GPs to give 'well notes' to patients

GPs will be asked to start issuing 'well notes' to tell employers of sick patients what tasks they can perform, in a move that is designed to cut the number of people on incapacity benefit.

Health secretary Alan Johnson planned to announce the proposals in a speech about health and wellbeing at work in London this week.

Mr Johnson was expected to say: 'Ten years ago we started the debate on work-life balance. Now the time has come to talk about work-health balance.

'Incapacity benefit should not be a one-way street that starts in the GP's surgery and stops at the dead end of a lifetime on benefits,' he added.

'The evidence shows that far from being bad for health, work is generally good for people's health.'

Dr Peter Holden, a GPC negotiator, said: 'GPs should not be there to police the system.'

The health secretary will be speaking before the publication of a report by Dame Carol Black, the government's national director for health and work, which will outline the proposals.

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