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Thursday 27th October 2016

GPs to help tackle benefit dependency

18th August 2010

Researchers at Glasgow University have said GPs could help to identify patients at risk of leaving work to become dependent on mental health incapacity benefits.


The study revealed that the number of visits to GPs by patients increased substantially before the benefit claims were made.

The researchers, whose study was published in the British Medical Journal, said that the information could help to recognise which patients might experience problems and help to treat them earlier, so they did not have to leave their jobs.

In the past 30 years, the amount of people making claims for incapacity benefit has increased by 300% and costs the economy an estimated £100 billion.

The researchers examined information from the 1995, 1998 and 2003 Scottish Health Surveys and from the 1991-2007 British Household Panel Survey, in order to identify variations around the country.

They found that the number of GP visits for patients in "emotional distress" increased substantially three years before the first benefit claim was made.

Professor Jill Morrison, who headed the research team, said: "Further work should concentrate on determining what outcomes are achieved by general practitioners who provide additional emotional or occupational support for patients identified as at risk of becoming dependent on long term benefits."

Professor Mark Gabbay from the University of Liverpool said: "Being out of work is bad for health and increasing evidence shows that good work (which reflects elements of fair pay and conditions, job control, and satisfaction) is good for health."


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