Access to therapy to cut sick notes

GPs will get better access to services such as physiotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to help more patients get back into work.

Dame Carol Black, national director for health and work, made the pledge as part of her overhaul of the current sickness scheme in England.

Instead of having to write multiple sick notes as patients move towards incapacity benefit, the new model will allow GPs to refer patients through an electronic 'fit note' system to the new multidisciplinary Fit for Work service.

Under the scheme, GPs could offer patients a range of treatments, including CBT to help them get back into work.

Over the coming months, pilots of the initiative will run across England to test their effectiveness in reducing the length of sickness absence.

Scotland and Wales are also exploring the Fit for Work service with a pilot scheme being launched in Dundee.

Working for a healthier tomorrow report 2008

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