Electronic Fit Notes to replace Paper Sick Notes from 2010

Alan Johnson, the UK’s Health Secretary, has announced that GPs will stop issuing paper-based sick notes and start providing electronic fit notes in a bid to get more people back to work and attempt to cut the estimated £100 billion annual cost of sick leave.

The government response follows a review by Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work, which recommended the introduction of electronic fit notes should be introduced to switch the focus to what can be done to improve communications between employers, employees and GPs.

The switch from a paper-based system to an electronic one will make it less onerous for GPs and easier for their practices to audit their clinical practice on medical certification. Other measures announced in the Improving Health and Work: Changing Lives Department for Health Report include pilots for ‘Fit for Work’ services to support people returning to work, more training for GPs and nurses on health, work and well-being and the establishment of a National Centre for Working Age Health and Well Being.

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