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GPs are more likely to offer patients with psychological problems a sicknote than patients with physical problems, research has found.

The research, which involved a questionnaire answered by 489 GPs, found doctors rated patients with psychological problems as 'more ill, less work-shy and more unfit for work'.

Doctors also felt more sympathy for patients with mental health problems and treated people with 'adverse family circumstances' with more sympathy and considered them less work-shy.

Co-author Professor Jane Ogden, professor of psychology at the University of Surrey, said GPs preferred people to be honest and just say they were suffering stress at work rather than falsely saying they had physical problems such as back pain.

She added: 'GPs get fed up with people who have hidden agendas.'

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