Jobcentre advisers will be placed in doctors’ surgeries, under new government proposals designed to push people on long-term sick leave back to work.
Officials at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have been given approval to place the advisers in GPs’ surgeries in up to seven pilot schemes around the UK.
The move followed the publication of research which showed that a person receiving incapacity benefit for 12 months takes, on average, eight years to find another job.
If patients receive incapacity benefit for two years they are more likely to die or retire than get a job.
In some parts of the country 20% of the working population is claiming incapacity benefit and the government is determined to get more of them into full or part-time work.
The Department of Health and the DWP accept that the scheme raises questions of patient confidentiality.
A spokesman told the Sunday Times: “GPs don’t have the time, training or inclination to advise people what options they have for work. We’re proposing a surgery within a surgery.”