The RCGP's fears relate to a letter telling GPs they are no longer required to issue "fit notes
" for patients whose claim for a sickness and disability benefit has been rejected.
NHS figures show a total of 7,563 "fit notes
" were written by doctors in the Huddersfield area between January and September last year, for people who were unfit for work for more than seven days.
While Wakefield in Yorkshire has the second-worst record - with one "fit note
" for every 30.1 adults - Knowsley (one for every 30.6) is third and South Sefton (one for every 32.4) is fourth.
Finally, doctors at their sole discretion can issue prescriptions, where appropriate, in addition to referral letters and fit notes
Theresa May has pledged to get one million disabled people back into work with measures including the widening of 'fit note
Dr Chisholm acknowledges it can be tricky when a doctor disagrees with a patient's request for a fit note
, and says there's support available for GPs so they can increase their skills in dealing with such issues.
Whilst improving economic and employment prospects will help in the short term, in the longer term we need to step up our efforts to make the 'fit note
' system work.
The EEF is urging the government to implement the recommendations of the Frost/Black review of work and well-being, including an electronic fit note
to help embed it as part of the back-to-work culture.
Considerable efforts to tackle this issue have led to the training of some GPs in occupational health together with the introduction of the 'fit note
' two years ago which shows what people are able to do, rather than what they can't do.
Other topics to be discussed at the conference will include: functional capacity assessment -- new interventions and challenges; workplace health promotion programmes; aging offshore workers and impact on health and safety; cardiovascular disease burden in the workforce, focused case management and early return to work; role of fit note
on sickness absence management; work-related stress in oil and gas companies; industrial hygiene challenges in oil and gas; and industrial hygiene regulatory framework and companies.
Early results on the introduction of a "fit note
" were mixed, with one in five firms saying it had helped them reduce sickness absence, but others complaining that workers were being signed off unnecessarily.
But the committee urged the DWP to keep paying claimants while they wait - if they can produce a GP's fit note