DOCTORS wrote 9.4 million sick notes last year — with some areas getting four times more than others.
More than nine in ten letters declared patients “not fit for work” while the rest said “may be fit” subject to conditions.
Alamy Residents in some areas were four times more likely to ask their doctor for a sick note
Women received 57 per cent of the 9,360,966 notes sent out in 2018, with men getting 43 per cent, according to latest NHS Digital figures.
Now called “fit notes”, they are issued to patients following a medical assessment after their first seven days off work.
Doctors in Knowsley, Merseyside, were most likely to write one, with 3,622 every 100,000 patients.
The least likely were those in Westminster, central London, with 871 per 100,000.
Mental illness was the most common signed-off reason in December, accounting for 33 per cent of notes with a stated condition.
Musculoskeletal issues, such as a bad back, were next at 17 per cent.
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The “may be fit” notes accounted for 6.8 per cent of those issued last year, and were accompanied with suggested adjustments.
They included a phased return, flexible hours, amended duties or an adapted workplace, such as a sit-stand desk.
NHS Digital said: “Fit notes are issued to show to an employer for sick pay purposes or to claim sicknessrelated benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions.”
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