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CSP says emphasis for improving employee absenteeism should not be on ‘well-notes’

CSP press release published on 20 February 2008

In response to reports in the press about Secretary of State Alan Johnson’s proposal for GPs to issue ‘well-notes’ in place of certificates signing employees off from work, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) comments:

Sick notes are just one example of many areas that need to be reviewed in order to provide effective ways of supporting people in work and protecting their health and wellbeing.


Nine out of ten of those who come on to incapacity benefit want and expect to return to work. Many start claiming incapacity benefit because of back and neck pain, depression or heart and circulatory problems. These are serious conditions, but with prompt intervention by physiotherapists and other primary care professionals long-term unemployment can be avoided.


Along with mental health problems, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most commonly reported cause of work related ill health in the UK. Back pain alone costs employers £600 million a year, with sufferers of persistent back pain on average taking 17 days off sick every year.


Liz Cavan, CSP Chair of council, says, “The benefits of prompt access to physiotherapy for people with musculoskeletal disorders - to prevent such conditions becoming chronic - are well known. Allied health professionals like physiotherapists, when employed by companies, are perfectly placed to help keep employees healthy. The provision of effective, coordinated rehabilitation can keep people in work and help people return to work, reducing sickness absenteeism and increasing productivity.


“Physiotherapists and other primary care professionals can also help to prevent MSDs, stop them reoccurring and help people self-manage their health conditions. If suggested strategies to help people return to work and stay there are to succeed, it is vital that such occupational health schemes are expanded.”


Notes to editors

1. For more information, please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 6628 / 6616. Out of hours call Becky Darke on 07900 160349 or Louise Fitzsimons on 07786 332197.


2. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 49,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants.


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