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Shifting the focus to staff well-being

Health secretary Alan Johnson has called for organisations to put well-being higher up on their list of priorities. He also argued for GP's to change their focus when writing sick notes, suggesting that they focus on what people can do given their situation rather than signing them off for weeks at a time. Johnson?s announcement was part of a speech he gave last week at the British Heart Foundation conference in London.

Johnson argues that companies who focus on well-being may help to reduce stress at, and absences from, work and encourage people to make positive changes in their life; like feeling more motivated and engaged.  He also argued that GP?s need to change the way they write sick notes.  He suggests that instead of writing sick notes GP?s should be writing ?fit notes?.  Fit notes are notes which would indicate what people could do at work rather than signing them off completely.

Mike Emmott, relations advisor at the CIPD, says that 'GPs are letting down patients signed off work by not communicating effectively with employers. All too often the reality is a quickly scribbled note signing someone off for another period of weeks.'

What this means is that by focusing on what people can, rather than what they can?t, do will benefit both the individual and the organisation.  It also gives a more realistic picture of what the person can do given their circumstances. Click here

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