Doctors fear plans to place Job Centre staff in GP surgeries

Doctors have expressed concern over proposals to introduce Job Centre staff into GP surgeries as part of the Government’s effort to combat the UK’s “sicknote culture”.

The chancellor’s pre-Budget report said advisers will be installed in surgeries as part of a focus on “fitness for work advice” for patients with health conditions they think might impact their ability to work.

Government advice on combating the “sicknote culture” will also be extended to doctors themselves, who are to have their “awareness of the implications of sickness absence improved”.

Employment advisers are to be “part of the surgery team”. The proposed pilot scheme will be introduced next year. It has not been decided which areas will be first to receive the advisers.

A spokesman for the British Medical Association told the Guardian: “Doctors are not there to help police the social security system … We would have concerns if patients were put under stress by the presence of an employment adviser at their surgery. The focus should be on getting fit people back to work.”

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