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Sickness Certification – DWP & Private

Updated on Friday, 16 November 2018, 2174 views

Although GPs are required to provide Med3 “fit notes” and also to complete some other forms from the DWP, including the ESA113 and the  DS1500  (a fee is payable for the latter) ,  requests for  medical certificates and reports  relating to employment matters may also come from a number of other bodies and, in principle, these are usually chargeable

A brief GP  guide  for to  the benefits system 

Sickness of Less Than 7 days

You are not obliged to provide a 'sick certificate' for your patients for periods of less than seven days.  In these circumstances patients should self certify as below.  We have produced a letter for your patient to take to his/her employer to explain this. However, you may of course issue a private certificate you wish.       

Here is a link to an ACAS booklet for businesses Managing Attendance and Employee Turnover

Employees Statement of Sickness Forms (Self certificate or SC2)

Individuals may make a statement of sickness for the first week of sick leave, and GPs are not required to issue certification for periods of less than 7 days.  You can download a copy of the HMRC SC2 Self Certificate Form from

GP Fit Certificates - Statement of Fitness for Work (Med 3)

The fit note was introduced to replace the old sick note on 6 April 2010.  Doctors issue fit notes to individuals to provide evidence of the advice the doctor has given about the individual’s fitness for work. The fit note allows doctors to advise that individuals “may be fit for work” taking into account the doctor’s advice, or that they are “not fit for work”.

Doctors use fit notes to record details of the functional effects of their patient’s condition so that individuals and employers can consider ways to help the individual return to work.  Fit notes can be hand-written or computer-generated and printed out. Fit notes should be issued by hospital doctors if someone is receiving treatment in hospital, or otherwise by GPs.

 The certificate has space to recommend whether or not you need to see the patient again at the end of the statement period. There is a reduction in the maximum duration of statement during the first 6 months of illness to 3 months and the form has increased space for comments and some tick boxes to indicate simple adjustments or adaptations that could aid the patients return to work.

This is not to suggest that we should suddenly become occupational health doctors, but that it may facilitate a discussion around returning to work, and we can use our clinical judgement on what we feel may be done to achieve this.  This advice is not binding for employers and if they cannot implement the advice then the certificate is valid for the patient to remain off work without need for a further consultation.

Here is some further information you may find useful:

Fraud warning!  A number of patients have been fraudulently amending the digits of number of weeks off and Counter Fraud  advise that this is best be written  in words and figures i.e. 3 (three) weeks.  We would recommend and endorse this good practice

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