GPC Recommendations on Requests from DWP Officers for Patient Information
DWP Officials report that some GPs are still insisting on seeing written consent for reports for DWP purposes. The GMS Regulations require GPs to accept the assurance of the DWP or its agents that there is consent. The PMS Regs are the same, with different numbers.
80 (1) The contractor must, if satisfied that the patient consents--
(a) supply in writing to any person specified in sub-paragraph (3), within such reasonable period as that person may specify, such clinical information as any of the persons mentioned in sub-paragraph (3)(a) to (d) considers relevant about a patient to whom the contractor or a person acting on behalf of the contractor has issued or has refused to issue a medical certificate; and
(b) answer any inquiries by any person mentioned in sub-paragraph (3) about--
(i) a prescription form or medical certificate issued or created by, or on behalf of, the contractor, or
(ii) any statement which the contractor or a person acting on behalf of the contractor has made in a report.
(2) For the purposes of being satisfied that a patient consents, a contractor may rely on an assurance in writing from any person mentioned in sub-paragraph (3) that the consent of the patient has been obtained, unless the contractor has reason to believe that the patient does not consent.
The Regulation goes on to say that for this purpose the person concerned may be a medical officer, a nursing officer, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, or an officer of the Department for Work and Pensions who is acting on behalf of, and at the direction of one of the foregoing who is working for the DWP or a subcontractor.
The GMC is also clear that doctors may rely on an officer’s consent http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/confidentiality_24_35_disclosing_information_with_consent.asp
The local DWP officers contact is:
Michelle Maslen Devon, Cornwall & Somerset St Austell JC MICHELLE.MASLEN@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK 01726 294040