Many physicians in Sweden, as well as in other countries, find the matter of certification of sickness absence (COSA) particularly burdensome. The issuing of COSAs has also been perceived as a work-environment problem among physicians. Among general practitioners (GPs) are the highest proportion of physicians in Sweden who experience difficulties with COSA. Swedish authorities have created several initiatives, by changing the social security system, to improve the rehabilitation of people who are ill and decrease the number of days of sick leave used. The aim of this study was to describe how GPs in Sweden perceive their work with COSA after these changes.
A descriptive design with a qualitative, inductive focus-group discussion (FGD) approach was used.
Four categories emerged from the analysis of FGDs with GPs in Sweden: 1) Physicians' difficulties in their professional role; 2) Collaboration with other professionals facilitates the COSA; 3) Physicians' approach in relation to the patient; 4) An easier COSA process.
Swedish GPs still perceived COSA to be a burdensome task. However, system changes in recent years have facilitated work related to COSA. Cooperation with other professionals on COSA was perceived positively.
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