Jeremy Hunt Must End The Injustice Of Making People Pay For Their Mental Health Problem

Today I joined Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert to deliver a letter signed by 2,000 people to the Department of Health. The letter demands that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ends the unfair system of charging some people with mental illnesses for the medical documents they need to prove they are ill to their creditors. The #stopthecharge campaign wants to highlight the damage this charge does, and to stop the GPs who put a price on these necessary documents.

Many people with a mental health condition struggle with their finances. For some, it means sliding into debt. People with mental illness are three times more likely to be in debt. This may add to the pressures and anxieties which are triggers for the mental illness. It can become a vicious spiral of money worries, illness and growing debt.

If someone needs help to manage their debts because of a mental health condition, they will usually be asked for medical proof by their creditors. Without it, companies owed money will press ahead with debt recovery, seizure of assets, and sometimes even eviction. With proof of illness, creditors will often offer manageable repayment terms.

Thanks to campaigning by Citizens’ Advice and mental health charities, a single, simple form is available which is filled in by a GP or mental health professional to provide medical proof. Yet new research highlights that in a third of cases, people are being charged to receive this doctor’s note.

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