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DWP Reports and Patient Consent

Despite previous guidance being issued on this matter DWP is stating that some GPs are still insisting on sight of the written consent for reports for the DWP and their agents.

The GMS/PMS Regulations are clear that GPs may accept the assurance of the DWP and its agents that they have obtained consent.

The relevant extract from the GMS Regulations (the PMS Regs are the same, with different numbers) is copied below:

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.

(3) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1) and (2), the persons are--
(a) a medical officer;
(b) a nursing officer;
(c) an occupational therapist;
(d) a physiotherapist; or
(e) an officer of the Department for Work and Pensions who is acting on behalf of, and at the direction of, any person specified in paragraphs (a) to (d).

(4) In this paragraph--
(a) "medical officer" means a medical practitioner who is--
(i) employed or engaged by the Department for Work and Pensions, or
(ii) provided by an organisation under a contract entered into with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions;
(b) "nursing officer" means a health care professional who is registered on the Nursing and Midwifery Register and--
(i) employed or engaged by the Department for Work and Pensions, or
(ii) provided by an organisation under a contract entered into with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions;
(c) "occupational therapist" means a health care professional who is registered in the part of the register maintained by the Health Professions Council under article 5 of the [Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001] relating to occupational therapists and--
(i) employed or engaged by the Department for Work and Pensions, or
(ii) provided by an organisation under a contract entered into with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; and
(d) "physiotherapist" means a health care professional who is registered in the part of the register maintained by the Health Professions Council under article 5 of the [Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001] relating to physiotherapists and--
(i) employed or engaged by the Department for Work and Pensions, or
(ii) provided by an organisation under a contract entered into with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.]

The GMC guidance 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 gives the detail. GPs can therefore be fully reassured on this matter.

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