Employees still want GPs to be solely responsible for issuing sicknotes

Two-thirds of employees still think that GPs should be solely responsible for signing people off work as opposed to occupational health (OH) services or self-certification.

The government has been exploring options looking at relieving doctors of the issuing of sicknotes, but a study of 2,020 people by health education charity DPP found most still want GPs to be responsible.

However, the study does show that the public are keen to take responsibility for their health at work, with the support of employers.

Most people surveyed (81%) feel it is their responsibility to ensure they are healthy enough to stay in work, and 79% would welcome health consultations at work by a healthcare professional.

The survey results comes as MPs, industry leaders and health professionals gather today (Tuesday) to debate the benefits of health education at work and the impact this can have on absence management.

Dr Barbara Kneale, DPP’s OH consultant, said: “While the debate among the profession on certification still struggles on, and despite the entrenched value that the public place on GPs issuing sicknotes, employers would do well to recognise the potential gains for themselves and their employees from taking control of absence and supporting their employees’ health at work.”

Dame Carol Black, national director for health and work, said: “It is encouraging that employees see their health and wellbeing as their own responsibility, especially given that work is good for health.”

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