In ‘Improving health and work: changing lives’, the government’s response to Dame Carol Black’s Review of the health of Britain’s working-age population, the government committed to monitor a suite of indicators including GPs’ perceptions about the importance of health to work (and vice versa) and the extent to which GPs view helping people to return to work as a measure of success.
This report covers findings from the 2012 survey of GPs’ attitudes, knowledge and reported behaviour towards patients’ health and work. It reassesses these GPs’ attitudes and compares them with those established in the baseline survey published in 2011. Both surveys were made up of the same 19 questions around GPs’ attitudes to patients’ health and work. The intended purposes are to continue to measure progress against the health, work and wellbeing agenda and, as part of the larger programme of work, to assess the overall effectiveness of the fit note. The survey was administered by post to a randomly selected sample of GPs from England, Wales and Scotland between September 2012 and November 2012. These questions were included in the seventh national General Practitioner Worklife survey.
Many of the findings of the 2012 survey re-iterate those of the baseline survey conducted in 2010. Generally, GPs see themselves as having an important role in promoting the health benefits of work and fit notes increasingly help them to fulfil this role.
Other forthcoming research on the fit note is underway that directly looks at fit note practice (rather than attitudes to) as recorded in 58,695 fit notes issued at 49 practices (Shiels et al. (2013, forthcoming). Evaluation of the Statement of Fitness for Work (fit note): quantitative survey of fit notes); and research that explores how helpful the fit note has been from the employee’s perspective and the reported dialogue with their GP (Victoria Chenery (2013, forthcoming). An evaluation of the Statement of Fitness for Work (fit note): survey of employees).