Coming Soon: The privatised sick note service that will email you back to work

David Hencke

In two months time the traditional doctor’s note excusing you from work will start to cease being valid if you are still sick after four weeks.

Just before Parliament went into the summer recess welfare reform minister, Lord Freud, announced that a US multinational company,Maximus, which also operates in Canada and Saudi Arabia will take over running the new Health and Work Service for England and Wales.

My report in this week’s Tribune  reveals that up to one million people will be affected by the change which appears to be aimed to save the government money.

Maximus runs call centres, occupational health programmes, child support and job seekers programmes abroad and in the United Kingdom.

The programme is to be rolled out from November to next May aims to save up to £165 million a year by getting people back to work faster as part of Lord Freud’s welfare…

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6 Responses to Coming Soon: The privatised sick note service that will email you back to work

  1. loobitzh says:

    This is the link to the policy document:

    I find this new bit of legislation very worrying. On reading between the already worrying lines it is obvious that the really nasty details are left out. Have many concerns but my main ones are that it will be the gov who determine whether you are sick or not according to this doc because after 4 weeks GPs are mandated to pass you over to this ‘ATOS’ style assessment which will have to draw up a back to work plan. Which I have heard could include ‘health professionals sending depressed citizens for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with the view of returning to work as quickly as possible. Also if a doctor deems that the person is still not well enough to return to work it can be overruled by this company and also the employer if the employer believes this to be so. The employer can also use any report by this Maximus company as ‘evidence’ in relation to the workers absence and therefore stop any sickness benefit they may be entitled to. And yes most of this will be conducted within a two week period and communicated by text, email and telephone conversations. It looks to me as if the outcome will be the disabled and people with mental health problems will be hit the hardest with this policy, leaving it almost impossible to claim ESA etc. People with Mental Health issues could end up feeling coerced back to work when they are not ready to do so. This paper also states that the Health Advisors will be focussing on whats stopping them from returning to work, ie, if they are depressed, then whats going on in their personal and private lives which is causing the depression. This kind of information could then be shared with the employer. I am wondering if this is going to be yet another invasion on our right to a private life. Forgive the bad grammar, Im very disturbed by all this. I read about it about a month ago but had read that the Lib Dems were opposed to it and thought it unethical so thought it would not see the light of day. Please can you upload the full document so people can see whats intended in detail. I am disabled by a chronic mental health condition and all this stuff the government is doing just compounds my worry, anxiety and depression. I cant do anything on my own But I see you are very good at getting stuff out there. I am very worried for us all.


    • Hi hun, I too am worried by this. There was a recent court case where an individual was, how shall I put this, bullied back to work and this was the outcome.

      I intend having a good read through the document you’ve attached and will post my thoughts about it on my blog. I think it’s important that when people feel a government policy is potentially not fit for purpose, that they use all weapons at their disposal such as contacting your MP, making a Freedom of Information request to establish what legislation applies, posting about it on twitter and facebook. These actions have a twofold effect… it gives the person who is worried about the change some control and advertises the disquiet about the change to those who may not have been aware of it. X X


      • loobitzh says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful and kind reply. I must also thank you for the hard work you undertake on behalf of us all, many of whom are not well enough to fight back. Your blogs are reassuring to me because they let me know I am not alone in this ever changing world where our freedoms, rights and individualities are being subtly, and now not so subtly attacked and eroded. Its people like you who give me some glimmer of hope. For me the world is becoming a frightening place, which leaves me fearful for myself, others and our children. Its not the world I thought it was and leaves me feeling ashamed of our government for its constant attacks on the less fortunate, an easy target. I shall be doing all I can to challenge this but I am unable to do so much of the time because of my disability, which is exasperated because of the real fear this government creates with its destructive policies.


      • Thank you hun. My dear old dad (now sadly long gone) brought me up to always obtain the rationale behind a decision made by authorities (quite an avant garde thing to do for someone who was born in 1921!) He had many sayings, but my favourite was… “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” and I believe that to be truly socialist, those who are physically and mentally well MUST take up the cudgels on behalf of the weaker and vulnerable people in society, after all, there but for the grace of God go I. X X


      • loobitzh says:

        We have the same philosophy and spirit I believe. Im posting you another link, which contains more damming evidence of the Govs intentions for the Mentally Ill. Dont know If you have seen it or heard about this, but Ive not seen it on the blogs I subscribe to yet!

        Hope its ok to send you this stuff. Im really good at finding this stuff out etc, but not getting it out there or fighting in the way you do. But I really want to contribute to the struggle in any way I can. XX


      • I posted something similar a little while back

        At the moment, this “suggestion” doesn’t seem to have garnered support from the political spectrum and soon the tory boys will be gone (fingers crossed) and this hare brained scheme will end up in the dustbin along with all the other rubbish they’ve dreamt up!


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