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New NHS algorithm to enable self-issued sick notes



The UK government is planning to introduce significant reforms to the sick note system, including the implementation of a new NHS algorithm that would enable individuals to self-issue sick notes for minor illnesses.

The UK government plans to make significant reforms to the sick note system, including implementing a new NHS algorithm that will allow individuals to self-issue sick notes for minor illnesses.

The move is part of broader efforts to ease pressure on doctors’ time, especially when treating cases of long-term illness.

Under the proposed revision, individuals would have the option to use an online triage service, accessible via a website or app, as a first point of contact for obtaining sick notification. By entering their symptoms, users would receive tailored support based on the severity of their condition. While those with complex needs would receive intensive care, those with common infections or minor injuries could automatically receive a sick note without the need for a doctor’s consultation.

Rishi Sunak has voiced his support for reforming the current sick note system, which he says has not met its objectives. He cited concerns about the increasing number of sick notes issued each year and the strain this places on GPs’ resources.

The proposed changes are intended to streamline the triage process, reduce administrative burden and ensure individuals receive appropriate support tailored to their health and employment needs. However, there are concerns about potential misuse of the system, prompting calls for thorough testing and monitoring to address these issues.

Sunak also faced criticism on Sunday after confirming he would stick with a policy limiting universal credit payments to a family’s first two children. “Working families do not see their income increase when they have more children. Families on benefits must make the same financial decisions as those who support themselves solely through work,” he wrote in The Sun on Sunday.

Alison Garnham of the Child Poverty Action Group accused Sunak of having “decided that making children poor is his political priority”.