More healthcare professionals given powers to certify fit notes

New legislation to allow a wider range of healthcare professionals to certify fit notes has been introduced by the UK government to ease pressure on GPs. Fit notes replaced what most of us still call ‘sick notes’ in 2010. 

  • Nurses, occupationaltherapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists to certify and issue fit notes – reducing pressure on doctors, particularly GPs
  • Update will enable patients to see the most relevant healthcare professional and have better conversations about work and health
  • Changes follow the introduction of digital certifying of fit notes in April, simplifying the process of issuing and receiving fit notes

From 1 July 2022 nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists will all be able to legally certify fit notes – something that at present only doctors can do. If you’ve been off work with illness for more than seven days, a fit note provides evidence to your employer about your absence and any relevant advice on how to support you to remain in or return to work.

The change, the most significant since the fit note’s inception in 2010, will 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. This change will be delivered in general practice and hospital settings.

It will also help reduce pressure on doctors, particularly GPs, while simplifying the process of issuing and receiving a fit note – cutting bureaucracy for employers and the National Health Service.

The extension of fit note certification follows changes made in April 2022 that allow for fit notes to be certified and issued digitally making the process more efficient for employees, their employers, and GPs.

Fit notes can only be issued following an assessment of a person’s fitness for work, so cannot be issued on request or via over-the-counter services.

For more general information about sick pay, and what to do if you work and are sick go to:

Tom Togher

June 17, 2022.