Employers and GPs are still in the dark about what staff can and cannot do at work under the new “fit note” rules, the CBI has said.
A lack of knowledge about an individual’s work environment is the main hurdle facing doctors when issuing fit notes, which were introduced to tackle Britain’s “sickie” culture, which was costing the economy £100bn a year.
Under the rules, doctors are required to issue fit notes if a person is unwell but still fit for work. They are required to outline what a staff member can and cannot do upon their return to work to employers, rather than simply sign a person off as sick.
However, speaking at a CBI sickness absence conference earlier this month, CBI director of employment Katja Hall said employers were concerned that a lack of understanding about individual work environments was hindering their ability to issue them properly.
Nearly half of companies wanted GPs to be given better training about how to use the notes more effectively, while 63% said GPs should have to take occupational health training in order to be able to give better advice about what activities workers can carry out in particular workplaces, Ms Hall said.
Copyright © Press Association 2010
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“GPs have enough to do how can they possibly know each individual workplace and doing a course in occupational health will not change that. It seems to me many employers do not know what to do with/about fit notes and are trying to pass the buck. They need to grow up and take responsibility for their own workplaces if they are not happy with/do not understand information from GPs they can do a proper request for information. So far the scheme is working if people take a robust approach” – Name and address withheld