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GPs report employees having been sacked while off sick

Britain’s family doctors 'routinely' see patients who have been dismissed from their job during an illness, new research reveals.

The findings, in research conducted by Comres on behalf of Legal & General, show how some employers are struggling to manage workplace ill health and absence.

The survey also shows that 50% of GPs saw patients who have been dismissed from their job during an illness 'a few times a year'.

In five regions, more than half of GPs had seen patients in these circumstances a few times a year: 52% in the North West; 53% in the West Midlands; 56% in the South Central; 50% in Scotland and 54% in Wales.

Diane Buckley, MD of Legal & General's Group Income Protection, said: "Many employers lack the specialist resource to help rehabilitate their staff when they've been ill. They show the importance of early intervention to make sure that tailored, individual support is delivered quickly."

Dr John Delfosse, a practising GP and Legal & General's consulting medical officer, added: "Over the years, I have seen patients who unfortunately have been dismissed during a period of illness, usually occurring during the early part of their absence. Particularly it seems if they have only been with an employer for a short time.

"There is no doubt that being at work is good for your well-being and unemployment can adversely alter the course of a period of ill health. I strongly believe that with early targeted intervention, given the right expertise, this outcome can be changed returning my patients to the workplace sooner."