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PIP Assessment - assessor medical knowledge

Cody0709Cody0709 Member Posts: 5 Listener
edited January 30 in PIP, DLA and AA
So my son has had his assessment back and was unsuccessful.  I will go for MA but have a query regarding the assessor medical knowledge.  My understanding is the person undertaking the report will not be medically qualified.  Yet the person who completed my son's report has stated that there is no proof that my son has panic attacks as he is not prescribed any related medication.  Now he is prescribed medication (fluoxetine/prozac) which he has been told by his GP and at least two psychiatrists is to help him with his anxiety.  The manufacturers accompanying leaflet also states this medication is for treatment of anxiety disorder.  On the basis the DWP does not seem to accept/want to know about medical opinion when it comes to PIP's,  do I have to accept that the assessor is correct and these highly trained medical professionals (plus manufacturers) know nothing? Or maybe the assessor 'googled' fluoxetine, saw it was for anxiety but does not know about the relationship between anxiety and panic attacks, and I need to point that out?

Replies

  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 2,921 Disability Gamechanger
    @Cody0709 evening and welcome to scope glad you found us. The thing with PIP is that it is not awarded on the basis of your illness/condition but for the care and/or mobility issues that arise from it, some assessors are medically qualified but not all, medical opinion is really not always relevant as a doctor won't know how you are affected on a daily basis only perhaps what your illness is.
    Now as regards the MR what you need to do is go through the report and look where your son didn't score points but you think he should have and try and give some real life examples of when he tried to do something but couldn't and why.
    Some MR's do succeed but it won't be a bad idea to look into the appeals process and seek if possible help with that.
  • justlooking88justlooking88 Member Posts: 24 Connected
    Fluoxetine is primary given for depression. Anxiety specific medication is normally something like diazepam, clonazepam, temazepam, propranolol that sort of this. They may have worded it badly and actually meant ‘acute anxiety medication’
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 6,896 Disability Gamechanger
     Hi @Cody0709 - & welcome to this online community. The assessors will have some medical understanding as the majority are nurses, & also some physiotherapists & paramedics. As woodbine has said however, PIP is not based on a medical diagnosis, nor on the medication taken, it's rather how does a disability affect certain activities/descriptors of daily living such as dressing, bathing, cooking a simple meal, budgeting, etc. & /mobility problems. So in that regard the assessors don't need to have an understanding about your son's diagnosis, nor medication. Moving forward, hard tho it may be, try to put the assessor's report behind you; you are certainly not alone in finding 'inaccuracies' in the report, but highlighting these does not get an appropriate PIP award put into place, & should you end up appealing to a tribunal, a diagnosis & medication will rarely be disputed by the panel.
    Again, as above, you should concentrate on where points should have been scored for your son's MR, & give a couple of detailed examples of exactly why for each applicable descriptor. Just in case, this website may help a little more. It's about completing a PIP form, but looking at the descriptors in this link, & some reasons as to where points may be gained, I hope is helpful. Please see: https://www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/en/welfare-benefits/pip-mental-health-guide/help-with-your-pip-claim/how-to-fill-in-the-pip-form/

  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 445 Pioneering
    Advice on completing the PIP2 also available here https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/help-with-your-claim/fill-in-form/
    If you didn't cover it when you originally completed the PIP2 this will help you to work out what extra information you may need to include with the MR.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Cody0709Cody0709 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    @justlooking88 thank you for your comment.  My son is prescribed propranolol but as he is severely underweight he has low blood pressure, and taking it risks passing out.
  • Cody0709Cody0709 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    @calcotti thank you for the link.  I looked at the citizens advice website and cannot believe I did not find this, as it looks helpful. 
  • Cody0709Cody0709 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    edited January 31
    @woodbine thank you for your welcome and reply.  My son scored nil, so the only way is up! What I am struggling getting my head around is giving a real life example and not explaining why his condition causes it to happen. For example with regard to mixing with other people - my son was 'let go' from his first and only job because he took what a manager said to him literally. If I do not explain that as a difficulty (taking things literally) suffered by someone on the Autistic spectrum, then an assessor with no understanding of ASD is not going to believe such a thing could happen and discount the whole thing as a lie.  In fact the main thing I get from the rambling assessor's report, is that my son does not have learning difficulties so he should be able to do everything. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,344 Disability Gamechanger
    Cody0709 said:
    So my son has had his assessment back and was unsuccessful.  I will go for MA but have a query regarding the assessor medical knowledge.  My understanding is the person undertaking the report will not be medically qualified.  Yet the person who completed my son's report has stated that there is no proof that my son has panic attacks as he is not prescribed any related medication.  Now he is prescribed medication (fluoxetine/prozac) which he has been told by his GP and at least two psychiatrists is to help him with his anxiety.  The manufacturers accompanying leaflet also states this medication is for treatment of anxiety disorder.  On the basis the DWP does not seem to accept/want to know about medical opinion when it comes to PIP's,  do I have to accept that the assessor is correct and these highly trained medical professionals (plus manufacturers) know nothing? Or maybe the assessor 'googled' fluoxetine, saw it was for anxiety but does not know about the relationship between anxiety and panic attacks, and I need to point that out?
    Red herrings all round. The question to be asked is not about the level of knowledge of the HCP. Better to review your own evidence and contemplate what gaps exist to enable them to draw inaccurate inferences.

    So, for example, does the claim pack explicitly list the meds but then go on to explain who prescribed; why and so on. If it doesn’t then you know what needs fixing. If it does then you next focus on your descriptions of those panic attacks. Notably, did you describe how often; what the triggers are; what happens explicitly and in detail when a panic attack happens and give detailed examples of specific incidents? Using a intake like “panic attack” is meaningless for example. They are totally different for different people. One person might scream and flee. Another person might be wholly silent and freeze to the spot. If the claim pack simply asserts that he has panic attacks but doesn’t include that level of detail then that’s the issue you need to fix in order to get PIP rather than the HCP or their report.

    A HCP does not require medical expertise to spot gaps in evidence.
  • Cody0709Cody0709 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    edited January 31
    @chiarieds Thank you for your welcome and the link, which I will definitely look at. I hope that the assessor here was not a nurse, because I would pity her patients - her distain was palpable over the phone, had my son in tears and she let out a loud 'ewww' at one stage at him. However you are correct and I will take your advice and put the assessors comments behind me.  I had completed the same forms for my mother who is wheelchair bound after a stroke affected her legs and was successful first time.  Her  disability in terms of its affect on independence, finance, quality of life and health is nowhere near as bad as my son's. Naivety on my part.
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