an overactive bladder...” yet in another place he says: “...Functional history shows incontinence is related to mobility rather than true incontinence” – so why am I taking medication for it then?
He states I need help with putting tops on because of restricted movement in right arm; also I would need help washing my hair; he has marked (b) Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to dress – shouldn’t this be (e) Needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their upper body? He has also stated in his report “... would not have the strength to get out of a bath unaided...” but has marked (b) Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to wash or bathe – shouldn’t this be (e) Needs assistance to be able to get in or out of a bath or shower?
Now, this is what I really do not understand: I sat in my chair throughout the assessment. The only ‘tests’ that were carried out was to grip his hand with my left, then right; raise my right leg as high as I could, then my left (which did not move at all). Under Musculoskeletal system there is three-quarters of a page of utter ‘garbage’ about how much I can move my arms/legs by, ending in “...Right hip flexion 130 degrees or more (right hip bends within normal range). External hip rotation 45 degrees or more (right outward hip rotation within normal range). Power in right leg normal. Spine can bend forward to reach knee level only.” How can you measure the hip rotation of someone sitting still in a chair, or bending of a spine if you do not lean forward? He did not leave the seat next to me until he left the house! [Ahhh... Husband has just found all the measurements, exactly as written, in the first DLA assessment done at home by a doctor in 1992]
With Planning & following journeys he says: “Medication history shows no antidepressant and no anxiolytics” – have checked drug directory and 2 of the medications I am taking are also classified as antidepressants/anxiolytics, although I am taking them for another reason. GP has previously said he cannot prescribe any other antidepressant for me to take in conjunction with my other drugs.
With walking mobility, he just asked how I got to the doctor’s – ‘in the car; my husband drops me right outside the door, I can just walk to half-way point of downstairs waiting room and have to sit down to rest. My husband, having parked car, catches up with me then, we walk to the lift and waiting area is right outside. The electronic booking-in machine is right outside the consulting room; if I am not too tired, I book myself in, otherwise my husband does it. My husband normally comes in with me as I forget what has been said.’
He says: “When she goes to her GP surgery, her husband will drop her outside the door, she will visit the newly built GP surgery and will walk to the waiting room after checking herself in at reception. She will see her GP by herself. Reported restrictions of pain and immobility are consistent with a collection of physical conditions... Medication history shows strong painkillers used regularly. It is clinically reasonable she requires an aid to stand and walk, but that she can walk more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres reliably.” (As stated in my application form) I can do 20 metres on a very good day, but usually around 18 before I have to stop due to pain. If there was any doubt, shouldn’t a walking test have been done? [Husband has just timed me walking inside from front to back of house (22 metres). Got TENS machine on for back pain, but still having trouble with hip/knee. Just made the distance before I had to stop & lean against the wall due to pain – 22 metres in 1min 15secs]
Had this hurried Paramedic read back to my husband and I what he had (inaccurately) written, I would not be in this position, as all the inaccuracies would have been corrected. On his way out he said he had overrun his time and was now running late as he had 3 more assessments to do.
Where do I start with all this for a Mandatory Reconsideration? I know there is never any certainty, but might there be good enough grounds for challenging this medical assessment? If so, is it submitted to DWP before the Mandatory Reconsideration, or submitted as part of the Tribunal Appeal process?
Do apologise for this post being so long, but just saying ‘there are a few discrepancies’ really does not do this bogus report justice.
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