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Tackling Britain’s “sick note culture”

16 May 2008

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GPs should lend a hand to beat the “sick note culture” that sees millions of working days lost every year, according to a survey of smaller business owners.

The UK Business Barometer, an internet survey run by The University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI), found there was strong support for a change to the way employees are signed off sick by doctors.

Almost two-thirds of respondents to the latest UK Business Barometer (UKBB) felt it would be better if GPs issued “fit notes”, spelling out what a person can do, rather than sick notes signing them off work completely. “Fit notes” would give details of the type of tasks that a person was still capable of, despite their illness.

The latest UKBB survey follows the publication of “Working for a Healthier Tomorrow” — the first government review into the health of the working age population — published by Professor Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work. The report put the total cost of ill health to the British economy at £103bn, a figure greater than the annual budget of the NHS.

The University of Nottingham