I live in Hampshire, UK. I am registered as a patient at Stokewood Surgery, Fair Oak Road, Fair Oak, Hampshire, UK. Telephone 023 8069 2000 (for those outside the UK, remove the zero at the front and add 44).
I have a spinal injury. It is called a Pars Defect and I received it when I was attacked in the street by a stalker when I was 17 years old. Until November 2014, I have always been able to live a reasonably normal life with my injury, and was employed and paid my taxes for all those years. By November 2014, my injury had made holding down a full time job, impossible and I was forced to give up work and begin the trauma of claiming benefits.
It is a horrendous rigmarole claiming benefits, and to cut out the majority of the boring stuff, I was given a benefit called ESA – Employment Support Allowance. It is the same benefit that used to be DSA – Disabled Living Allowance. In order to get my ESA benefit regularly, I have to provide the DWP – Department for Work and Pensions (the folks who hand out the benefit money), with a sick note every six weeks. In order to do this, I have to ring up my Doctor’s surgery a few days before the sick note runs out and tell them I need a renewal. They won’t renew a sick note before a day or two before the old one runs out, but the DWP requires a new one the day after the old one runs out. This means that the couple of days before the sick note runs out, is a time of worry as I rush to get the new one sent off in time to reach the DWP. If the DWP don’t receive the new one, or if it arrives later than the day after the old one runs out, they stop your benefit. This is a stupid way of doing things, and typical of how the British government is doing things these days.
My sick note ran out on 13th April 2015. I rang the surgery to have it renewed on 9th April 2015. I was told that because my doctor (Dr Wilshire) was on holiday until 14th April 2015, it could not be renewed until he returned to work. They also told me that no one else could sign a renewal for me.
The DWP sent me a letter reminding me of the need to send them a renewed sick note by 15th April 2015. They do this every time, and it is very helpful as sometimes I do forget when a sick note is reaching the end of it’s time.
I complained at the surgery and explained that the DWP need the new sick note by 15th April 2015, and that if they don’t receive it by then, my benefit will be stopped. I explained that if my benefit is stopped I will lose my home as the rent will not be paid. The girl assured me that she would get another doctor (Dr Lloyd) to sign a renewal sick note that I could pick up on 13th April 2015.
The sick note was NOT there as promised when I went to pick it up on 13th April 2015.
I rang this morning (14th April 2015) and asked for confirmation that my sick note would be there today for me to pick up. She would not give me that confirmation and told me she would see if the Doctor could phone me sometime this morning. I am now forced to sit here and wait for an alleged phone call that I seriously doubt will happen. Even if by some miracle, they do give me a new sick note today without a fuss, I cannot get it to the DWP by tomorrow’s deadline. This means my benefit will be stopped after tomorrow and I will be unable to pay my rent or council tax or any of my utility bills. My landlord will then evict me from my home and I will be on the street.
Thank you Great Britain. I’ve worked all my adult life and was attacked by a madman as a teenager but carried on working as best I could with a painful and inoperable spinal injury. I’ve paid my taxes and never committed a crime. I’m a white, English, single, middle aged, female, and as such, I’m of no importance to this government. As I walk the streets and try to find somewhere dry and safe to sleep, away from rapists, drug addicts and murderers, I will be considering who I would vote for if I was allowed to vote, which as a homeless person I won’t be, of course.
If I am not homeless by the time the general election happens, I will be voting UKIP. It won’t help me in my situation, but it might help someone from experiencing what I’m living through, in the future.
Because of STOKEWOOD SURGERY and their incompetence, I will now lose all my benefit, which is my sole income. This means my rent will not be paid. This also means my council tax will not be paid. Not paying rent and council tax means I will lose my home and become homeless.
For those who live in the area, I would advise you NOT becoming a patient at Stokewood Surgery.