Doctors have accused Pharmacy2U, Britain’s largest online pharmacy, of making it too easy to obtain sick notes. The company recently launched a service that allows customers to be signed off work by recording a 30-second video describing their symptoms. For a fee of £39, customers can upload the video and receive a sick letter on the same day if submitted before 9pm. The Times tested the service and successfully obtained a sick note for four days by feigning symptoms. Critics argue that the service lacks rigour and is open to abuse. Beverley Sunderland, managing director at Crossland Employment Solicitors, said: “I understand people have difficulties getting GP appointments, but they need to be speaking to someone who is asking questions and probing them about what kind of work they might be able to do. We are seeing an awful lot of people signed off sick at the moment and it is causing chaos for businesses.”
Our HR comment: – Online pharmacy accused of making it too easy to get sick notes | Consensus HR | Herts, Beds.
Matthew P Chilcott, FCIPD, ACEL, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “This article in the ‘The Times’ demonstrates what could be a managerial, business owner and HR nightmare in ensuring that sickness in the workplace is managed accordingly. At Consensus HR we know how hard it can be to obtain professional medical information from an employee’s GP or medical professional such as a Hospital Consultant but without this we and our clients cannot support members of the team at work with their health and welfare whilst ensuring the success of the business. Money making schemes such as these do not help either the employee or businesses as their real medical need or not is not addressed correctly and is open to abuse at the cost of the employee and the business they work for. Companies need to ensure that they always have a comprehensive sickness and absence strategy in place that ensures the welfare of all members of the team is managed correctly with return-to-work interviews, gaining consent to write to the employees doctor / GP for advice on how to support the employee and access to Occupational Health for support and advice for the company and employee when needed.”
To read our detailed advice on absence management click here.
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