MENTAL health and behavioural conditions were the most common "known" reasons for fit notes being issued by GPs in England between December 2014 and March 2017, according to new figures from NHS Digital.
Such conditions accounted for 31 per cent of all fit notes where the diagnosis was known, and around one in five were issued for a period of absence of more than 12 weeks.
Data regarding more than 12 million fit notes issued by GPs over a 28-month period was analysed, of which around 5.8 million had a known diagnosis.
Around 1.1 million fit notes relating to musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders were issued over the period – making this the second most common category.
In other findings from the report, the number of fit notes written for anxiety and stress related conditions increased by around 14 percent between 2015/16 and 2016/17, and January 2017 saw the highest number of fit notes issue in one month (556,000).