Background: Evidence suggests that general practitioners (GPs) find fitness for work certification and work- related consultations challenging. The Royal College of General Practitioners was commissioned in 2009 to develop and roll out a National Education Programme (NEP) funded by the Department for Work and Pensions for a period of 2 years.
Aims: To develop and evaluate a face-to-face educational programme that shifts GPs' attitudes to the management of the consultation about work and health.
Methods: A 3 hour interactive programme that addressed both knowledge and skills for the management of the health and work consultation using behaviour-change principles was developed. Evaluation focused on delegates' confidence in managing the work and health consultation and the importance (priority) they gave to the subject. Questionnaires at three time points were constructed: pre, immediately post and 3 months post training.
Results: A total of 152 workshops were evaluated across the UK between July 2009 and March 2011. A total of 2865 GPs attended the workshops. Questionnaire response rates were 78% pre workshop, 80% post workshop and 14% 3 months post workshop. Evaluation showed a significant increase in GPs' confidence in managing the consultation regarding work and health, and GPs gave higher priority to these types of consultations after the training.
Conclusions: The NEP has brought the training about health and work to prominence in general practice, and has also influenced policy and practice in other medical specialties.