The Statement of Fitness for Work (the Med3 form or 'fit note') was introduced in April 2010 across England, Wales and Scotland. It enables doctors 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 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
A fit note is issued after the first seven days of sickness absence (when patients can self-certify) if the doctor assesses that the patient’s health affects their fitness for work. The doctor can decide the patient is 'unfit for work' or 'may be fit for work subject to the following advice...' with accompanying notes on suggested adjustments or adaptations to the job role or workplace.
In 2012, DWP funded a project to provide GPs with the ability to produce computer-generated fit notes (eMed3) and this included the capability to collect the aggregated data generated.
Fit notes are issued to patients by doctors following an assessment of their fitness for work. While they can be written by hand, most fit notes provided by a GP are now computer-generated.
This quarterly statistical publication is produced by NHS Digital in collaboration with The Work and Health Unit, jointly sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health. It presents data on electronic fit notes issued in general practices in England and covers the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 December 2018.
This ‘cumulative’ data collection adds weekly data collected to the existing data. All data for all reporting periods is updated in each quarterly publication. From April 2019 all publications will contain data from practices who have TPP as their system supplier (which was not previously available), and accounts for one third of practices in England, consequently publications from this date may not be comparable to previous publications.
All GP practices are mapped using current NHS geographies and recent changes may have resulted in a small number of practices not being mapped historically. These are shown as 'Not allocated' but are included in the England total.
NHS Digital will publish these data on a quarterly basis in October, January, April and July.