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MND Association responds to updated DS1500 guidance

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The Association recently engaged with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to bring about vital changes to their guidance for medical professionals when deciding if their patients should access the Special Rules for Terminal Illness fast-track for welfare benefits.

Importantly, the updated guidance now makes it clear that the benefits fast-track is not only for people living with terminal cancer. It now also recognises that providing a prognosis is not an exact science and needs to be based on the ‘balance of probability.’ In addition, the new guidance makes clear that clinicians can initiate conversations with their patients about accessing financial support for the terminally ill, without waiting to be asked.

However, the Association is clear that although this is an important step forward, there is still more progress to be made. There is still a legal requirement for “a reasonable expectation of death within six months” in order to access the terminal illness fast-track, which is not appropriate for complex and unpredictable terminal conditions such as MND. Consequently, we believe the changes to the existing guidance do not go far enough.

We will therefore continue our Scrap 6 Months campaign, in partnership with Marie Curie and others, to change the law to scrap the six-month time limit in order to create a compassionate and effective benefits system for all people living with a terminal illness.

Chris James, Director of External Affairs said:

“The new guidance contains a number of positive improvements to the previous version. However the underlying legislation has not changed, and still refers to “a reasonable expectation of death within six months” in order to access the terminal illness fast-track.

This outdated requirement is not appropriate for complex and unpredictable terminal conditions such as MND. We will therefore continue our Scrap 6 Months campaign to change the law and create a compassionate and effective benefits system for people living with a terminal illness.”

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