TEES health chiefs are backing a new campaign to manage short-term sickness.

Employers are to be targeted in the scheme, which urges them not to insist on their employees producing sick notes from their doctor when they are absent from work for only a few days.

The national promotion has been organised by the Doctor/Patient Partnership and is supported on Teesside by both the Cleveland Local Medical Committee (LMC) and Tees Health Authority.

GPs are not obliged to provide their patients with sickness certificates for illnesses of seven days or less. But many employers require an official certificate.

LMC chairman John Canning said: "Valuable time is wasted by doctors seeing patients with short-term sickness problems such as colds or headaches in order to provide them with a sick note for their employer.

"The GP could be spending that time on patients who really need their attention."

In future, patients requesting a short-term certificate of absence will be issued with a leaflet to give to their employer. The leaflet will contain details ways in which employers could manage sickness arrangements.

A website - www.managingabsence.org.uk - will be available from early January to support employers.