Doctors from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) have signed off on implementing the ‘fit note’ in Australia.

The ‘fit note’ will allow for general practitioners to give their patients more information on their physical ability to work during a time of illness or physical impairment.

This will permit patients to be rehabilitated back into the work force earlier for a more efficient recovery.

The United Kingdom introduced the ‘fit note’ in 2010 with no pre-trial or informative purpose established, which led to misinterpretation and misuse by GPs.

President of RACP, Dr David Beaumont, believes that Australia can learn from the problems found in the UK and use these to better the service here.

Beaumont suggests trials should take place in Australia so that the experiment can tailor for an Australian background.

The ‘fit note’ will determine whether patients are:

  •  Not ‘fit’ for work

or

  •  May be ‘fit’ for work

This will allow for individuals to be assessed more directly on their condition and given advice on the types of duties that could be performed in a work place.

Beaumont says, “The evidence tells us that people recover more quickly at work rather than at home.” This is despite the common understanding that resting at home is the best form of medicine.

What do you think? Should you do the work you can for your employer while you’re sick, or should a sick day just be a sick day?