Doctors urged to help get millions into work as it’s revealed GPs are signing off 94% of sick notes

Doctor or physician writing diagnosis and giving a medical prescription to female Patient

DOCTORS are signing off 94 per cent of sick note requests — leaving a hole in workforces.

Welfare Secretary Mel Stride revealed the stat as he appealed to GPs to stop sending people so readily on to benefits.

Welfare Secretary Mel Stride wants to slow down the number of people being signed off long term sick

He vowed to leave “no stone unturned” in driving some of the country’s 5.3 million claimants currently without a job into employment.

Around two million are classed as long-term sick.

Mr Stride said GPs had a “key role” to play in reducing numbers.

He said: “We can help them to do this, by looking again at fit notes so medical experts encourage remaining in the workforce if someone is capable of it.”

The Cabinet Minister even urged Sun readers to encourage unemployed pals to find a job.

He added: “The prize if we get it right – a healthier, wealthier Britain with more money in people’s pockets — is something we can all get behind.”

My plan to fix sick note Britain

By Mel Stride, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

HOAR has argued that getting Britain working again is fundamental to our future, our economic prospects and people’s lives.

They are 100% right. We absolutely need a healthy, thriving workforce to deliver on our priorities to drive down inflation, keep the economy growing and reduce our national debt.

As Work and Pensions Secretary, I want to set out my plan to tackle the reasons why people aren’t working head on.

Mel Stride says Britain needs a healthy, thriving workforce for the good of the economy

Long term sickness is the most common reason for people being out of work.

Today’s Work Capability Assessments stats show that as of March this year, 1.7 million people were on the Universal Credit health journey – meaning they have either been signed off sick by the doctor and are waiting for a benefits assessment, or have been through the assessment and found to have limited capability for work.

Of course, hidden in this number are people who are working while managing a health condition.

And we want to help more of those who are able to work to get into sustainable employment and build a fulfilling career with the right support.

This is at the heart of our future disability policy reforms. It’s motivating to be earning money, to be getting on in life.

There are also physical and mental health benefits to working – the stimulation of learning, the social side of engaging with colleagues, and the satisfaction of a job well done.

It is also the case that the longer someone is out of work, for whatever reason, the harder returning to work becomes.

For those people who are able to work, this is a huge waste of their potential.

So we’re taking action to tackle this, leaving no stone unturned.

Jobcentre support is at the heart of all of this.

Everyone is welcome through our Jobcentre doors to access the support and training to unleash their talent.

For people who have long term health conditions, my plan is for them to be helped to move off benefits and into work wherever that is a viable option.

Key to this is having health treatment and work support delivered together, as a package.

This is based on strong evidence that preparing to move back into work, coupled with the right health treatment, improves outcomes for both health and work.

Of course, there are people who will always have very limited capability to work, and as a compassionate nation our welfare state exists to protect them.

However, I know most disabled people and people with health conditions will welcome the extra support coming down the track to help them manage a job alongside their condition.

This is why the Work Capability Assessment – a complicated health assessment – will eventually be scrapped, as part of our radical plans to overhaul the system to focus more on what people can do rather than what they can’t do.

Our changes will also remove hurdles that discourage people from trying to work.

Employers must play their part, as well as jobseekers. It must be a collective national effort where we look closer to home to recruit the workers our economy needs if we are to succeed.

We are already consulting employers on ways to increase occupational health provision, so more people can access support in the workplace before they fall out of work.

GPs and other healthcare professionals also have a key role to play in reducing the flow of people out of work for health reasons.

Currently, 94 per cent of fit notes have this box ticked but we know that, for many, staying in work with support is better than being stuck at home.

We can help them to do this, by looking again at fit notes so medical experts encourage remaining in the workforce if someone is capable of it, and signpost people to appropriate support and advice.

So, Sun readers, join us in this jobs mission to get Britain working.

If you’ve got a friend or relative who needs help to get back to work, encourage them to seek the free support that’s out there. If you’re on benefits, come to see us at your local jobcentre and tap into this support.

Large numbers of people stuck out of work is not only bad for their own wellbeing, but also impacts on our economy.

The prize if we get it right – a healthier, wealthier Britain with more money in people’s pockets – is something we can all get behind.

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