This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs urge employers to stop demanding ‘fitness to return to work’ forms

Scottish GP leaders have criticised employers for demanding ‘fitness to return to work' certificates even after GPs has issued a fit note.

The Scottish LMCs conference unanimously passed a motion expressing ‘disappointment' with employers who demand additional certificates for an employee even when a GP has issued a Med3 statement describing when they can return to work.

Guidance on fit notes issued by the Department for Work and Pensions to employers says return to work forms are ‘mythical' and should not be used, but  Dr James King, a GP in Tillicoultry, and chair of Forth Valley LMC, said ‘ignorance' of the fit note system in introduced in 2010 was wasting GP time as well as keeping patients who were well from doing their jobs.

Dr King said: ‘If you want to come and check that you're fit enough I'm happy to see you, but I don't need to fill another one of these forms in.'

He said employers of manual workers in particular, were demanding the forms to reduce any legal risk when they come back to work on building sites having been off sick.

 ‘I think the Government and the trade organisations should be holding seminars on this. The RCGP gave training to GPs on filling in fit notes to try to encourage us to do it properly,' he said.