Changes to employee fit notes – from today
Fit notes can now be provided to staff by a wider group of healthcare professionals. Previously fit notes needed to be certified by doctors, but from today fit notes can be certified and issued by nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists in addition to doctors.
The intention is to reduce pressure on doctors, particularly GPs and to “support and empower better conversations about work and health between employers and staff by making it easier to get this advice certified by the most relevant healthcare professional” – DWP DHSC press release 10th June 22.
Fit notes can still only be issued in a general practice or hospital setting, and medical professionals will only be able to issue a fit note once they’ve assessed the patient. Fit notes cannot be issued on request or through over the counter services.
More detailed guidance on fit notes and the information required is contained here.
We would always recommend properly checking and reviewing fit notes on receipt to check that they meet the details required. It’s not that staff cannot be trusted, but sometimes key details contained in the fit note can easily be missed, so it’s essential to have processes in place to properly review and safeguard such information. A guide specifically created to support employers and line managers to get the most out of a fit note can be found here.
Remember also that the requirement for the doctor to sign the form in wet ink was changed in April 2022 and replaced by a digital form, however the fit not must still include the issuers name and profession.
Specialist employment law advice
For any further queries on this update, or to discuss how to support your staff with a sickness issue, then don’t hesitate to contact us.
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