A publication produced by NHS Digital, analysing fit notes issued by GP practices in England from December 2014 to March 2017, reveals that nearly a third of fit notes issued are for psychiatric problems. The BBC report that fit notes is the formal name given to what were once called sick notes and the data shows that 31.3 per cent of fit notes with a known diagnosis were for mental and behavioural disorders. This makes psychiatric problems the most common reason for people to take time off work, ahead of musculoskeletal diseases, which accounted for 18%. The Royal College of Psychiatrists said the findings were “alarming”.
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