Why do I need a medical


Just wanted to know if anyone has been called for a medical whilst claiming ESA, if so what happens at the medical. I feel so angry that I have been called to attend the medical as I feel after what I have been through I dont want to have to sit there and justify why I am claiming. I fully intend to return to work in September which I have explained but this seems to make no difference. Has anybody else felt frustrated/angry at having to go through this process or am I overreacting?
Many thanks
Karen xx

Hi there
I am also claiming some ESA, but have not yet been asked to attend a medical.
However, my treatment ended in April, so i am not sure whether i will be called in the near future.

I was about to go back into work after being at home with my small children before i was diagnosed last year, so want to get job asap before they tell me i fit for work (which i am now, i think).

I would be really angry at being asked to attend a medical, and if they know you are returning to work in Spetember, it seems pointless to me!


Hi Naz

My treatment also ended in April and I am now on Herceptin for a year. My statutory sick pay ended so I applied for ESA which I have been receiving for about 10 weeks. I had a phone call last night from a very snotty woman who wanted me to make an appointment for the medical. I explained that I was unable to attend an appointment within the next fortnight and that I was appalled that I had to attend a medical in the first place. She was so rude to me that I was shaking when I put the phone down. Could really do without this at the moment.
Hope you are recovering from your treatment.
Karen xx

Hi - a few of my friends on here had to go for similar medicals last year (we are a year or so further on from you in diagnosis…) From what they said it seemed to be that the person typed the answers into a computer from a preset script… Obviously it varies abit from place to place but the general consensus did unfortunatly seem it was all a very unsympathetic process…:frowning:

Theresa x

Hi Karen
Gosh, how awful of that woman for being so rude…i would have told her where to go!
I am expecting to be called for a medical at any time, but i really want to have a job before that.
Saying that, running around after two small children tires me out without a job, so goodness knows how i will be if i did get a job!

Hope you are also recovering from your chemo and the herceptin is okay for you.



I had to go for a medical a few months ago, and it was as Theresa says.

I wasn’t ready for the medical as it had only been a few weeks after my Mastectomy and Tram Flap recon so I found it very emotional. It was a nurse who did the medical and basically she was more interested in making sure she asked all the questions her computer threw at her than how I was feeling.

Some of the questions were to do with how I was coping emotionally - she could see I wasn’t coping but there you go.

I found it to be a very cold experience. I have since had an interview with Pathways and found them to be more understanding. In fact I cancelled my first appointment as I wasn’t well enough, the person I spoke to didn’t have a problem with that and was very understanding to the point of being apologetic when I told her I’d had a MX/Recon - which took me by surprise after the first experience.


I was called to a ‘medical’ whilst receiving Employment Support. It was just a doctor asking me preset questions such as ‘did you drive yourself here today’, ‘can you cook dinner’, ‘do the washing’ etc… she did ask about emotional issues as well and just entered all my answers into the computer - no physical exam was done. They withdrew my benefit after that!

Good luck x

Hi ladies,

Just wanted to say, you can appeal, you need to call them on the number at the top of the letter that says your benefit wont be paid anymore. Ask for an appeal form. As long as you do this within a month they should look at it. I’d start by stating the obvious “…I am appealing…” and give your reasons, such as “I don’t feel … was taken into account during the medical.”

I hope this helps. It saddens me that this is now the new system and it doesn’t seem to account for pain, fatigue and emotional recovery.

Take Care

Yessie X

Thanks Yessie - good advice. Unfortunately it was a while ago so too late me thinks!!! Best wishes to you xx

Hi - I had a medical 10 days ago. had a Pathways to Work interview first despite having a job to go back to in Sept. and chap who did it said to expect the medical questionaire but that he thought it unlikely that I would be called for medical due to nature of incapacity. Sure enough the forms were on the mat when I got home. Filled them in and explained all about my treatment and explained that I hoped to return to work at the beginning of the new term in Sept. BUT still called for interview/medical. I felt that the questions were quite patronising in the circumstances eg “Do you use the telephone? How long can you talk?”
“Walking - how long can you walk?” Me - Well I have great difficulty getting up the hill “Forget the hill, how far can you walk on the flat?” Me - Probably about 20 mins if I walk slowly, but as I live at the bottom of a hill I need to walk up it to get to the flat!

They even gave me expenses for travelling there even though I said I was not bothered. What a waste of our money.
Understand that they do have to weed out those people who get the benefit with no intention of working but surely there should be some sort of arrangements for people like us?
Agree with Wills - we do not need this at this stressful time.
Rant over - thank you! Await letter as to whether benfit will be withdrawn and am then writing to my MP etc to complain about being treat like this. Marli

I also was sent to a ‘medical’ and received a letter telling me my benefits were being stopped and that I should contact my employer and return to work. Although my radiotherapy finished in Jan I was struck down with depression, have quite bad lymphodema and asthma. I am taking Arimidex as well as heaps of other medication. I sent them a letter straight back appealing against the decision and asking them to check wether they had the right person! I would love to be able to go back to work but feel like I am being treated like a benefit cheat - and that’s really not helping with the depression. The letter was sent a month ago and I have not heard anything. I feel as if we need to make people aware of how it feels to be treated like this after everything else.

Sorry about the rather serious rant but it feels better to get it off my chest.

Hi estelle,

Have you phoned the helpline here? If not, give them a ring and have a chat about your problems. Calls are free, 0808 800 6000.

Take care,
Jo, Facilitator

This whole system is dreadful and not geared at all to people diagnosed with cancer. I really hope that some of the cancer organisations take this up.

I claimed ESA as I was self employed prior to my diagnosis. 6 weeks after my treatment finished - 8 chemo, double mx, rads (with complications, blood clot in arm, seromas, had to have portacatch, neutropenic sepsis etc) I was told that I had to have a medical for ESA. Apart from anything else my fatigue was terrible.

My GP and breast care nurse both said it was too soon for me to return to work. But, in the end after looking at the forms I withdrew my claim. None of the questions really applied and I couldn’t bear the humiliation. I’ve been a workaholic most of my adult life and to be treated like a benefit cheat is unbearable. Even then I was told I couldn’t just withdraw my claim as I might not have been eligible for the previous couple of months!!! Luckily someone really nice helped me at the organisation running the medicals and said it was lucky that their conversations weren’t recorded.

For some excellent advice do ring Macmillan. They will help you fill out the forms or advise you over the phone.



Since my post I have seen my lovely GP who has given me a fitness to work statement saying I am not fit for work and told me they cannot over ride it. Hoping he’s right! He also said he get’s a lot of problem with this and they are just ‘trying it on’. Which I think personally is disgusting, plus all the extra work and money that is being used to chase people back into work before they are ready.

I am certainly going to keep fighting - but that’s the trouble I shouldn’t have to!

regards, Estelle xx

I have just been called for a medical aswell, phoned for appointment and they have already sent one out to me on a day I can’t attend, next avaailable date the day I go into hosp for reconstruction. I have already told them I’ll be returning to work in Jan and had told them when I was going in. They have deferred medical for 8 weeks, but I’ll still have to go for one even though I should have a date to return to work. I’ll probably end up having time off work to attend the medical to tell me I’m fit to work… What a waste of government money!!!

Hello everyone - I posted on the 14th August to say that I had been called for a medical and was awaiting the outcome. Well on the 2nd September just as I was leaving for a short holiday I received 2 identical letters telling me that as I had been informed my application for benefit had been turned down and that if I so wished I could appeal. As I hadn’t received any such communication telling me this I just had to wait until my return. Sure enough the letter was there telling me that as I had score 0/15 on their medical my benefit had been withdrwn from 13th August!! Luckily I was not dependent on that money as that had been done two weeks previously. I have returned to work this week as I told them all along the way so there is no real problem. EXCEPT … like Estelle I do not like been labeled a benefit cheat. Am 56 and have never claimed any sickness benefit before . We can all prove our reason for incapacity (Breast Cancer) unlike those who have bad backs etc and I know a few. Surely there should be some better way than putting us through this fiasco.
Am not going to appeal as this will only cost the country more money (they again offer expenses!) but will write to my MP and the minister concerned.
Good luck to everyone caught up in this.

Ive appealed as i scored 0/15 as i was asked can i talk/hear/walk/eat/drink/get dressed/wash/use toilet/drive/lol not once asked have you cancer can you cope with the odds given to you being here in 5 years. how treatment made you feel sick weak tired are you coping with no hair no breast hows medication effect your moods etc etc ahhh something got to change and we need get together and fight this so its to all with cancer.and just found out with esa you get free dental noone tells you ahhh Jane x

Hi Update My appeal was heard with out me why i dont no.But i won and now get full benfits and back dated 1 year. But still feel should not have to go for medical or appeal. cancer and gp sick note should cover things i hope sytem changes soon and good luck to you all xx and on xfactor It’s been revealed today that Wagner Carrilho receives incapacity benefit which was awarded to him when he injured his shoulder. my shoulder my main pain and lose of lot of movment how he do it get full claim so unfair x

Hi Jane - well done and congratulations. At least now you can recover in your own time. Agree - how does he get it? he seems remarkably mobile to me, bet he doesn’t have to have a lie down after his act.

Here I go again been sent long form fill out and will be called for another medical this is a joke jane x