Responding to the announcement from the Government that nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists will be able to issue fit notes, Dr Kieran Sharrock, BMA England GP committee deputy chair, said:
“This announcement is a positive step and we hope that it will go some way to both improving the process for people who need confirmation that they are too unwell to work, and free-up GPs’ time to care for patients who need their expertise.
“The BMA has been clear for many years that it may not always be necessary or appropriate for a GP to issue a fit note, especially where a patient has seen a different member of the practice team for their condition, such as a nurse or physiotherapist.
“At a time when the entire NHS is under pressure, reducing unnecessary administration and bureaucracy, while taking a more flexible and pragmatic approach to patient services is absolutely vital.”
Christine Douglass, chair of the BMA’s Patient Liaison Group, added:
“When people need to take time off work for an illness, it can be an incredibly stressful and disruptive time, with worries about the financial impact of absence on top of the pain and discomfort of the medical condition itself.
“So anything that makes the process of verifying your sickness to an employer more streamlined and removes additional bureaucratic hurdles so that people can access sick pay more easily is to be welcomed.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.