Fit for Work: GPs start patient referrals
General practitioners in Sheffield have become the first GPs to refer patients to the government’s long-awaited Fit for Work.
Twenty GPs in the Sheffield area started to use the referral service on 13 January. The Department for Work and Pensions envisages that the service will be rolled out across the country in the spring, building on the Sheffield experience and learning.
The service will provide an occupational health assessment and health and work advice to employees, employers and GPs to help people return to or stay in work. A telephone advice line and website was launched in late 2014.
The government predicts that Fit for Work will cut sick pay costs to business by £80m to £165m a year, as well as increase economic output by up to £900m a year.
Work and Pensions Minister Lord Freud said: “Being in work is good for people’s wellbeing and it is also important for business growth that sickness absence is managed properly. That’s why we accepted the recommendations from a review for an independent support service.”
“GPs will provide a vital role in referring patients – with their agreement – to Fit for Work. Support also includes an independent occupational health assessment and a Return to Work Plan to help them return to and stay in work. It’s important we get this right so are starting in one area to build on learning.”
For more information: www.fitforwork.org
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