SICKNOTE BRITAIN: GPs BLAME BUSINESSES

PUBLISHED: 10:33 28 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:34 06 May 2010

DOCTORS have reported a dramatic increase in the number of people being signed off work sick for a week or more because of health problems such as stress and depression, new research has revealed. Most GPs blamed companies for not doing enough to make sur

DOCTORS have reported a dramatic increase in the number of people being signed off work sick for a week or more because of health problems such as stress and depression, new research has revealed.

Most GPs blamed companies for not doing enough to make sure their staff stayed healthy and warned that the problem was set to soar, according to the study by Norwich Union Healthcare.

A survey of 250 doctors found most believed firms were failing workers who became ill.

They also expressed concern that inadequate NHS services for problems such as depression left workers with nowhere to go for help.

A separate poll of more than 200 companies showed almost half had been hit by widespread disruption because key staff were off ill.

More than two thirds of businesses questioned said they did not believe the health of their staff was their responsibility.

Tim Baker, director at Norwich Union Healthcare, said: "These figures show that the system is failing workers. Greater cooperation is needed between GPs and employers to find a solution to rising illness caused at work.

"Businesses must look to the many examples that exist within the public and private sector of organisations, such as the Royal Mail and Rolls Royce, which have actively promoted a healthy workplace and proactively managed adverse health effects and consequently achieved a reduction in absence and ill health and increases in productivity.

"Businesses and GPs must not blame one another and each bear responsibility for tackling the problems of employee ill health. Grasping the issue and adopting a joined-up approach between stakeholders means that also the widespread benefits of tackling the issues can be shared.

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