Following the legislative changes to the fit note policy, Health Education England (HEE) are now offering training to the new professions that are now eligible to issue one.
The new rules, enforced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), dictate that nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists can now provide a certification note on whether someone is fit to work or not.
The changes are designed to relieve some of the pressure on GPs and doctors, whilst streamlining patient pathways and making it quicker and simpler for patients to get what they need.
Mark Radford, Deputy CEO and Chief Nurse at Health Education England, said: “We welcome this change in the law and also the opportunity to develop services more flexibly and build on the skills of expert nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.
“Health Education England has been leading with other nations to allow these changes to be made across the United Kingdom and make the training easily accessible to staff who wish to develop these new skills.”
The training will be provided via HEE elearning for healthcare, which will run in partnership with the DWP.
HEE have also developed guidance advising the newly eligible professions on how to certify fit notes with confidence and authority – such guidance will be made available on the government website.
Christian Brailsford, Regional Head of Nursing for the South West at Health Education England, said: “I welcome the news that the ability to issue fit notes is being extended to other professions.
“Enabling nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists to certify fit notes offers benefits for patients and the healthcare system and better recognises innovations in using a multi-disciplinary workforce to support patients.
“These healthcare professionals can engage more directly with patients on matters of work and health without having to re-route requests to certify fit notes through doctors.
More information about the new training is available here.