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GPs to have major role in drawing up lifestyle plans

The Government has ordered GPs to put greater emphasis on getting patients back to work as part of a crackdown on the 'sick note culture'.

The Choosing Health White Paper criticised GPs for 'inadvertently' reinforcing a view that patients who are signed off work should not go back until they are fully recovered.

Health professionals needed to 'start from the point of view that getting people back to work is likely to benefit their long term health. Return to work must be seen as the norm,' the paper stated.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said it was wrong to suggest GPs were 'signing people off sick willy-nilly'.

He said: 'GPs in the main are working to encourage patients back to work and I take exception to some of the reporting. GPs have other concerns that proper occupational health services are in place.'

What the paper says on...

sick notes

·Wrong for patients to assume they should stay away from work until fully recovered

·Returning to work to be seen as the norm and included in treatment plans from the outset

·Three-way partnership between health professionals, individuals and employers needed

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