Rishi Sunak's latest idiotic caper is to stop GPs from issuing sick notes

Rishi Sunak’s latest idiotic caper is to stop GPs from issuing sick notes

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak’s latest idiotic caper is to stop GPs from issuing sick notes – rather than actually addressing the reasons people need them in the first place.

He is trying to dismiss mental ill-health – much of which has been caused by his own government – as “over-medicalising” of normal worries.

What an utter boneheaded twit!

He is plotting to take the ability to issue sicknotes away from GPs – the traditional custodians of the role – and give it to “work and health professionals”.

As stated in the headline: Rishi Sunak’s latest idiotic caper is to stop GPs from issuing sick notes.

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By this, we may assume the job will go to the kind of know-nothing morons from private contractors like Atos and Capita, who currently operate the tick-box assessment systems for sickness and disability benefits that have killed so many people who only needed a little help.

Here’s The Guardian, reporting some of the daft witterings he was set to come out with today:

Sunak will say he is concerned about the increase in long-term sickness since the pandemic, largely driven by mental health conditions with 2.8 million people now “economically inactive”.

In relation to mental health, he will say … that there is a need to be “more honest about the risk of over-medicalising the everyday challenges and worries of life”.

Sunak will say one plank of the reforms will be testing whether responsibility for issuing sicknotes should be shifted from “overstretched” GPs to “specialist work and health professionals who have the dedicated time to provide an objective assessment of someone’s ability to work and the tailored support they need to do so”.

I repeat: Rishi Sunak’s latest idiotic caper is to stop GPs from issuing sick notes.

Sunak will suggest in his speech that GPs are signing people off sick for work “by default”, with 11m fit notes issued last year, of which 94% assessed people as “not fit for work”.

No 10 claimed that the fit note system has “opened the floodgates for millions of people to be written off work and into welfare without getting the right support and treatment they might need to help them stay in work”.

The article seems to use the terms “sick note” and “fit note” interchangeably, but warns that Downing Street would not clarify whether the intention is to widen criteria to allow non-medical professionals – in other words, amateurs – to issue or change fit notes as well.

It says the basis for Sunak’s stunt – the number of fit/sicknotes being issued – is false: “Employment experts said the number of fit notes issued – 11m last year – has not risen since before the pandemic.”

And it emphasises the fact that professionals in the NHS, as well as in health charities, think this is a terrible idea:

Ruth Rankine, the director of the NHS Confederation’s primary care network, said … “The deeper problem isn’t the system – it’s that people are sicker than they were and they have more complex healthcare needs.”

Dr Sarah Hughes, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: “We are deeply disappointed that the prime minister’s speech continues a trend in recent rhetoric which conjures up the image of a ‘mental health culture’ that has ‘gone too far’.

“This is harmful, inaccurate and contrary to the reality for people up and down the country. The truth is that mental health services are at breaking point following years of underinvestment, with many people getting increasingly unwell while they wait to receive support.”

She added: “To imply that it is easy both to be signed off work and then to access benefits is deeply damaging. It is insulting to the 1.9 million people on a waiting list to get mental health support, and to the GPs whose expert judgment is being called into question.”

James Taylor, the director of strategy at the disability charity Scope, said: “Much of the current record levels of inactivity are because our public services are crumbling, the quality of jobs is poor and the rate of poverty among disabled households is growing.”

All of the issues raised by these genuine experts on mental health have been caused by Conservative government policy over the last 14 years.

By trying to mask that with a claim that people are being signed off work because of “normal worries”, Sunak is trying to hide his government’s abject failure in its only responsibility: the well-being of the UK’s population.

The only people who should believe any of his inane witterings will be as stupid as Sunak himself.

Source: Sunak to cite Britain’s ‘sicknote culture’ in bid to overhaul fit note system | Health policy | The Guardian

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