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Thursday 27th October 2016

GPs ignore sick note advice

7th December 2009

Researchers have suggested that many GPs are ignoring national guidance about how long patients should be signed off from their jobs.


In a study of 113 doctors at an English health trust, the reseachers found considerable variation in the amount of time patients were given off work after hysterectomies, heart attacks and hernia repair operations.

The University of Manchester's team said only one in 20 GPs stuck to government advice about sick leave and nearly two-thirds had not been given any training in how to issue it.

The study found differences in how long GPs thought their patients should be signed off work. Some doctors said their patients should be off work for six weeks after a hernia operation, compared to the recommended time of one to two weeks.

25% of GPs said that hysterectomy patients should be given the advised leave of seven weeks off work. Some doctors said they would give as little as two weeks off after the operation.

Only one third of GPs knew that government guidance was available on sick leave.

The study's head Dr Richard Roope said the variations shown by the research were not a surprise because of the problems with training.

"There is good evidence to show that work is generally good for health," he explained.

"We need to get across to GPs and patients alike that 'being signed off' may actually be bad for the health of the patient, their employer and the country as a whole."


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