Thursday, 21 February 2008

Sick note - Pulling a sickie or a sign of a wider social malaise?

In the summer plans are afoot to try and stem the tide of the so-called sick-note culture which affects the UK. Doctors will be urged to try and find ways to write a well-note, outlining what parts of the job a patient can do, or steps to be taken to try and get the patient back to work (and off benefits) as soon as possible. While some see this as asking doctors to 'police' the benefits system, I can't help wondering if our sick-note culture is the price we pay for our 24-7 lifestyle.

A longer, harder look at our working hours, minimum wage, lunch breaks, smoking, eating and drinking habits, child care for working parents, burden of individual debt, long term caring responsibilities of the elderly, mentally ill etc., might well find evidence that we are pushing the fabric and pace of our society to it's limits and something, somewhere will give. There will always be people who think a hand-out is easier than a job but when a large proportion of society prefer to opt out, surely we should look for the cause as well as simply treat the symptoms?

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