If you have this common condition it could be harder to take time off work

Millions of people across the UK have suffered with some sort of mental health condition at some point in their lives such as anxiety or depression. And most people like to know that should they ever have problems with their mental health they will be able to take some time off work to get themselves better.

Stress, an extremely common complaint, also increases the risk of mental health problems, experts say. But it could be harder in future to take time off work because of these conditions as part of a planned Government crackdown.

Rishi Sunak has announced plans to strip GPs of their power to issue sick notes, amid concerns they are being handed out to too many people. There were a record 2.8 million off work sick in February and the Government says too much money is being spent on sick pay.

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The Prime Minister believes it shouldn't be so easy for workers to take time off and has argued being at work, around others and having a routine can be just as beneficial for mental health. NHS data in 2017 showed mental health and behavioural conditions have accounted for almost a third (31%) of all fit notes, where the diagnosis was known.

Around 20,000 people are thought to be off work every month citing problems with their mental health. Anxiety and related conditions have surged further since the Covid pandemic.

Charities have already raised concerns around the plans, as well as the tone being used by the Government amid concerns about people who are genuinely unwell and need some time off work. The Prime Minister said there would still be a "safety net" for "those who genuinely need it" but argued Britain has a "sick note culture" which must change.

The proposals would likely depend on a Conservative victory at this year's general election, although Labour hasn't set out clearly what it would do.