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GPs 'failing to help mentally ill back to work'

GPs are failing to help people with mental health problems successfully return to work, according to a new survey of employers.

In a study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), almost 40% of employers rated GP support in this area as either ‘very poor' or ‘fairly poor', with just 20% rating support as ‘good' or ‘very good'.

The study of 625 employers, published in the latest CIPD / KPMG quarterly Labour Market Outlook report, said employers currently received medical reports from GPs on 50% of employees who were off work with long term mental health problems, despite seven in ten claiming they contacted GPs to ask them to provide such a report.

The most popular proposals for improving how GP services are delivered were a revamped Med 3 Sicknote including more information on phased return to work, improved training for GPs on fitness for work issues, and changes to GPs contracts to incentivise closer working with patients' employers and provision of advice on phased return to work.

Ben Willmott, CIPD Employee Relations Adviser, said:‘GPs are letting down patients signed off work with mental health problems by not communicating effectively with employers'.

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