Mind comments on Government 'fit note' plan
Posted Thursday 27 November 2008
Today (25 November) the Government announced that it will implement Dame Carol Black's 'Fit for Work' proposals and replace sickness absence 'sick notes' with 'fit notes', designed to describe what an employee can do and help them remain in work (1). Commenting on the plans, Mind's Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
"Many people with mental health problems want to work, but lack of support both in work and during sickness absence present considerable barriers in allowing people to remain in employment. Currently, people can be signed off work and lose contact with their workplace altogether, making it increasingly difficult to return. Mind welcomes the Government's plans to turn 'sick notes' into 'fit notes', which if properly implemented, should allow people to remain in work while managing their recovery and prevent them from becoming alienated from working life.
"However, GPs aren't occupational health experts, and a person who is able to do work-related tasks isn't necessarily able to cope with the working environment. GPs will need to be extremely sensitive to ensure that people's needs are properly assessed. For the system to work, doctors and employers need to cooperate closely so that healthcare and employment support work together to retain a mentally healthy workforce."
(1) Today's government report, 'Improving health and work: changing lives' is a response to the Dame Carol Black's 'Fit for Work' proposals contained in her report 'Working for a healthier tomorrow' (March 2008).
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