More than two-thirds of GPs are unaware that work can be beneficial for physical and mental health, a new study has found.
But nearly 90% said that if they did know, it would affect the advice they give to patients.
The survey of 1,500 GPs for the Department of Work and Pensions was revealed by Lord McKenzie at a British Medical Association (BMA) conference.
A study published last year found that being in work can help people with a health condition get better.
Lord McKenzie has now launched a new leaflet for GPs which highlights the findings to help doctors and other healthcare professionals dispel myths and offer practical support in their day-to-day dealings with patients.
Other initiatives include an online training tool for GPs to assist in difficult consultations with patients on remaining in, or returning to, work.
Health and safety minister Lord McKenzie said: “Obstacles often arise from myths and misunderstandings. Doctors’ advice can have a powerful impact – for good or harm.
“Challenging patients’ misconceptions and providing evidence-based advice is an effective way of overcoming these barriers.
“But all of us – whether Government, employers, the medical profession or even individuals themselves – must consider how we can go further in responding to the evidence of the links between health and work if we are to meet the challenges of tackling ill-health in the working age population.”
Copyright © PA Business 2007