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Fit note: could GPs be paid to get patients back to work? (Photo: JH Lancy for GP Online)

Fit note: could GPs be paid to get patients back to work? (Photo: JH Lancy for GP Online)

Doctors could ask for funding from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to ensure patients go back to work quickly, a top NHS England official has suggested, according to GP Online. Is this the next stage in Iain Duncan Smith’s war on the sick?

Addressing the annual conference of the out-of-hours provider body Urgent Health UK, Professor Keith Willett, national director for acute episodes of care, said getting a patient in to see a GP quickly and issued with a return to work certificate could save the government two weeks of benefits payments. Oh really? And what if the patient isn’t better by then?

He said: “So, in the same way as health has given social care the Better Care Fund, and said “come and help us out”, we could, arguably, go to work and pensions and say, ‘Excuse me, we can get them to go back to work seven days quicker. Can we have some of your money to be able to do that?'”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the gentleman seems to be admitting that doctors are signing people off work who don’t need it – and suggesting that the DWP should bribe them into sending people back to work.

Why is he following an Iain Duncan Smith narrative that has not been proved?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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