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Suggestions please: what to show/tell my GP

mud
mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
I see my GP tomorrow and will ask her to write something for my PIP claim. I don't know how well-versed she is in the whole DWP thing, so I may have to talk her through the approach that's needed.

I wanted to make bullet points based on the questions and descriptors, which if I do it well, she can just put her name to and save time composing a letter (or base a letter on if she prefers). I haven't been able to gather my thoughts to produce a nice clear list in time for this appointment. I'll have the list with me but for now it's some scribbled pages - I was making a note against every question, the next step is extracting the main points into bullet points, but I've only done the first few questions so far.

She's popular with patients and I had to book 5 weeks ahead for this appointment, which was before I knew I was going for PIP, so she isn't expecting to give this any time and I wasn't able to make it a double appointment. I want to be as concise and coherent as possible! So I need to make bullet points for *myself*, just to put it across clearly without spending an hour getting to the point. (I used to be so logical and efficient but it takes a lot of preparation now.) I'm aware that she probably doesn't really know what information will help and what they won't count.

Last time, they completely ignored what my diabetic nurse put in her letter. It was the only extra I sent for the mandatory reconsideration, and I didn't get a single extra point. That's why I want to prepare my health professionals this time, rather than just asking them to "write something".

So far I'm going to take:

- a summary of how often I forget my tablets, forget my insulin, miscalculate my insulin, and am not strong enough to deal with the insulin pump when needed.
(I did a 10-day diary and I was shocked when I counted up how often it is! I'm not making it up after all!!)

- a 24-hour Typical Day from this week, which I hope she'll have time to do more than scan-read.
(It reads very "disabled"! I had no idea. Usually I enjoy the feeling during my "good hours" and simply don't look at the clock during rest and so on, and I never focus on pain until it floors me so I go about thinking I'm pretty well most of the time. My "pretty well" really isn't. Yet I'm far better than three years ago when they turned me down for PIP.)

Anything else, you think? I must not lose months to renewing PIP every other year, I really need to get an award for as long as possible so I want this claim to be as strong as I can make it. (I was on indefinite DLA.) And I think going to appeal will put me in hospital so I probably won't do that (without advocacy, which there isn't in this area). I need to move house urgently - which I'm barely up to but the house is going to need big repairs soon. Each time I engage with the DWP, it puts moving back by months if not years. I already backed out of a huge trading standards case where the other guy hadn't got a leg to stand on, because I didn't have the capacity to undertake it and there's a couple of similar "admin projects" that I can't begin until finished doing PIP... I have to do this right!

Sorry this is long. I put it in my sig - I really struggle to condense things! Thanks for reading.
"I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal

Comments

  • cristobal
    cristobal Member Posts: 987 Disability Gamechanger
    @mud - you seem to have taken some time to get all of the information together. Keeping a diary is a good idea.

    Could you not add this to your application yourself, rather than asking your GP to do it?

    If you search through the forum you'll see that there are posts about the value, or not, of GP's letters.

    My opinion, which others will disagree with, is that if you ask your GP to send a summary of what you have just told him/her then it doesn't add much - you may as well tell them yourself so that it's straight from the horse's mouth...

    Good luck...

  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    Thank you @cristobal, I just saw a reply from the thread where I tried to ask this (muddle!!!) and am about to reply to that here - but that said about not using a GP's input, which I hadn't thought of. :)

    I did just talk it through last time, wth my diabetes nurse, and she wrote a decent letter for me but they completely ignored it.

    I still need to explain to my GP, because i need her to write a letter to show the solicitors saying I'm not well enough to go to tribunal. But perhaps I can see her again for that - no point until I've put the initial claim in.
    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,696 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    They very rarely contact anyone for any evidence at all so please don't expect them to contact your GP or any other medical professional because it may not happen.

    This is my opinion and others may disagree but going to your GP with a list of everything that affects you and asking them to write a letter based on all of that will very likely be seen as a patient lead letter. It's very rare a GP will know anything about how our conditions affect us against the PIP descriptors and for this reason a letter from a GP isn't the best evidence to send.

    In some cases a GP will refuse to write a letter for a benefit claim and those that will agree could possibly charge you. A GP will only ever know the basics, like what medication you take, previous appointments and future appointments. Anything else and they rarely know.

    If they are contacted then mostly it's just a tick box form to fill in that really doesn't give much information at all.

    You'll be much better off requesting your medical records from your GP practice and taking a look through to see what evidence you can use to support your claim.

    You say you were refused previously and also mention applying every year. I'm assuming you've been refused at least once previously? May i ask if you've taken it to a Tribunal at all? If you're refused and request a MR then most of these decisions remain the same so the chances of having to take it to Tribunal are quite high, if you're refused.

    Starting another claim and using the same evidence constantly, will most likely see you being refused each time you re-apply.

    Having some understanding of the PIP descriptors and what they mean will always help. It's very easy to look at the descriptors and think you should score a certain amount of points but when you do some research the chances are you'll change your mind. It's not always possible to score as many points as we think.

    I know this link is very long but having a read will definitely help you understand the descriptors, what they mean and the criteria.


    I hope this helps, good luck.
  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    (Answering from the first time I tried posting this question, because the website said it hadn't appeared on the forum and I deleted it before seeing that @poppy123456 had replied!)

    Thanks @poppy123456. It's good that I asked and saw this before mentioning it to my GP!

    I don't believe I could go through my records, if I requested them, or it would take me many months. Mostly it's blood tests that show up negative - I haven't been under a consultant for years. (Pain, cognitive stuff, things they don't need to monitor.) Only diabetes and that isn't what disables me.

    I was refused on switchover from DLA, and knew I couldn't take it tribunal. Every time I renewed DLA, meeting the deadline put me in hospital (even with a few weeks' extension). Every time that happens, I risk another stroke. Plus losing months - sounds like it's a year or more nowadays - which takes me away from urgent things that have been put off for years.

    I do know the descriptors etc (thank you), I know enough about it to do as much research and prep as I possibly can before getting into the 4-week deadline. I have the CAB to go to, and that's all, and they can only do the questions with me but not the face-to-face. When my brain's working, I could be an advocate myself :) but that isn't the case for enough hours in the day! Someone on the Scope helpline said tick the highest-scoring boxes and use the space to explain how it varies, but that makes me look almost bedbound - without exaggeration - and I will walk into the assessment looking fine. Not being fine but looking it. For DLA i used to work out averages but I gather that isn't the way now?

    I was refused because they told barefaced lies on my assessment report, and because more than half of claims fail, and I tick all the boxes for those that are hardest to win: invisible, fluctuating, chronic. It wouldn't be exactly the same evidence, I suppose, as three years have passed. I've been told they don't keep old forms anyway?

    I felt positive about disengaging from the DWP and haven't once regretted it. But now, I still can't work, I'm eating my savings at a frightening rate, so I decided to get my maintenance from my ex looked at again (both our circumstances have changed). They're saying I must go for PIP and if refused my get a job, and my solicitor says I won't get it past a court without doing this. I need my GP to write at least a letter to convince my ex's solicitor that I'm not able to appeal if turned down.

    I really daren't go to appeal, I have managed my health just enough to live alone so far, and it would reverse all that. I cope by not doing anything that's too much, and I've had time to work out what my limits are. I am sure I would win at appeal, but I can't afford the risk.
    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,696 Disability Gamechanger
    mud said:

    I still need to explain to my GP, because i need her to write a letter to show the solicitors saying I'm not well enough to go to tribunal. But perhaps I can see her again for that - no point until I've put the initial claim in.
    May i ask what solicitors?
  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    (@cristobal )
    > Could you not add this to your application yourself, rather than asking your GP to do it? 
    I'm going to, the GP a helpful extra! :) but sounds like it woudldn't be.

    >My opinion, which others will disagree with, is that if you ask your GP to send a summary of what you have just told him/her then it doesn't add much - you may as well tell them yourself so that it's straight from the horse's mouth...

    I'm aware how easy it is to include things that they won't count at all, but not mention the kind of things they look at. Over the years I have learnt to be very careful wording things for the DWP. That's all. :)




    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    Hi,

    They very rarely contact anyone for any evidence at all so please don't expect them to contact your GP or any other medical professional because it may not happen.

    That's why I thought I'd pre-empt it - but you have changed my mind. :)

     This is my opinion and others may disagree but going to your GP with a list of everything that affects you and asking them to write a letter based on all of that will very likely be seen as a patient lead letter.
     That's a valuable thought that wouldn't have occurred to me, thank you.

    Starting another claim and using the same evidence constantly, will most likely see you being refused each time you re-apply.

    The last time was a few years ago - I gave up completely, but now I'm forced to try again. Against my will. :|

    I hope this helps, good luck.
    Thank you :)
    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    I'm astonished how quickly people responded here! This is great :) but I can't keep up. Off to rest my eyes. Many thanks.
    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,696 Disability Gamechanger
    PIP is about how you're affected at least 50% of the time over a 12 month period.

    When you fill out those forms you should put as much information as possible about how your conditions affect you. Adding a couple of real life examples of what happened the last time you attempted that activity for each descriptor that applies to you will also help.

    Use extra paper because there's never enough of room on the form to put all the information you need. Don't forget to add your name and NI number to each sheet you use.

    I still advise you to read the links i posted above because they have all the information you need.
  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    PIP is about how you're affected at least 50% of the time over a 12 month period.

    When you fill out those forms you should put as much information as possible about how your conditions affect you. Adding a couple of real life examples of what happened the last time you attempted that activity for each descriptor that applies to you will also help.

    Use extra paper because there's never enough of room on the form to put all the information you need. Don't forget to add your name and NI number to each sheet you use.

    I still advise you to read the links i posted above because they have all the information you need.
    I shall definitely be using extra paper! :) I would read those links - but I have already. And probably printed them out, in my big folder of "PIP prep". :)

    It's really difficult to calculate what % of the time things affect me and it's almost worthless to say what happened last time. For example, it feels like I'm fine to go to a social meeting that happens late morning. It feels like I'm fine to go every week. But after two months, my health is noticeably worse. Therefore I don't sign up for anything that happens weekly (things I'd love to, like a local art group). I have no idea how to explain that in simple terms except to say "am unable to". If I described what happened the last time I tried - for example, I made an effort to attend the AGM of something even though I can't take part regularly, and I was fine because it was a one-off. I was even better than average, because the "excitement" pepped me up. I myself can't tell whether it left me more exhausted the next few days - it wouldn't necessarily be the next day. By the time I've done something else, like cooking properly (less than once a week) or showering or taking an unexpected long phone call, who knows whether it was Monday's outing that gave me a flare-up on Thursday?

    I also don't tend to fall over or burn things by forgetting I left the hob on, and so on, because I triple-check what I do all the time and I'm super careful on the stairs. When I'm likely to stumble, I avoid being at the top of the stairs or else I slow down far more than I think I need to. So the track record looks fairly ok. I can't measure how much attention I give to staying ok.

    But I have a good idea of how to word things... Just keeping the diary made me realise more. I don't think of the reacher-grabber or the long-handled stool as an "aid or appliance", but I remembered it's worth mentioning them. During the day, if I didn't use them, I'd be in a heck of a lot more pain and I'd get tired out and have to give up for the day an hour or so earlier. Some of it is just about looking at it that way.

    This is one reason I hate having to do it. I've been happily not seeing myself as ill, and now suddenly I can't avoid seeing how limited I am.
    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,696 Disability Gamechanger
    Just saying you're unable to do something isn't enough. You need to explain why you can't do that activity regularly and reliably. There's no average times for PIP, it's at least 50% of the time over a 12 month period.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019
    Morning @mud, just to let you know that I have removed your duplicate post. :)

    I hope your appointment goes well today!
    Scope

  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    Thanks @Chloe_Scope (d'oh!).

    My GP said something that rocked me back on my heels - as I was about to leave, she asked me to see her more often. I rarely go in (like most chronic patients). I said this - I don't even tend to get colds - but she just likes to know her patients. :o I've known her less than a year and still getting to know her; this is so reassuring!

    I've never known a doctor who wanted *more* people queuing in the waiting room! And over the years I must say I get my money's worth out of the NHS so I'm not used to them wanting to spend more on me!! :)

    We did talk about PIP a bit, I told her how often I forgot/miscalculated my insulin etc, how much of a "typical day" I spend resting and so on - didn't take anything on paper. When she gets contacted she always calls the patient to ask if they want to go in to go through it, so that's good. Also she hasn't been contacted for ages, which fits with what I hear about the DWP contacting doctors less (I think it was poppy123456 said that).

    Mainly I was there for the blood results though.
    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    Just saying you're unable to do something isn't enough. You need to explain why you can't do that activity regularly and reliably. There's no average times for PIP, it's at least 50% of the time over a 12 month period.
    Oh yes. This is one reason I have taken time to prepare as much as pos before starting the 4-week timer ticking - I find it really hard to explain why. Especially to make it short and easy to take in. It's complex! :smile:

    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @mud, that's really positive that she is wanting to support you. :)
    Scope

  • mud
    mud Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    I know, amazing! :) At least something's going right. :)
    "I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one." - Blaise Pascal
  • pollyanna1052
    pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    Good luck.
    I am  expecting DWP on Thursday for my f2f assessment.

    They have made and cancelled 2 previous appointments, which got me so wound up it was soul destroying. If they cancel again I am going to go crazy!

    Best wishes xx

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