New legislation has been introduced to allow nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to certify fit notes. The change aims to take pressure off of GPs and cut bureaucracy. The legislation will apply in England, Scotland and Wales.
Fit notes – sometimes known as sick notes – are used when a person is off work for more than 7 days and provide evidence to employers about the absence and any relevant advice on how to support the person to remain in or return to work.
Minister for Patient Safety and Primary Care Maria Caulfield MP said: ‘Improving access to GP services and reducing unnecessary bureaucracy is vitally important as we tackle the COVID backlog. Extending powers to provide fit notes to other healthcare professions will relieve further pressures on GPs, and is another step towards helping to deliver an extra 50 million appointments in general practice a year by 2024.’
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith MP said: ‘These latest fit note changes recognise the valuable role other professions play in helping manage people's health, and I hope this will also help reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for doctors and general practice more widely.’
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