Letters Let someone else do sick notes

Simply changing the rules on sick notes hasn’t worked before

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d8215 (Published 04 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d8215
  1. Jonathan Richards, general practitioner1
  1. 1Morlais Medical Practice, Merthyr Tydfil CF48 3AL, UK
  1. cedartree{at}dsl.pipex.com

I have worked in Merthyr Tydfil for 30 years and am used to the way that local people and general practitioners are treated by those who do not know us and our history. Because Merthyr Tydfil is one of the least healthy communities in England and Wales it is no surprise that we are the “sick note capital”—somewhere has to top the league. We do have generations of people who have spent their lives “on the sick,” and I await the results of the current government’s attempts to break such cycles. The problems are complex and challenging; I wonder if Patel has the empathic imagination needed to place himself in the shoes of a person from Merthyr Tydfil who does not have the benefits of life that he enjoys.1

I can assure Patel that I try my best to support people into work. He is correct to suggest that, because I am the patients’ advocate, I am not the most suitable person to sign sick notes. It is interesting that all previous efforts to deal with the problems by changing the rules and bringing in “independent” assessments have failed. What did work were the Labour government’s programmes to support people back into work, which sadly have now been closed down.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d8215


  • Competing interests: JR signs fit notes for his patients in Merthyr Tydfil.


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