GPs to be trigger for benefits information

GPs will be responsible for triggering the release of benefits information to patients diagnosed with a terminal condition under a Bill put before parliament last month.

The Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance (Information) Bill will require any medical practitioner who diagnoses a terminal illness to complete a form to ensure information about entitlement to attendance and disability living allowances sent to the patient.

The Bill was introduced by Conservative MP for St Albans, Anne Main, under the 10-minute rule. She said: 'The GP or other medical practitioner should be obliged to trigger a request for an information pack to be sent to the patient.'

GPs were ideally placed to take on this responsibility because they are 'the health professionals most closely connected with the patient and their family', she said.

'They are the professionals needed to sign the DS1500 form that will deliver the benefit.'

She said the GMS contract was the ideal place to include this additional responsibility.

Research by Macmillan Cancer Relief has estimated that over a six-month period in 2001, terminally ill patients with six months or less to live failed to claim over £100 million in benefits.

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