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DWP Update: Fit for Work (March 2016)

Please find below the latest Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) updates for cascade to GP colleagues:

Fit for Work

What is Fit for Work?

A supportive assessment of health and work and general health and work advice

You can refer your patient for an assessment if they are employed and have been off work sick for four weeks or more, or you think they are likely to be.  A health professional will talk to your patient about their health, assess their circumstances and create a plan with their agreement providing recommendations to help them back into work (this is a Return to Work Plan).

Fit for Work will provide a thorough assessment of the physical and mental health problems, attitudes and beliefs and the social circumstances acting as obstacles and enablers to return to work.

Your patient can supply the Return to Work Plan to their employer as a statement of fitness for work, removing the need for you to supply a fit note once your patient has been referred to the service.  You can also use and signpost your patients to the advice line which is accessible to all the public whether they are in or out of employment

How can Fit for Work help you and your patients?

Fit for Work provides:

  • Assistance in managing your patient’s understanding about the impact of their condition on their fitness for work
  • Support in managing difficult return to work consultations
  • Help which improves your patient’s chance of keeping their job
  • A Return to Work Plan with recommendations to support you, your patient and their employer in helping them to return to work
  • Removal of the need to issue repeat fit notes where a Return to Work Plan is in place

For further information on how to access Fit for Work please visit:

Access to Work Mental Health Support Services

Please consider signposting patients with mental health problems to Remploy. They provide a service designed to support people experiencing depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues which are affecting their work.

Remploy delivers this service on behalf of the Access to Work Programme and can talk to patients about the help they need and what support Remploy can provide.


Fit note – updated guidance for GPs and myth busting with the CQC

There was an update to the GP version of the fit note guidance ‘Getting the most out of the fit note’ last year to reflect the GP’s role in referring eligible patients to Fit for Work.  This guidance, along with versions for employers and patients, can be found at  CPD hours can be claimed for reading the guide and considering its implications.

Professor Nigel Sparrow OBE, the CQC’s Senior National GP Adviser, produced an article on fit note which was published on the CQC website last summer.  The article focused on how fit notes are used in GP practices to provide fitness for work advice and help return to work.  Common fit note misconceptions are also addressed. The article can be found here

Updated on Wednesday, 23 March 2016, 1469 views

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