Keeping patients in work not part of GP role, experts warn

Plans to require doctors to push patients to stay in work or return to work are unrealistic and not part of their core role, medico-legal experts have warned.

A GMC consultation on a review of its Good Medical Practice guidance closed on Friday.

In response to the consultation, the Medical Protection Society (MPS) has warned that proposed changes to the guidance would force doctors to ‘become too involved in non-clinical aspects of patients’ lives’.

MPS policy director Dr Stephanie Bown said: ‘The guidance states that doctors must empower patients to improve and maintain their health and "encourage patients to stay in or return to employment".

‘This extends the responsibilities of doctors to providing occupational health advice which is a specialist field and not core knowledge.’

Dr Bown added that plans to require doctors to inform the GMC if they are criticised by a coroner or sheriff are unnecessary. She pointed out that these officials already have powers to inform the GMC if they have concerns.

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