Depending upon how open your doctors are, there are a number of documents with which you can provide them. This will not only help yourself, but other patients in future, too. If your doctor is fairly unapproachable, the best method is to simply provide them with the Fightback Example Letter for GPs, which can be found here: FightBack Example Letter for GPs
If however, your doctor or consultant is enthusiastic about providing the best support they can for their patients, then providing them with the following will help:
- A copy of the ESA50:
- The ESA descriptors:
- Regulations 29 & 35:
- The Support Group descriptors:
- My following explanation:
The Descriptors are used to score each ESA application. You will note that each Descriptor tallies to the like numbered question on the ESA50 form that your patient must complete. For the descriptors appropriate to your patient, please write a sentence in the letter that describes their ability, and why, preferably using wording similar to that of the Descriptor. For Fibromyalgia it is particularly important to note the fluctuating nature of the condition, by explaining that your patient cannot “Reliably, repeatedly, and safely” perform activities.
Your patient must score 15 points or more from the Descriptors in order to placed in the ESA Work Related Activity Group. If you believe that your patient is not ready to be pushed towards work, or will not be at all, please state this clearly in your supporting letter, as per regulations29 & 35. It will be additionally useful if you include sentences that match your patient to the Support Group descriptors.
It is imperative to be mindful of your phrasing when writing the letter. The DWP will discard any sentences which they can consider to be in doubt. For example, “I believe that my patient is in constant pain”, may be discarded, whereas “My patient is in constant pain” will not.
The letter can be kept short, covering the basics that you consider will place your patient in the appropriate ESA group. Or you can include information regarding specialists, test results, and patient history.