Getting the most out of the fit note: guidance for GPs

Source: Department for Work & Pensions 2022

Changes to the fit note

From April 2022, you may notice changes to the fit note as a new version of the form is rolled out.

The requirement for the doctor to sign the form in ink has been removed and replaced by the issuer’s name and profession being included in the new form.

There will be a period during which both the new and previous version of the fit notes are legally valid. Until your IT system is updated you should continue to issue fit notes as before, including signing them in ink.

Computer-generated fit notes

Fit notes can be handwritten, computer-generated and printed out or computer-generated and sent digitally. Computer-generated fit notes have the added benefits of:

  • automatically completing certain parts of the fit note to save you having to fill them in each time you issue one
  • automatically including the name of the doctor completing the fit note to authorise it, removing the need to print and sign the fit note in ink
  • ensuring that your advice is easy to read for patients and employers
  • removing the need for you to re-write fit notes if duplicates are required, as other staff members can print out duplicate copies
  • enabling clinical management and fitness for work advice to be monitored together for patients with long-term conditions
  • improving the continuity of patient care generally – for example if patients are seen by different GPs
  • allowing you to share knowledge and learning points with colleagues in your practice by carrying out appropriate internal audits

All GP practices now have access to computer generated fit notes.

More information on fit notes is available

Click here to read the source guidance in full.