Doctors urged to cut sick leave

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DOCTORS are being urged not to write off so many sick police officers as being too ill to work. They are being told that while an officer might be too ill for front-line duty, he or she can always be used for administrative work.

The move, by the Metropolitan Police, comes with a warning that the sickness rate among its 27,000 officers is costing the taxpayer pounds 75m a year. Patricia Woods, personnel director, has appealed to doctors for help. "Some doctors may be unaware that there is a way in which officers unfit for full duty can still perform limited duties," she says in a letter to the British Medical Association's News Review. "These might include answering calls from the public or other administrative duties."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the force was looking at ways of reducing the amount of sick leave taken. "A lot of police officers simply don't want to be off sick," he said. The issue had been highlighted by a sergeant with a broken wrist.