Background Over the past 9 years there has been a 70% increase in requests for
sickness certificates in Australia. In this same period, an increasing
number of people have been certified as permanently disabled for
Objective This article highlights the relationship between work and health, and
emphasises the detrimental effects of certified work absence. It calls
for a reduction in the number and duration of sickness certifications.
Discussion Current certification practices suggest a lack of understanding
of the risks associated with work absence. Issuing a sickness
certificate can have negative impacts on health and wellbeing, and
general practitioners need to be as cautious when issuing sickness
certificates as they are when delivering other treatments associated
with significant health risks.
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