Latest NHS figures show that Dorset’s doctors sign an average of 34 fit notes every day.
General Practitioners (GPs) working in the NHS Dorset CCG issued a total of 12,261 notes between July 2017 and June this year.
Across England, 5.7 million fit notes were handed out over the 12 months to the end of June.
In order to reduce the workload faced by doctors, the Department for Work and Pensions has decided to legislate to allow other health professionals certify people as unable to work.
The Doctors’ leaders are in full support of this move as it will drastically ease the pressure on GPs.
A Department of Work and Pensions spokesperson said:
“We want to reduce the burden on GPs and that’s why we intend to legislate for the extension of fit note certification to other healthcare professionals. We will work with the NHS on this.”
The most common reasons that doctors signed people off work were mental and behavioural disorders, particularly stress, and muscoskeletal conditions, such as back problems.
Of the 12,261 notes signed over the 12 months in Dorset, 989 were issued for mental health issues and 565 for back problems.
The number of fit notes signed in Dorset from July 2017 to June this year is down on the previous 12 months, but this may be due, in part, to under-reporting in February caused by technical issues in gathering the data.