Skip to main content
Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Fit notes

A fit note (or Statement of Fitness for Work) is the form issued by doctors if you're off work sick for more than 7 days. They are sometimes referred to as medical statements or a doctor's note.

The fit note allows doctors to advise you "may be fit for work", taking into account the advice they give. This is to encourage people back to work if reasonable adjustments can be made by their employer.

The role of NHS Digital

NHS Digital collect anonymous data extracted from fit notes issued in GP practice record systems. Data is extracted weekly.

The data is then provided to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who use it to:

  • undertake research and analysis
  • inform government policy relating to employment and sickness absence – this includes evaluation of the new Fit for Work service (which provides an occupational health assessment), Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit
  • identify geographic, clinical commissioning group (CCG) and GP practice level differences in sickness absence management – this will inform policy making and help to improve the process of managing sickness absence, resulting people returning to work sooner
  • measure the uptake and success of the Fit for Work service
  • use fit note data to understand the reasons for claiming benefits
  • enable CCGs to self-audit their fit note – this will inform their own policy and commissioning decisions

Further information

internal 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.


Last edited: 9 April 2019 1:41 pm