Saturday, 19 November 2011

GPs to no longer sign people off sick

This is a long article (click title to view), and I have a lot to say about it, so I'll just give you a few snippets below. I like my snippets recently don't I!
People should be signed off for long-term sickness by an independent assessment service and not GPs, a government-backed review says.

The review also calls for a new government backed job-brokering service, to find work for people cannot stay in their current job because of their condition.

If the recommendations are accepted people who are signed off sick would also be put on to Job Seekers' Allowance, instead of Employment Support Allowance, for a period of three months.

"What the GPs say is they don't have time to do an in-depth functional assessment and nor have they had any training in occupational health so we think it's providing a new unique service that both employers and GPs need."

And welfare reform minister Lord Freud said: "We just don't get adequate help for people early enough when they need it and what we are creating in there is an incubator for lifelong idleness for far too many people."

He (Dr Richard Vautrey) said: "If what is being described is a proper health, occupational health assessment at an earlier stage in the patient's illness then that would be helpful.

"But if it turns out to be a punitive process just to try and save money without the best interests of the patient at the heart of the process then it will fail."
So, just to summarise for you, in case it is not clear from the above; the latest government proposal is to stop peoples personal doctors being able to sign them off long term sick from work, and to put the responsibility on a new body, which as yet does not exist. This body would consist of occupational therapists, who no doubt will give you a twenty minute assessment which does not give them any true insight into your condition at all, just like the Atos assessments. It would not in fact surprise me if they employed Atos to do it.

Why on earth are they making a fuss about 300,000 people being off work sick? That's a drop in the ocean compared to the unemployment figures. Perhaps if they focused on creating jobs, bringing markets back to this country, and preventing JSA fraud the country would be in a lot less dire straits; and they could stop picking on the sick and disabled!!

Seriously, the population of the United Kingdom is approximately 60 million. 300,000 being ill long term is less than 0.5%. I would say that was almost a miracle in itself.

Where do they think all of these jobs for the sick and disabled are going to come from? If they cannot employ the nearly 1.5 million who are claiming JSA, how do they think they will find jobs for people whose health is unreliable.

I may have been ill for ten years, but I've seen how all of this works; if you're ill at work, you get penalised. You lose out on bonus's and those with poor sickness records are the first to be made redundant. Why would employers take on someone who is uncertain when they'll be in work, or how much they can do, someone completely unpredictable, when there is a healthy person equally qualified that they can employ?

The most ridiculous thing about this is that our GPs know us the best. It did not say as such in this article, but the news item on the television last night apparently said that many GPs feel pressured to sign patients off long term sick when they should not. This, I can understand to a certain extent, as when you are familiar with someone it is human nature to not wish to do them any harm. There in lies the error though; if your GP cares about you they would not sign you off as long term sick, taking you out of the work place, and earning better money, if it were not necessary.

I know for a fact that my own GP feels a lot more pressure from the government to have me returned to work, than he does from myself to sign me off sick.

Well, as one of my friends says, this may simply be an exercise in keeping the public happy again. Show the public that the government is doing what they want, then actually do nothing about it. I hope he is right, as these measures would lead to even further suicides.

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