Doctors will be better equipped to treat and advise patients about general occupational health issues under new government proposals.
A new distance learning programme aims to give GPs a better understanding of the occupational health of patients and, as employers, of their own staff.
Backed by a £6m investment in GPs’ own occupational health services, the learning programme is designed to help cut the cost of temporary sickness to UK business. Recent estimates put this figure at £10bn a year.
Parliamentary under secretary of state for the Department of Social Security Hugh Bayley said: “Too often ill health means a worker starts the slide from work into premature inactivity and poverty. The action of the GP is pivotal in ensuring the right steps are taken to restoring fitness.”