Health Education England to offer training to physios to support fit note policy change
Health Education England (HEE) has announced that it will provide training to physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals that will enable them to issue fit notes to patients.
The new Department of Work and Pensions rules on fit notes, which were announced last month and come into force today (1 July), expand the number of professions which can certify whether a patient is fit for work or not.
As well as physiotherapists, nurses, pharmacists and occupational therapists can now start issuing fit notes, something that was previously the preserve of doctors.
Training will be made available to these professions through HEE elearning for healthcare (HEE elfh), in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions.
HEE has also developed guidance to support all healthcare professionals issuing fit notes to feel confident and able to do so appropriately. Guidance documents for the change in policy will be made through the gov.uk website.
The change will make it quicker and simpler for patients needing to certify time off work for illness or injury as well as helping to reduce the burden on doctors who currently issue fit notes.
Enabling nurses, OTs, pharmacists and physiotherapists to certify fit notes offers benefits for patients and the healthcare system and better recognises innovations in using a multidisciplinary workforce to support patients [Christian Brailsford, HEE]
Mark Radford, HHE’s deputy chief executive and chief nurse, said: ‘We welcome this change in the law and also the opportunity to develop services more flexibly and build on the skills of expert nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.'
Mr Radford added that HEE had been keen to widen the pool of professions that could issue fit notes – as had others across in other parts of the UK – and to ensure staff wishing to develop the skills needed could access training programmes easily.
Christian Brailsford, regional head of nursing for HHE in the south west, added: ‘Enabling nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists to certify fit notes offers benefits for patients and the healthcare system and better recognises innovations in using a multidisciplinary workforce to support patients.'
Mr Brailsford added: ‘These healthcare professionals can engage more directly with patients on matters of work and health without having to re-route requests to certify fit notes through doctors.’
For more information on HEE, visit: www.hee.nhs.ukAuthor: Ian A McMillan