Write Your Own Sicknote; GPs Want to Let Workers Give Themselves Time Off

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Byline: RACHEL ELLIS

PUPILS will be able to decide when they are too ill to go to school under controversial plans to do away with the traditional doctor's sicknote.

GPs will this week demand an end to the system in which people need a certificate from their doctor to show they are too ill to go to school or work.

Instead, parents and guardians should be able to sign younger schoolchildren off sick, and responsible older pupils, college and university students should be able to sign themselves off.

New occupational health units will decide whether employees are not well enough to work. The proposal-which will be debated at the British Medical Association's annual GPs conference starting in London on Wednesday, aims to slash mounting NHS red tape.

It is estimated that 2.4 million GP appointments a year are wasted on needless bureaucracy.

But the move raises concerns that it will become easier for people to skive.

Millions of hours of business and schooling are already lost every year to people 'throwing sickies'.

Although sick pay regulations do not require employees to obtain notes from GPs unless they have been off work for more than seven days, many employers demand them even for minor ailments such as colds and headaches.

But family doctors want the issuing of sicknotes to be removed completely from their terms and conditions of service.

Dr Mary Church, chairman of the BMA's Scottish GPs Committee, said: 'It is just daft bureaucracy and we haven't got time for it. …