I’m a GP – People with mental health problems aren’t stopping work

The cost of sick pay will rise by more than a third by the end of the decade, according to new predictions from the Office for Budget Responsibility. Research has shown that increasing numbers of people are being discharged due to mental health issues. Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has claimed that normal life anxieties are being branded as illnesses and that the country’s focus on mental health may have gone too far.

So are too many people getting sick notes? To understand reality, i He spoke to Dr Lisa Naylor, a GP who specializes in mental health and a champion of the Rebuild GP campaign.

Our role as a doctor is to treat the patient and trust what they tell us when they present. They were not there to judge whether this is the right thing for society or funding issues. We are there to serve the patient in front of us.

The process of leaving a patient sick from work is simple, but individual. I will always talk about the impact that signature has very often a financial impact and people don’t want to be taken for granted.

I would take a history, including who is home with them, drug and alcohol use, where they work and how they find it, etc. And I was sure he was talking about the same thing. Some anxiety in life is normal and even good for you in an anxiety disorder, we were talking about major anxiety with panic attacks, you spend all your time feeling worried and anxious, your pulse ‘accelerate, etc.

I always talk to a patient about what makes it better, what makes it worse, what they’ve tried to do about it, and then we come up with a plan together and talk about the options available. I also emphasize the positivity of work, we all know that it is something really important. It gives us purpose, it can even be a sanctuary away from the other stresses that affect you.

Obviously, if work is the cause of their mental health problems, such as bullying or inadequate support, that’s the clearest reason to fire someone.

But in my experience, patients don’t come in asking for time off. For many people it is their last option.

I have been a GP in my practice for 20 years. I have known some of my patients for a long time and the relationship is based on trust.

It’s a cheap option to blame doctors for the increasing numbers being shut down. When you look at the statistics, not only has mental health increased, many people are sick because they are waiting for treatment. They are in pain and distress because of the conditions for which they have been referred, and there are delays. This is just the effect of the pandemic. And this will also have impacts on the mental health of these people.

It’s not very often that I come across a patient that I don’t think should be discharged. I challenge people who I think are gaming the system, and I’ve said on occasion that I won’t shut you down unless you actually do something to improve. This person may be gaming the system for all sorts of complicated reasons. It’s not as simple as making them the bad bogeyman. Usually something else happens.

I am seeing an increase in mental health issues. They got stuck in this financial climate where many people have to work two jobs, don’t have time to take care of themselves, and can’t afford to quit their jobs. The solutions I offer will not help.

Having mental health issues should not be a barrier to being an active member of our workforce. I have many patients with major mental illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression or generalized anxiety, who manage to keep their jobs. Their employers are aware and adapting, and patients are incredibly vital members of the workforce.

What this conversation misses is that it is about very specific individual circumstances. You can’t make sweeping statements that people with mental health problems are lazy and don’t work, it’s just not true. I want to be part of a compassionate society where we care for people who are struggling.

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