Health Education England will provide training to nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to support new rules that will allow these professions to issue fit notes from today.
The changes, brought in by the Department of Work and Pensions, expands the number of professions that can certify whether a patient is fit for work or not.
Training will be made available to these professions through Health Education England elearning for healthcare (HEE elfh), in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
HEE has also developed guidance to support all healthcare professionals issuing fit notes to feel confident and able to do so appropriately. Guidance documents for the change in policy will be made through the gov.uk website.
The change will make it quicker and simpler for patients needing to certify time off work for illness or injury as well as helping to reduce the burden on doctors who currently issue fit notes.
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.”
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.