Government guidance on 'fit notes' issued today says that GPs will be allowed to issue fit notes on telephone. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, the Statement of Fitness for Work will replace the Med 3 and Med 5 forms from the 6 April 2010.
The department also said that the statement can be issued from another doctor's written report as well. GPs can report if a patient cannot work or "may be fit for work taking account of the following advice."
RCGP chair Professor Steve Field said this was a step forward, "GPs can give more helpful advice to patients and their employers to support an earlier return to work. We know work has beneficial effects on recovery. The fit note is in keeping with our holistic approach to patient care," he said.
GPs can also record if a patient can benefit from changing work hours.