On Friday 10th June, the Government announced that a wider range of healthcare professionals with have the authority to issue fit notes in relation to absence from work from 1st July 2022.  The aim is to reduce workload pressure on GPs.

Until now, GP’s were the only people who could issue a fit note – but when the new legislation comes into force the following professionals will be able to issue them:

  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists

The Department of Work and Pensions have stressed that fit notes can only legally be issued following a formal assessment of a person’s fitness for work – they wont be available “over the counter”.

Employees who are off sick for more than seven days are required to give their employer a fit note, issued by a health professional, which provides evidence about their absence and any advice on how to support them to remain or return to work.

There is no indication of the process that employees will need to follow in terms of getting an assessment from the new group, presumably they would have to pay for an appointment with an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist.  Additionally, there is no clarity in relation to continuity which could mean a person could be assessed by a Pharmacist and then a different professional to extend the fit note cover period.

 

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