GP sicknote handover will take time

The government-backed pilot scheme into alternatives to the Med 3 GP sicknote will not lead to responsibility for sick leave certification suddenly being handed over to OH nurses, according to a doctor leading the pilots.

“I don’t think there will be a sudden change over night,” said Dr Barbara Kneale, group OHS manager at car firm Peugeot-Citroen.

She told delegates the pilots were ‘designed to find areas for further research’, and had a range of objectives apart from monitoring the impact on GP workload of a range of OH nurse-led alternatives.

Kneale said the function of Med 3 sicknotes was misunderstood by employers as legitimising absence, when in fact employers are not obliged to rely on them. Their purpose is to provide evidence that employers should pay statutory sick pay, but managers are entitled to look for evidence from alternative health professionals, including OH nurses.

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