Recent legislation has been passed in parliament allowing pharmacists to certify fit notes in hospital and general practice settings. These changes will come into effect from the 1st of July in England, Scotland, and Wales. Pharmacists will be joined in this new initiative by nurses, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society President Professor Claire Anderson has said,

“Pharmacists are taking on increasingly clinical roles, and the provision of a fit note may be an appropriate part of a consultation with a patient. However, we have a number of concerns that must be addressed to enable pharmacists to provide fit notes.

“First, although pharmacists working in general practices have access to medical records, this is not the case for community pharmacists: it is essential that this is changed to ensure pharmacists have access to all the information required to be able to safely issue a fit note.

“Second, pharmacists already have a significant workload so additional roles must be properly planned for and funded services developed. “Finally, it is essential that the public is given clear information about where fit notes can be obtained from and not misled that they can be provided by all pharmacists.”

The new legislation aims to support an increased move towards a diverse and multi-disciplinary workforce and reduce the demand on doctors, particularly in primary care, as being the sole profession that can certify and issue fit notes.

Chief Executive of the GPhC, Duncan Rudkin, said:

“Whilst pharmacists will have the legal power to certify fit notes, not everybody working as a pharmacist will be able to, or should, issue fit notes.

“Pharmacists who are considering providing a fit note service in the future should make sure they are following the relevant legislation and guidance, as well as our standards for pharmacy professionals, at all times.”

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Locate a Locum Team