A Department for Work and Pensions study suggests that GPs would rather sign on the dotted line than spend twenty minutes arguing over a sick note.
‘Sick notes, or fit notes as they’re now called, are nature’s way of telling you it isn’t worth it,’ said Margaret, a 57-year-old GP from Newmarket. ‘Whenever I’m going to say no to someone’s request for a sick note on the grounds that they’re a lazy bastard as opposed to being properly ill I take time to prepare myself. Usually this involves a spit mask and some pepper spray. Better still, I keep a Taser in my pocket because if one of those little f*ckers gets fruity I can take him down with a well-aimed head shot.’
Margaret admitted: ‘When a patient asks for an 11-year backdated note, I’d like to punch him really, really hard in the face. But something inside reins me back, it might be my upbringing or my ingrained sense of moral duty or it might be something to do with not wanting to go to prison.’
Dave, who hasn’t worked for 20 years because of back pain (yeah right!), said: ‘I can’t possibly work. Just look at my arms, they’re like spaghetti. Besides, doing anything useful makes me feel queasy and I don’t like being told what to do. I might be fit for amended duties, if those duties include watching Miss Marple reruns, playing Call of Duty on my mate’s X-box and smoking weed.’
The situation has gotten so bad that a Department for Work and Pensions adviser, only identifiable by his bulletproof vest, spent the day cruising the streets to find out the truth.
Here’s what he had to say: ‘I’m deeply concerned by what I’ve seen. The people of Britain love drinking cider during the day and watch enough telly to give themselves radiation burns. There’s no way the Government is going to get this lot to work. I suggest GPs do it.’
On his tour he controversially suggested that Kerri, an 18-month-old from Dagenham, might like to find some kind of work.
‘I was just making a point! She had acceptable social skills and she could walk… Kind of. OK, she got a bit emotional now and then and had the habit of shitting herself, but there are plenty of people like that who manage to hold down jobs at the supermarket down the road.’
A minister who wears a permanent expression of incredulity said: ‘A GP’s job isn’t just to keep people fit and well. It’s to police the benefits system! One option up our sleeve is to build an army of super-duper robots who can work in factories and build cars and stuff… Oh hang on, we’ve already done that.’
Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen