Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Getting welfare to work

Health professionals’ advice: the ethics

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 22 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1155
  1. Edward S Cooper, part-time tribunal member1
  1. 1Tribunals Service, Ministry of Justice, London, UK
  1. edcooper{at}

When the speakers at the Atos recruitment evening told McCartney that they describe the assessment for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as being of claimants, not patients, they were not talking about nuance of language or “sending a message.”1 The claimants are not the medical assessor’s patients. Therefore the over-riding ethical principle of the General Medical Council, “make the care of the patient your first concern” does not apply here. Medical ethics requires general probity on the …

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