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Tuesday, July 20

Green GP survey shows medical certificates an unworkable sick joke

After ringing 40 GPs nationwide it appears National’s policy of requiring medical certificates for only one day’s sick leave is simply unworkable, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

The Key Government is planning to give employers the right to require a medical certificate from workers who have only taken one day off work. The Green Party this morning conducted a random nationwide survey of 40 GPs in the four main centres. Of the 40 GPs consulted only 12 said they could squeeze in a patient with flu-like on the same day.

“Health Minister Tony Ryall pointed out last month in a speech to health professionals that New Zealand has a shortage of GPs,” said Dr Norman.

“With an already stretched health system the idea workers with a stomach bug or the flu should pull themselves out of bed to get a medical certificate is simply unworkable and draconian.

“Not only will the trip to the doctor more than likely prolong any illness, it will also be a huge drain on our health system, costing the taxpayer millions.

“The really stupid part of this policy is that sick people are supposed to avoid contact with others. Rather than lifting productivity this Ebenezer Scrooge-like ideological burp is likely to result in more people getting ill and missing work.

“What we have seen in the last few days from National is onslaught of anti-worker ideas that will make the two percent of hard right Act supporters delighted while destroying New Zealand workers rights to a fair go.”

The survey at a glance:

40 GPs surveyed

-10 in Wellington

-10 in Dunedin

-10 in Christchurch

-10 in Auckland

-25 / 40 said not today

-12 / 40 said today

-3 / 40 said we may be able to squeeze you in

-1 day wait to see doctor at 12 places

-2 day wait to see doctor at 2 places

-4 day wait to see doctor at 1 place

-8 / 40 doctors had closed their books to new patients