Requests for benefits or housing letters
Patients regularly ask practices to provide evidence to support their benefits claims or letters to help with housing needs. Practices may feel that providing these letters is helping the patient, but time taken to prepare these documents may detract from the capacity of the practice to provide direct patient care. There is no contractual requirement to provide these types of letters. There are agreed mechanisms for Department of Works and Pensions, and for housing departments in councils to gain medical information, and there are agreed mechanisms for practices to have the time to prepare this information funded. If DWP or housing departments want medical information they should apply and fund through the agreed formal routes.
Patients can, of course, gain access to their medical records and print a summary which they can provide to DWP or housing departments.
The LMC supports practices who decline informal requests for this medical information.
We have created a letter which practices can put on their websites and provide to patients which explains our position.