We'd like chance to work with GPs on occupational health
I'm not surprised 'Proposals for ending GPs' sicknote burden are in doubt' (News, March 8). This is a complex issue with professional, legal and ethical influences.
There are a number of pilots planned to look at feasibility and tease out what these issues may be. Occupational health may be part of the solution but resources mean it would never be the whole solution.
Gareth Williams is correct to link return to work with clinical management – this is not as simple as issuing a note, rather getting a patient back to work is an integral part of their recovery. Not to do so has massive implications for their health and their families' standing in society.
GPs and occupational physicians do not work well together on this. Why not? Well for a start there are no clear lines of referral. But that's like a situation where there are patients with heart problems but no clear routes of referral to cardiologists.
Occupational physicians are specialists in fitness for work and rehabilitation, particularly to unravel the complex non-medical barriers to return to work. We would welcome the opportunity to work with GPs to tackle this lack of cohesion.
We would happily take calls on individual problem cases, or employers can be encouraged to seek an occupational health opinion.
Not to work together on this is to patient disadvantage.
Dr David Beaumont
and former GP