Sicknote requests give GPs a headache

The Government is urging employers to stop the drain on NHS resources caused
by the high demand for doctors’ sick notes.

The call comes after research shows that more than a third of employers
expect staff to provide a doctor’s certificate if they are off work for more
than seven days.

The Doctor Patient Partnership says companies which demand sicknotes place
an unnecessary drain on GP services as research shows that 80 per cent of all
absence is due to minor sickness, which is self-treatable or cured by a trip to
the pharmacy.

In response, the Minister for Health John Hutton has launched an initiative
to reduce the number of GP appointments used for managing short-term sickness.

The campaign is backed by ACAS, CBI, BCC and the TUC and aims to encourage
companies to review absence management policies.

Dr Simon Fradd, chairman of the DPP, said employers need more information
and advice about how to manage sickness.

He said: "Using GP services to manage short-term sickness is wasteful
of scarce NHS resources. GPs want to provide their patients with a good service
but it is frustrating for them when employees are expected to get sick notes
for minor ailments."

The campaign is also promoting a new website which offers comprehensive
advice on best practice and benchmarking.

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