GPs across North, East and West Devon sign 138 fit notes on average every day, according to the latest NHS figures.

Across the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG, GPs issued a total of 50,435 fit notes between April 2017 and March this year.

That’s down on the previous 12 months, but the NHS says that a technical error meant the figures for February 2018 were under recorded.

People in work need a fit note, previously called a sick note, if they are off work for more than seven days. Up to that point they can self-certify that they are unwell.

Across England, 5.3 million fit notes were handed out in the 12 months.

The most common reasons that doctors signed people off work were mental and behavioural disorders, particularly stress, and back problems.

Women were signed off sick more than men. They received 57 per cent of the fit notes in the 12 months.