As a GP, you’re in an ideal position to identify psychosocial concerns during the assessment and management of your patient’s injuries, but how do you address these concerns? Here are some recommendations to help you identify and address psychosocial issues.

Psychosocial factors, or ‘yellow flags’

When working with your patient, look out for psychosocial factors or concerns (generally referred to as ‘yellow flags’) such as:

  • unhelpful beliefs about their injury or pain
  • fear-avoidant behaviour
  • issues in their workplace
  • issues with their workers’ compensation claim.

What to do with a ‘yellow flag’ concern

Psychosocial concerns are best addressed within 4–12 weeks of a patient’s injury, and it’s a good idea to share your concerns with other injury management parties – they may be better placed to recommend a course of action.

You can highlight your concerns by ticking the ‘Other factors appear to be impacting recovery and return to work’ box under Section 4 of the Progress Certificate of Capacity. You’ll also find a box for further comments, although please consider patient confidentiality when providing comments.

For examples, take a look at Explanatory notes for medical practitioners: Progress Certificate of Capacity and our sample certificates.

More information about flags and courses of action

Read Using the Flags Model: A practical guide for GPs, which provides more details about flags and suggestions for addressing psychosocial concerns, including how to engage other professionals and specialists. Also, check out our Clinical Framework page for more information.