New government scheme refuses sick notes – as predicted here last year

X attended the doctors on Friday. It was an emergency appointment. They were very anxious and depressed and wanted to take their own life. The doctor refused a sick note even though X was suicidal. Why? Because young people should be in work. The government wants you in work they quoted. X was very upset at this and it triggered another anxiety attack. They are now challenging this. I do hope this doctor is acting out of the ordinary. Being suicidal is a good enough reason for a sick note.

This led me to undergo a bit more research. I have found out that the government have introduced a scheme where all GPs refer patients that have had a sick note for 4 weeks or more to a private company. Much like ATOS I suspect.

This is supposed to be a trial but as with all government trials they quickly become permanent.

The new scheme will cost £134 million over 4 years and is aimed at people who are off work with long term illnesses.

Source: Sick note refused under government new scheme.  | The poor side of life

This is the ‘Health and Work’ scheme in action.

Run by Maximus (of work capability assessment infamy), the scheme claims to be “dedicated to ensuring that people who spend more than four weeks at a time off work with an illness get back into their job with a minimum of difficulty”.

In fact, as This Blog stated at the time: “This is a scheme to ensure that people are discouraged from claiming incapacity benefits; the idea is that a drop in new claims, coupled with the number of uncontested ‘fit for work’ decisions, might lead to a larger drop in the number of active claims – which means the amount of money being paid out in benefits would also drop.

“Inclusion of the word ‘health’ in the title of the new service is misleading, as it seems unlikely that consideration of an employee’s physical condition will have anything to do with the aim of the exercise.

“No, what we’re most probably seeing is an expansion of the “biopsychosocial” method employed in work capability assessments, in an attempt to convince sick people that their illnesses are all in their minds. Don’t expect this approach to be used for people with broken limbs or easily-medicated diseases; this is for the new kinds of ‘subjective illness’, for which medical science has not been prepared – ‘chronic pain’, ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’, fibromyalgia and the like.

“People with these conditions will probably be sent back to work – with speed. Their conditions may worsen, their lives may become an unending hell of pain and threats – I write from experience, as Mrs Mike spent around two years trying to soldier on in her job before finally giving up and claiming her own incapacity benefits – but that won’t matter to the DWP as long as they’re not claiming benefits.

“That is what we can all expect from the new ‘service’.

“It will be a fake, necessitated by failure.”

Was I right?

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28 Thoughts to “New government scheme refuses sick notes – as predicted here last year”

  1. John.

    Modern slavery. Work or die.

  2. Teresa Parry

    Yes you were right Mike. Sadly.
    I have fibromyalgia and other things. My doctor would not give me a note, not even for a week. I thought he was just a Tory voter but maybe something else behind it?
    Luckily I am not as bad as some and am able to do things that don’t require much physical effort.
    There is always a feeling when talking to medics that they think it’s all in my head, I say no but its everywhere else lol

    There is already a culture of going into work sick.
    Personally, I think we have a dictatorship on the rise ruling us by fear. An extension of Thatcher’s divide and conquer. Or is that just conspiracy theory territory? Feels real.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I reckon you make good points.

      1. >>Mrs Mike won’t have the painkillers because they turn her into a zombie.

        Sorry Mike it doesn’t work like that I am on what is considered a high dosage of Diamorphine and been on it for let’s say years.
        Yes it makes you tired at first but that passes quickly and believe me the real life means I went from a zombie to a sort of human. I am still in pain but I can live with it using pain control and other methods. To keep yourself in pain makes your health worse and that’s proven in various studies…

      2. Mike Sivier

        It might not work like that for you, but you can’t tell anybody else what works for them. People are different.

    2. @Teresa Parry
      “I have fibromyalgia”
      I went to my GP because I suspected I had fibromyalgia but she found I was suffering the aftermath of a heart procedure. However she did say that fibromyalgia can’t be cured, it has to run its course. The only treatment is painkillers.

      1. Mike Sivier

        Mrs Mike won’t have the painkillers because they turn her into a zombie.

      2. Teresa Parry

        I am told painkillers have no effect and have found that true. The amitriptyline I was given leaves me too drowsy to think and really the only thing I have going for me is my brain!
        I asked a consultant how come Americans can get treatment he told me to find drugs on internet, tell him the names and he would prescribe.
        That’s exactly what he said to me!
        I have had this over ten years, to varying degrees, and my sister the same. No sign of it going away.

        On the plus side, University have been brilliant and I will get all the help needed for my degree.

      3. i was given gabapentin then pregablin but i do keep being told the latter are expensive

  3. Any GP who refuses to issue a “fit note” (x) should, in the first instance, be the subject of a complaint to the Practice “Manager” or Senior Partner; if that does not result in an outcome that is satisfactory to the patient, it should be escalated up the hierarchy to the local NHS management. Additionally, the GP should be reported AT ONCE to the General Medical Council, as the GP;s attitude may be putting patients at risk of harm or felo de se.

    I believe that each and every GP who tries to practise this politicised “medicine” – which is nothing more than dressed-up quackery or, worse, illness denial – should be erased from the Medical Register as a matter of some urgency, lest this nonsense spreads.

    (x) It’s not called a “sick note” any more, but a “fit note”. I’d really like to use a clue by four or some other LART – Loser Attitude Readjustment Tool – on the moron who thought up that bit of nonsense and try to whack some sense into the idiot.

  4. Yes your prediction was spot on – although it hardly required the powers of a Delphic oracle to make it!

    1. Mike Sivier

      Agreed.

  5. Tony Dean

    My wife had to accompany a mentally disturbed person to a “fit note” related interview with their employer recently. They had got into a such a bad mental state about the interview we had serious concerns for their safety.
    Reassurances from my wife and I that it was now the system and just routine and it happens to all people off work for more than a month did no good.
    Their employer is obviously not happy with having to do such interviews either.

  6. The Nazis infamously used Pseudo-Medicine, Pseudo-Psychology, Pseudo-Science, Pseudo-Archaeology, Pseudo-History, Pseudo Arts and all manner of other perverted endeavours to justify their dogma and to give Nazi officials the “right” to dictate how “real” science, medicine, psychology, history and archaeology “SHOULD” be done, and also to dictate the expected results of this fakery. The results were to allow euthanasia, eugenics, forced labour, slave labour and everything else the the “Master Race” decided was good and justifiable.

    When jumped-up chicken farmers, bad architects, failed military officers, thicko pig-loving PR Men and other untalented people with chips on their shoulders grant themselves the power to interfere in the sciences, humanities and arts things always go wrong.

    The comparisons between the Nazis and the Tories are many and beyond any doubt.

  7. Jenny Hambidge

    Is it possible that GPs are being rewarded for every “fit note” ( the current name for sick note) that they DON’T issue
    This is such an issue of breaking trust between doctor and patient.

  8. Any doctor who acted as described here should be struck off permanently and I doubt that it is true.

  9. Bookworm

    Eventually this policy could backfire. Forcing sick people to work will have real health and safety implications for some employers. I’m thinking of that bin lorry driver in Glasgow who wasn’t fit to drive, how many others are there?

    1. Mike Sivier

      Interesting point. Was that driver on a ‘health and work’ scheme?

      1. Tony Dean

        Fitness to be able to drive is a serious matter that the DWP seems to have left out of the regulations.

      2. Bookworm

        Thanks. I don’t know but he
        wouldn’t have been left on ESA / JSA for long so lied re his health to get the job. I’m not excusing him but he didn’t have too many options did he?

    2. AM-FM

      This article describes some of the problems of people going into work while ill.
      It seems to say that the average number of off-sick days is only 6 or 7 days per employee per year, which seems quite low and not a big problem to me!

      Workers Forced To Go In Sick As Tory Austerity Cuts Bite
      Welfare Weekly – Oct 12, 2015
      http://www.welfareweekly.com/workers-forced-to-go-in-sick-as-tory-austerity-cuts-bite/

  10. All in the name of false economies too. If people aren’t given time and space necessary to recover from their illnesses, they will be less healthy. The less healthy the workforce becomes, the less efficient it becomes, and the less productive. The economy will therefore suffer as much as the people.

  11. Have all employers signed up to this, and who issues the ‘all clear’ for the employee to return to work?
    Surely it must be the GP, but on what evidence? I can see pressure being applied by this private company, threats if you like, to get people back to work before they are ready, otherwise they will be unable to justify their existence.
    I just hope that anyone involved in this disgrace keeps a complete record of their conversations and mail.
    BTW I’m retired so I have no horse in this race but empathise with whoever is affected, however I did see evidence of this creeping in before I finished work as I was referred to a
    similar company (I won’t name them) by my then employer. It wasn’t mandatory so after seeing what (bull****) they had to offer I told both to get stuffed.

  12. Tories get more like the Chinese and the nazis everyday

  13. gfranklinpercival

    Since when does government own and direct professionals? Why do doctors act as if they were all spineless incompetents?

  14. Another cruel and sickening way to hammer the poor and ill of the country, make them work or you get nothing and hopefully you’ll die, nice democratic country we live in isn’t it, the so called Western Democracies are the most ruthless, oppressive, human and civil rights abusing and stripping of them all, are far worse than China and Russia that they accuse, have always been fascists at heart and secretly supported Hitler, this is life for all of us now and will stay that way unless the people of this land grow a pair and a voice and fight against it otherwise the old work and poorhouses will return, they’ll be no such things as rights and apart from the privileged elite, everyone in this country will have absolutely nothing to live on and nothing to their name and will die but as we all know, that is what the tories want!

  15. Dez

    It seems that GPs are having to be bribed to do everything to a Government hymn sheet
    these days…..no wonder so many of the good guys are leaving god knows what nonsense will be left.

  16. fathomie

    See here:- http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3582 ‘Presenteeism’ where workers are turning up for work when they shouldn’t has become a national workplace issue. Companies are well aware of it, but, surprise, really couldn’t care less. For them, a half dead member of staff is better than no staff at all. However, as the ACAS page shows, the impact on the workplace, staff numbers and productivity of people going into work when they shouldn’t is an important issue. From the presentation I attended (by the author of the report and it’s sponsors Axa) the problem is widespread, and actually costing companies millions. Sadly, UK business is, by and large, too dumb to get such ideas through it’s collectively thick skull. If years of HR work taught me nothing else, that much is clear.

    Hence govt panders to them by trying to force people, using dodgy ‘back to work’ organisations (ATOS used to perform this task for the Public Sector) and schemes to force people who shouldn’t be there back into the work place. The Fit note was not introduced by the Tories but by New Labour in 2010. The idea was to give Doctors the option to state whether you shouldn’t be in work (at all), or you were fit to go into work, but only with recommendations put in place for you to ease back in. In practise employers and Doctors ignored the second section after a while, and after some acrimony. Doctors, in good faith were recommending phased returns, and employers simply ignoring any recommendations and disciplining people for not turning up for work exactly as they were originally contacted, or for complaining that the note was being ignored.

    The Tories are also looking to get rid of the obligation to pay sick pay, meaning they can scrap SSP, and force employees to pay for private ‘unemployment and sickness’ insurances, as with the USA. The only problem with that is that only those on a good wage in the US can afford it. We will end up back in a dark age of people working until they drop if – sorry, once – this is pushed through.

    The poor in the UK are voiceless, treated with contempt by the Tory middle classes, and despised and persecuted by their own govt.

    Makes you feel proud doesn’t it?

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