Get your sick note online
You can get a sick note free from the NHS if you have been sick for 7 days or more.
[Sick notes are now called 'Fit Notes, and are also known as a medical certificate, or a 'Statement of Fitness for Work’]. But most people still know them as 'sick notes', so we'll call them that.
They must be signed by a doctor, or Allied Health Professional, but you do not always need to be seen in person to get one. It depends on:
- why you're off work sick
- whether a GP needs to assess you face to face
- if you have been in hospital [in which case the Hospital must issue you a sick note]
- generally doctors don't need to see you to extend an existing sick note
Your GP surgery is very likely to have a way you can request a sick-note online.
Visit their website to check, they may offer:
- Requesting one via an online consultation e.g. eConsult [this may also be described as an Admin request] or a specific online form, this may be in a section called 'letters', 'admin requests'
- An email address for patients to use, through which you can request a sick note
What will happen after you have requested your sick note online:
- You may get an SMS with a link to download it, or,
- You may be invited for an online, telephone or face-to-face consultation with a GP, or other health professional, to discuss your request
Have you been sick for long enough to need a sick note?
7 days off sick or less – Use Self Certification - If you're off work sick for 7 days or less, your employer should not ask for medical evidence that you've been ill. Instead, they can ask you to confirm that you've been ill. You can do this by filling in a form yourself when you return to work. This is called self-certification.
More than 7 days off sick - If you're off work sick for more than 7 days, your employer will usually ask for a fit note (or Statement of Fitness for Work) from a GP or hospital doctor.
If you are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Then you can get an ‘isolation note’ online from NHS 111. You do not have to go to their GP or a hospital.
What a Sick Note says
The note will say you are either ‘not fit for work’, or that you ‘may be fit for work’.
If it says you ‘may be fit for work’, your employer should discuss with you any changes that might help you return to work (for example, different hours or tasks). You must be treated as ‘not fit for work’ if there’s no agreement on these changes. Employers can take a copy of the fit note. You should keep the original.
Renewal of a sick note
If you have a continuing problem, and you have already received a sick note from the GP, simply request for a renewal using an online method as mentioned above. You do not need to book an appointment. Your GP may organise a telephone consultation with you and be able to issue a certificate without needing to see you
1. Have you been sick 7 days or more?
2. Have you been in hospital [if so, the hospital should be providing your sick note]
3. If you've been ill for more than seven days and off work, you can request a sick note
4. Visit your GPs website, find how to request a sick note online and request it
5. GP sends sick note, or send you an invitation for face to face or online appointment, to find out more, before completing the note