GPs paid to get patients off Incapacity Benefit?

Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton has indicated that under the proposed reform of the Incapacity Benefit system, GPs could get financial incentives to help people off Incapacity Benefit. Employment advisers could be stationed in surgeries to work with GPs, offering people who have a sick note advice on working in another kind of job, and local councils may be offered financial rewards for back-to-work schemes.

The proposals will be outlined in the Welfare Reform Green Paper to be launched tomorrow (Tuesday 24th) by the Work and Pensions Secretary. The paper will also give details of increased payments promised to the “seriously disabled” on Incapacity Benefit.

Commenting on the proposed changes, Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Welsh mental health charity Hafal, stated: “We believe that many people with severe mental illness can get back to work and we support initiatives to encourage this.

“However, the GP’s priority must always be the well-being of the patient, and not financial gain.”