25 February 2010

Fit stampGeneral practitioners have now been issued with guidance on how to complete the new ‘fit notes’ which replace sick notes from 6th April 2010.

The new fit notes allow a GP either to say that their patient is either:

Not fit for work; or

Is fit for work taking into account the following advice – where the advice is about changes to duties, hours or other issues which may allow the patient to safely return to work.

The fit note is part of a general overhaul of GPs responsibilities in relation to sickness certification which sees forms Med 3 and Med 5 incorporated into the new fit note and the abolition of forms Med 4, Med 6 and RM7.

Where a GP suggests adjustments, such as avoiding lifting or taking frequent breaks, and these cannot be met by the employer, the fit note can be treated as advising that the employee is not fit for work for the period it covers.

It is noteable that the list of organisations involved in creating the new fit note includes a wide range of medical and employers representative bodies, but not a single employee’s body such as trades unions.  The organisations involved were:

  • Royal College of General Practitioners,
  • British Medical Association,
  • CBI,
  • Acas,
  • Federation of Small Businesses,
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development,
  • Association of British Insurers,
  • British Retail Consortium
  • EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.

But then, as the fit note stems from the DWP philosophy that ‘work is generally good for health and well-being and can aid recovery for many health conditions’, that is perhaps not surprising.

You can download a copy of the 18 page leaflet from this link.


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