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Getting patients to return to work

I am currently on a flexible GP careers scheme in order to pursue a higher qualification in occupational medicine. I have 15 years' experience and fully appreciate the time pressures GPs work under and patient expectations.

In my occupational physician role, I fully understand GPs' situation with the Med 3, but please seek advice from your occupational health adviser/ department as regards the facilitation of a return to work (RTW).

We know the workplace and work process and can see and examine the patient and formulate a decision as regards a suitable RTW, for example a phased RTW, rehabilitation process, modifications to work process ­ adjustments/restrictions and so on.

For smaller firms without the facility of occupational health advice,I would suggest inquiring (on the Med 3) if management/personnel departments have the provision to offer modified duties to enable an earlier RTW.

Dr Richard Southam

GP and Occupational Health Physician

Halesowen

West Midlands

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