One Third of Sick Notes are for Mental Health Issues
The NHS has revealed that almost 1 in 3 fit notes issued by GPs are due to mental health problems.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists have described the findings as “alarming” and expressed the need for more to be done to help people get back to work.
The NHS analysed more than 12 million notes which were issued over nearly two and half years from GP practices across England; it is the first time this information has been gathered from GPs and then analysed.
The NHS Digital report further revealed that fit notes for psychiatric problems were being given for longer periods of time than other kinds of illness. Only 3% of notes for respiratory system diseases were issued for longer than 12 weeks, as opposed to more than one in five psychiatric fit notes.
The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said: "These figures explain why the NHS is now putting mental health front and centre, in what was recently independently described as 'the world's most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses'."
Jed Boardman, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warned that the findings “may underestimate the scale of the problem” as discrimination can mean those with mental health issues are out of the labour force completely.
"Almost half of benefits claimants of Employment and Support Allowance in England are receiving payments as the result of mental and behavioural disorders," he explained.