Another thing I’ve been doing since moving in is trying to get this Work Capability Assessment form out of the way. Stepping Forward couldn’t see me until the 3 weeks into the 1 month deadline for returning it. Then I needed to go back to the doctor to chase up a supporting letter I needed her to update with details of my knee condition.
Back in May my doctor made a request for medical records from various hospitals and consultants which I gave her details for (in itself a feat of memory and google searching by me!). I managed to speak to her last Monday and she told me that due to a change in receptionist at the GP surgery that the request had got lost, or some of it did— she did tell me that two hospitals responded but did not have any records.
I’ve phoned the GP surgery again this week to see if there was an update but none yet. I’m going to ask for my doctor to call me back so I can get a proper update from her, rather than from receptionists who have no idea what’s going on at any time.
In the meantime I already made clear to Universal Credit that I need more time to return the Work Capability Assessment form, and they were happy with that. I’m still getting nervous about returning it because of horror stories I’ve heard from the benefits advisor before— how Universal Credit look for any excuse to randomly stop paying benefits with no warning, apparently. I’m not sure how seriously I take these stories as he’s notoriously pessimistic as a default, and I know I’d never take that lying down. As long as I’m sticking to the process and getting feedback from the system at all points, then legally that can’t happen in my view.
Anyway from my perspective it’s interesting how difficult it can be just to ‘prove’ my knee condition. I first injured my right knee in 2001 when I was 14 and had four surgeries by the age of 17 (back when the NHS still actually existed). Then I had more surgery in 2015 and then on my left knee in 2017. If you think doctors in the UK have access to your medical records— they really don’t. I have never not had to explain my entire life medical history to a doctor when trying to get help for anything for existing conditions. The only physical evidence I have of my entire knee history from 20 years of issues is one digital copy of an MRI scan report from 2013.
One of the surgeries happened in Scotland and in Scotland you’re not even on the same NHS system— you get a whole new NHS number. But even within England’s system if you change GPs there’s no previous trace of your existence. At least in my experience. And given how chaotic my life has been with all the challenges and constant crisis management, I’ve changed location and GP so many times.
I’m not sure what will happen if my GP can’t get this medical evidence. Hopefully she will take my word for it as well as the one report I do have. The one out of date report from 2013 was written in such grave terms already, so maybe that will be enough. Or maybe I’ll need to have MRI scans just to prove this 😆. Which would be at least a year of waiting anyway at the moment. You have to wait 24 hours here just for an ambulance now. People are dying everywhere and it’s only Summer.
Anyway I just need this ‘final’ hurdle out of the way! This battling doesn’t stop with moving house :).