The new sick note system has been heavily published recently but I have to chuckle and think is it needed? As an operational HR professional who deals with sick notes often I believe the current system does what it is needed to do. Within the industries I have experience in if the employer needs more information about an employee’s health they will either make a referral to an occupational health service, external health authority or request more information from the private doctor.
When dealing with someone’s sickness I don’t believe there is an easy one fix solution due to the range of sicknesses an employee could be suffering from and due to the sensitive nature. An employer has to tread carefully and treat all employees equal; not suggesting an illness may not be legitimate and seeks to gather all information before making a decision on the employee. If a doctor has to sign someone fit to work does that mean they will be requesting job information about the employee i.e. a job description and job specification? Doctors are good at identifying a medication issue but I don’t believe they can affectively link that to a business situation. It means nothing to a doctor to sign someone off work, if they have a person telling them that they are really ill a doctor might find it easier symphasing with the employee signing them off work rather than an occupational health department paid by the employer to truly judge the employee against the job requirements.
I personally laugh and think that this is another example of a none operational professional who has been given and pot of money to investigate an issue and is trying to come up with an easy blanket solution. I have seen it done time and time and again and believe it will not solve anything.