Blue Badge Scheme
The GP's role in assessing patients for The Blue Badge Scheme was reassessed in 2002. The reasons for this are produced in a Department of Transport document published in February 2012. We have copied an extract of The Blue Badge Scheme Local Authority Guidance (England) below:
The case for reducing the role of an applicant's personal GP in badge eligibility decision making was supported by the Cabinet Office report "Making a difference: reducing burdens on general practitioners (GPs)(2002)" and the Department of Health's "Care Services Efficiency Delivery Programme Blue Badge Initiative Report (2006)". The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee recommended, in their 2002 Review Report, that mobility assessments conducted to determine an individual's eligibility for a badge should be undertaken by an accredited health professional other than the applicant's GP. In addition, the Transport Select Committee held an inquiry into the scheme in 2008 and, in their Final Report, supported the removal of GPs from the assessment process. Their view was that the use of an applicant's own GP to assess their mobility, or of any other doctor directly involved in the applicant's care or treatment, is likely to produce a bias in favour of approving the application.
However, local authorities may request factual evidence from a GP in order to support the Blue Badge decision making process. We are happy to assist a local authority as long as they can provide the patient's consent for us to do so.
Confidentiality & Medical Records
The practice complies with data protection and access to medical records legislation. Identifiable information about you will be shared with others in the following circumstances:
- To provide further medical treatment for you e.g. from district nurses and hospital services.
- To help you get other services e.g. from the social work department. This requires your consent.
- When we have a duty to others e.g. in child protection cases anonymised patient information will also be used at local and national level to help the Health Board and Government plan services e.g. for diabetic care.
If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
Reception and administration staff require access to your medical records in order to do their jobs. These members of staff are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the medical staff.
Freedom of Information
Information about the General Practioners and the practice required for disclosure under this act can be made available to the public. All requests for such information should be made to the practice manager.
Access to Records
In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Health Records Act, patients may request to see their medical records. Such requests should be made through the practice manager and may be subject to an administration charge. No information will be released without the patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
Access to Medical Records and Data Protection Leaflet
We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
To pursue a complaint please contact the practice manager who will deal with your concerns appropriately. Further written information is available regarding the complaints procedure from reception.
Employment and Support Allowance Appeals
Guidance from the Department of Work and Pensions states that:
There is no requirement for GPs to provide reports or offer an opinion on incapacity for work to anyone else unless requested to do so by Jobcentre Plus.
Claimants should contact Jobcentre Plus or the Appeals Service, where appropriate, if they think that further medical evidence is necessary to support their claim or appeal. They should state clearly their reasons for believing that further evidence is necessary.
If Jobcentre Plus or the Appeals Service consider that further medical evidence is necessary, they will seek it. They will be responsible for paying any fee to the doctor providing the report.
Please note that patients are not denied benefits solely on the information given by GPs. The decision to award Employment and Support Allowance is made by expert decision makers and is based on a range of information, evidence and independent medical advice.
The process has been designed to provide an independent assessment to prevent GPs producing a bias in favour of their patients receiving approval of their application or appeal.
The NHS operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons. Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.