In March 2008, Dame Carol Black’s review of the health of Britain’s working age population was published and the fit note was implemented in April 2010.
Then, in the autumn of 2010, research was carried out with 4,185 GPs in England, Scotland and Wales to find out data on GPs’ attitudes towards health and work issues amongst their patients and their views on whether the fit note has changed their clinical practice in the six months since its implementation.
The findings show that the majority of GPs perceive the fit note to have had a positive impact on the quality of consultations, the advice they give on fitness for work and, importantly, outcomes for patients.
Some key findings:
- Almost universal agreement amongst GPs that work is beneficial for people’s health.
- 96% of GPs agreed that worklessness is generally detrimental to people’s health.
- 77% agreed that staying in or returning to work is an important indicator of success in the clinical management of people of working age.
- 81% completely or somewhat disagreed that patients had to be fully recovered before returning to work.
- 48% agreed that the fit note had increased the frequency with which they recommend a return to work as an aid to patient recovery.
- 70% of GPs agreed that the fit note had helped their patients make a phased return to work.
A longer report will be published in summer 2011 outlining more detailed findings from the research.
If you want to discuss occupational health issues with a healthcare professional, call the Health for Work Adviceline on 0800 0 77 88 44 for free, confidential advice.