An update on Z2K’s #ScraptheLetters campaign

We launched our campaign to stop the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) from sending letters telling doctors to withhold sick notes from the ill and disabled people seeking Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Since we launched the campaign on the 18th March, we have had an overwhelmingly positive response:

  • Significant media interest – see our news section below
  • Over 117,000 have signed our petition – if you have not signed it yet, sign here. 
  • Our hashtag #ScraptheLetters was trending on Twitter at the end of April
  • 11,000 people have written to their MPs
  • Two influential medical bodies, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and The British Medical Association (BMA), came out in support of our campaign. Both denied agreeing to the wording of the letters. Read more here. 

The ESA65B letters are actively misleading and result in denying the patient / claimant their right to gain the benefits they are not only fully entitled to, but need to survive. Further still, the collateral damage results in devastating outcomes for our clients; a domino effect of rent arrears, debt, reliance on foodbanks and ultimately, potential homelessness.

Our #ScraptheLetters campaign calls for the letters to be withdrawn.

If you have signed it, thank you for supporting us. We couldn’t do it without you. If you haven’t already, please help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends and family:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-sending-misleading-letters-to-gps

Send a tweet to ministers at the DWP:

.@DWP, stop sending letters telling Drs to withhold fit notes from ill + #disabled people seeking income they need to survive. @AmberRuddHR, listen to the people telling you these letters are driving them into #poverty. #ScraptheLetters https://bit.ly/2HBoInI @Z2K_Trust

.@rcgp + @TheBMA come out in support of @Z2K_Trust #ScraptheLetters campaign. Both DENY agreeing to the wording of the damaging letters @DWP are sending to Drs. @AmberRuddHR, withdraw the letters today. https://bit.ly/2HBoInI

The letters @DWP are sending to Drs have caused irrevocable damage + continue to do so as long as they exist .@JustinTomlinson suggests ‘revisions’ by Summer. @AmberRuddHR, consult with ill + disabled people + @Z2K_Trust + #ScraptheLetters altogether: https://bit.ly/2HBoInI

.@JustinTomlinson says @DWP will ‘revise’ the misleading letters they are sending to Drs by Summer. This isn’t good enough. @AmberRuddHR, the letters are driving ill + #Disabled people into #poverty you must #ScraptheLetters TODAY: https://bit.ly/2HBoInI @Z2K_Trust

You can also share on Facebook!

Read articles about why we want to #ScraptheLetters…

'DWP has sent 150,000 of the 'fit for work' letters that 'risk patients' health'

Dan Bloom, The Mirror: EXCLUSIVE: The scale of the problem is exposed after 146,500 people were found 'fit for work' in the 13 months since the DWP changed the wording of a controversial letter

Read more...

 

"Fit notes for benefit claimants: medical bodies “did not agree” advice to GPs"

Raji Hunjan in British Medical Journal: “Patients + claimants are suffering + continue to suffer as long as these letters are sent out. We do not believe any such letter should exist, [they] must be withdrawn with immediate effect.”

Read more...

 

'A Culture of Disbelief: why our #ScraptheLetters campaign is emblematic of a much wider problem'.

Ella Abraham writes for Public Sector Focus discussing the launch of Z2K's campaign, and highlights the long and arduous disability assessment process

Read more...

 

Doctors Tell DWP: We Didn't Approve Wording Of 'Misleading' Benefits Letter

George Bowden, Huff Post: "Patients and claimants are suffering and continue to suffer as long as these letters are sent out."

Read more...

 

Scrap 'misleading' fit-for-work letter to GPs, says Labour

Removal of advice is leaving ill and disabled people destitute, says Marsha de Cordova

Read more...

 

'Misleading' DWP letter causing ill and disabled people to lose benefits

Patrick Butler in the Guardian: 'Advice removed for GPs to provide notes for patients challenging fit-for-work tests'

Read more...

 

Thousands tell Amber Rudd to #ScraptheLetters

67,000 signatories are calling on the Department for Work and Pensions to stop sending GPs letters claiming that their patients do not need a ‘fit note’, writes Phil Miller in the Morning Star

Read more...

 

DWP accused of 'interfering with GPs' in letters declaring patients fit for work

Dan Bloom for The Mirror covering #ScraptheLetters campaign

Read more...

 

Don't Give Your Severely Ill Patients Sick Notes For Benefits, DWP Tells GPs

“It is not for the DWP to interfere with the GP and their patient." George Bowden for Huff Post:

Read more...

 

Patients risk homelessness after DWP sends GPs misleading benefits letters

Anviksha Patel for Pulse Today: 'GPs are being explicitly told not to issue fit notes to patients by the Department of Work and Pensions, even if there is still a chance that the decision could be appealed.'

Read more...

 

"Backdoor policies" denying people with mental illnesses access to ESA

The government's department for work and pensions (DWP) is sending doctors premature and misleading letters suggesting ill patients no longer need a “fit note” (medical note) after being found fit for work, an influential charity claimed today - Mental Health Today.

Read more...

 

To discuss our campaign, please email Ella:

ellaabraham@z2k.org