19 August 2010 #Employment
GPs can spot patients who will claim incapacity benefit for mental health issues three years before they stop working, research published in the British Medical Journal has suggested.
The results of the study led by Glasgow University have shown that in the three years before an incapacity benefit claim was made, patients experiencing mental health issues such as stress, depression or anxiety attended their GP surgery on a significantly higher number of occasions than previously.
Potentially, the data collected could help target patients before they become dependent on benefits and help keep them in work.
The number of people claiming incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance has risen by more than 300% in 30 years. There are currently 2.6 million people claiming incapacity benefit - around 8.5 per cent of the workforce at an estimated cost to the taxpayer of £12.5 billion a year.