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Statements of fitness for work, also known as ‘fit’ notes, were introduced by the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2010.

Fit notes are often used for:

  • Evidence of incapacity for statutory sick pay (SSP);
  • Evidence of incapacity for contractual sick pay;
  • Prompting an employer to consider reasonable adjustments for disabled employees;
  • Managing employee absence.

Until now, only doctors could issue fit notes. However, on 10 June 2022, the Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2022 were laid before Parliament. These regulations extend the power to certify fit notes to further health professionals, including:-

  • Registered nurses;
  • Registered occupational therapists;
  • Registered physiotherapists; and
  • Registered pharmacists.

This change came into effect on 1 July 2022.

Although registered pharmacists will be permitted by the Regulations to issue fit notes, in practice pharmacists who provide over-the-counter services in community pharmacies will not have access to the patient’s medical records to make an appropriate assessment of a patients fitness to work. It remains to be seen whether other health care professionals will exercise these powers to any great extent.

The regulations can be found here.

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