Nurses among health and care professionals who can now certify fit notes

Published on 01 July 2022

From today, registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists can legally certify fit notes for people who need them.

A fit note provides evidence about a person’s fitness for work, and until now, was something only doctors could certify. New legislation now means that nurses can undertake fit note certification as part of their practice too.

By certifying fit notes, nurses will support more people to have better conversations with their employer about their health and work. Among other things, it will help people to explain how their health impacts their role, to ask for reasonable adjustments, and provide evidence if they’re not fit for work.

While this change applies to nursing professionals working across the UK, not all registered nurses will have to certify fit notes. Nurses should discuss this new role with their employer in the first instance, and ensure they have the necessary support and relevant training before they start to certify fit notes.

New guidance is available for nurses who go on to certify fit notes. 

Matthew McClelland, Executive Director of Strategy and Insight at the NMC, said:

“It’s encouraging to see that the legal power to certify fit notes has been extended to registered nurses. This is another step towards a more multi-disciplinary workforce, and recognises the important role highly skilled nursing professionals have in delivering person-centred care, offering health and care advice, and supporting people to stay in work where their health allows.

“Not all nurses need to certify fit notes. We encourage those who do to ask their employers for support. Nursing professionals should always make decisions to certify fit notes safely and effectively in line with our standards and the Code.”

Notes to editors

1.    We expect nursing professionals to certify fit notes in line with the Code which states that nurses must:

13.5 complete the necessary training before carrying out a new role

16.2 raise their concerns immediately if they are being asked to practise beyond their role, experience and training.

2.    Online training is available for nurses through the Health Education England elfh hub. Nurses in Scotland can also access training through the NHS Education for Scotland digital platform.  

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