Changes to Fit Notes from 1st July 2022

Published 28th June 2022

There has been an announcement of a significant change to the Fit Note Regulations to allow more healthcare professionals to certify Fit Notes.

The professions that can now sign Fit Notes are registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists. The changes come into effect from 1st July 2022.

The purpose of this change is to expand the people who can sign Fit Notes and therefore relieve the pressure on GPs and their practices. Companies may find employees submitting Fit Notes signed by one of these new healthcare professionals in the future.

The Department of Health and Social Care have clarified that the policy is aimed at healthcare workers working within general practices or hospital settings where they can assess fitness for work.

Fit Notes should only be issued following an assessment of a person’s fitness for work, they should not be issued ‘on request’ or via an over-the-counter service.

Fit Notes are the advice of the signing health professional; another health professional may have a different opinion.  The question may then arise as to which opinion should an employer accept. The opinion of an occupational health doctor may be of help in such situations as the relation between health and work is their field of expertise.  Where there are differing opinions, it is usually accepted that the occupational health opinion holds sway based on their independent, impartial role and the specialist training of the occupational health clinician.

More detail is available via these two links:

More healthcare professionals given powers to certify fit notes - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 (legislation.gov.uk)

Earlier this year, April 2022, the requirement for a doctor to sign the Fit Note in ink was removed as part of a transition towards a digitised service. There is no longer a requirement to sign a Fit Note personally, Fit Notes can be issued digitally and GP practices/hospitals are gradually replacing the issuer’s name to a digital form of authorisation.

More information on how employers and line managers can get the best out of Fit Notes can be found here:

Getting the most out of the fit note: guidance for employers and line managers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Workplace Wellness is the trading name of
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