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