One in three GP fit notes relate to mental health conditions

One in three fit notes signed by GPs are for mental health conditions, making it the most common reason GPs sign fit notes, NHS Digital data show.

A third (31%) of fit notes with a known diagnosis were for mental and behavioural disorders, according to statistics from two thirds of GP practices in England published by NHS Digital.

The second most common reason was diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, which accounted for 18% of notes.

These were followed in a distant third place at 9% by ‘symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings’.

Fit notes for diseases of the respiratory system – which accounted for 7% of notes – show a clear seasonal variation, rising slightly from August to December before increasing again to hit a peak from January-March.

GP fit notes

Just 7% of notes were classified as ‘may be fit for work’, with four out of five of these going on to recommend an adaptation in the workplace, working hours or duties.

The ‘experimental’ statistics, which cover from 1 December 2014 to 31 March 2017, also show fit notes for mental health are the most likely to be for longer periods, with 22% lasting for more than 12 weeks.

Over this two-year and three-month period, the data show that GPs issued an average of one fit note per 48 patients aged 18-65 per month. Throughout the last financial year, a third were for five weeks or longer.

The figures are the first on fit notes published by NHS Digital, which will henceforth release data on the scheme quarterly.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

'How I survived a bewildering ten-month investigation by the GMC'

'How I survived a bewildering ten-month investigation by the GMC'

How does the experience of a GMC investigation impact on the lives of doctors? One...

90% of patients would recommend their GP practice to friends or family

90% of patients would recommend their GP practice to friends or family

Nine in 10 people would recommend their GP practice to a friend or family member,...

NHS documentary spells out threat to future of the health service

NHS documentary spells out threat to future of the health service

A documentary film appearing in cinemas across the UK next month tells how the NHS...

GP funding rose much faster in rest of UK than England in 2018/19

GP funding rose much faster in rest of UK than England in 2018/19

Total NHS investment in general practice in England rose just 1.36% in real terms...

GP funding per patient rose less than 1% in 2018/19

GP funding per patient rose less than 1% in 2018/19

GP funding per patient in England rose to £154.81 in 2018/19 - up just 0.7% from...

Temporary cap extended on GP at Hand registrations in Birmingham

Temporary cap extended on GP at Hand registrations in Birmingham

A temporary cap on patients in Birmingham registering with Babylon GP at Hand has...