ALLIANCE welcomes proposed terminal illness social security changes

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 14th May 2020

New rules allow nurses, as well as Doctors, to sign off terminal illness diagnoses for the purposes of disability entitlement in Scotland.

The ALLIANCE has responded to a call for evidence from the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee into a new Bill which would allow for Nurses to sign off terminal illness diagnoses in order to enable someone to get quicker access to disability assistance.

During the Parliamentary progress of the 2018 Social Security (Scotland) Act, the ALLIANCE supported a campaign led by Marie Curie Scotland and MND Scotland to ensure that the definition of terminal illness was extended – but the Stage 3 amendment proposed by the Scottish Government only made provision for Doctors to sign off the required forms.

The new Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill (this link will take you away from our website) will amend the Scottish Government’s social security legislation, which passed in 2018, to ensure that both doctors and certain trained nurses can enable fast-tracking of a disability benefit claim.

In our response to the Committee, the ALLIANCE notes that:

  • The spirit with which the amendment was brought forward aimed to ensure everyone with terminal illness was enabled to receive quick, timely access to social security entitlements.
  • Registered Nurses can act as a link between different types of health and care support and services and are often the closest professional to the individual receiving palliative care support and/or their unpaid carers, families, and friends.
  • We believe that this professional experience indicates their ability to diagnose terminal illness as defined in the 2018 Act for the purpose of establishing eligibility for disability assistance.
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