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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

eMED3 (fit notes)

Data Provision Notice for the collection of anonymised data on general practice patients who have been issued with a fit note under the Fit for Work scheme.


This collection of data relates to fit notes issued in general practice. It forms the basis of a quarterly statistical publication produced by NHS Digital in collaboration with The Work and Health Unit (jointly sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). 

The Statement of Fitness for Work (the Med3 form or 'fit note') was introduced in April 2010 across England, Wales and Scotland. It enables healthcare professionals to give advice to their patients about the impact of their health condition on their fitness for work and is used to provide medical evidence for employers or to support a claim to health-related benefits through the DWP.

The data is used by The Work and Health Unit to:

  • undertake research analysis to inform policy relating to employment and sickness absence, and Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit
  • identify geographic, Integrated Care Board and general practice level differences in sickness absence management and outcomes, including by fit note issuer’s profession, to inform policy development and continuous improvement, resulting in people returning to work sooner
  • use fit note data to build an understanding of the drivers for benefit claiming.


This Notice is served on:

  • All general practices in England

Legal basis

Review the original 2015 directions and the 2022 amendment directions.



The collection commenced at GP practices when their system supplier implemented the extract functionality, this was then assured and accepted by NHS Digital. Historical data backdating to 1 December 2014 was collected in the first extract, this commenced on the 24 April 2017. Subsequent extracts have been on a weekly schedule.

This Notice confirms that the collection continues on a weekly basis.

Read the Data Provision Notice


3 November 2022: Version 3.0 of this Notice has been issued to reflect changes to the data collection, including as a result of the extension of the ability to sign to a wider range of healthcare professionals.

Last edited: 7 November 2022 12:22 pm