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NICE calls for end to “reflex” sick notes

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1259 (Published 25 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1259
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

    Doctors should not automatically write a sickness certificate and should instead discuss with their patients any barriers to returning to work, says new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

    “A GP could be doing more harm than good by writing a reflex sickness certificate,” said Sian Williams, consultant in occupational medicine at the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and a member of the group that drew up the guidelines. “If someone is off work for six months, there is only a one in five chance of getting them back to work in the next five years.”

    NICE’s guidance on long term sickness absence and incapacity for work includes a number of recommendations for employers and GPs and other NHS professionals. …

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