§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking in conjunction with other Departments to improve awareness of vocational rehabilitation issues by general practitioners(a) in their initial training and (b) through continuing professional development. 
§ Mr. Nicholas Brown
A major goal of the Government is to help those people who become sick or disabled and who can work to do so, either by retaining their job or by rehabilitating to new employment. The Government recognise the important role that general practitioners play in this area through the treatment they provide to patients of working age and through the advice they provide as certifying medical practitioners.
This Department's Chief Medical Adviser issues guidance to GPs in relation to their role as certifying medical practitioners which stresses the need for clinical management which will encourage and support work retention and rehabilitation. In conjunction with the medical professional bodies this Department has developed training material for GP registrars. This material, along with further information for established GPs, such as evidence based recovery times, can be found on the Department's website www.dwp.gov.uk/medical. This information is also available in the House of Commons Library. We have also supported a project by Staffordshire university to develop a distance learning course for GPs in occupational health and rehabilitation matters. We are planning to develop additional on-line educational tools for GPs which will support work retention and rehabilitation.