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Employment Law Update - Changes to Fit Notes

By Laura Knowles


It’s not a great surprise that the pandemic is still having a big impact on the NHS, as they battle to catch up with the delays caused over the last 2 years. In order to try and reduce pressure on doctors, particularly GPs, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have proposed that nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists should be able to certify and issue fit notes.


Currently anyone who has been off work with illness for more than seven days, must provide a signed fit note from their GP to their employer as evidence about the absence. The note may also offer any relevant advice on how to support the employee to remain in or return to work.


However, from 1 July 2022, the new rules have widened the number of professionals that can issue the notes.


Not only does this reduce the pressure on GPs but it also reduces the pressure on patients who are often waiting on these notes being issued. This is compounded by the fact that patients were having to contact their GP to gain the fit note when in fact it may be a Physio who has been seeing them about their health.


You may recall in our last employment law update in April 2022, we informed you about the change which removed the need for fit notes to be signed in ink. This change has made it possible for eligible healthcare professionals to certify fit notes digitally as well as for patients to receive their fit note via digital channels (where GP IT systems support this), which is much more convenient for all involved.


This new measure goes one step further in making the whole process more convenient and up to date with the way we live and work now.


Managing absence can sometimes be a complex process which is important to get right, not only to protect the business but to protect your employees too. If you need any help or guidance on navigating employee absence, please get in touch with us here at Second Chapter.


We will also be offering our clients an example communication which businesses can issue to employees to inform them of this change.



About Laura Knowles

Laura is currently HR Business Partner at Second Chapter where she advises clients on a range of HR matters including performance management, disciplinary and grievance, attendance management, flexible working, and employee engagement. With a HR career spanning more than a decade, she has worked for A4E, Cambion Electronics, BresMed Health Solutions and Kirklees Council. Laura lives in Sheffield with her husband, two daughters and their two cats.


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