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Fit note reform

Open call for evidence from IOSH members

Date posted
03 June 2024
Marcus Boocock
Estimated reading time
3 minute read

While the General Election campaign is in full swing for the UK’s major political parties, there are still a number of active consultations taking place. Among them is a consultation relating to the reform of the ‘fit note’ and IOSH members have an opportunity to influence in this important area.

Helping people with long-term health conditions to start, stay and succeed in work is a crucial part of a sustainable economy. To do this, it is crucial that the right support is in place.

IOSH members have the opportunity to take part in a consultation* aimed at informing the Government’s approach to supporting occupational health provision. This call for evidence was initially organised by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), together as the Joint Work and Health Directorate (JWHD). The departments are seeking views on what the UK’s current and future policy considerations should include when reforming the fit note process and wish to capture the enhancements stakeholders would need to better support people to start, stay and succeed in work.

IOSH is particularly interested in views and evidence relating to the following themes.

  • The role of OSH professionals (eg accommodations or return to work practices) in preventing and/or reducing absence rates.
  • Non-clinical professionals’ experience (eg occupational health professionals, line managers, human resources staff).
  • The support required to improve the information provided on the fit note for patients and employers.
  • Comments on the ‘work sickness certificate’ as a mechanism that can provide an individual with evidence for sick leave and/or sick pay without going to a GP practice.

“The unprecedented long-term illness crisis in the UK’s workforce should come as no surprise. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the impacts of an unhealthy workforce."

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“We know this remains a structural issue compounded by the lack of any indicative long-term planning in developing occupational health systems and the problems of not scaling up occupational health coverage. With that in mind, it needs to be an important part of the agenda of whoever wins the election.

“OSH professionals are critical in supporting employees to remain healthy and productive at work. Their advice and expertise can help to prevent people falling out of work and contribute to improved practices when getting back to work. But their perspectives are often neglected from the policy discourse. This call for input is an opportunity for driving greater focus on the health and wellbeing of the nation.”

*During the General Election campaign, decisions on the implementation of this consultation might be put on hold. IOSH believes that the evidence that can be gathered on this subject will be critical to the newly-elected Government and will help inform future policy proposals in this field.

Don’t delay, have your say!

IOSH is inviting members to submit their responses by 23:59 BST on Friday 28 June 2024. Responses should be one side of A4 or approximately 400 words. Look out for polls on our social media.

Last updated: 07 June 2024

Marcus Boocock

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PR Lead

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