Rachel Woods MLA has welcomed the announcement from the Minister for Communities today that she will bring forward legislation within this current Assembly mandate to extend the Special Rules on Terminal Illness.
The North Down Green Party MLA said "Since 2016, PIP has been subject to much debate, controversy and judicial challenge - for good reason. There are well known issues with the assessment process and I have helped countless constituents through this. One of the most harrowing aspects of PIP is the so called '6 month rule' for people who have a terminal illness.
There are many people who suffer from health conditions linked to a terminal diagnosis but without specific timeframes. This effectively excludes them from PIP’s fast track process.
In April 2018, the Scottish government announced that it would be looking to remove the 6 month timescale - with no limit set on how long a patient has left to live before their condition was considered to be ‘terminal’. It would be up to medical practitioners to deem a condition suitable for fast tracking, rather than relying arbitrary timeline.
This was a recommendation in the first review of PIP published in 2018 by Waltar Radar, as well as the most recent review published in 2020 by Marie Cavanagh. I am glad that the Minister has finally made the decision to legislate for this and I look forward to engaging with the process in the Assembly."