Doctor’s Sick Note System in Urgent Need of Reform

A new government proposal to reform the current system of doctors handing out sick notes for long and short-term illness is on the cards, and it’s well overdue. For decades people have been able to go to their local GP and obtain the necessary piece of paper that allows them to take time off work and still get paid, either by their employer or the government.

There is Evidence Enough

While many sick notes are legitimate, there are millions that are nothing more than an excuse for the work-shy to lounge around and live off benefits. This has to stop, and the government is looking at ways to curb this criminality. For it is criminal when a person lives off the back of the tax payer when capable of doing a job of work and paying taxes. But such is the decline in moral standards these days, that many people are always looking for something for nothing, while fully capable of going out and earning it for themselves.

Doctors’ Dilemma

Many family doctors find it hard to keep up with the ever-increasing flow of patients in their surgeries, and most I’m sure just sign a sick note without a proper examination these days. It is therefore difficult to lay the blame at their door.

It is a medical fact that many incapacitating illnesses are difficult to diagnose, or in fact disprove, like certain back-pain for example. Wily work dodgers know this and are adept at working the system.

Dept. For Works and Pensions

According to information released by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), around 140 million work days a year are lost to sickness, which is costing a massive £15 billion in lost economic output in the UK annually. The bill for short term illness has to be paid by the employer, but those with long-term sickness must be supported by the state. The DWP figures indicate that the cost to employers comes out at around £9 billion, while the state pays out a massive £130 billion annually in sickness benefits.

Now, as I have previously said, many claims are legitimate, for we cannot all be healthy all the time, but the government hopes to employ a method that will hopefully cut back on those who ‘milk’ the system.

The proposal is that a local GP will only be allowed to issue sick notes for a period not exceeding four weeks, after that the claimant can be made to attend an independent panel of doctors by his/her employer to certify their illness. If you are genuinely sick you should have nothing to fear, but those ‘trying it on’ will hopefully have a tougher time. To me, this seems an excellent idea, considering some 300,000 people a year drop out of work to live on benefits long-term.

Many people may require some months ‘on the sick’ after perhaps a car or work-related accident, and the honest ones will be back at work as soon as they are fit enough. They deserve applause, but for the scroungers it is nothing more than an excuse to get out of working for a living. With luck the new system will ‘winkle out’ these parasites and get them back to being productive members of society once again.

Disability Need Not Stop You Working

Some people are getting benefits because they are permanently incapacitated in one way or another, but that does not preclude them from doing some form of work that suits their affliction. Just because a person is in a wheelchair does not stop them from working. There are many jobs suited to such people, and they should be integrated back into society and given the opportunity to contribute.

I am glad to see an administration with the balls to tackle this problem that has festered unchecked under the previous Labour government. It is way past time!

Roy.

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