NHS Employers has advised all trusts to require staff off sick on the day of the pension strike to obtain a note from their GP, to certify they are ill and not taking industrial action.
It could mean GPs are inundated on 30 November with health service colleagues requesting sick notes to avoid having their pay docked, with an estimated 45,000 NHS employees off ill every day.
GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘This is totally inappropriate and will inevitably reduce access to patients. The point of self-certification was to avoid this kind of use of GP time. This is setting the clock back.
‘It will be on a day when we have real constraints with staff off on strike. The DH should look at the consequences of this advice.’
Trusts approached by Pulse said they intended to follow the advice. A spokesperson for the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals said: ‘We do not normally require a medical note on day one of sickness absence. However, we need to ensure are paid appropriately.
‘We have taken legal advice and have spoken to other local trusts and understand this position is likely to be adopted throughout England.’
Dr Andrew Mimnagh, a GP in Waterloo, Merseyside, and chair of Sefton LMC, said the policy was ‘totally inappropriate’: ‘I will be reminding practices unless a treatment need exists there is no contractual obligation to see the patient that day.’
NHS Employers said it had issued the advice but it was for trusts to decide on a ‘a case by case basis’.