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Fit Notes - Sick Notes

The 'fit note' was introduced on 6 April 2010. Sometimes called Sick Notes, they are legally binding documents produced by your GP or hospital clinician, to support people who are either unable to work due to illness, or people who may need alterations to their working conditions in order to continue in work.

Illnesses of less than seven days

If you're off work sick for seven days or less, your employer shouldn't ask for medical evidence that you've been ill. Instead they can ask you to confirm that you've been ill. You can do this by filling in a form yourself when you return to work. This is called self-certification.

You can find out more about when you need a fit note on the NHS website.

Do I need to self certify?

For absences lasting less than seven days you may be asked to complete a self-certification form, your employer may have their own, or they may ask you to refer to the GovUK website for a SC2 form.

Can I go back to work before the end date on my fit note?

Yes.

You do not always have to be 100% "fit" to be able to do some work – in fact, work can help your recovery from health problems or support your overall wellbeing if you have a long-term health condition.

You should go back to work as soon as you feel able to and, with your employer's agreement. This may be before your fit note runs out.

For example, you may want to go back to work sooner if:

  • you've recovered from your illness or injury more quickly than expected
  • your employer can offer you support to help you return to work

You can find out more about returning to work on the NHS website.

Do I need a note saying I'm fit to work?

No.

You do not need to see your doctor again to be signed fit to go back to work.

The fit note does not have an option to say that you're fit for work. If your doctor wants to assess your fitness for work again, they will say this on your fit note.

Some employers have their own policy that requires employees to obtain medical evidence that they are fit for work. If this is the case, your employer should help you arrange this privately with a GP or occupational health specialist. A doctor cannot issue a fit note for this purpose.

You can find out more about returning to work on the NHS website.

How do I request a fit note?

Contact us once you have been unable to work for seven days. Including weekends. We'll book you the next routine telephone appointment, don't worry if that's a day or two away, fit notes can be backdated, however we are unable to post date them (for the future.) If there is no routine telephone appointment available within 7 days of your reuqest we'll ask our On Call GP to contact you, so you are not waiting unnecessarily.

Already had a fit note, but need another?

Did the Clinician say you needed to be reviewed? If so we'll book you the next routine telephone appointment, don't worry if that's a day or two away, fit notes can be backdated, however we are unable to post date them (for the future.) If there is no routine telephone appointment available within 7 days of your reuqest we'll ask our On Call GP to contact you, so you are not waiting unnecessarily.

If the Clinician didn't say you needed reviewing we'll send them a message and ask them to renew your fit note during their paperwork time. There are some cases where they don't need to speak to you directly to issue a sick note.

Why are reception asking me questions about my fit note?

In order to help you to the best of their ability and reduce delays, the reception team have been asked by the clinical staff to make sure they check;

  • Have you been off work for at least 7 days, including weekends.
  • What condition the fit note is for.
  • The requested start date for the fit note.
  • The requested end date for the fit note.
  • Any other relevant information, such as reasonable adjustments or a phased return to work.

How long before my fit note is ready for collection?

We aim to have fit notes ready after 4pm on the 2nd working day after request. For example if you request a fit note on a Monday, we aim to have it completed and ready for collection after 4pm on Wednesday. You can check if your fit note is ready for collection via Patient Access. In your documents section you will be able to see if a fit note has been issued. Please be mindful if you have a regular GP they may be on annual leave, or may not work during the 2 working day period and it may take longer. We should inform you on request if this will be the case.

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