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NICE to delay decision on Alzheimer's guidance

I am writing on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions in response to the article by Dr Andrew Bargery (Features, June 18) and subsequent correspondence, regarding a complaint to the GMC about completion of an IB113 medical report.

The department fully understands the distress caused by the complaint, when Dr Bargery was doing no more than complying with his terms of service. But we would be greatly concerned if this, to our knowledge isolated incident, resulted in GPs declining to complete IB113 reports.

An IB113 medical report is requested when a GP's patient is claiming incapacity benefit and the department needs further information to decide whether benefit can remain in payment without need for a medical examination by one of its doctors.

The report is considered by a doctor advising the department's decision maker. The aim is not to call people for examination unnecessarily.

The department always requests an IB113 report when the claimant has indicated a mental health problem, in order to avoid unnecessary distress to this already vulnerable group of people.

GPs' refusal to complete IB113 reports would disadvantage their more severely disabled patients. The department has had fruitful discussions with the GMC over this incident; the GMC has been very receptive of the concerns raised, and continues to work closely with the department on this and other issues relating to complaints against doctors.

We urge GPs, in their patients' interest, not to resort to action which is potentially harmful to their patients.

Moira Henderson

Principal Medical Adviser

Department for Work and Pensions

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