Is it time to say goodbye to the “fit note”?

An independent Government-backed review into sickness absence was presented yesterday which recommends that staff should be signed off for long-term sickness absence by an independent assessment service rather than by their GP.

The report has revealed that each year, 11 million employees take sick leave, which is costing the taxpayer £13 billion a year and the country as a whole is missing out on £15 billion in economic output.

In addition to making recommendations in relation to an independent assessment service to review employee sickness, the review has recognised that a minority of people can work but not in their present job.  A new ‘job brokering service’ has therefore been recommended for those who are unable to return to their current employer.

David Frost, former Director General who assisted in presenting the report stated, “The current certification system does not provide employers with the advice they need to make informed decisions about their employees’ capability for work. The establishment of the Independent Assessment Service will provide practical support and help to allow employers to make informed judgements about a return to work for their staff.”

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