Wednesday, 16th June 2010
Life expectancy and the numbers of people in employment are higher than ever before, yet around 175 million working days were lost in 2006 due to sickness/absence. This represents a significant cost, not only economically but also in terms of social exclusion' (WFAHT, 2008).
'Recent evidence suggests that work can be good for health, reversing the harmful effects of long term unemployment and prolonged sickness/absence. Yet much of the current approach to the treatment of people of working age, including the sickness certification process, reflects an assumption that illness is incompatible with being in work' (WFAHT, 2008).
The main recommendation of this paper is the replacement of the paper based sick note with an electronic 'Fit Note' being given out instead. This therefore will switch the focus from being off from work to what people can do instead - therefore potentially improving communication between employers, employees, GP's and occupational health services.
The 'Fit for Work Service' currently are running pilots which are due to last until March 2011 after which the whole process is expected to be rolled out across the country. With most occupational health services being able to offer 'fit note'advice.
For more information on Working for a healthier tomorrow please click on the following link: www.dh.gov.uk
For more information on the 'Fit for Work Service' click on the following link: www.workingforhealth.gov.uk