Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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difficulties about gp letter for home visit

Hello :-)
I always wanted to start of saying a mass 'good luck with your claims' to everyone, as it's so tough for everyone dealing with forms/assessments etc, so I'll do it now.

Rarely ask things, but it feels wise to do that at the moment, as I seem to be coming out of a mental health episode at the moment but am concerned about continuing to manage that. For the last 2-3 years home visits were automatic, for both ESA and PIP (am on enhanced daily living/mobility; mainly severe dissociation and chronic physical problems), but, after filling in the ESA form, I got a letter saying I must contact gp to get further information, in order to have a home visit.

Very challenging to use the phone, and, when talking to the gp, I got upset, but at least was able to stick to basic notes, in explaining I was sorry to bother gp but had been told need backup for home visit. He said the letter should be ready by the end of the day, and I could give the fax number and over-the-phone payment I offered when reception called me. Called up today, and the surgery don't take payment over the phone, and she's leaving a note for the doctor, to see what's happening, but said it could take a week to hear back.

Worried about if this doesn't come through, and if there's payment, as am only able to do that online/via phone (housebound/nobody who can take payment). Forces me into calling the ESA also. Last home visit had been positive, and, when was forced to call last year, they were good on the phone, but this letter was quite harsh ... 'unless we receive this information the assessment at Thornaby Centre will need to go ahead'. I cannot physically leave the house, and have not received an appointment to go to an assessment centre. I am thinking they could give me more time, but, if I can't make a payment or have access to a gp letter, am not sure what to do.


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,906 Disability Gamechanger

    I'm sorry to hear this. Sometimes if there's not enough of evidence to prove that a home assessment is needed they will ask for a letter from your GP. You can of course cancel the face to face assessment while you wait for the letter from your GP but you wont be able to cancel another, if you cancel the first one.

    I would also mention the EA 2010 to the Health Assessment Advisory Service. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance

    Is there any reason why your GP won't accept payment over the phone? Hopefully when you hear from your GP they will be able to help you further with advice regarding the payment that needs to be paid for the letter.

    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • piglet101piglet101 Member Posts: 40 Connected
    edited February 2020
    Hi poppy123456 and thank you for your message. :-) They have so much on file, and I'd thought the previous auto-visits were because they were referring back to a gp's previous letter, so mistakenly thought that would continue. With conditions being severe enough, and previous evidence I'd sent before, it feels very odd to have everything apparently 'written off' and to be back at the start.

    I haven't received an appointment, but will have to call them, incase it's got lost in the post, and to put to them your excellent suggestion about the equality act 2010. I see it says about if a person with a protected characteristic is  ... at a disadvantage, have particular needs, or are under-represented in an activity [or type of work].

    I'm rather nervous, and not quite sure about, how to approach the HAAS, but strongly agree that referring to equality is very important. I've recently hit up against sheltered housing not having any provision regarding being able to take out cash/pay for things, also. If I may ask your advice ... is it best to just mention the Act, ie "I've been advised regarding the Equality Act 2010", and then say I'll need to contact the CAB? I don't even know which organisations help nowadays, with being out of circulation.

    The GP receptionist said they don't take payments, and I think was implying they don't have the ability to/machines. She wasn't sure why the GP had said I'd be able to pay over the phone. There's been no callback today since talking with her. A bit concerning that she didn't say what the fee could be and refused to take the fax number so far. If I can't pay online/over-the-phone, I just can't attend an assessment outside the house. 

    Is it even possible that I could call up for a gp home visit and swap letter and payment when they visit? No health check for a very long time, but I doubt the gp would like this. Trying to think of anything, however improbable.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,906 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome.

    For a local advice centre near you then put your postcode into this link. https://advicelocal.uk/

    Having claimed ESA in the Support Group myself since 2013 i never take anything for granted with the reviews and i always send the evidence, regardless of whether i sent it before. You should always treat ever review as a new claim.

    Regarding the home visit then i really have no idea whether they will agree to do that for you. Having thought about the payment issue then yes, i can see this would be a problem with a lot of GP practices regarding payment and no machines for card payments. All you can do is ring them again tomorrow and ask and hopefully there will be a solution to the problem.

    Good luck.

    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • piglet101piglet101 Member Posts: 40 Connected
    Thanks poppy123456, and appreciate the link. Finding forms so overwhelming now, but, yes, you're right that it's a mistake to presume anything. Yes, hopefully a solution will come through about paying for gp letter.

    Sorry to ask again, but I don't know what approach to take with the assessment centre regarding the Equality Act ... just basically mentioning I've been advised, and saying I'll contact the CAB about it, if I'm blocked from assessment and ESA because of inability to pay for gp letter? I don't want to prod an already very active hornet's nest, eek.
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,288 Pioneering
    I cannot say that I am surprised with the situation with your GP, for myself I have had nothing BUT problems with mine for a few years now. Like you I am housebound and have been for a couple of years and it has certainly made the situation so bad that I no longer have ANY trust in the surgery. However, when I attempted to change surgeries I was simply not allowed to just because I was classed as housebound.

    I would certainly recommend contacting the CAB for advice and feel sorry for you having problems with ESA. I myself had problems back when I started on ESA and am dreading having to justify going back on it now that the money Mum left me is running out. If they make it too difficult for me I shall probably end up homeless as I simply cannot cope with arguments and denials any more. I am sure you feel much the same.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • piglet101piglet101 Member Posts: 40 Connected
    Thank you for your message, and sorry to hear you've had a bad time about GPs and about being forced to stay at one surgery. That surely can't be legally right, so maybe the CAB could advise you. Although surgeries seem very similar now anyway. I moved surgery before becoming housebound, and it's not much different. I think people across the country are having the same experience. I remember a DWP lady a couple of years ago saying that there are many like you (alone, housebound) and the difference is whether or not someone has a good gp, which many across the country don't.

    I can recall the last time a gp had normal genuine interest and made a real difference,  about 9 years ago, and it was very sad when he had to retire due to breakdown/illness. Nowadays it seems patients are unfortunately invisible/unheard, and surgeries are more like a business. I've never had a home visit when requested; it switches to being a phone call, and random gp seems to have not read my records, all of which is very isolating and stressful. They can sometimes be polite, and thankfully antibiotics when vital, but eg unsafe things can be prescribed, in my experience, as mental health isn't considered, so you learn to not risk that, and certainly learn self-care and self-trust! At least there is prescription delivery, which I'm forever grateful for.

    Yes, the deliberate re-traumatizing that forms and assessments do is awful, but never let homelessness even be in the equation; that definitely needs legal advice and active prevention, and to take more rest/care while doing the forms a little bit at a time.

    No word from GP still, and the note must have been passed to the doctor early yesterday afternoon. I'm going to need to find something local eg the CAB and hope they're okay; unfortunately not a good time with local places years back, but it could be different now/new staff. Not looking forward to calling dwp, but all I can do is tell them I'm having a difficult time about gp letter and seeking advice/help.
  • piglet101piglet101 Member Posts: 40 Connected
    edited February 2020
    An update, where I've discovered that the gp surgery possibly being even worse than thought ... called the HAAS and the young girl was very nice. She said that they sent an information request form to gp last Wednesday (2 days before I had the callback with gp). This form has a legally binding 2-week deadline (by 5th March) and prepaid envelope provided, and there is NO charge to me for that. I got very upset, and she was great, saying to not panic or worry.

    As a note to all, the letter sent out had said that it was up to me to send the required information by fax or post to the HAAS, or assessment at local centre would go ahead ... that information is automatically meant to come from gp via the form HAAS send out, and there was no assessment appointment in place at all, and wouldn't be, until gp returns the form to them. Kind of surprised nobody here has had the same happen?

    Cannot believe the gp surgery strung me along deliberately as they have, and the young girl shared my concerns incase the information form not done accurately, but she was reassuring about taking things forward after the 5th. I get the feeling they do register that if someone has a previous letter saying disabled/home visits needed, and has automatically been having home visits, that is the more likely outcome.

    So, minus zero trust in gp now. At least it's a relief to know in the future that it's HAAS that requests info, and the HAAS letter can give a completely different impression ie check with them before get caught up in any gp unpleasantness.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry to hear this @piglet101, it sounds like things have been going round in circles. I'm glad you got someone understanding who could help a little.

  • piglet101piglet101 Member Posts: 40 Connected
    edited February 2020
    Thanks Chloe_Scope :-) Yes, a relief to experience that; if only the forms/process were improved, and gp surgeries. Definite change in the kind of people at the end of the phone, and in last 2 home visits also, so that's something positive. :-)
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