“Sick note Britain” — Doctors in Unite defend patients and GP rights

Doctors in Unite is the UK’s oldest medical trade union representing junior doctors, general practitioners and hospital consultants. Founded in 1914, formerly called the Medical Practitioners’ Union, they campaigned for the formation of the NHS.

Read their statement in response to Sunak’s speech attacking sickness benefits:

“Doctors in Unite condemns the latest attempt by the Tory government to blame people who are unfit for work and their GPs for the woeful state of the economy.

“Growing numbers of people unfit for work reflects lengthening NHS waiting lists, cuts to health services (especially in mental health), privatisation of services and lack of support from employers for workers with disabilities and long-term health conditions.  It is the government’s catastrophic handling of the Covid pandemic which has led to hundreds of thousands of workers contracting Long Covid and being unable to work.  It is the government’s gig economy, low wage and cost of living crisis policies which have materially worsened the living conditions of people in Britain, leading to greater long-term ill-health.

“GPs are not responsible for these problems, neither are people with ill-health and disabilities.

Doctors in Unite logo -- the word unite with a flame above.  Fighting for the NHS.  White on red background.

“The Tories’ plan for ‘specialist Work Health Professionals’ to take over issuing Fit Notes is outrageous and dangerous, and undermines the doctor-patient relationship. Who and where are these ‘specialists’? It takes four years minimum to qualify as an occupational health nurse and eleven years to become a specialist occupational health doctor.”

Read their full statement here

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Read Disability News Service report of last Sunday’s emergency meeting called by Disabled People Against Cuts: Direct action ‘will put stake through the heart’ of government scapegoating of disabled people


“As well as DPAC activists, others at the meeting included representatives from the disabled women’s organisation WinVisibleInclusion London, and DPAC Northern Ireland, and union activists from PCS, Unite Community and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).”

“The meeting also heard of other ways that disabled people could fight back against the government’s reforms, including writing to MPs and mainstream media, contributing to local radio discussions, and posting on social media.”

“Claire Glasman, from WinVisible, who also attended, said the meeting showed that “everyone is determined to resist this attack on our benefit rights”.

She said: “In WinVisible, many of us are living with mental distress due to abuse, rape, war and other trauma.

“We are asylum-seekers, refugee, immigrant and UK-born women, and some of us are LGBTQI+.

“In the face of Rishi Sunak scapegoating sick and disabled people; the government wanting to give the DWP surveillance powers on the bank accounts of 22 million claimants, including pensioners; and the passing of the Rwanda bill, effectively ending the right to seek asylum and protection in the UK, we are more determined than ever to fight for our survival.”

She also said there were concerns that the government planned to privatise the fit note system, and she called on the British Medical Association to oppose any such plans, which would lead to “profiteer companies” making decisions, as with the “brutal disability benefit assessments” that have been carried out by Maximus, Atos and Capita.”

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1 thought on ““Sick note Britain” — Doctors in Unite defend patients and GP rights”

  1. I asked for a sick note when I was under investigation for cancer. This is still ongoing but I have returned to work nonetheless, as I was refused ESA.


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