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Sicknotes need honesty all round

The question of providing sicknotes to patients is certainly a contentious issue (News, December 1) and the vast majority of doctors would rather be absolved of this particular responsibility.

With an extremely busy clinical workload and, on average, only five to eight minutes to spend with each patient, it can be very difficult to accurately assess a patient's fitness to work. This is particularly true on conditions such as stress and anxiety where there are no objective markers for an illness.

Faced with a patient trying to persuade a sympathetic doctor of their plight, most in my profession would accept the patient's words in good faith.

Of course doctors must be honest and trustworthy but, for the current sicknote system to work, so too must patients.

Dr SS Sodhi

Ebbw Vale, Blaenau, Gwent

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