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Fit notes can now be certified and issued by healthcare professionals

From 1 July 2022 the government introduced new legislation, meaning fit notes can now be certified and issued by healthcare professionals, as well as doctors.

The term ‘healthcare professionals’ includes nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physiotherapists and doctors.

Specialist healthcare professionals are thought to be better equipped to assess whether a worker is fit to be in work or not. It is also likely that they can provide more tailored advice when assessing whether the worker may be fit for work, considering certain advice.

The government have also issued new guidance alongside the legislation, regarding how to complete fit notes correctly, as well as how to discuss a patient’s beliefs about health and work if they are reluctant to return to work. The guidance reiterates that an assessment for fitness to work is about whether a patient is fit for work in general and is not job-specific. It also recognises that incomplete fit notes can make it difficult for employers to support a patient and cause delays to their return to work. This change should therefore help to reduce the amount of time a worker is absent, a benefit to both the worker and the employer.

Further, there is also information within the guidance on how the ‘comments’ section of the fit note should be completed, including the importance of giving practical advice to employers. In this section, it is advised that the only reference to a patient’s current job should be in the context of possible workplace adaptations, or whether the job may be affecting their health. The guidance should mean that fit notes are more meaningful and can help employers put better support in place to facilitate a return to work.


Fit notes can now be certified and issued by healthcare professionals

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