Sick Notes (Fit Notes): The New Procedure

The government advice on working during the coronavirus outbreak is quite clear. Everyone should be working from home unless it is impossible for them to do so. For some, of course, working from home is not an option and you may be required to travel to your place of work if, for example, you are delivering front line services.

What happens if you get sick and cannot travel to and attend work? We wanted to clarify what patients need to do if they need a sick note / fit note and hope this update will be helpful. 

Some rules have not changed. During the first 7 days of sickness you can still ‘self-certify’ to your employer and you do not need a Sick Note (or Fit Note) to send to your employer.

However, what happens after those first 7 days? Here the procedure has changed.

Are you off work with symptoms of coronavirus or because you live with someone with symptoms? 

Importantly, if you think that you have coronavirus then please do NOT contact us. Your GP practice will no longer be able to assist. If you have or are suspected of having coronavirus or have otherwise been advised to stay at home, then you can now obtain an ‘Isolation Note’ by visiting NHS111 online. Just click on the link here.

You will then be asked some questions.

When you have obtained your Isolation Note you can then send this to your employer to cover your absence. The Note will confirm that you have been advised to self-isolate due to the coronavirus, either because you have the symptoms or you live with someone who has the symptoms and you therefore cannot work.

This new Isolation Note system will help take some of the pressure and workload off every GP practice.

If you do not have access to an email address then government advice is to use the email address of a trusted family member or friend. The Isolation Note can also be forwarded on direct to your employer.

What to do if you are off work sick due to non coronavirus related illness

What do you do if you have a non-coronavirus related illness and require a Sick Note/Fit Note from your GP? In circumstances where you are not self-isolating due to coronavirus then you can still speak to your GP after the self-certification 7 day period and request Sick/Fit Note.

You can read more about sick notes/ fit notes here. 


Karen Creffield, Practice Manager, commented:

‘Hopefully these guidelines will help our patients looking for practical help and support in these difficult times,’ says Karen. ‘I am also aware that there is the very special case of the 2% of the population who have received or are about to receive the letter advising them they are extremely vulnerable and ‘at critical risk’ of infection. For this group requiring a Sick Note/Fit Note we shall be issuing separate special guidance on what to do at a later date.’

Further information on coronavirus and employment can be can be obtained from the Government Website or via ACAS. The Somerset Citizen Advice Bureau can also be contacted on employment related issues on 03444 889623.

Published: Apr 9, 2020