Government’s proposed welfare reforms ‘an appalling state of affairs’

DAUK’s Dr Steve Taylor described Government plans to crackdown on so-called ‘sick note culture’ as ‘an appalling state of affairs’.

Dr Taylor, GP spokesperson for the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK), said that the Government’s own policies were responsible for much of the current levels of economic inactivity.

And he called on the Government to invest in public services to improve people’s health and boost the economy.

“We have 7.7 million people waiting for hospital treatment and mental health treatment,” Dr Taylor said.

“We have unprecedented demand in general practice to try to help people.

Head and shoulders photo of Dr Steve Taylor, DAUK GP committee spokesperson
DAUK GP lead Dr Steve Taylor

“What he’s actually saying is that while we are struggling to get people in to see doctors and therapists, and to get help and operations, and yet he wants to crack down on those very people.

“This is an appalling state of affairs, for a Prime Minister to pick on those people who are in the situation because of this government’s policies.”

Dr Taylor was speaking after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to tackle what he called Britian’s ‘sick note culture’.

They included proposals to strip GPs of their power to sign people off work.

Instead ‘specialist work and health professionals who have the dedicated time and expertise to provide an objective assessment of someone’s ability to work and the tailored support they may need’, the Prime Minister said.

 “We don’t just need to change the sick note, we need to change the sick note culture so the default becomes what work you can do – not what you can’t,” Mr Sunak said.

“Building on the pilots we’ve already started we’re going to design a new system where people have easy and rapid access to specialised work and health support to help them back to work from the very first Fit Note conversation.  

“We’re also going to test shifting the responsibility for assessment from GPs and giving it to specialist work and health professionals who have the dedicated time to provide an objective assessment of someone’s ability to work and the tailored support they need to do so.”  

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, Dr Taylor said: “If Government invested in health the economy would be £150bn better off, and we would have fewer off sick.

“If you don’t invest in health you get more long-term sick.

“This is not rocket science or even simple maths, yet we have a Prime Minister picking on those that his Government has left without support both physical and mental health.”

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