GPs given better CBT and physio access to encourage return to work

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

The proposals were announced this week by Dame Carol Black, national director for health and work, 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 benefits, the new model will allow GPs to refer patients through an electronic fit note system to the multidisciplinary Fit for Work service. 

GPs would then be able to offer patients a number of medical treatments, such as CBT, physical training and physiotherapy, to help them back into work.

The service will initially be piloted in England to test the effectiveness of the interventions 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.

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