Rishi Sunak discusses Statutory Sick Pay with Martin Lewis
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From July 1, more NHS healthcare professionals will be able to legally certify fit notes which the DWP says aims to help ease the pressure on NHS Doctors and GPs across England, Scotland, and Wales. The move will allow a person’s most relevant healthcare professional to be able to provide the fit note and offer certified advice rather than the overarching Doctor or GP.
The expanded scope of providers will include specialist nurses such as a diabetes specialist nurse (DSN) or geriatric nurse, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists.
It will also be delivered across all general practices and hospital settings.
The changes follows the introduction of digital certifying of fit notes in April this year which the DWP stated would “simplify the process of issuing and receiving fit notes”.
The Government department also added that it would reduce “unnecessary bureaucracy” as the NHS tackles the COVID-19 backlog.
Fit notes, which are officially called the The Statement of Fitness for Work, are needed if a person has been off work with an illness for more than seven days.
This includes non-working days, such as weekends and bank holidays.
They are used primarily to show an employer for sick pay purposes, such as statutory sick pay (SSP) or to claim sickness-related benefits from the DWP such as the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
People can apply for Employment and Support Allowance if they have a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work.
The allowance provides money to help with living costs if people are unable to work and support to get them back into work if they are able to.
The support allowance is available to those who are employed, self-employed or unemployed.
The move will also help those who need access to sick note in order to claim Universal Credit.
This is because a person’s main care provider will be able to explain fully and clearly how the condition impacts them.
This will help the DWP in deciding whether a person is limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work-related activity (LCWRA).
Being classed as the latter would mean that a person could then receive an extra £354.28 a month for support.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith said: “The extension of fit note certification is fantastic news for patients, making it easier for them to get the support and advice they need from the right place, ensuring where possible that they are able to remain in work.
“These latest fit note changes recognise the valuable role other professions play in helping manage people’s health.
“I hope this will also help reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for doctors and general practice more widely.”
The Chief Executive of The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Karen Middleton also added that “the longer someone is off work the less likely they are to return”.
Ms Middleton stated physiotherapy expertise at the start of an absence is “crucial” for “ensuring rehabilitation is effective and they can get back to work a timely manner”.
Fit notes were introduced in 2010 and replaced the “sick note” that was first brought in back in 1948.
This changed allowed doctors to indicate that an individual may be fit for some work if the workplace and/or duties could be temporarily amended in order to support them.
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