GPs may be required to 'encourage' patients back to work - report

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is reportedly pushing for GPs to be required to encourage patients with long term medical conditions to go back to work.

At present GPs complete a fit note to suggest alterations that can be performed in the patient's workplace to enable a return to work.

However this new requirement has been included in the latest draft of the General Medical Council's (GMC) Good Medical Practice guidance, which is currently being reviewed.

According to a report on Pulse, the news service for GPs, the GMC said a submission from the DWP giving GPs a new duty ‘to encourage patients with long-term conditions to stay in, or return to, employment' was included in the latest version.

The coalition government is seeking to involve GPs in its crackdown on benefits, something GPs are fearful of, the report continued.

'It has prompted outrage among GPs and debate among GMC Council members, who have demanded clarification on the change.

'GMC officials said the proposal will be reworded ahead of a public consultation later this month, with the redraft likely to substitute ‘employment' for ‘meaningful activity',' it added.

Despite the expectation of a re-wording, Pulse said many GPs reacted angrily to the new demands.

A full draft version is expected later this month.

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