A leading Irish doctor is admitting GPs' mismanagement of long-term sick leave is costing taxpayer's money.
New measures to overhaul the sick cert system have been drawn up by the Department of Social Protection.
The new guidelines will set strict time limits on how long someone can be out of work, depending on their illness and type of job they do.
The move is being made because the current programme costs the State around €870m every year.
Dr Ruairí Hanley, a GP and a columnist with the Irish Medical Times, has said doctors are not suitable referees for social welfare fraud.
Dr Hanley said: "I am putting my hands up here for the entire profession, I don't think GPs are equipped or qualified to make these types of judgements.
"I don’t think they should be making these types of judgements and they are costing tax payers money.
"I am emphasisng that I am quite happy to forego the income, I am not looking to be paid for it, I am quite looking forward to saying goodbye to this social welfare cert issue and handing it over to other independent doctors.
"The 'quid pro quo' for all this is that I would sit in then as an independent doctor on other doctor's patients."