HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 c1336W
John Barrett

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of general practitioner fees on deterring those on low incomes from appealing against a benefits decision; and if he will make a statement. [153376]

Maria Eagle

General Practitioners (GPs) have an important role in providing advice on fitness for work, and supporting the recovery and rehabilitation of their patients; however, there is no need for a person to have evidence from their GP in order to appeal a benefit decision, and GPs are under no statutory obligation to provide medical evidence to their patients for the purposes of an appeal.

Appeal tribunals carry out an independent judicial function and will have available the medical evidence on a person's file, including the reports from Medical Services' doctors; in many cases a person's file will often already include factual information provided by their GP.