Sick notes for mental illness harder to get

According to researchers, it appears to be ‘easier’ for people who present with physical conditions to obtain a sick note from their GP, while discussions about sick notes for mental health more often have a “taint of malingering” hanging over them.

The study analysed interactions between 506 adult patients and 13 GPs recorded in five general practices in London.  Forty-nine of the consultations included discussions, initiated by the GP, about sick notes.

The study identified four main ways that doctors recommended certification, including: statements of need for certification; “do you need?” offers of certification; “do you want?” offers; and conditional offers.

According to the authors, the first two communication styles indicated greater patient entitlement or legitimacy to sick notes by doctors, while the second two displayed weaker doctor endorsement.

On the whole, doctors appeared