Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Labour wants doctors to join the social police

Commenting on Alan Johnson’s speech today in which he set out plans to change Britain’s ‘sick note culture’ into a ‘well note culture’, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary for England, Norman Lamb said:

“This serious issue deserves a more sophisticated approach, but we should
be wary of moving to a system where doctors find themselves policing the
benefits system rather than treating the sick.

“If Alan Johnson is serious about helping the large number of people on
long term sick leave back to work, he should focus on providing better
access to effective treatment for the huge numbers of people on incapacity
benefit with mental health problems.”

We await Edwina Hart's take on this. While Westminster controls both the benefits system and doctors' contracts in England, the Assembly Government has responsibility for health matters in Wales.
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