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1.  Diagnosis-specific disability pension predicts suicidal behaviour and mortality in young adults: a nationwide prospective cohort study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(2):e002286.
Objectives
Increasing rates of disability pension (DP), particularly owing to mental diagnoses, have been observed among young adults in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. There is a lack of knowledge about the health prognosis in this group. The aim of this study was to investigate whether DP in young adulthood owing to specific mental diagnoses or somatic diagnoses predicts suicidal behaviour and all-cause mortality.
Design
A nationwide prospective cohort study.
Setting
A register study of all young adults who in 2005 were 19–23 years old and lived in Sweden. Registers held by the National Board of Health and Welfare, Statistics Sweden and the National Social Insurance Agency were used.
Participants
525 276 young adults. Those who in 2005 had DP with mental diagnoses (n=8070) or somatic diagnoses (n=3975) were compared to all the other young adults in the same age group (n=513 231).
Outcome measures
HRs for suicide attempt, suicide and all-cause mortality in 2006–2010 were calculated by Cox proportionate hazard regression models, adjusted for sex, country of birth, parental education and parental and previous own suicidal behaviour.
Results
The adjusted HR for suicide attempt was 3.32 (95% CI 2.98 to 3.69) among those on DP with mental diagnoses and 1.78 (95% CI 1.41 to 2.26) among those on DP with somatic diagnoses. For the specific mental diagnoses, the unadjusted HRs ranged between 2.42 (mental retardation) and 22.94 (personality disorders), while the adjusted HRs ranged between 2.03 (mental retardation) and 6.00 (bipolar disorder). There was an increased risk of mortality for young adults on DP in general, but only those with mental DP diagnoses had a significantly elevated HR of completed suicide with an adjusted HR of 3.92 (95% CI 2.83 to 5.43).
Conclusions
Young adults on DP are at increased risk of suicidal behaviour and preterm death, which emphasises the need for improved treatment and follow-up.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002286
PMCID: PMC3586126  PMID: 23396561
Disability; Suicide; Psychiatry; Registers
2.  Physicians who experience sickness certification as a work environmental problem: where do they work and what specific problems do they have? A nationwide survey in Sweden 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000704.
Objectives
In a recent study, 11% of the Swedish physicians below 65 years dealing with sickness certification tasks (SCT) experienced SCT to a great extent as a work environment problem (WEP). This study aimed at exploring which SCT problems those physicians experienced and if these problems varied between general practitioners (GPs), psychiatrists, orthopaedists and physicians working at other types of clinics.
Design
A cross-sectional nationwide questionnaire study.
Setting
All physicians working in Sweden in 2008.
Participants
The 1554 physicians <65 years old, working in a clinical setting, having SCT and stating SCT to a great extent being a WEP.
Outcome measures
Frequency of possibly problematic situations or lack of time, reasons for sickness certifying unnecessarily long, experience of difficulties in contacts with sickness insurance offices, and severity of experienced problems.
Results
In all, 79% of this group of physicians experienced SCT as problematic at least once weekly, significantly higher proportion among GPs (p<0.001) and psychiatrists (p=0.005). A majority (at most 68.3%) experienced lack of time daily, when handling SCT, the proportion being significantly higher among orthopaedists (p=0.003, 0.007 and 0.011 on three respective items about lack of time). Among psychiatrists, a significantly higher proportion (p<0.001) stated wanting a patient coordinator. Also, GPs agreed to a higher extent (p<0.001) to finding 14 different SCT tasks as ‘very problematic’.
Conclusions
The main problem among physicians who experience SCT to a great extent as a WEP was lack of time related to SCT. The proportion of physicians experiencing problems varied in many aspects significantly between the different work clinics; however, GPs were among the highest in most types of problems. The results indicate that measures for improving physicians' sickness certification practices should be focused on organisational as well as professional level and that the needs in these aspects differ between specialties.
Article summary
Article focus
A study of the minority of physicians who state sickness certification tasks to a great extent being a work environment problem.
What problems do these physicians experience in relation to sickness certification?
Do the experienced problems vary with type of work clinic/specialty?
Key messages
A vast majority of these physicians experienced daily lack of time when handling sickness certification tasks.
About half of these physicians found it very problematic to assess level of work incapacity, to manage the two roles as the patient's physician and as a medical expert, and to provide the Social Insurance Office with more extensive sickness certificates.
Measures for improving physicians' sickness certification practices should be focused on organisational as well as professional levels and might need to differ between specialties.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The study was based on a questionnaire sent to all 37 000 physicians in a whole country, and the response rate (61%) could be regarded as relatively high.
Only one question about work environment was included.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000704
PMCID: PMC3293140  PMID: 22382120
3.  Use and usefulness of guidelines for sickness certification: results from a national survey of all general practitioners in Sweden 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000303.
Objectives
Diagnoses-specific sickness certification guidelines were recently introduced in Sweden. The aim of this study was to investigate to which extent general practitioners (GPs) used these guidelines and how useful they found them, 1 year after introduction.
Design
A cross-sectional questionnaire study. A comprehensive questionnaire about sickness certification practices in 2008 was sent to all physicians living and working in Sweden (n=36 898, response rate 60.6%). In all, 19.7% (n=4394) of the responders worked as GPs.
Setting
Primary healthcare in all Sweden.
Participants
The participating GPs who had consultations concerning sickness certification at least a few times a year (n=4278, 97%).
Main outcome measures
Descriptive statistics and prevalence ratios for the 11 questionnaire items about the use and usefulness of the sickness certification guidelines.
Results
A majority (76.2%) of the GPs reported that they used the guidelines. In addition, 65.4% and 43.5% of those GPs reported that the guidelines had facilitated their contacts with patients and social insurance officers, respectively. The guidelines also helped nearly one-third (31.5%) of the GPs to develop their competence and improve the quality of their management of sickness certification consultations (33.5%). About half experienced some problems when using the guidelines and 43.7% wanted better competence in using them. A larger proportion of non-specialists and of GPs with fewer sickness certification consultations had benefitted from the guidelines.
Conclusions
The national sickness certification guidelines implemented in Sweden were widely used by GPs already a year after introduction. Also, the GPs consider the guidelines useful in several respects, for example, in patient contacts and for competence development.
Article summary
Article focus
Sweden recently introduced national sickness certification guidelines. We investigated:
To what extent did the general practitioners use them 1 year later?
How useful did the general practitioners find them?
Key messages
Already after 1 year, most general practitioners used the guidelines and benefited extensively from them
Two-thirds of the general practitioners reported that the guidelines had facilitated their patient contacts and one-third that it facilitated their contacts with social insurance, other healthcare staff and employers
One-third stated that the guidelines had been helpful in competence development and improved the quality of their management of sickness certification cases
Strengths and limitations of this study
Strengths were the large study group and that all general practitioners in Sweden were included. Also, internationally this is the, so far, without comparison largest study of general practitioner's sickness certification practices. However, the non-response rate of 39% was a limitation, and we have no way of knowing if the non-responders differed with regard to use of the guidelines. However, only 11 of the 163 items in the questionnaire concerned the guidelines, why there is no reason to believe that no response was related to use of the guidelines.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000303
PMCID: PMC3244659  PMID: 22189350
4.  Respectful encounters and return to work: empirical study of long-term sick-listed patients' experiences of Swedish healthcare 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000246.
Aims
To study long-term sick-listed patients' self-estimated ability to return to work after experiences of healthcare encounters that made them feel either respected or wronged.
Methods
A cross-sectional and questionnaire-based survey was used to study a sample of long-term sick-listed patients (n=5802 respondents). The survey included questions about positive and negative encounters as well as reactions to these encounters, such as ‘feeling respected’ and ‘feeling wronged’. The questionnaire also included questions about the effects of these encounters on the patients' ability to return to work.
Results
Among patients who had experienced positive encounters, those who also felt respected (n=3327) demonstrated significantly improved self-estimated ability to return to work compared to those who did not feel respected (n=79) (62% (95% CI 60% to 64%) vs 34% (95% CI 28% to 40%)). Among patients with experiences of negative encounters, those who in addition felt wronged (n=993) claimed to be significantly more impeded from returning to work compared to those who did not feel wronged (n=410) (50% (95% CI 47% to 53%) vs 31% (95% CI 27% to 35%)).
Conclusions
The study indicates that positive encounters in healthcare combined with feeling respected significantly facilitate sickness absentees' self-estimated ability to return to work, while negative encounters combined with feeling wronged significantly impair it.
Article summary
Article focus
To what extent can positive and perceived respectful healthcare encounters influence long-term sick-listed patients' ability to return to work?
To what extent can negative and perceived unfair healthcare encounters influence long-term sick-listed patients' ability to return to work?
Key messages
Long-term sick-listed patients' self-estimated ability to return to work is significantly facilitated if healthcare encounters are perceived as respectful.
Long-term sick-listed patients' self-estimated ability to return to work is significantly impeded if healthcare encounters are perceived as unfair.
The net effect of feeling respected was highest among patients with somatic disorders, while the net effect of feeling wronged was highest among patients with psychiatric disorders.
Strengths and limitation of this study
The study sample was large and we obtained quite a high response rate.
The outcome measure was the respondents' self-estimated ability to return to work, not their actual ability.
The findings are based on the views of long-term sick-listed patients and so generalisation may not be possible.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000246
PMCID: PMC3211048  PMID: 22021890

Results 1-4 (4)