§ Mr. Lewis
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the extent to which staff of the Employment Service have encouraged fit, unemployed persons to seek sickness certification from their general practitioners as an alternative to registering for employment; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
The chief executive of the Employment Service has assured me that Employment Service staff do not encourage fit, unemployed persons to seek sickness certification from their GPs. Only where clients raise doubts about their fitness and capability for work, and are willing to seek further advice from their GP will advisers suggest that they do so. If the Employment Service has doubts about their capability for work, but the client does not wish to seek further medical advice their claim will be taken and referred to the independent adjudicating authority for a decision on entitlement to an unemployment benefit.