“Throughout the cancer patient's journey, there ought to be a discussion about work”: The role of GPs in Scotland

Sarah Elizabeth Murdoch, Thomas Cox, Mark S Pearce, Neil Pryde, Sara Jane MacLennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


A significant proportion of working-age individuals receive a cancer diagnosis each year in the United Kingdom (UK). Work offers many benefits to cancer patients (1). However, latent treatment effects can cause recurrent sickness absence and lowered work ability (2), necessitating workplace adjustments (3). As they adjust to their new capabilities, cancer patients turn to General Practitioners (GPs) for work-related advice (4). However, beyond the statutory duty of assessing fitness to work (Fit Note), many GPs are uncertain of their role in this area (5). The abundance of occupations and cancer types makes it difficult for GPs to gain enough knowledge to adequately provide work-related advice to individual cancer patients (5). There is also limited clinical guidance available concerning the provision of such advice (5). Time constraints imposed on GP consultations further compound these difficulties, often meaning that work is not given due consideration. Few studies in Scotland have explored the role of GPs in advising cancer patients about work, despite the recommendation that employment should be discussed with cancer patients in primary care (6), and the increasing calls for GPs to deliver cancer follow-up care (7). The aim of this exploratory study was to determine the role of GPs in Scotland in providing work-related advice to cancer patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-346
Number of pages4
Issue number1
Early online date27 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

We wish to thank the GPs involved in this study for their valuable time and participation, and Dr Heather Morgan for her methodological advice.


  • cancer
  • employment
  • general practice
  • advice
  • Scotland


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