Update on Fit Notes




Please read this important update regarding the issuance of fit (sick) notes from Penrhyn Surgery.

Thousands of appointments and telephone calls with GPs are taken up each year by patients requesting fit notes, a huge administrative burden which impacts on ability to deliver clinical care.

We need you to understand that we prioritise clinical needs over administrative tasks. Whilst we appreciate that you may also have some administrative needs, not all administrative needs – specifically Fit (sick) notes need to be issued by the GP.

In view of the increasingly unsustainable workload due to fit notes requests, we must streamline our processes.

We will no longer be issuing Fit notes (sick notes) for patients who are under the care of a specialist.

The Fit (sick) note is a legal document issued by a clinician for an illness that is sufficiently severe to affect the functioning and performance of the patient sufficient to impact negatively on work-related tasks. The sick note is to inform the employer or DWP, that the patient has suffered an illness for which he or she is receiving treatment and while this is going on, the patient would be off work for a specified period in line with the expected recovery time for such an illness.

The clinician providing your care is responsible for making the decision to issue you with a Fit (sick) note. This is based on their assessment of you and your condition, their expertise and knowledge of the illness, the expected recovery time, any complication of treatment, and any other patient’s circumstances they consider to be relevant. The treating clinician has a duty of care and contractual responsibility to provide the support and management to enable you return to good health and this can include the issuance of Fit (sick) notes.

Kindly also note the following

1. The GP can issue a Fit (sick) note, following your assessment, if clinically appropriate for illnesses for which you are being managed and treated for by the GP. However, for the first seven days of any illness you should self-certify, as GP’s do not issue Fit (sick) note for the first seven days of illness. Should you however, state that you absolutely need one during the first seven days (e.g. maybe an employer is requesting it), this can be issued as a private sick note with a fee attached to it.

2. For illnesses that progress beyond the expected recovery period, from which you are not showing the desired improvement you will be reassessed and referred on to a specialist for further assessment of your condition.

3. For illnesses that are being managed by a specialist doctor, however, kindly direct your request for a Fit (sick) note to them.

4. If your illness is impacting on your ability to work, you can be assessed by an occupational health clinician who is trained to do assess your fitness and ability to work or not work. Please discuss with you Human Resources department who can sign post you on how to access the services of occupational health specialist. This is not the job of GPs. Please ask your manager or HR to refer you appropriately for the assessment.

5. For patients undergoing procedures requiring hospitalisation and possible time off work for recovery, we advise that you speak with your specialist team to issue you with a Fit (sick) note, to cover you for the period they anticipate you will need to recover.

6. If the specialist team refuses to issue you with a Fit (sick) note, you can contact the Patient Advisory and Liaison Services (PALS) of the hospital concerned.


Published: Apr 16, 2024