Pharmacists’ role in Fit Note Certification sees modest uptake, NHS data reveals

Recent NHS data sheds light on the evolving landscape of fit note certification, indicating a gradual expansion of roles beyond traditional medical
practitioners to pharmacists and nurses.

This uptake in numbers coincides with the Department of Work and Pensions’s (DWP) call for evidence in relation to fit note reform which will remain open
till 8 July 2024.

According to figures published by NHS Digital, during the nine-month period from April 2023 to December 2023, pharmacists certified a significant number of
fit notes.

Approximately 1.4 per cent of fit notes of the 8 million were issued by pharmacists while the rest were issued by the GP surgeries reflecting the impact
following legislative amendments in July 2022, which extended certification authority to pharmacists, nurses, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.

In June 2022, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) advised pharmacists not to sign fit notes where the required therapeutic, diagnostic, or examination
skills lie outside their scope of competence.

The association remarked that healthcare professionals needed mandatory training under the Health Education England before they are fit to issue fitness notes
to the public.