14 Aug 2013

GPs have role getting people back to work - minister

3:47 pm on 14 August 2013

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says doctors will not be rewarded for getting people off benefits, but believes they have a role to play in getting them back to work.

Welfare reforms suggest doctors can help remove barriers to getting beneficiaries off welfare and into work.

Ms Bennett is ruling out a reward system, but said on Wednesday doctors should be talking to beneficiaries about their employment potential.

She said if the doctor asks a patient if they are in work and if not, whether there are any barriers to them being employed that the doctor can help with, that is "entirely appropriate".

Ms Bennett said there is strong evidence that someone getting paid employment could be the best thing for their health when they have, for example, low-level mental health or depression problems.