Written Answers. - General Practitioners' Certificates.

17.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he has given any revised instructions to general practitioners regarding certification for weekly or monthly certificates; the content of any such instructions and when these instructions were given; if these instrucwere given to general practitioners in the Drogheda and Dundalk area or if they were issued in all areas; and the number of people male and female who have been withdrawn from disability benefit resulting from these instructions.

When a doctor is approved as a medical certifier of insured persons under the Social Welfare Acts, he is issued with a booklet containing guidelines and instructions regarding medical certification.

There has been no revision of the guidelines and instructions since 1983 when the present version was brought into operation and was then circulated to all the certifiers who were approved at the time.

A summary of instructions regarding the issuing of certificates is also contained in each book of certificates issued to certifiers.

The Deputy's question may arise from the fact that new arrangements were introduced recently for the issue, by means of the computerised system, of books of certificates to certifiers and in this connection certifiers were allocated identification panel numbers. All certifiers were notified of the new arrangements, including those in the areas referred to in the question. No changes were made affecting medical examination of claimants. The new arrangements did not affect claimants' entitlements and no claimants lost benefit as a result of the changes made.