Intended for healthcare professionals


Sunak is accused of “harmful” rhetoric amid plans to remove sick note responsibility from GPs

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 19 April 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q914
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The UK prime minister has announced a consultation on reforms to the disability benefit system, which could see the ability to issue sick notes—referred to as fit notes—removed from GPs and assigned to “specialist work and health professionals.”1

In a speech on 19 April Rishi Sunak said that he wanted to completely remove benefits from people who had been unemployed long term and would not accept a job, as part of his “crackdown” on benefit fraud. He added that, while he did not want to “dismiss or downplay” mental ill health, he wanted to be “honest about the risk of overmedicalisation of everyday challenges and worries of …

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