End of medical certificates? GPs to trial ‘fit note’ scheme

The “fit note” scheme, adopted in Britain in 2010, asks doctors to indicate what workers recovering from sickness or injury can do, so employers can redeploy them in suitable roles. 

The British approach, inspired by the view that work is beneficial to health, allows GPs to suggest options for work hours, a gradual return to work and activities to match a patient’s particular needs and abilities.

The scheme will be trialled among Canberra GPs treating patients with long-term injuries and illnesses, but no starting date or design for the study has been finalised.  

“We’re at the stage of opening the conversation,” said Dr Rashmi Sharma, a Canberra GP and chair of ACT Medicare Local. “It is a complex area, and the whole system needs an overhaul. It will need a lot of work to come up with an appropriate design.”

RACGP president Dr Liz Marles said the longer people were off work, the