The number of fit notes issued in the county is falling as the government looks to tackle what it describes as the 'sick note culture'.

Data has revealed that the number of fit notes, also known as sick notes, is issued across the county has gone down in the past year by two per cent.

Fit notes are issued to patients by healthcare professionals following an assessment of their fitness for work.

A total of 106,903 people in Dorset were signed off work by a member of the Dorset Integrated Care Boards in 2023, be it a GP, Doctor or therapist. This has gone down from 108,554 people requiring notes in the previous year.

January saw the most notes prescribed with 10,560. April was the month that saw the least amount of people be handed sick notes, with 7,619 given out.

Under government plans, GPs are to be stripped of their power to sign people off work, as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is looking to crackdown on the principle of ‘sick-note culture’.

In December 2023, 246 people in Dorset were given sick notes due to mental and behavioural disorder.

The data shows that 7,576 patients did not have reasons provided for requiring the sick notes. A spokesperson for the NHS in Dorset said that at this time, they are unable to comment as to why no reasons were provided.

This follows news that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is looking to strip GPs of the power to sign people off work in a crackdown on what has been described as the country's ‘sick note culture.’

Mr Sunak has warned that a surge in people signed off sick with mental health conditions is placing 'unsustainable' pressure on the welfare budget.

The Prime Minister said it is time to be 'more honest about the risk of over-medicalising the everyday challenges and worries of life' and will say that politicians must be bold enough to tackle the issue.

A spokesperson for the NHS Dorset said: “We will work with our local GPs to explore how this change might impact on their workload and on patients.

“We are not able to comment on the effect this might have at this point in time.”