Statement of Fitness for Work
The Statement of Fitness for Work was introduced in April 2010. At the time, the Government said they would introduce an electronic fit note.
Electronic fit notes
The rollout of electronic fit note capability starts in July 2012 and is expected to be complete by early 2013. GP practice IT providers will contact each practice before the electronic fit note is added to their IT system.
- GPs – computer-completed fit notes fact sheet (34KB)
- Patients and employees – computer-completed fit notes information
The Statement of Fitness for Work (fit note)
The Statement of Fitness for Work, commonly known as the fit note, allows GPs and other doctors to provide more information and advice on a patient’s fitness for work.
- Statement of Fitness for Work – A guide for General Practitioners and other doctors (212KB)
- Hospital doctors – A supplementary guide to the Statement of Fitness for Work (577KB)
- Occupational Health professionals – a guide to the Statement of Fitness for Work (480KB)
The fit note:
- allows doctors to advise that patients are "may be fit for work taking account of the following advice" or "not fit for work"
- has space for comments on the functional effects of a patient’s condition with tick boxes to indicate common approaches to aid a patient’s return to work
- can only be completed by a doctor, and allows telephone consultations as an acceptable form of assessment
- is advice for a patient that they can use as evidence of their fitness for work, for sick pay and for benefit purposes. The advice on the fit note is not binding on employers, and
- can only cover a period of three months during the first 6 months of illness.
How does the fit note benefit doctors?
The fit note was developed in partnership with practising GPs and members of professional bodies. The benefits include:
- Fewer forms to deal with. The Med 3 and Med 5 have been streamlined into one form. Also, because of the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in October 2008, doctors no longer have to fill in the Med 4.
- A wider definition of “assessment” to reflect modern practice. Doctors can base an assessment on a face-to-face consultation, a telephone consultation, or a report from another doctor or healthcare professional.
- More flexibility to manage consultations. Doctors can recommend if they need or do not need to see a patient again at the end of the statement period.
- The opportunity to give more helpful advice to patients which will help ensure the best work outcomes for them. Evidence shows that work has therapeutic value and is generally good for physical and mental health and well-being whilst long term worklessness has negative health effects (Waddell G. and Burton A.K. 2006, Is work good for your health and well-being?)