GPs may be rewarded for getting patients to work

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Indy Politics

Doctors could be offered "incentives" - which could include cash - to get patients back to work.

The GPs are also to be sent on educational courses designed to end the "sick-note culture" in Britain, ministers will announce this week.

The Government wants GPs to be taught that going back to work, rather than signing on to long-term sickness benefit, is good for their patients' health. They are to re-educated through courses designed to encourage them to offer alternatives to patients suffering from stress and ill-health to ending employment and going on long term sickness benefit.

The reforms will float the idea of rewarding those GPs who succeed in getting claimants off benefit.

"We are not ruling anything in or out. The Government wants to look at incentives to get people back to work," said one Whitehall source.

The clampdown, to be announced in reforms this week, will coincide with the establishment of employment advisers in doctors' surgeries.

"We are going to be looking at the start of a national education programme for GPs concerning the link between health and work," said a senior Government source.

"There will be a big focus on the fact that work is good for you and not bad."

Ministers will also propose that single mothers, with children aged up to 11, take steps to seek work in return for benefits.

The Green Paper on welfare reform to be presented by John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, will on Tuesday aim to take at least one million off incapacity benefit, and cut the £ 12bn annual bill.