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UK Will Change Sick-Note Culture

Armen Hareyan's picture

England GPs (General Practitioners) are called to change the 'sick-note culture' by estimating what kind of work can be done by ill patients instead of signing them completely off.

Health secretary Alan Johnson plans to announce the report later this year. He will say: "The evidence shows that far from being bad for health, work is generally good for people's health. We want to explore what else GPs can do to change our sick-note culture into a well-note culture."

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These measures are to change GPs' approach to those who are temporarily sick and those who have long-term conditions. They should concentrate on what a patient can do, rather than what a patient can't do.

In England there are 2.64 million people living on incapacity benefit. Six out of ten of them 'have been living on for five years', according to Public Accounts Committee report, meanwhile these people were expected either to die or retire within two years. Nine out of ten of them are willing and are able to work. The plan will cut the number of people living on incapacity benefit.

Mr. Johnson will say: "Incapacity benefit should not be a one-way street that starts in the GP's surgery and stops at the dead end of a lifetime on benefits."

However, doctors may criticize this decision, because UK GPs are to diagnose people, rather than decide if the patient can work or no. It depends upon environmental factors of a workplace and how much physical activity is needed to handle the work.