If you are off work sick for seven days or less, your employer should not ask you to get a ‘sick note’ from your GP.
You will only require medical certificate or a sick note if you are off work due to illness or sickness for more than seven days. The seven days include days that you don’t normally work. So when you work out how long you’ve been off sick, you should include weekends and bank holidays.
Sickness of seven days or less:
Your employer can ask you to confirm that you’ve been ill. You can do this by filling in a form yourself when you return to work. This is called self-certification.
Self-certification forms usually include details such as:
- information about your sickness or illness
- the date your sickness started
- the date your sickness ended
These dates may be days that you don’t normally work. For example, your sickness could start or end on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday.
Many employers have their own self-certification forms. Or can be accessed using the following link:
Sickness of more than seven days:
If you are sick and off work for more than seven days, your employer will usually ask you to provide a medical certificate/sick note from your GP.
When you need a certificate will also depend on your employer’s company policy on sick leave (or sickness absence). This policy should tell you how many days you can be off sick before you need a note.
Sick notes and how to get one:
A medical certificate note must be signed by a doctor.
If you have already seen a doctor at the practice regarding the problem/illness, you may not need to see the doctor again. You can complete a fit note request form at reception, which will be passed to the doctor to review. The doctor may also need to speak to you on the telephone depending on how well they know you and why you are off work sick. Please allow 48hrs for sick notes to be done.
If you have not seen a doctor at the practice and we have had no information from a medical professional about your illness, you will not be able to get a certificate without an appointment. Please book a routine appointment; urgent appointments are only provided for genuine medical emergencies and not for the purpose of sick notes.
The doctor can either say you are not fit for work, or can say you that may be fit for work given certain circumstances for example, reduced hours or altered duties. However this should be further to a discussion between the employer and the employee.
Specific advice on actual fitness to work in relation to your workplace and role is the remit of Occupational Health and this is unfortunately something GPs are not trained in. We would respectfully request you to contact your employer, whose responsibility it is to organise a formal occupational health assessment.
Sick notes following hospital attendance or outpatient clinic appointment:
If you have recently attended an appointment at the hospital or had surgery and need a sick note, please request this whilst you are at the hospital. The hospitals are now obliged to issue these sick notes and not GP’s. This is a requirement of all hospitals to ensure there are no delays for the patient, to preserve continuity of care and to ensure patients get best advice from the appropriate Clinician who has seen and assessed the patient. Hence, we may redirect you to the relevant hospital team for sick note requests following hospital attendance.
Charges for sick notes:
There is no charge for providing a sick note if you are off sick for more than seven days.
The Fit Note:
GPs in England are no longer able to issue “return to work” or “fit to work notes” as per Government Guidelines. Please contact your employer to arrange an Occupational Health assessment.
When your fit note runs out:
If your certificate runs out, but you are still sick, you will need to get a continuation.
If you are well and are able to return to work before your sick note runs out, you can do so without seeing the GP or getting a ‘fit for work ‘note.
We do not issue these anymore and employers should not ask you to get one.
Fit certificates can be back-dated so long as it is continuous. We are unable to offer emergency appointments for the purpose of obtaining medical certificate. Fit Notes can take up to a week to process as they are not a medical emergency and can be backdated. Please be patient with our staff.