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Fit notes: online training on offer as nurses gain new powers

Nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists are now able to issue patients fit for work notes and training on issuing them is available

Nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists are now able to issue patients fit for work notes and training on issuing them is available

Training on how to issue fit notes is now available for nurses after new powers came into force on 1 July.

Nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists are able to issue patients with a fit note or sick note , depending on if they are well enough to work.

Reducing workload for GPs

The changes, brought in by the

Nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists are now able to issue patients fit for work notes and training on issuing them is available

Picture: iStock

Training on how to issue fit notes is now available for nurses after new powers came into force on 1 July.

Nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists are able to issue patients with a fit note or sick note, depending on if they are well enough to work.

Reducing workload for GPs

The changes, brought in by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), expands the number of professions that can certify whether a patient is fit for work or not.

The hope is that the change will make it quicker and simpler for patients to certify time off work for illness, as well as helping to reduce the burden on GPs.

Training on issuing the notes is now available for nurses through Health Education England's (HEE) e-learning platform.

Developing new skills across a multidisciplinary workforce

HEE regional head of nursing for the south west Christian Brailsford said: ‘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 multidisciplinary workforce to support patients.

‘These healthcare professionals can engage more directly with patients on matters of work and health without having to reroute requests to certify fit notes through doctors.’

HEE chief nurse Mark Radford said: ‘HEE has been leading with other nations to allow these changes to be made across the UK and make the training easily accessible to staff who wish to develop these new skills.’

RCN’s head of nursing practice Wendy Preston said: ‘We have been pushing and influencing for this to happen.

‘Nursing staff are often the first people patients see, particularly in primary care and especially those living with a long-term condition who may need time off to manage their condition.’

All registered nurses will be eligible to issue fit notes once they have completed a learning programme. But Ms Preston said that in reality it is likely to be only those in certain settings – such as general practice, occupational health and some specialist areas of secondary care – who will use the new powers.

'This is a good move, but not everyone is going to need or be pressured to do it,’ she added.

Guidance documents for the change in policy are available.


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