Sick (fit) notes

Self Certification Forms

If you are off work sick for seven days or less, your employer should not ask you for a doctor’s certificate. The seven days include days you do not normally work, such as weekends and Bank Holidays.

When you return to work, your employer may ask you to confirm that you’ve been ill by filling in a form yourself. This is called self-certification.

Self-certification forms usually include details such as:

  • information about your sickness or illness
  • the date your sickness started
  • the date your sickness ended

Many employers have their own self-certification forms.

If your employer doesn’t have their own form, instead they may use an SC2 form from HM Revenue & Customs Employee’s Statement of Sickness.

Download a template self-certification form

Sickness of More than Seven Days

If you are off work sick for more than seven days, your employer will normally ask you to provide a medical certificate from your GP.

This will depend on your employer’s sick leave / sickness absence policy. This policy should tell you how many days you can be off sick before you need a note.

To find out about your employer’s policy:

  • ask your team leader or supervisor, or
  • speak to someone from your human resources (HR) or personnel department

To request a fit note – please click on ‘try a new way of contacting us’

Fit Notes for Return to Work

A GP uses a Fit Note to confirm whether you are fit for work or not. A Fit Note must be signed by a doctor.

The Fit Notes mean your GP can give you advice to support your return to work. Work can play an important part in helping patients recover from illness or injury. This means you do not need nor is there now a Return to Work note. 

The GP will choose the option “may be fit to work” if they think that returning to work – with support from your employer – will help you.

The note includes space for the GP to give advice to your employer about the impact of your illness or injury. This may include suggestions as to how your employer can help you return to work, such as reduced hours or changing your duties, while you gain full health.

If you have seen a doctor at the practice regarding the problem for which you need a medical certificate (or we have received a letter from the hospital about your sickness), you may not need to see the doctor again. You can complete a Fit Note Request Form at reception or download it from above to complete. The form will be passed to the doctor to review. The doctor may also be able to speak to you on the telephone depending on how well they know you and why you are off work sick.

If you have not seen a doctor at the practice and we have had no information from a medical professional about your illness, you will not be able to get a Fit Note without an appointment. Please book a routine appointment; urgent appointments are only provided for genuine medical emergencies and not for the purpose of certificates.

In either case, there are rules governing the issue of Fit Notes and the GP may not be able to supply one, depending on the information you provide.

If you are under the care of a hospital, your Fit Note may be issued by the hospital, rather than by the practice.

Charges for Fit Notes

There is usually no charge for providing a Fit Note if you are off sick for more than seven days.

Some employers may request a Fit Note (eg from employees who repeatedly take time off sick) even if they are off work for seven days or less. This is a private, non-NHS medical certificate.

For sickness of seven days or less, a fee is payable for the Fit Note.

When you fit note runs out

If your certificate runs out, but you are still sick, you will need to consult the doctor again before you can get a further certificate.

Fit certificates can be back-dated so it is not necessary to make an emergency appointment to renew your certificate. If you attend an emergency appointment for the purpose of getting a medical certificate you will be asked to rebook.