OBJECTIVE: To explore frequencies and experiences with problems in sickness certification consultations among gynecologists and obstetricians in two different years.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional surveys on two occasions; in 2004 and 2008.
SETTING: Gynecological, obstetric and maternal health care.
SAMPLE: Physicians working in gynecology, obstetrics or maternal health care in two Swedish counties from two samples: in 2004 (n = 315), and in 2008 (n = 327).
METHODS: Data regarding sickness certification consultations were obtained from comprehensive questionnaires that had been mailed to the physicians in two Swedish counties in 2004 and in 2008, respectively.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Frequencies and types of problems in sickness certification consultations, organizational support, and need to acquire more competence.
RESULTS: The majority experienced that patients requested to be on sick leave for a reason other than work incapacity due to disease or injury, at least a few times per year (85% in 2004 and 88% in 2008). The most problematic situation to handle was when the physician and the patient had different opinions about the need for sick leave (2004: 66% and 2008: 58%). The physicians expressed a need for more competence about the options and responsibilities of employers, social insurance officers and physicians in sickness certification cases.
CONCLUSIONS: Most gynecologists/obstetricians find sickness certification consultations problematic and especially when encountering patients requesting to be on sick leave for reasons other than disease. The physicians expressed a need for more competence in insurance medicine, especially about their own and other stakeholders' options and responsibilities.
2013. Vol. 92, no 9, 1007-16 p.